Archive for the ‘poor’ Category

Soup Kitchen Project in Penafrancia Parish

April 5, 2009

To help feed the poor residents of Naga City a group of church-goers of the Penafrancia Shrine bonded together to set up a soup kitchen. The weekly project supported by donations from friends and benefactors started last March 21, 2009 with indigents of Liboton, Penafrancia and San Felipe as recipients.

The humanitarian activity which aims to supplement the nutrition of the poor is spearheaded by Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Gerry Hernandez who serves as the spiritual director. Volunteers include Dulce de Guzman as president, Joan Padillo, secretary-treasurer; Helen Juanillo auditor; Capt. Roland Villanueva, Tony and Edna Amparado, Pacing Oriño, Josie Lumangaya, Naty Virata, Eden Agravante, Lolit de Jesus, Mameng Roñosa and Shirley Mendoza, members. (Photo Credit: Princesse_Laya) =0=


Journalist killings continue

December 9, 2008

The death toll of journalists being killed in the Philippines continues to rise. On the early hours of December 9, 2008, Muriel Leanilo, a tabloid columnist of “Bagong Balita” was slain by an unidentified gunman who walked away from the site of the crime in Aurora, Boulevard, Quezon City. The motive of the killing wasn’t known.

Following the shooting death of another journalist less than a month ago, Leanilo was rushed at Quirino Memorial Medical Center but was pronounced dead on arrival. His companion, Christina Valldolid, was seriously hurt. A taxi driver who saw the murder said the assailant walked away after the incident.

Cold-blooded slaughter has been a common occurrence in the Philippines. The administration of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo appears helpless in stopping the crimes which earn bad reputation for the country. Apologists of the government can’t say that the unsatisfactory national human rights and freedom records are “perceptions” only. There is an obvious lack of justice. Unhalted murders suggest political instability which may worsen in time. (Photo Credit: Campino Castillejo)=0=

RELATED BLOGS: “Another gruesome journalist’s slay” Posted by mesiamd at 11/17/2008; “RP’s 2008 Press Freedom Rank: 142nd out of 173 nations,” Posted by mesiamd at 10/26/2008; “Deteriorating Human Rights Record: another journalist shot dead in Camarines Sur,” posted by mesiamd at 08/16/08.)


A plastic bottle for a shoe

August 29, 2008

When was the last time we heard this? I mean, the story of a guy who complained of not having a pair of Nike shoes until he saw someone so poor that he crafted a shoe out of a discarded plastic water bottles…a barefooted man, or an amputee who doesn’t have feet so he can walk? Many times, images like these knock at our senses and make us numb. Be kind and generous, says a friend who sent me this in an email.

World Poverty at a Glance:

Region ——————–Population in $1/day poverty (millions)
East Asia & Pacific———–170.0
Latin America —————-47.0
& Caribbean
South Asia——————–456.0
Sub-Saharan Africa———-309.0
Total Devel’g Countries—–982.0 million

Europe & Central Asia ——–1.0
Middle East N. Africa———4.0

Total—————————987 million

The causes of poverty include poor people’s lack of resources, an extremely unequal income distribution in the world and within specific countries, conflict, and hunger itself. As of 2008 (2004 statistics), the World Bank has estimated that there were an estimated 982 million poor people in developing countries who live on $1 a day or less (World Bank, Understanding Poverty, Chen 2004). This compares to the FAO estimate of 850 million undernourished people.

Extreme poverty remains an alarming problem in the world’s developing regions, despite the advances made in the 1990s till now, which reduced “dollar a day” poverty from (an estimated) 1.23 billion people to 982 million in 2004, a reduction of 20 percent over the period. Progress in poverty reduction has been concentrated in Asia, and especially, East Asia, with the major improvement occurring in China. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of people in extreme poverty has increased.” Source:

2009 national budget, 100,000 jobs, & the Asian poverty line

August 28, 2008

P1.415 Trillion
The 2009 national budget, 15% higher than of 2008, has been approved by Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo and will be submitted to Congress. Manila Bulletin (08/26/08, Rosario,B)

24.5 Million
The number of Filipinos who fall below the “Asian poverty line” of $1.35/day spending, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB.) An estimate of purchasing power and level of financial hardship, the Philippines’ percentage of people below the poverty line (29.5%) is better than India, Bangladesh,, and Cambodia, but worse than Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka . ABS CBN (08/27/08, Rimando,L)

The remaining flying C-130 Hercules plane the Philippine Air Force (PAF) has after the recent crash in Davao City; all pilots and crew remain missing and are presumed dead. Malaya (08/27/08, Chua, J.)

P1 Billion
To bring home medals in future Olympics and to augment competitiveness, a proposed increase in the budget of the Philippine Sports Commission, double the previous amount of P500-600 million, was aired by Monico Puentebella, RP chief of Olympic Mission. Though not strictly implemented, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Board Corp (PAGC0R,) is mandated by law to give 5% of its gross income to the sports development. GMA TV News (08/26/08)

29 Cases
This reported new HIV cases/ month of 2007-2008 is higher than the 20/month of the previous years. Since 1984, a total of 3,305 HIV cases have been reported in the Philippines and 310 people have died from AIDS. These figures are low-prevalence statistics which can change into high prevalence or to an epidemic if HIV cases continue to rise. AFP (08/26/08)

Number of maids, including Filipinos, who died in Lebanon as reported by Human Rights Watch, the New York based the group who said that Overseas Foreign Workers (OFW’s) from countries like the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Ethiopia were forced to suicide by jumping out of buildings because of isolation, difficult working conditions and maltreatment from their employers. AFP (08/26/08)

P406.8 Billion
The amount paid by the Philippines for its loan between January to July this year, 0.6% less than the amount paid for the period of 2007. Lower by 6.9% from P249.88 billion, the principal debt payments totaled P232.6 billion. Interest payments totaled P174.22 billion, up 9.2 percent from P159.49 billion. PDI (08/28/08, Remo, M.)

74,581 Families
The number of families with 362,475 persons displaced as of August 27, 2008 in the war between MILF rebels and Philippine Government forces in Mindanao, said the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC.) To escape the fighting, 33, 438 families (156,059 people) fled to 152 evacuation sites. At least 55 have died in the ongoing hostilities. GMA TV News (08/27/08)

100,000 Jobs
Bureau of Immigration (BI) Marcelino Libanan claimed this number of jobs which can be generated with the granting of indefinite visas for foreigners who can provide at least 10 gainful employment opportunities for Filipinos in their businesses. Manila Bulletin (08/28/09, Ramirez, J.)Photo Credit: Simmons,A.=0=

Hungry Filipinos, Release of 16 Innocent Prisoners And Cholera Death Toll In Mindanao

August 8, 2008

14.5 million
—-Is the estimated number of Filipinos (representing 2.9 million households) who experienced involuntary hunger between April and June 2008 according to a SWS survey. The occurrence of severe hunger rose to 4.2% which corresponds to about 3.3 million people in 760,000 families.

34—-Of the 67 prisoners attended to by the Justice on Wheels in Caloocan City, Philippines, 34 were released. Nineteen of them finished serving jail time while 16 were found innocent of their crime. The incredibly crowded Caloocan City jail keeps 1,500 prisoners in a facility that’s intended for only 500.

21—Death toll of the cholera outbreak in Sultan Kudarat in Mindanao between July 27 to Aug 6, 2008. Residents became ill in what experts believe to be linked with drinking contaminated water. As of Aug 6, 2008, 147 individuals are suspected to harbor the disease.

10,000—From January to June 2008, the total number of Filipino nurses who took the licensure examination in the United States. The number is 107 shy of the total number of nurses who took the same test in the same period last year. Almost 500,000 students are currently enrolled in nursing in the Philippines today.

—-The number of Filipino girls rescued from illegal recruitment by human trafficking syndicates recently. Coming from poor towns in the provinces, the girls are locked up by their recruiters while they wait for assignments abroad as OFWs, mostly in the Middle East as domestic workers. Some of these girls end up being abused by employers and they seek help from the Philippine embassy.

12.2%—-Inflation rate of the Philippines in July 2008. Exceeding the previous inflation rate of 11.4% in June, this is the highest in 16 years. Inflation rate averaged 8.3 percent in the first six months of the year, surpassing the government’s original forecast of 3 to 5 percent for 2008

P2.50-P3.50—-Price of pan de sal this week after a 50 centavo rise. Correspondingly, the price of a loaf bread went up to by P3 and now runs at P50-55/ loaf.

66%—The percentage of Filipinos who are scrimping on food, said Pulse Asia in a survey conducted last June and July 2008 in response to high prices of commodities. The same survey disclosed households consume and spend less on electricity, cell phones, transportation, water, and medicine.

90%—-The percentage of disabled persons who are poor, according to Geraldine Ruiz, president of the Organization of Rehabilitation Agencies. As per World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, 10 to 15% of the Filipino population has some kind of disability.

—The number of families (with a total of 6,547 individuals) that are displaced due to a new wave instability and chaos perpetrated by the secessionist group MILF in Midsayap and Aleosan towns alone. Burning of houses, destruction of plantations, looting of properties and cattle rustling, among others are the reasons why civilians are forced to leave the troubled spots in Cotabato, Mindanao, Philippines. =0=

Wowowee & the Temple Stampede in Northern India

August 3, 2008

I rushed to the spot in search of my three children who had gone to pay obeisance at the hilltop shrine…I fail to understand why God was so cruel to us,” said Jawahar Khurana. AP/ ABS-CBNNews (08/04/08.)

There’s an uncanny similarity of the Wowowee incident in Manila on February 4, 2006 and the stampede in the foothills of Himalayas on Aug 3, 2008. A least a hundred forty five (145) people died in Northern India after rumors of a landslide stirred worshippers to mad agitation. (Photo Credit: AP/Sharma,S.) Wowowee’s death toll reached 71. The panicked crowd attending a religious festival pushed and ran, trampling people as they rushed out of the mountaintop Hindu temple. Wowowee’s crowd jostled frantically for a crazy reason— to get the best spot to watch a TV extravaganza.

To date, the victims’ families are still stuck in a legal tussle with ABS-CBN Corporation on who are responsible. Those who lost loved-ones see who are accountable even if the courts still debate on the matter. Perhaps, the families of the Indian pilgrims feel this way too when there’s too much pain and blame to spread around.

In Wowowee, poor people were lured by a promise of winning a prize in a TV spectacle which neglected the dangers of massing huge crowds in a contracted arena. The promoters of the show at ABS-CBN were responsible. Yet the popular TV show continued its repertoire of entertainment and laughter like nothing happened, as if no lives were lost. Lack of money to wage legal battles and a dearth of defenders had sealed the victims’ fate. To my knowledge, nobody had been punished. There was no one to avenge the deaths of the innocents and the poor. =0=

The essence of being a nurse, a P10 million bribe, an OFW’s complaint against RP officials in Saudi Arabia, & Dolphy’s secret of being young

July 31, 2008

Palagay ko, it’s my job. Kapag nasa linya ng comedy, wala akong iniisip kung hindi katatawanan at puro comedy ginagawa ko. Making people laugh is fun talaga. It’s better sa buhay.”
Dolphy remarks on his secret of being young at age 80.

“Considering our depressed condition and lowered people’s morale, it is clear that uncoordinated, quickie and populist projects will not work and be just a waste of time, resources and goodwill,”
Former Pres. Fidel Ramos on the dismal policies of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo

“Should we worry? There will be pain but maybe worrying too much is too much. We will survive this eventually.”
Dr. Cayetano Paderanga Jr., a professor at the UP School of Economics on the deteriorating economy and lack of morale of the people.

“More than three million children between the ages of 6 and 15 are now out of school. What is her administration going to do about it? Judging from her SONA — nothing, other than hand out a few scholarships,’’
ACT-UP Chairman Antonio Tinio asks the government on what to do with children who can’t afford to go to school.

“My advantage of being half-Filipino, half-German is having an exotic beauty which I think is not common with other people. But for me, it’s my multi-cultural values which set me apart because these make me a better and stronger person.”
Princess Uhrig, a mixed-race candidate in the Miss Limburg-Belgium beauty pageant to be held in September.

“Promoting an NFP-only policy goes against our commitment to the Millennium Development Goals, which targets increased access to reproductive health services and contraceptive prevalence rate — covering both modern natural and artificial methods — to 60 percent by 2010 and 80 percent by 2015,”
Ramon San Pascual, director of the Phil. Legislator’s Population and Development Foundation Committee, airing objection to the Roman Catholic Church stand against artificial contraception.

“So, they were talking of a win-win situation, which meant offering P10 million for me to give way to Justice Reyes. I politely declined that offer and told the emissary that it was not only a matter of principle but that it will [also] affect the integrity of the court. Before he left, he told me that they were still hoping that I could see it their way,”
Court of Appeals Justice Jose Sabio bares a scandalous bribery offer he got from someone whom he believes to be an emissary of Meralco.

“Palitan n’yo na lahat ng nakaupo mula sa ibaba hanggang sa itaas. Imbes na sila ang makatulong sa amin, sila pa nagpapahirap sa amin”
OFW Armando Navarro who said while calling for the replacement of Philippine Consular officials in Saudi Arabia.

“I regret what I did. I’m ready to face any punishment because he is my son,”
—says a desperate man of Legazpi City who stabbed his three month old baby for he can’t care for him any longer.

“When you decide to become a nurse, you have to have passion to serve and to care. The essence of nursing is to care for the people,”
Nurse Board topnotcher Aira Therese S.Javier said. She believes going abroad must not be the primary motivation of her colleagues in the profession. =0=

Figuring The Right Grammar of Pulse Asia’s Survey

July 30, 2008

According to the new survey of Pulse Asia taken in July 11-14, 2008, two thirds (~64%) of Filipinos express gloom and pessimism about their personal situation in the next 12 months. Morale is low.

Seventy nine (79) percent aren’t optimistic about the overall national situation. Three fouths (75%) consider themselves as losers (worse than last year,) compared to 59% four months ago.

These are outrageous numbers that fracture our confidence, numb our spines, and make our faces look ashen. Contrary to what Malacanang says, we may not need to validate the results for “ramdam na ramdam na natin ang resulta.”

The State of the Nation Address (SONA) of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo last July 28, 2009, ostensibly blamed foreign factors for the deterioration of the economy. There’s almost no admission of accountability and responsibility— no mention of neglect, incompetence, or lack of foresight from our leaders. Surely, domestic factors such as pernicious corruption play a big role in the suffering of the people.=0=

"If you are poor, you are not likely to live long"

July 19, 2008

“There are many people in South Africa who are rich and who can share those riches with those not so fortunate who have not been able to conquer poverty. Poverty has gripped our people. If you are poor, you are not likely to live long.” –Nelson Mandela’s Message to the World on his 90th Birthday (07/18/08)

A towering symbol of anti-apartheid, an inspiration of decency, pardon, and resolute defiance against injustice, Nelson Mandela, 1993 Nobel peace prize awardee who served 27 years in jail, celebrates his 90th birthday on Friday, July 18, 2008, in his home with his family in Qunu, South Africa, 18 years after he was released from prison, 14 years after he was elected president in his country’s first democratic National Assembly election, 10 years after he married his 3rd wife Marcha Grachel, and 4 years after his recession from public life. Photo Credit: Habebe/AP

“This man, who had been vilified and hunted down as a dangerous fugitive, incarcerated for nearly three decades, would soon be transformed into the embodiment of forgiveness and reconciliation. Those who had hated him would, most of them, be eating out of his hand—-the prisoner become President, in time to be admired by the whole world in an extraordinary outpouring of adulation.“ No Future Without Forgiveness (1999, Tutu, Desmond. p10.)=0=

GMA’s SONA & Her 6,000 Policemen

July 15, 2008

“Super Task Force Kapayapaan” (Peace) is the military’s grand plan for Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s (GMA) 8th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 30, 2008. Part of the event’s preparation is a human rights seminar for the 6,000 police officers who’ll keep the peace and order of Manila during the president’s speech.

Although there’s no serious threat of turbulence, the military couldn’t take any chances. The government is poised to mobilize a gargantuan display of security: a good number of men summoned from other regions of the country, to key points of the metropolis— a move only GMA and her supporters could exactly explain why.

But one can guess what’s in the poor people’s mind. These security forces and their intimidating gears will guard protest landmarks of the past such as the Batasan Pambansa, EDSA Shrine, Legarda, Bustillos, J.P Laurel, Claro M. Recto, Liwasang Bonifacio, Mediola Bridge, Malacanang Palace, and the US Embassy. The presence of 6,000 troops acts both ways— as protection and intimidation. As the chance of mayhem rises with discontent, the need to show military force ever increases.

The country struggles to show its commitment to protect people’s freedom in the wake of economic uncertainty, unresolved killings and unchecked human rights violations. In near oblivion, the sensational Kuratong Baleleng case remained a bloody crime puzzle since 1995. Amidst denials, police officers were accused of the brutal killing of 11 suspected thieves. There was the unsolved “rub-out” of 3 RCBC bank “robbers” in Tanauan, Batangas in May, 2008.

The police Traffic Management Group killed three suspected car robbers in an alleged shoot-out in Ortigas in 2005. Bubby Dacer’s family hadn’t stopped pointing on Sen. Panfilo Lacson, the then chief of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission thought to be the brains behind the murder.

The US Department of State found in 1999 that the Filipino security forces were responsible for extra-judicial killings, torture, violence, disappearances, intimidations, and abusive arrests. The Commission of Human Rights (CHR) chief Leila de Lima summed up the outrageous record saying, ”the police is the #1 violator of human rights.” She recognized the importance of an unrelenting campaign against injustice when she affirmed the role of CHR:

“For as long as necessary, we will continue to issue these statements on violations specific to law enforcement agents, such as illegal arrests, arbitrary detentions, excessive use of force, EJKs (extra-judicial killings) and even the indiscriminate parading of suspects to the media, a practice which, I must note with much chagrin, has not stopped.” Inquirer (07/15/08, Papa, A)

Sadly, the poor record of human rights isn’t the only issue the Filipinos must fight for. With Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo delivering SONA, the public doesn’t expect anything decisively new to bring relief to their problems. Instead, the people anticipate her repeat appeals for calm and resilience, beside her trusted military defenders, in the midst of worsening economic conditions.

The public feels unease and disappointment for the promised “strong republic” which GMA hasn’t delivered. The Filipinos seem feeble and tired in their complaints. They’re busy lining up for rice, seeking work, and dreaming where they would go in case the worst of the tempest come. In contrast to the costly SONA the government is preparing for, the people are feeling the pinch of spending for mass actions, protests, and rallies—many may not even have cash to buy gasoline for a ride to EDSA.

The burgeoning hardness of the day can only make them stretch their optimism. They hope the window of opportunity to solve their problems hasn’t been totally shut tight. =0=