Friday, July 20, 2007

What Will Ateneans Do?

On Monday will be the State of the Nation Address by the President. But are Ateneans really concerned? Do they really care about what the President will say and do they even care about reacting on it?

It almost seems as though Ateneans are only concerned whether there will be classes or not. ("Free cut? Let's watch a movie!") While in another university, almost all the teachers are suspending classes to encourage the students to listen to the SONA and to participate in activities that aim to make stands and statements heard.

During the UAAP Basketball Finals last year, a television in the caf was used as a means for the students in the school to watch the Third Game between ADMU and UST. We wonder if it will again be used this time to bring to the students something more relevant...

We Dare You to Evaluate

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
(SONA 2006 below)

Abrera's Interpretation

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
From the Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 16, 2007

Perhaps legitimizing extra-judicial killings?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

SONA 2006

Last year, these were some of the words of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo:

"To my friends in Congress who... championed and passed some of the most severe and critical fiscal reforms to save our economy, maraming salamat. You are the true friends of the Filipino people... Dahil sa inyo, sa wakas may pondo na tayo, hindi lamang para ibayad sa interes, kundi para sa edukasyon, mas mabuting tulay at kalsada, pagbigay kalinga sa kalusugan at higit na trabaho sa ating bansa. Now, we have the money to pay down our debt and to build up our country...

To our men and women in the armed services, the huge and deep core of your loyalty has earned the nation's accolade. The few mutineers have been condemned by the people. They and their partisan cohorts and funders are being brought to justice.

And at a time when we must each, as individuals and as communities, take greater responsibility, our local government officials man the frontline of change: change for greater accountability, for better service and more responsiveness to their constituents.

So I stand before you today to deliver a state of the nation that is focused on what the people want; the people want to know the plan to put us on the path to prosperity.

I am not here to talk about politics; I am here to talk about what the people want; details on the state of the nation and what their government is doing to make progress every single day...

We now have the funds to stamp out terrorism and lawless violence... We now have the funds for constitutional and electoral changes. Sa kasalukuyang sistema, napakabagal ng proseso, at bukas sa labis na pagtutunggali, at sikil ang lalawigan at mamamayan sa paghahari ng Imperial Manila. Panahon nang ibalik ang kapangyarihan sa taumbayan at lalawigan... There must be a better way.

Meanwhile, now we can fund the Medium Term Public Investment Program... Sumusulong na ang ating plano na may tatlong yugto. Una, ang makaahon sa mga dekada ng utang at kapos ng pondo. Nagawa na natin ito. Ikalawang yugto, ang pagbabalik sa taumbayan ang mas malaking kita ng pamahalaan: upang makapagpundar ng kalinga sa kalusugan, edukasyon at trabaho na kailangang-kailangan ng mamamayan. Ginagawa na rin natin ito. And finally, Phase Three: to invest in the natural advantages and natural resources of each section of our nation so that when harnessed together, the major economic regions of the nation are larger than the sum of its parts...

To be world-class we invest in five comprehensive strategies for global competitiveness:

1. Make food plentiful and affordable to keep our labor cost globally competitive.

2. Reduce the cost of electricity to make our factories regionally competitive.

3. Modernize infrastructure at least cost to efficiently transport goods and people.

4. Mobilize, upgrade and disseminate knowledge and technologies for productivity.

5. Reduce red tape in all agencies to cut business costs.

The most prohibitive red tape is in our outmoded Constitution. We need Constitutional change to bring our rules of investment into the new millennium...

Pagdurugtungin natin ang MRT at LRT mula Monumento hangga... Sa pagbilis ng biyahe patungo at palabaas ng Metro Manila, makakatira ang manggagawa sa mas mura at maaliwalas na lalawigan.

Maayos na ang kapaligiran sa riles ng tren sa South Superhighway. Masaya ang mga pamilyang hinatid namin ni Vice President Noli de Castro sa kanilang bago at permanenteng relokasyon. Teddy Boy Locsin said it hadn't been done before, and couldn't be done at all. Well, Teddy? Ngayon gagawin ito sa Maynila, si Lito Atienza ang bahala.

We thank China for agreeing to fund these housing needs. Huwaran ng ating programang pabahay para sa mahihirap ang mga proyekto ng Iglesia ni Kristo at Gawad Kalinga...

The priority here is tourism investments. Coming soon for superstar Boracay are an instrument landing system for the Kalibo airport and a P3 billion private investment in a San Jose, Romblon airport, plus good roads to spillover destinations all over Panay...

Mindanao is our priority for agribusiness investments in the south. Mindanao is mostly fertile and largely typhoon-free, exporting coconut products and high value crops, and from its waters come 40% of the country's fish catch. Our investment priorities mirror those for North Luzon, and more because Mindanao has the poorest regions and poorest provinces and because we have to spend on a logistics system linking it to the north...

If we can harness the forces of good in our nation, the positive force at work here at home and those from abroad such as the US, Malaysia, the OIC and others, we shall prevail in Mindanao with a peace agreement that brings freedom and hope to all Filipinos. With this peace, we would reap dividends in resources invested in agribusiness, not aggression, to build up, not tear down, the Philippine south...

For those who want to pick up old fights, we're game but what a waste of time. Why not join hands instead? Join hands in the biggest challenge of all, where we all win or we all lose: the battle for the survival and progress of our one and only country."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

On Karl's Comment

Sanggunian President Karl Satinitigan commented
It may be more sober if we encourage dialogue first before actually coming out with official statements, which have not been very effective in the past few years.

My personal opinion is that we're barking on the tree if we constantly condemn the HSA and not soberly or constructively discuss our security issues with this administration.

Just a thought.
-Karl of Sanggu
We in the Society do believe that Sanggunian's task goes beyond releasing a statement that captures the sentiments of the student populace. We believe that for something as complicated (think broadly) as the HSA, it's truly difficult to take a stand (except on the gray areas). But we think it is foremost the Sanggunian's role to get the students involved in such a national issue. As many before me have stated, Sanggunian should not only be representative but also participatory, just like any form of democracy. We do believe those in Sanggunian know this more than we do. We just hope we don't get stuck on debating whether a statement issued by the Sanggunian is contradictory or not to the sentiments of the (uninformed/under-represented) student body.

Again, it is not just the Sanggunian's task to do all these. We are imploring the student organizations who claim to be socially relevant and enlightened to make their voices heard and their actions seen so that the whole student body may be spurred from inaction.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fast-Paced Philippines

Every day, new events occur - bad or good. Last Sunday, the HSA was implemented. Yesterday, Hermogenes Esperon (AFP Chief) released a proposal for ceasefire between the Army and the Communists, which the Communist leaders rejected just today. Next week, the President will be giving her SONA. And on August 1, there will be 2007 Census of Population.

My point is: Events happen fast.

What is Ateneo's response to all of these events?

It's time to be more vigilant. It's time to do more things. It's time to involve the entire student body and to respond to the changing times and the issues that come with it.

More Statements

Human Security Act is inhuman

Last updated 03:20am (Mla time) 07/17/2007

We, the convenors of the Inter-faith Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation Network, as people of God called to raise the prophetic voice of the church against any policy that degrades the human person and to bring to light whatever untruths may cause injustice, hatred and division, would like to make known our position on the Human Security Act.

The church is and will always be the church of and for the poor. It is called to care and give hope to the marginalized and to the victims of injustice.

Committed to the doctrines and teachings of our faith; and believing in the human person as the primary revelation of God in the world -- Jesus Christ Himself became man and one with us -- we are firm in our objective to work for the promotion of human rights and to uphold human dignity. Because we believe in the sacredness of human life and all of Life itself, we lament the inhuman character of the Human Security Act (HSA) for the following reasons:

1. It criminalizes the act of demanding from government; it is an affront to freedom and equality because it penalizes anyone who expresses grievances. Free expression, which includes peaceful assembly, is the cornerstone of the social, political, economic and religious human person.

2. It is a clear declaration of authoritarianism and absolute power. It puts in danger anybody because it gives the arresting officer the power to define, in his own terms, the character of the offense the arrested is accused of. In short, “absolute” means “anybody.” This may be understood in the definition of “terrorism” in Sec. 3, Republic Act 9372, which is so broad that it is in effect a charge in itself and anyone can be arrested for anything he is doing.

3. It lumps together legal advocacy and incitement to criminal acts, as in the definition of an “unlawful demand.” Who determines an “unlawful demand”? The definition as stated in the HSA is constitutionally impaired.

4. It suppresses the rights of free speech, free press, assembly and redress of grievances by attaching to those rights the stigma of illegality; it declares that to demand from government can be unlawful. This will silence the people and make them totally submissive.

The HSA is deceptive. It distorts the meaning of freedom, which is intrinsic and innate in the human person. The HSA, therefore, should not be implemented. It should be declared unconstitutional.

BRO. GILBERT S. BILLENA, O.Carm, Inter-faith Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation Network (IFJPICNetwork),


Global peace network asks SC to nullify anti-terror law

By Tetch Torres
Last updated 11:18pm (Mla time) 07/16/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE) The Philippine secretariat of a global peace network and a militant labor group have asked the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the anti-terror law, saying it’s flawed and without “cogent legal foundation.”

The Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network Inc., together with lawyer Soliman Santos, told the high tribunal that the definition of terror acts in the Human Security Act (HSA) of 2007 does not conform to the internationally accepted meaning of terrorism.

In their 31-page petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for injunctive relief, the petitioners said the anti-terror law, which took effect Sunday, is not meant to “protect people from terrorism.”

"If we refer to the full title of the HSA, it might only 'secure the state' but not 'protect our people from terrorism'," the petitioners added.

"The HSA covers only situations of ‘coercing the government.’ It omits international organizations from similar coercion. It does not cover a situation where the purpose is to intimidate or spread terror among the population," they said.

"These flaws, especially in the definition of terrorism, leave the rest of the said Act with no proper or cogent legal foundation to stand on…despite sufficient human rights safeguards in the law," they said.

They also asked the high court that "jurisprudential guidance be provided the legislative and executive branches of government as may be necessary for a reformulation of the anti-terrorism law with a definition of terrorism hewing closely to international legal developments, and likewise upholding human rights and the rule of law in combating terrorism.”

The law, signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in March, allows detention of suspected terrorists without charge for three days and includes "rebellion or insurrection" among crimes considered terrorism.

The Militant group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU, May First Movement) in a separate petition asked the Supreme Court on Monday to declare as unconstitutional the anti-terror law, saying it violates several provisions of the Constitution.

It said the anti-terror violates the constitutional provision on unreasonable searches and seizures because the law allows arrests without court-issued warrant.

A substitute warrant is allowed under the HSA which is a written authority issued by the Anti-Terrorism Council.

"But the Anti-Terrorism Council is not the judge referred to in Section 2 Article 3 of the 1987 Constitution," the labor group said.

The law also violates the constitutional provisions on the right to travel by placing an accused under house arrest, prohibiting the use of cellular phones, computers and other means of communication, KMU said.

The petitioners also said that law’s definition of terrorism is vague.

"What is extraordinary fear and how would we distinguish it from ordinary fear? Unfortunately the law fails to specify," petitioners said.

"If a law defining a crime is so vague that a reasonable person of at least average intelligence could not determine what elements constitute the same, the said law may be invalidated for being unconstitutional," the petitioners said.

Arroyo, one of Washington's staunchest Asian allies in the war on terror, says the new law will be indispensable in stamping out the terrorists who target innocent people, discourage investors and have destroyed critical infrastructure like cell phone transmission towers.

But human rights groups have condemned the new law, and even the influential Roman Catholic Church has called for a review of sensitive provisions that could curtail rights and invade privacy, including one that allows court-authorized wiretapping of suspects.

Petitioner Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network Inc. is the Philippine secretariat of the South-South Network for Non-State Armed Group Engagement.

Monday, July 16, 2007

What Will Ateneo Do?

Sanggunian, Matanglawin, Guidon, Ateneo Debate Society, The Assembly, and everybody else..


Sanggunian and HSA

Finally! The Ateneo de Manila University Sanggunian has showed an inkling that it is aware of the HSA and its implications!

View the Ateneo Online Bulletin post here: Ateneo Online Bulletin: Human Security Act

According to the Sanggu:
The HSA is so vague that it can be used against just about anyone, including you and me. The law is so sweeping that is can be used to curtain the rights of persons merely suspected of terrorism, even if they have been granted bail because the evidence of their guilt is not strong. And the law is so dangerous that, unless repealed, it would destroy the Bill of Rights of the Constitution and rip apart the very fabric of our democratic system.
What would be the Sanggunian's next move? Will there be a student forum? I hope it will be attended by a lot of students. Will there be a rally? Given the conservative nature of the Sanggunian, I doubt. Will they give an appropriate response in light of this HSA? This we would like to see.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Read the Full Text of RA 9372

Know more about the controversial Human Security Act of 2007.

Download the PDF File from:

No stopping anti-terror law July 15--Palace

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
Last updated 03:42pm (Mla time) 07/13/2007

MANILA, Philippines-- MalacaƱang reiterated on Friday that the Human Security Act (HSA) would be implemented July 15, amid persistent reports that it would be deferred because of lack of preparation.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita denied reports that he issued a memorandum to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo informing her that the law could not yet be enforced.

"It will be implemented starting July 15, as called for by the law, which is two months after the election. As a matter of fact, we had a meeting yesterday to prepare so we will hit the road running in the implementation of the law," Ermita said in a television interview Friday.

Ermita and Presidential Legal Counsel Sergio Apostol both clarified that what they sought to defer was the formal launching of the landmark measure, which officials said would give the teeth to authorities to go after terrorists, but which militant groups and the Catholic bishops feared would be used to quell popular protests against the administration.

Both officials said that they asked the President to move to another date the formal launch of the law because it would coincide with the Supreme Court's summit on extrajudicial killings slated on Monday at the Manila Hotel.

Ermita, Apostol, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Calderon, and Armed Forces Chief Hermogenes Ebdane were among those invited in the summit aimed to help find ways to strengthen the law in running after perpetrators of extrajudicial killings in the country.

Apostol said they recommended the launching of the HSA for July 20.

The Anti-Terror Council, which Ermita heads, met Thursday to discuss the details of the implementation on July 15.

Ermita and Apostol maintained that there was no need for implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the law to be implemented, saying the law is self-executory and that it could be easily understood.

"The Anti-Terror Council will implement it to the best of its ability so people will understand the purpose of the law," Ermita said, adding that the law's main purpose is to "protect the people."

In lieu of the IRR, Ermita said the council would circulate primers for all enforcement agencies "so they would know the do's and don'ts of the law and prevent violations that the people are afraid of."