1.27.2010

PIA News Service - Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010

GADCC intensifies CEDAW 
By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY (27 January) – The Gender and Development Coordinating Committee (GADCC) Caraga intensifies the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in the region during its planning workshop attended by focal persons and representatives of various stakeholders, held recently in one of the local convention centers here.

Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Caraga Regional Director and GADCC Chairperson Atty. Marylin Pintor shortly discussed the obligations of the Philippines as state party to CEDAW. 

“Repeal all discriminatory laws and practices; enact anti-discrimination policies and provide effective mechanisms and remedies where women can seek redress for rights violators; promote equality through all appropriate means including proactive measures, enabling conditions and affirmative action; and make a national report every four years on measures that have been taken to comply with the treaty obligations are the obligations of the Philippines as state party to CEDAW,” Atty. Pintor said.

To better understand discrimination against women, Atty. Pintor stressed that it is in any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, social, cultural, civil or any other field. 

Meanwhile, Atty. Pintor explained CEDAW’s aim to end discrimination. According to her, the law (CEDAW) aims to bring about substantive equality of women, carries with it the principle of state obligation, prohibits actions and policies that put women at a disadvantage whatever its intentions, it tasks states parties to prevent women’s rights violations not only by state institutions and government officials, but also by private individuals and groups, and it recognizes the influence of culture and tradition on restricting women’s enjoyment of their rights, and challenges states parties to change stereotypes, customs and norms that discriminate against women.

Also, during the open forum, GADCC focal persons gathered issues and concerns on women’s discrimination. One of the concerns raised was the rights of women especially in the availment of leave credits. 

All issues and concerns raised during the open forum were well noted by Atty. Pintor and she then solicited strategies from the members on how to lessen if not totally solve the existing problems that most women are now facing.

With the upcoming Women’s Month Celebration on March 2010, GADCC set various activities for all its members to enjoy and to give importance to women’s existence. (PIA-Caraga)  


CHR to probe 18 extralegal killings in Agusan del Sur

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 28 - The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) started its two-day public inquiry Thursday at the downtown hotel and convention center here, on the alleged 18 extrajudicial killings which victimized mostly indigenous people (IP) in the landlocked province of Agusan del Sur. 

The string of extrajudicial killings appear to be related to the simmering rivalries between warring local clans. 

Summoned thereto were the complainants and witnesses in various extralegal killings being investigated by CHR-Caraga region, including the killing of the Manobo chieftain and relatives of the Ondo Perez clan. 

Also invited were provincial officials of Agusan del Sur led by Governor Maria Valentina Plaza, Caraga regional officials of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), barangays officials, and military and police officers having jurisdiction over the areas where the killings occurred. 

Explaining the rationale for the public inquiry, CHR Chairperson Leila De Lima said “After further follow up investigations in the wake of the Dec. 10, 2009 incident allegedly perpetrated by the Ondo Perez group, we are certain that the abduction was only a strand in a greater scheme of impunity, criminality and violence gripping Agusan del Sur.” 

Reports from the informants and from the CHR regional office in CARAGA show that the Ondo Perez Group is not the only group operating in the province and perpetrating the crimes. 

De Lima remarked, “The killings in Agusan are related to warring tribal groups or factions. It certainly does not help the situation when the military and police appear to be pitting one indigenous peoples faction against the other.” 

It can be recalled that members of the Ondo Perez group lamented that their rivals were not being pursued for criminal activities, and only their group was the subject of the police manhunt that ended with the abduction of at least 57 civilians including children last month. 

“This is a crucial detail in uncovering the true circumstances of peace and order in Agusan del Sur, particularly on the conduct of law enforcement,” added De Lima. 

“Not only does it bode unfavorably for the police and military, but it corroborates long-held suspicions that clan-related violence is sanctioned by law enforcement agencies. There is this suspicion that they are pitting armed group against each other. For what purpose, we are not sure,” she further added. 

“But we do know that it perpetuates the string of killings in Agusan Del Sur,” De Lima said. 

From the records of the CHR-Caraga regional office, there are at least 18 extrajudicial killings that are almost certainly related to the clan wars in Agusan del Sur. 

De Lima said, “These killings are definitely part of the puzzle and that is why we are not narrowing the investigation into the abduction incident or even the Ondo Perez faction. There are more personalities involved, more human rights violations occurring in Agusan del Sur and therefore, a more complex problem for peace and security in the province requiring a comprehensive solution. Finding a complete and thoughtful solution is the purpose of this inquiry, and we must begin with culling all the information that is available.” 

De Lima and Commissioner Jose Manuel Mamauag, the focal Commissioner for Caraga, will lead the inquiry, assisted by CHR Caraga Atty. Marylin Pintor. (muc/PIA-Caraga)

 
Urge the passage of Senate Bill 741 banning asbestos

Manila (28 January) - With the end of the official session of the 14th Congress on February 5, 2010 fast approaching, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), the Associated Labor Unions (ALU) and the Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) launched an email campaign urging the Senate to pass Senate Bill 741 banning asbestos.

The email campaign calls on the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce to integrate workers concerns in the bill filed by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago to minimize the risks of asbestos exposure to workers, their families and the public. The bill has been pending with the Committee since August 29, 2007. A similar bill passed earlier in the House of Representatives.

“Asbestos is a danger to everyone because asbestos fibers penetrate deep into the lungs once inhaled, causing incurable and fatal asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer,” says Rafael Mapalo, TUCP deputy spokesperson. “There is no safe level of exposure and the most effective way to protect people from asbestos exposure is to ban the substance,” adds Mapalo.

“Workers, their families and the public are exposed to asbestos in workplaces, buildings and materials containing asbestos,” says Gerard Seno, ALU National Vice President. “By banning its use the government will be protecting Filipinos from the health and safety hazards of asbestos exposure,” adds Seno.

“A recent study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reconfirmed the cancer-causing effects of asbestos, leaving the prevailing medical evidence against asbestos irrefutable,” shares Apolinar Tolentino, Officer in Charge of the BWI Asia Pacific Regional Office. “The more asbestos ban is delayed, the more workers, their families and the public are at risk,” warns Tolentino.

Senate Bill 741 with proposed amendments seeks to minimize the risks of asbestos exposure and lays down the framework for the early detection and diagnosis of asbestos-related diseases. 

TUCP, ALU and BWI encourage their members and their contacts and the public nationwide to participate in the email campaign, found at http://tinyurl.com/ban-asbestos in the TUCP website. TUCP and BWI help in bringing in international support to the campaign. 

Senders must type in their name, email address, municipality/city/province and union or organization, may use the existing message, and must click the Submit button at the bottom of the page. The email goes to Senator Mar Roxas as the Committee Chair copy furnished the Senate President and members of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce.

The email campaign will help push the Senate to act on the urgency of banning asbestos. Any delay causes more exposure that will result in contracting asbestos related diseases and deaths in the years to come.
(DMT/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


Applications for gov’t scholarship accepted ‘til February 10


Here’s good news for government workers who want to pursue a master’s degree.

The Civil Service Commission (CSC), through its Regional and Field Offices, is accepting applications for the Local Scholarship Program-Master’s Degree Course (LSP-MDC) Written Test until February 10 this year.
Under the program, a one-year scholarship grant to pursue master’s degree shall be provided government employees after passing the written test and an interview. The LSP-MDC Written Test, which will be conducted nationwide on March 28, 2010, is intended for school year 2011-2012.

State workers who hold a bachelor’s degree and a permanent appointment for the last three years, who have a performance rating of at least “Very Satisfactory” for the last two consecutive rating periods, who have not earned any master’s degree, who have not been convicted of any administrative/criminal offense for the last three years, who are in good health and physically and mentally fit to perform graduate studies, may qualify for the scholarship program.

The scholarship is also open to state employees who have previously earned master’s units, who are on thesis writing, who have availed of a short-term course, and even those who have pending administrative cases, without prejudice to automatic revocation of the scholarship should they later be found guilty of an administrative offense. Employees who hold co-terminus appointment, so long as they can fulfill the service obligation and are not related to the agency head within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity, may also apply for the program.

Interested applicants must complete the following requirements and submit them to the CSC Regional or Field Office concerned: 1] Properly accomplished application form (CS Form 101-B, Revised March 2006 available at CSC Regional/Field Offices and website www.csc.gov.ph); 2] Four copies of identical, 1.5” x 2” I.D. pictures with full name tag and taken within the last three months prior to application; 3] Original and photocopy of one valid I.D. card; 4] Photocopy of performance rating for the last two consecutive rating periods prior to application; 5] Photocopy of college diploma, or certificate of graduation; 6] Service record for the last three years; and 7] Medical certificate on the state of health and physical and mental fitness of the applicant. No examination fee will be charged.

All applicants must have the nomination of their respective agency heads.

For details, log on to the CSC website at www.csc.gov.ph. (CSC/PIA-Caraga)