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Bulatlat live: OFWs on death row and the Aquino government

Bulatlat.com discussion with Migrante International on the fate of dozens of overseas Filipino workers on death row in several countries, and what the Philippine government is doing about them. Show started at 2 pm and ended at 3pm, Feb. 20, Manila time.

05:29 pm
Marya Salamat:

UP Repertory Company challenged Noynoy to listen, “because you said we are your boss.”

The company presented the “Adventures of Juan Malaya in Manila”, Juan being a son of a hacienda farmworker.

This is Juan’s story, according to the UP Repertory:

Juan lined up for a long time to register for college, but when his turn came, he was shocked to find out that his money was not enough to pay for school fees.

So Juan looked for a job instead. He took on odd jobs to save money for school fees. When at last he finally saved enough for enrollment, he found out that he can’t really keep up with the day-to-day expenses and the demands of school and work. He soon fell ill.

But when he went to the health center he has no money to pay for health services.

His experiences prompted Juan to study his situation more deeply, and that of society, too. He soon joined the progressive student movement. Later, he went home to his province. he joined the struggle ongoing in the countrysides.

05:23 pm
Janess Ann J. Ellao:

Ganni Tapang of Agham said that Aquino has no interest to pursue genuine development. Instead of Publlic-Private Partnership, Tapang said that it should be termed as Public-Private Plunder.

Tapang said that only a national industrialization could provide jobs for the Filipino people. It will also make way for a self-reliant economy. “If this will not be implemented, everything would be imported, from needles to fish sauce.”

05:21 pm
Marya Salamat:

Dr. Gani Tapang of Agham called Aquino’s PPP as “public-private plunder” of our economy, as it allows foreigners to plunder the country’s natural wealth, which stunts local science, economy and industry. All these, said Tapang, result in joblessness and backward industries.

Tapang said what we need is genuine industrialization that would correct the foreign domination of Philippine economy, and develop a self-reliant, productive economy.

05:17 pm
Marya Salamat:

Marge Pamintuan of Kalikasan discussed Aquino’s impending PPPs on energy projects which would also destroy the environment.

Pamintuan likened Aquino’s thinning hair to the country’s thinning forest. She blamed the ongoing deforestation on the government’s approval of forestry and mining projects benefiting only huge foreign corporations. She said these projects caused widespread degradation of the environment and massive displacement of Filipinos from their lands.

05:13 pm
Marya Salamat:

Ethnic, with mostly-female band members Musicians for Peace, rocked the protesters through two compositions in Filipino that discussed what needs to be done to advance the people’s struggle for meaningful change.

05:06 pm
Janess Ann J. Ellao:

Roy Velez of Bayan-NCR says there are five urban poor residents killed under the Aquino administration. All were killed because they were fighting for their right to their homes.

Velez said that the widespread demolitions of urban poor communities are not only happening in Metro Manila but in the entire country as well.

He also belied Aquino’s claim that the unemployment rate is decreasing because there are many Filipinos who have been retrenched from their work.

05:06 pm
Benjie Oliveros:

Pres. Aquino talked about strengthening government agencies and corruption. He said the government is beginning to file cases against corrupt officials.

He boasted about securing funding for government projects without increasing taxes, about increasing business confidence in the economy.

He said there is more room for government – church dialogue.

Pres. Aquino’s Sona is full of simplistic solutions to the serious and complex problems facing the country and the Filipino people. He made it appear that addressing corruption, improvement in government services and the implementation of government infrastructure projects would solve all the country’s problems.

Pres. Aquino’s Sona is also full of populist rhetoric but remained silent about the issues of justice, human rights, social justice, and the worsening poverty, landlessness and unemployment.

04:59 pm
Janess Ann J. Ellao:

Garry Martinez of Migrante apologizes that he cannot rap nor sing. He says that under Aquino, overseas Filipinos in death row workers increased from 108 to 122. Martinez says there are 7,000 OFWs detained all over the world, and six to 10 OFWs are being shipped home as corpses everyday.

Martinez also belies Aquino’s claim that the number of Filipinos who are victimized by the human trafficking have decreased. He cited countries where Filipinos and other nationalities continue to be trafficked.

From this day on, Martinez said that the Filipino people will continue fighting.

04:52 pm
Ronalyn V. Olea:

Courage President Ferdinand Gaite raps “Puro ka porma, wala namang laman.” He hits the PPP, saying that government employees continue to receive low pay.

“Sa ilalim ni Aquino, walang pagbabago,” Gaite says. “Sagot ng kawani, militante, progresibo, makabayang unyonismo.”

04:42 pm
Benjie Oliveros:

He boasted about the postponement of the ARMM elections and the synchronization of elections as if this is enough to address the centuries of neglect of the Bangsamoro people and the guns, goons, gold character of Philippine elections and politics.

He talked about improving the railway system to address urban congestion without looking into rural poverty and backwardness.

04:42 pm
Ronalyn V. Olea:

The Jerks performs “Sayaw sa Bubog,” a song the group wrote during the term of President Corazon Aquino. Protesters dancing.

The song states that farm workers in Hacienda Luisita remain landless.

04:39 pm
Ronalyn V. Olea:

The Jerks sings Karaniwang Tao on stage as Aquino talks about reforms done by his administration. The song states that ordinary people have always been oppressed and exploited.

04:35 pm
Benjie Oliveros:

As far as addressing the unemployment problem, Pres. Aquino talked about tweaking the education curriculum to address the so-called job mismatches. But he did not talk about any job generation program nor an increase in the education budget.

04:32 pm
Ronalyn V. Olea:

Aquino talks about the problem of job mismatch, stating that various government agencies are coordinating to address the issue. This means that the Aquino administration is shaping further the Philippine education to the needs of foreign investors, big business and for labor export.

04:31 pm
Benjie Oliveros:

He boasted about the housing projects for the PNP and AFP and promised more to benefit more policemen and soldiers as well as fire fighters and jail guards. He promised that the AFP modernization program will be prioritized next year.

How about the millions of urban poor residents? How about the expansion of coverage of social services? The AFP has always gotten a lion’s share of the government budget

04:27 pm
Janess Ann J. Ellao:

The boos from the People’s SONA became louder when Aquino stuttered. “That’s what liars get!”

On Aquino’s plans to upgrade military equipment, the people shouted, “U.S. lapdog!”

04:21 pm
Benjie Oliveros:

Pres. Aquino talked about change his administration has engendered by making an example of the wang wang (car sirens) as an example of abuse of power. He also expressed that he wants corrupt officials to be punished. Boasted about the reduction in hunger, all time high in the stock market, upgrade in the country’s credit rating, and the promise of a better economy. He announced the increasing interest of corporations in investing in the energy sector.

The question is how appropriate is the wang wang in gauging the so-called reduction in the abuse of power? The upgrade in the country’s credit rating is nothing more than an affirmation that the country is a good debtor and does not reflect an improvement in the people’s lives and so is the all time high in the stock market. While it is true that the Aquino government has given a lot of incentives to business and has made the country more profitable for them, there has been no “trickle down” effect on the ordinary citizens, unemployment remains high and the improvement in self-rated hunger may have been temporary as the government gives dole outs.

Pres. Aquino talked about improvements in the bidding process in government. And improvements in the country’s infrastructure. He talked about correcting corruption in the NFA and how the country’s rice deficit was reduced. But rice prices remain high for consumers while farmers remain poor.

04:20 pm
Janess Ann J. Ellao:

President Benigno S. Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address is being played live here at the People’s SONA along Commonwealth. Protesters wave their placards that says, “Where is change?” while Aquino flaunts what he has done under his supposed fight against “wang wang.”

“Would it include your Porsche?” one of the protesters shouted.

Aquino is being booed here at the People’s SONA. “Liar!”

04:09 pm
Janess Ann J. Ellao:

Dr. Gene Nisperos, vice-president of Health Alliance for Democracy, said that most of the services in public hospitals for the Filipino people are not for free. For one, he cited that even comfort rooms in the Philippine General Hospital, one of the biggest public hospitals in the country, is not for free. “Is this change? This is mere mockery.”

03:59 pm
Janess Ann J. Ellao:

Benjie Valbuena of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers slammed the worsening conditions of education in the country. The K+12 education, he said, would only promote the current economic status, which is import dependent and export oriented.

03:57 pm
Benjie Oliveros:

This is Benjie Oliveros who will be giving a running commentary of Pres. Aquino’s Sona. Pres. Aquino has entered the plenary hall of Congress at 3:55 p.m.

03:54 pm
Ina Alleco Silverio:

Sining Lila rendition of Jessie J’s “Price Tag” energizes the crowd.
Benjie Valbuena of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) calls Aquino a “liar.” Says that the education crisis has worsened under his administration despite his promises that he would address the same. His program on education is like a soap opera titled “Kulang-Kulang” (Lacking) because there’s a serious lack of teachers, salaries for teachers, school facilities and funds for education.

03:52 pm
Marya Salamat:

Sining Lila sang about the fact that “there’s no change, no development under Aquino.”

They called Aquino’s speech as “Charing”, gayspeak for empty boast.

03:51 pm
Ina Alleco Silverio:

Sining Lila performs its own version of pop song “Price Tag” by Jessie J. People get up and dance, wave flags and try to sing along with the chorus.

03:49 pm
Marya Salamat:

Lana Linaban of Gabriela stood on stage with women from communities carrying baskets full of “goodies” from the Aquino govt. Goodies include higher priced foodstuff, LPG, the corrupt-ridden housing programs of Aquino, the numerous demolitions which the PPPs will occasion.

Linaban also said another woman, a student, has brought a basket full of high “tuition fees”. Another carries a basket of “scant budget for social services, including the reproductive health bill.”

Linaban said Aquino only seems to favor RH bill because of its population control provisions.

The so-called matuwid na daan is actually a killer highway for the people, said Linaban. She urged the public to break the Aquino ‘bad egg’ before we die from its stench.

03:45 pm
Ina Alleco Silverio:

Gabriela’s secretary general Lana Linaban speaking. Women community activists stand with her bearing baskets containing placards with signs declaring the failure of the Aquino government to bring down the prices of basic commodities and the rates of social services like health, housing and eduction. Prices of liquified petroleum gas (LPG) tanks continue to rise and so electricity rates. There is no genuine social housing program and the government’s housing program is mainly a profit-making industry which the poor cannot access or benefit from.

03:41 pm
Ina Alleco Silverio:

PISTON’s George San Mateo says that President Aquino cannot rightfully claim to have helped public transport drivers. He says that the government has given the go signal to the greedy oil triumvirate Shell, Petron to continue raising petroleum prices. In the meantime, the supposed rollback in prices have been too small to mean anything.

03:41 pm
Marya Salamat:

George San Mateo, secretary-general of PISTON, said Aquino’s promised change has turned to nightmare.

Diesel went up from P32 to P48, and gasoline prices to P57 – causing price hikes and eroded earnings.

Aquino has let the foreign oil cartel’s domination to continue, by allowing the oil deregulation law to continue.

Drivers did not stop resisting the oil price hikes and oil deregulation, said San Mateo. He said the Aquino govt’s pantawid pasada is meaningless.

To end oil deregulation law and oil cartel’s domination, San Mateo said a struggle not just of the country’s drivers but by every Filipino citizen, for genuine national industrialization, is needed.

03:37 pm
Ina Alleco Silverio:

killing of Sol Gomez and Mel Fortadez, residents of Pangarap Village in Barangays 181 and 182, Caloocan City after security guards employed by the Carmel Development Inc. (CDI) owned by Gregorio Ma. Araneta III, reportedly opened fire on residents conducting a protest vigil in the disputed land where the village is located..

Ustarez slams the Aquino government for the killing of two urban poor community residents Sol Gomez and Mel Fortadez . The two were residents of Pangarap Village in Caloocan City. They were staging a vigil with other residents against threats of demolition last Friday, July 23. Based on initial reports from the area, six more residents were injured in the shooting.

The incident was the latest in a series of harassment and illegal activities reportedly conducted by the Araneta-owned Carmel Development Corporation and its security agency. The Aranetas are kin to Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Mar Roxas.

03:36 pm
Marya Salamat:

President Aquino has reportedly landed in Batasan grounds. In Commonwealth, the KMU Vice-President Lito Ustarez recalled Aquino’s last SONA. “We’re still dreaming after a year of being told we can dream again,” he said.

Ustarez decried the meager P22 COLA in lieu of a legislated P125 wage hike, amidst rising fees and prices such as of oil products, toll fees.

Ustarez said it has so far been a “daang matwid” for the imperialists and the few local ruling class, but not for the poor majority.

He urged the people to “strive to do what needs to be done – arousing, organizing, mobilizing – so that by next SONA the people can do more than burn Noynoy’s effigy.”

Ustarez said the real tuwid na landas is resolving feudalism and freeing the country from the clutches of imperialism.

03:33 pm
Ina Alleco Silverio:

Lito Ustarez of KMU speaking. Says the Aquino government ignoring the call of workers for a P125 across-the-board wage increase, and approved the Department of Labor and Employment’s policy on labor outsourcing for companies which threatens workers’ job security.

03:30 pm
Ina Alleco Silverio:

In the House of Representative, Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano said he expects nothing amazing from President Aquino’s Sona. He said that he’s expecting to hear “sugar-coated statistics, political grandstanding and very little reports on the real situation of Filipinos.”

Mariano said that Aquino performed poorly on four important economic fronts – jobs, wages, land and prices. He said that there was record unemployment and underemployment, pegged at 4.5 million and 7.1 million respectively. Wages and salaries remain pegged at the lowest levels despite rising inflation and increasing prices of daily cost of living, products and services. He said there had been no significant solutions to the problems of massive poverty and hunger.

03:30 pm
Marya Salamat:

Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan sa Pilipinas or Kamp spokespo,erson, Pia Malayao charged that in just two months of Aquino, their ancestral domains have been opened for plunder.

In a year Aquino has approved 180 applications for mining permits in regions where IPs live. Energy projects, privatization of existing energy projects, all monopolized by few bourgeois compradors, continue. So do the building of special ecozones and military camps right in IPs’ ancestral domains.

Under Oplan bayanihan, state fascism continues, except that the deception is intensified. Task Force Gantangan and other paramilitary groups continue to prowl our communities, said Malayao.

“In Aquino’s first year, a lot of my fellow IPs were forced to shed blood,” Malayao tearfully said.

She said the IPs will continue to defend their lands and mountains.

03:24 pm
Ina Alleco Silverio:

Various people’s organizations distribute leaflets and flyers describing the Aquino government’s failure to improve the economic circumstances of Filipinos.

The Agham (Scientists for the People) group and Kalikasan (Peoples Network for the Environment) said that because of the Aquino administration’s faulty environment policies, the Philippines continues to suffer environmental plunder and from the devastating impact of climate change. Despite the logging moratorium Aquino ordered, deforestation has worsened. Legal logging companies destroyed some 157,400 hectares in the last year.

On stage, Piya Malayao of the Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KMP) describes how the creation of special economic zones like the APECO in Aurora destroy the environment and render thousands of indigenous peoples homeless. Militarization also continues under Oplan Bayanihan.

03:16 pm
Marya Salamat:

KMP’s Danilo Ramos said Aquino, the haciendero president and “a pest to farmers, has worsened the land problem of Filipino farmers.” Ramos blamed CARPER for further denying land to the farmers who are tilling them. Free land distribution- that’s the farmers’ demand, Ramos said. He said that in the countrysides, the Pambansang Katipunan ng Magbubukid continues to advance genuine agrarian revolution.

We have no more illusions about Aquino, said Ramos, who vowed that farmers would continue to press for genuine land reform.

Fernando Hicap and Zenaida Soriano called for genuine land reform both for farmers and fisherfolks.

03:14 pm
Ina Alleco Silverio:

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) secretary-general Danilo “Ka Daning” Ramos likens Pres. Aquino to a pest destroying the livelihood of farmers in the country. He says that Aquino’s insistence on implementing the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Reforms (Carper) has worsened the already terrible situation faced by farmers.

Ramos calls on the Filipino people to fight the anti-farmer government and support the fight for genuine agrarian reform.

03:05 pm
Marya Salamat:

Musicians called Talahib performs a tribal music entitled “On Potok”, to vigorous banner dance from the crowd.

03:01 pm
Marya Salamat:

Chanting/Singing/Rapping “There’s no change under Aquino!”, “The people, the nation, they have now joined the struggle,” rallyists watched as Noynoy’s bad egg effigy burned fast, stinging those immediately near it.

As the fire subsided, rallyists danced around the nearly burnt effigy.

02:48 pm
Marya Salamat:

Rallyists asked to move back, as the huge ‘Noynoy Aquino bad egg effigy’ is readied for burning. Rock music accompanies the reading of a charge sheet enumerating the people’s reasons to be furious under Aquino- why the poor and oppressed people can expect nothing from his administration.
Flags and streamers are waved in time with the music as leaders of people’s organizations torched Noynoy’s bad egg effigy.

02:46 pm
Ina Alleco Silverio:

Emcee Charisse Banez pleading with crowd to move back. Gasoline will be poured on the Aquino rotten egg-effigy and the heat is certain to be intense. Kodao Production’s Jola Mamangun finding it hard to get a clear shot with the camera as some rallyists keep rushing to the front, blocking her view. Leaders of groups under the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) such as Garry Martinez of Migrante, ULWU’s Lito Bais, Kilusang Mayo Uno’s (KMU) Bong Labog and Lito Ustarez carry lit torches and set the effigy on fire.

02:41 pm
Marya Salamat:

A thinner Lito Bais, president of ULWU, told the gathered SONA protesters, in a hoarse voice, that farmers don’t think any change has occurred under Aquino. If there had been a change, it’s only a worsening of landgrabbing and land reconcentration to fewer hands.
Farmers graded Aquino’s first year as zero, he reiterated.
Bais cited as example the lands they are tilling in Tarlac, which are now subject to renewed spate of landgrabbing.
“Because the farmworkers can see no hope in Aquino, they have taken it in their hands to assert their right to the lands they are tilling,” he said.
“What to do with Noynoy?” Bais concluded that “Farmers tell him, you’ve been given a zero. You will be burned later today. Get off Malacanang!”

02:40 pm
Ina Alleco Silverio:

Crowd asked to move away from the Aquino effigy as leaders of people’s organizations prepare to set fire to it. People more than willing to move back, but it’s proving a little difficult because of the sheer number of people.

02:37 pm
Ina Alleco Silverio:

From United Luisita Workers Union ULWU) president Lito Bais speaks in condemnation of what he says the Aquino government’s deliberate failure to stop land grabbing. Farmers all over the country are being stripped of their land and rendered homeless and helpless. Noynoy Aquino, he says, has no right to speak of any achievements when it comes to upholding the welfare of farmers.

Bais says that in Aquino’s own hometown Tarlac, farmers grow more and more impoverished but they are fighting back. The struggle of the farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita inspires other farmers to fight for their rights and assert their rightful claim to the land.

02:32 pm
Ina Alleco Silverio:

Effigy of President Benigno Aquino III is a rotted egg of giant and grotesque proportions. Flies surround the rotten egg which effigy makers led by Ugat Lahi artists group say symbolize Aquino’s government which has failed to enact change.

02:28 pm
Ina Alleco Silverio:

Performance from Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) led by Karl Ramirez. Rain starting to fall a little harder. Karl is singing a song dedicated to the mothers, fathers, children and friends of the Disappeared.

02:26 pm
Marya Salamat:

Farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita and members of Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) among the first to arrive earlier today and helped lay claim over the area near the St. Peter Church as the venue for this this afternoon’s anti-Sona protests. The farmworkers have been holding vigil since Friday afternoon in Manila and marched to Quezon City earlier this morning.

02:22 pm
Marya Salamat:

Erlinda Cadapan, mother of Sherlyn Cadapan, lamented how the courts told them they have still not brought “substantial evidence” regarding the cases of enforced disappearance of her daughter.

She shared that it’s been five years since she began the heartbreaking task of searching for her abducted daughter. She accused Palparan of masterminding her daughter’s abduction, asking why Palparan remains free, and not in jail, up to now.

02:17 pm
Marya Salamat:

Rock band Datus Tribe performed a new bluesy song they composed for SONA, which sang about how they wished to sing about love but for the extra-judicial killings that are still happening. They lamented that they can’t sing about love for a sweetheart, because they are nauseated by the stench of corrupt politicians. They bowed to requests of “more! more!”
Datus Tribe next performed a more hardrocking song detailing the desperation of the jobless and the compulsion that drives Filipinos to migrate, despite the risk there of rape, discrimination, danger of being murdered and scammed.

02:16 pm
Ina Alleco Silverio:

Umbrellas sprouting like mushrooms as rain falls. People enthusiastic in their reception of rock music numbers by “Datu’s Tribe.” Not a few members of local punk and hip-hop groups in the crowd — most are members of urban poor community groups like Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) and Anakbayan.

02:08 pm
Marya Salamat:

Band set-up on stage. Emcees encourage crowd to chant “Walang Pagbabago sa ilalim ni Aquino!” (No change under Aquino). Cultural number from “Datu’s Tribe” band.

02:07 pm
Marya Salamat:

Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Teddy Casino said he and the progressive partylist representatives would be in Congress to listen to Aquino’s SONA, but they joined the anti-SONA rally first “to listen to the true boss of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.”
He said that Aquino has repeatedly boasted of fighting corruption and good governance in a righteous path – but why is Joc Joc Bolante, Gen. Jovito Palparan, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, not yet in jail?
Casino said that during Arroyo’s time, Erap was jailed in just two months. But under Aquino, he noted that “there is too much talk but no action against Arroyo etc.”

ACT partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio promised to continue supporting the struggle of youth, students and teachers.
Gabriela Women Partylist Rep Emmi de Jesus greeted the rallyists.
“Ibasura SDO and Hacienda Luisita referendum, distribute Hacienda Luisita lands, legislate genuine agrarian reform law, P125 and P6,000 wage hike for private and public sector workers – this is the call aired by Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano.
GWP Rep. Luz Ilagan said “President Aquino’s vaunted righteous path has no direction.”
“This rally is already huge, but let’s continue enlarging it, because there is as yet no change,” said Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares
It is “Change for the poor, for the Filipino people, and not change for the friends, relatives and shooting buddies of President Aquino,” that we had expected, said Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino.
These partylist representatives would later attend in Congress Pres. Aquino’s SONA.

02:07 pm
Ina Alleco Silverio:

From Solidarity Philippines, Fr. Joe Dizon speaks on how Pres. Aquino’s “straight path” is strewn with barriers that stop the demands of the Filipino people from being heard and acted upon. There are, he says, barriers against the demand of workers for a P125 wage hike; against the call of the urban poor for decent housing; against land for the landless. Aquino’s government, however, is open to hearing the demands of his friends and relatives. He has done essentially nothing to go after the corrupt officials of the previous administration. He has failed to uphold justice and to enact genuine social and political change.

Dizon exhorts the crowd to strengthen campaigns to go after Macapagal-Arroyo and demand that Aquino take action against Arroyo and all corrupt officials.

02:03 pm
Ina Alleco Silverio:

Starting to rain, audience begin bringing out umbrellas but people continue to listen. Rep. Casino says progressive lawmakers are intent on fighting for the welfare of the Filipino people and fight for the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill as a measure that will help further expose corruption in government.

02:00 pm
Marya Salamat:

Crowd intently listening, clap loudly as progressive lawmakers proclaim that under President Noynoy Aquino’s administration, nothing has changed. Rep. Colmenares calls for former president Macapagal-Arroyo’s imprisonment, as well as the arrest and punishment of former Gen. Jovito Palparan.Rep. Palatino says the Aquino government should pay attention to the demands of the poor and working people and not the whims of his friends, relatives, party-mates.

01:57 pm
Ina Alleco Silverio:

Progressive Party-List Representatives from Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela Women’s Party, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and Kabataan Party-List on stage. Bayan Muna’s Teddy Casino and Atty. Neri Colmenares; GWP’s Luz Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus; Kabataan’s Raymond Palatino, AP’s Rafael Mariano, and ACT’s Antinio Tinio give short messages on their respective advocacy and campaigns.

01:52 pm
Marya Salamat:

Elmer ‘Bong’ Labog, chairman of KMU, listed President Aquino’s many sins against the people – from the unmitigated price increases, oil overpricing, to frequent demolition or urban poor houses. Labog said Aquino is inutile in so far as his promises to go after Arroyo is concerned. “Merely exposing Arroyo is not enough. She has to be punished.”
“You are my boss – meant you are “busabos”! (downtrodden), said Labog.
“Righteous path” – how can that be, when Hacienda Luisita remained in their family’s hands?, he added.
Labog concluded that “Real change will not emanate from the big landlords and capitalists. It would come from the people’s organizing and actions. From our own struggle.”

09:24 am
Web Master:

Bulatlat will also provide live streaming of the Sona protest, as well as on the scene video clips and breaking photos. Check out http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/07/25/sona/ for more.

09:19 am
Web Master:

Bulatlat.com’s Marya Salamat and Ina Alleco Silverio will live blog today’s anti-Sona protest along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.

07:46 am
Web Master:

News in Pictures: Migrant Group Hits Government for “Deadline” in Evacuation of OFWs in Libya

09:01 am
Web Master:

Update from Migrante Dubai chapter:

As of 11:00 a.m. Dubai time, there are at least 960 OFWs from Libya who are stranded in Dubai airport.

Terminal 1 – 788 OFWs (62 OFWs were the last batch to arrive at dawn Dubai time, 32 of these are children)

Terminal 2 – 172 OFWs who came from Libya via Abu Dhabi. They were supposed to land in Abu Dhabi but were refused entrance so they were transported to Dubai instead.

Of this number, an estimated 500 are expected to be flown to Manila on March 4.

08:43 am
Web Master:

Summary updates from Migrante International crisis hotline, as of March 3, 7:00 p.m.:

Female – 166
Children – 1
Male – 491
Unidentified persons – 794
TOTAL: 1,452

Monitored Repatriated – 11, mostly from Harouge

Still awaiting repatriation: 1,441

BREAKDOWN:
Name of Company/Number of OFWs:
Abbas Bien Farnas Str. – 98
Al Nahr Engineering Limited – 14
Libyan Saraya – 97
ION – Sina Poly Clinic – 71
Ghadames, Camp 3 – 109
Zawiya Proper – 75
Daewoo Company – 116
Benghazi Medical Center – 12
Cosmo D & I Co., LTD. – 19
CTV Building – 8
Ferrostaal (Man) Co-AMAL V12 – 16
Harouge – 10
Hopewell Agency – 17
LBC Company – 11
Misuratah Libya – 13
Mizdah General Hospital – 98
National Cancer Institute – 16
OPS – 40
Sabrata Clinic – 17
VAQS – 14
Waha Oil Co. – 6

04:29 pm
Janess Ann J. Ellao:

Crisis in Libya Highlights Government’s Ineptness in Helping OFWs — Migrants Group
Migrante International criticized the Aquino administration’s crisis management — from the repatriation of OFWs to simply responding to the calls via their hotline numbers — as slow and inept. The group challenged the government to provide more than just livelihood assistance in dealing with jobless OFWs who would be flocking the country in the coming days. By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO

03:03 pm
Web Master:

House Committee on Justice will issue subpoena duces tecum to acquire all records pertaining to the fertilizer fund scam, the EuroGenerals case, and the Comelec-Megapacific deal.

02:40 pm
Web Master:

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino says Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez violated the right to speedy disposition of cases.

02:37 pm
Web Master:

Ferdinand Gaite of COURAGE: “Kami ay naninindigan na sya (Ombudsman) ay maimpeach. Paano na ang tiwala ng taumbayan sa sistema ng katarungan?”

02:25 pm
Web Master:

Gus Lagman testified on the P1.3-B Comelec-Megapacific deal. Ferdie Gaite of COURAGE presenting additional information on the EuroGenerals case.

02:13 pm
Web Master:

Kilusang Magbubulid ng Pilipinas secretary-general Danilo Ramos: “Pondo sa abono sa palay, inabono sa kampanya ni Gloria Arroyo noong 2004.”

02:07 pm
Web Master:

Danilo Ramos, secretary-general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, is presenting case on fertilizer fund scam.

02:05 pm
Web Master:

Atty. Frank Chavez: “Impeachment is the only available forum to seek redress of grievances.”

02:05 pm
Web Master:

Atty. Frank Chavez says Task Force Abono investigated House members who were implicated in the fertilizer fund scam. Rep. Tupas prohibited Chavez from disclosing names.

01:56 pm
Web Master:

Atty. Frank Chavez: Gutierrez is protecting Gloria Arroyo, Jocjoc Bolante, et. al.

01:55 pm
Web Master:

Atty. Frank Chavez on Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez: “She’s mastering the difficult art of doing nothing.”

01:54 pm
Web Master:

Current witness is former solicitor-general Frank Chavez. He filed 4 plunder charges against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2004. “Ombudsman has become a failed insitution,” Chavez said. Chavez served as solicitor-general during the administration of former president Corazon Aquino.

01:53 pm
Web Master:

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares: “Ayaw nyang imbestigahan, ayaw nyang kasuhan ang mga tiwaling opisyal. May pinipiling kasuhan at di-kasuhan ang Ombudsman.”

01:52 pm
Web Master:

Renato Reyes of Bayan says that cases on human-rights issues were also ignored by the Ombudsman.

01:51 pm
Web Master:

Timeline of the Comelec-Megapacific deal

Timeline of the Fertilizer fund scam

01:50 pm
Web Master:

Renato Reyes of Bayan said that the Supreme Court (SC) nullified Comelec-Megapacific consortium automation deal. The SC ordered Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez to investigate the deal as early as 2003. Reyes said the Ombudsman ignored the SC directive to file cases against Comelec executives. The Ombudsman filed a case against Comelec’s Rex Borra in 2006, but it later on absolved all Comelec officials.

01:47 pm
Web Master:

Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes said that the Senate recommended the filing of criminal charges vs. General Eliseo dela Paz (Eurogeneral carrying 105,000 euros to Moscow in 2008). Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino said that, based on Sandiganbayan’s certification, no case filed by the office of the Ombudsman against indivisulas involved in the Eurogenerals case

01:44 pm
Web Master:

According to the second complaint, Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez manifested gross, inexcusable inaction & willful refusal to prosecute officials involved in fertilizer fund scam.

01:27 pm
Web Master:

Renato Reyes of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan: “Wala naisampang kaso sa mga inireklamo sa fertilizer fund scam. No case vs. Cito Lorenzo and Jocjoc Bolante.”

01:26 pm
Web Master:

Renato Reyes of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan: “Si Gutierrez ay nagtayo ng napakalaking pader na nagprotekta sa dating pangulong Arroyo.”

01:26 pm
Web Master:

Renato Reyes of Bagong Alyansang Makabayn presents his affidavit. Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino questions Reyes’ motive in filing an impeachment case vs. Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

01:18 pm
Web Master:

Renato Reyes of Bagong Alyansang Makabayn will present voluminous evidences on the cases filed against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

01:16 pm
Web Master:

Bayan Muna Rep. Casino: “Kaya naitayo ang office of the Ombudsman dahil napakatindindi ng pagnanakaw at korapsyon sa gobyerno.”

01:15 pm
Web Master:

Witnesses for the second complaint include Renato Reyes of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, counsels Frank Chavez and Jobert Pahilga, Danilo Ramos of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Ferdie Gaite of Courage and Gus Lagman.

01:10 pm
Web Master:

The second complaint, to be endorsed by Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino, will include the P728M fertilizer fund scam, Euro Generals corruption and the P1.3B Comelec-Megapacific deal.

12:27 pm
Web Master:

Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano and Bayan Muna Reps. Teddy Casino and Neri Colmenares will endorse the second complaint against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez filed by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan.

12:19 pm
Web Master:

Military corruption whistleblower and former state auditor Heidi Mendoza seen inside the hearing room.

12:16 pm
Web Master:

Felipe Pestano says Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez failed to act on his son’s case. Gutierrez dismissed the case due to lack of evidence and probable cause.

12:12 pm
Web Master:

Felipe Pestano says his son, Navy ensign Philip Andrew Pestano, was allegedly murdered in 1995 after discovering corruption in the Navy.

12:01 pm
Web Master:

Former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros testified on her complaint of ‘illegal arrest’ in 2006. Felipe Pestano, father of slain Navy ensign Philip Pestano, now testifying with regard to the first impeachment complaint against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

11:53 am
Web Master:

Witnesses Felipe Pestano and former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros to testify against Ombudsman.

11:48 am
Web Master:

Akbayan Rep. Bag-ao presenting case of the ‘arrest’ of former Rep. Risa Hontiveros, same period of detention of Batasan 6 solons.

11:41 am
Web Master:

Akbayan Rep. Kaka Bag-ao says Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez engaged in double standard implementation of the law and bias to former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former first gentleman Mike Arroyo.

11:30 am
Web Master:

Akbayan Rep. Kaka Bag-ao says Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez is guilty of inexcusable neglect of duty.

11:29 am
Web Master:

Davao del Sur Rep. Mark Cagas walks out of the hearing room. He voted against the impeachment.

Yesterday, 12 members voted against proceeding with the hearings on the impeachment cases filed against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. The other 11 are: Rodolfo Albano, Mark Leandro Mendoza, Martin Romualdez, Danilo Suarez, Georgidi Aggabao, Emilline Aglipay, Amelita Villarosa, Simeon Datumanong, Orlando Fua, Pedro Romualdo, and Arthur Yap.

11:05 am
Web Master:

Akbayan Rep. Kaka Bag-ao endorsing the first impeachment complaint filed by Risa Hontiveros et. al.

10:57 am
Web Master:

Legislators are now discussing the definition of ‘probable cause.’

10:56 am
Web Master:

The House Committee on Justice asks Atty. Anacleto Diaz to submit reply of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez on or before Friday.

10:45 am
Web Master:

Atty. Anacleto Diaz is buying time, asks the Committee on Justice for an extension until Monday to submit reply of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. The committee declines the request.

10:41 am
Web Master:

House Committee on Justice allowed Atty. Anacleto Diaz to present manifestation on behalf of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

10:36 am
Web Master:

24 House members are present. Committee on Justice declares a quorum.

10:35 am
Web Master:

This afternoon, farmers from the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas will present how Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez covered-up the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.

10:32 am
Web Master:

Witnesses on the Pestano case and the NBN-ZTE deal will present their evidences this morning before the House Committee on Justice.

10:30 am
Web Master:

The two complaints center on Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez’s palpable violation of the Constitution and the abuse of power by failing to act on cases.

09:53 am
Web Master:

House Committee on Justice to start clarificatory hearing on the impeachment cases filed against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. Witnesses are scheduled to present evidences.

06:34 pm
Janess Ann J. Ellao:

Gil Lebria, Migrante International’s coordinator in Libya, said via Facebook message (to Bulatlat’s Janess Ann J. Ellao) that they are currently waiting to board the ship that would take them to Malta. From there, they would catch their flight back to Manila. Lebria added that it was their company who shouldered their airfare expenses. Lebria is with 300 other OFWs.

04:26 pm
Web Master:

As of March 1, 8:00 a.m., the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reports that 440 OFWs have been repatriated and 161 more are expected to arrive today. They are expecting 36 OFWs to arrive tomorrow. The number excludes the 180 OFWs whose flight has been delayed.

Click here for DOLE’s partial list of OFWs to be repatriated today.

03:14 pm
Web Master:

Update from Migrante International Crisis Hotline as of March 1, 12:00 noon:

Fr. Allan Arcebuche of the San Francisco Catholic Church-Caritas in Tripoli, Libya, who has been spearheading community efforts for the safety and evacuation of OFWs in Libya, suggested a site in Sirte City as alternative evacuation site for stranded OFWs.

Arcebuche said that the site, which has an airport and seaport, is relatively peaceful and is more accessible to OFWs from Jalo, Jufrah, Zellah Sebha and is also nearer Misurata, Sletin and Al Khoms than Tripoli and Benghazi.

According to Gina Esguerra, Migrante International secretary-general, Arcebuche tried to forward said proposal to Office of the Undersecretary for Overseas Workers Affairs (OUMWA)-DFA Exec. Dir. Ricardo Endaya but he was met with hostility.

02:50 pm
Janess Ann J. Ellao:

Travel advisory on Filipino repatriates from Libya on March 1 and 2:

March 1, Tuesday

Flight No. : QR 648
Estimated Time of Arrival: 915 H
Expected Filipino Nationals: 16 (14 actual)*

Flight No. : GF 154
Estimated Time of Arrival: 1025 H
Expected Filipino Nationals: 41 (60 actual)*

Flight No. : GF 156
Estimated Time of Arrival:1455 H
Expected Filipino Nationals: 51

Flight No. : QR 646
Estimated Time of Arrival: 1535 H
Expected Filipino Nationals: 37

Flight No. : EY 424
Estimated Time of Arrival: 1615 H
Expected Filipino Nationals: 13

Flight No. : PR 731
Estimated Time of Arrival: 1820 H
Expected Filipino Nationals: 1

Flight No. : EK 334
Estimated Time of Arrival: 2230 H
Expected Filipino Nationals: 13

March 2, Wednesday

Flight No. : QR 644
Estimated Time of Arrival: 500 H
Expected Filipino Nationals: 36

Flight No. : SAE (Midwest Airways- chartered)
Estimated Time of Arrival: 640 H
Expected Filipino Nationals: 180

Flight No. : EY 424
Estimated Time of Arrival: 1615 H
Expected Filipino Nationals: 7 plus 4 ( via Greece)

*based on the filled out interception form upon arrival

02:30 pm
Janess Ann J. Ellao:

Updates from Migrante International Crisis Hotline:

As of March 1, 7:24 a.m. — 109 OFWs have been waiting for more than a week near the border of Tunisia and Libya at Ghadames site. Ghadames site is 350 kilometers away from the nearest border at Wazzin and approximately 650 kilometers away from the Ras El Jdir where the Department of Foreign Affairs is supposedly situated. They asked to be fetched up by Philippine officials but the DFA refuses to meet with them.

As of March 1, 10:34 a.m. — 150 OFWs from Daewoo: Misurata Combine Cycle Project are still trapped in Misurata, Libya. Their employer promised to evacuate them last week but they are still waiting as of this posting. Their contact person there is Deo Catanghal Espinola, +218918241097

As of Feb. 28, 3:07 a.m. (from libyatripoli@rocketmail.com) — 30 Filipinos and 55 Vietnamese have been evacuated by their company employer via chartered plane. They will be flown back to Manila via Malta.

02:07 pm
Janess Ann J. Ellao:

Update from Gil Lebria, Migrante-Libya coordinator, as of March 1, 12:50 p.m.:

Gil Lebria (front row, left) and other OFWs could not catch a flight to Manila from Benghazi in Libya, because protesters already took over the airport since last week. Lebria’s group were recently repatriated by a ship chartered by the Philippine government from Benghazi to Djerba, Tunisia in North Africa.

Lebria has recently reported that there are about 200 OFWs in Camp No. 5 in Hamada-Nalut who are trapped. Around 50 OFWs in Camp No. 4 ran out of food supply after their area was ransacked by armed men who fired at their gates. “Company vehicles, five Toyota double cab pick-up cars, were carjacked by the armed men then left (the OFWs) unharmed,” he said. (Photo from Gil Lebria of Migrante-Libya)


10:27 pm
Web Master:

Update from Migrante International:

PARTIAL LIST OF STRANDED OFWs IN LIBYA AS OF FEB. 28, 2PM

Number of Stranded OFWs — 830

Male — 396
Female — 60
Number of Unidentified Persons — 374

Name of company and number of OFWs:

Abbas BienFarnas — 97 OFWs
Al Nahr Engineering Limited — 12 OFWs
Cosmo D & I Co., LTD. — 20 OFWs
Ferrostaal (Man) Co-AMAL V12 — 16 OFWs
Harouge — 16 OFWs
Deployed by Hopewell Agency — 17 OFWs
Jabel Oil Service — 17 OFWs
LBC Company — 11 OFWs
Lebda Cement Plant — 6 OFWs
LIBYAN SARAYAN COMPANY — 69 OFWs
Misuratah Libya — 7 OFWs
Mizdah General Hospital — 23 OFWs
OPS — 41 OFWs
Sabrata Clinic — 7 OFWs
VAQS — 14 OFWs
Waha Oil Co. — 6 OFWs

09:58 pm
Web Master:

Updates from Migrante’s Crisis Hotline:

As of February 26 — 105 OFWs in Amal Area are ready for evacuation but are yet to receive information and assistance from the Philippine embassy. They are fearing for their lives because the area where they are situated are hounded by looters every night. Photos available at website.

As of February 26, 8:00 p.m. — Around 100 foreign workers in Wafa Site in ENI Gas Plant subcontracted by MAN Company braved the desert route towards the Algerian border for seven (7) hours. When they reached the border, however, 47 OFWs and 5 Thais were not allowed to pass through because of lack of documents, only German and French nationals were allowed to enter.

The OFWs called the POLO-OWWA in Libya and they were told to return to Ghadames “to coordinate”. They remain trapped at the border as of this posting. If they go back, it would take another two hours on foot

They are asking help from Philippine authorities to be allowed to pass through the Algerian border. Their main contact person is Noel Circulado, 0918619917/091865404.

As of February 27, 6:00 p.m. — OFWs from the Hopewell Recruitment Agency cannot contact the Embassy in Tripoli. They have run out of food supplies and decided to move out towards the Algerian border this morning where they perceive it ‘relatively safe to stay’. All of them do not have their passports with them. Below are the names of the OFWs:
1. Joey Cruz – contact number: 0919379779
2. Celso Sunga
3. Eliseo Ocampo
4. Wodilito Cruz
5. Marvin Ocampo
6. Eufrasio de Castro
7. Ricky Agustin
8. Marvin Paculian
9. Richard de Guzman
10. Benjie Legal
11. Artemio Gomez Jr.
12. Nelson Rapanan
13. Baltazar Blen Jr.
14. Sherwin Taniola
15. Danilo Belen
16. Engr. Ervin Gargado

As of February 28, 12:00 midnight — More than 60 OFWs arrived at the Libyan-Egyptian border Al Salloum but no Philippine embassy officials were stationed there. The OFWs come from Amal and Harouge. They left the site at 9:00am and arrived at Tubrouk at 4:00pm escorted by an armed group who they had to pay 400dinars each. Their contact persons are Armie John – 0918924909 and Gilbert Garcia- 0918953061.

As of February 28 — A group of around 200 migrants, among them 80 OFWs, led by Migrante-Libya coordinator Gil Lebria has reached Tunisia at 6:00am. They are currently staying at a hotel there and will be flying back to Manila via Germany. Embassy officials are also missing in action in Tunisia, one of the exit posts identified by the DFA. Photos available at Migrante International website.

09:53 pm
Web Master:

Heads Must Roll, OFW Reported Dead in Libya — Migrante International (PR)

09:26 pm
Web Master:

An Open Letter to the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli, Libya

07:04 pm
Web Master:

Below is the list of numbers that may contacted by families and relatives of distressed OFWs in Libya. All distress calls and messages will be urgently forwarded to concerned government agencies for their immediate attention.

Migrante International Crisis Hotline:
Mobile: 0932-3995952
Email: menacrisiscenter.migrante@gmail.com
Landline: 9114910
Website: http://migranteinternational.org

In Libya:

Fr. Allan Arcebuche – +218-925156684 – San Francesco Catholic Church, Caritas, Tripoli, Libya

Fr. Ronnie Asuero – +218- 928132184 – Banghasi, Libya

Various provinces in the Philippines:

Baguio – Veron Malecdan, Migrante coordinator
16 Loro St, Telephone number: 4425347, Mobile: 0939-8657893

Pangasinan – Boni Aldo, Migrante coordinator, Mobile: 0918-5836880

Isabela – Diocesan Migrant Center/Religious of the Good Shepherd
Sr. Mela, RGS, Mobile: 0918-6018240

Ilocos – Linda Caluza, Migrante regional coordinator, Mobile: 0926-4112380

Iloilo – Cynthia Deduro, Migrante regional coordinator
2nd Flr, Rizal Multipurpose, Rizal St, La Paz
Telephone: 3295778, Mobile: 0921-5804138

Davao – Center for Overseas Workers
Sr. Diane Cabansagan, Mobile: 0920-9523604
Lito – 0928-5819034

01:17 pm
Web Master:

News in Pictures: Hundreds of OFWs Stranded in Libya, in Dire Need of Assistance, Evacuation

12:31 pm
Web Master:

Update from Migrante International, Feb 26 at 4:09 p.m.

There are 105 OFWs stranded/trapped in Amal Area in Libya. The OFWs, awaiting immediate evacuation, have yet to receive assistance from the Philippine embassy officials.

Below is the text of the email message received via Migrante Crisis Hotline forwarded by the wife of one OFW:

Due to present worsening situation here in Libya, please help us by arranging our immediate repatriation/ evacuation kasi naipit po kmi sa tumitinding gulo ng people power dito sa Libya. Ito ang situation namin ngayon dito:

1-Bagamat nandito kmi sa deserto (Amal Area Oilfields) kaso ginulo kmi gabi-gabi ng mga armed looters na nansamantala sa panahon wla ngayon goberno na gusto pumasok sa mga campo naming mga Foreign contractors dito. Naubos na lahat mga sasakyan at mga heavy equipments namin kinuha by force kya gabi-gabi wla kmi tulog lagi bantay bka isunod ang mga gamit namin sa kwarto-kwarto na gusto kunin.

2-Nangamba kmi dito baka lusubin ng mga taong gusto mgtake-over o mg sabotage ng mga Oilfields Oil Depot dito sa location pinagtrabahuan nmin.

3-Ready na sana kmi sa evacuation kung klan ready ang companya namin o ano plano ng Embassy ntin dito sa Libya kaso hangang ngayon wla pang action o tulong kmi ntangap.

4- Isa pang pangamba nmin dito bka maubusan ng stock sa pgkain at inumin tulad ng mga kabayan doon sa city na di makalabas at wala ng mabiling pagkain kung tatagal ang gulo at dpa kmi makauwi mas lalala kung mawalan pa kami ng kuryente. Di kmi makaalis dto kasi puro road blocks at limited international flights except siguro kung arranged by our Embassy.

5-For our head count, yan may attached kaming list of Filipinos trapped here in Amal Area, location map at mga picture sa sitwasyon nmin dito na nghihintay ng tulong, ito nlang internet ang communication nmin hangang may kuryente pa dito dhil block ang mga signal ng telepono. Kindly arranged our immediate safe repatriation/evacuation.
Sana uma-action agad ang lahat na sangay ng goberno ntin na ang katungkulan ay pangalagaan ang kapakanan ng mg OFW affectado sa gulo dito sa Libya

Our Company:
OPS International Ltd –
Co. Tripoli Address :Hay Andlus, Balad Al-Walid St., Tripoli, Libya
Office Tripoli Contact # +218 21 477 1801 Fax # +218 21 477 0905

Our Present Workers Site Location : Harouge Oil Operations-Amal Area V12- Libya

Lastly, why there is no email address of the Department of Foreign Affairs in their website

Regards,
Virgilio S. Bagano
Area Facilities Engineer
Libya Contact # +218 914670428
Phil Contact # +63 917741 5200
Christian S. Marte Libya Contact # +218 914 529 652

12:11 pm
Web Master:

Updates from Migrante International Crisis Hotline as of February 26, 8 p.m.*

Around 100 foreign workers in Wafa Site in ENI Gas Plant subcontracted by MAN Company braved the desert route towards the Algerian border for seven (7) hours. When they reached the border, however, 47 OFWs and 5 Thais were not allowed to pass through because of lack of documents, only German and French nationals were allowed to enter.

The OFWs called the POLO-OWWA in Libya and they were told to return to Ghadames “to coordinate”. They remain trapped at the border as of this posting. If they go back, it would take another two hours on foot.

They are asking help from Philippine authorities to be allowed to pass through the Algerian border. Their main contact person is Noel Circulado, 0918619917/091865404.

* reports from Fr. Allan Arcebuche, San Francesco Catholic Church, Caritas, Tripoli, Libya

12:00 pm
Janess Ann J. Ellao:

#OFWsLibya Bulatlat.com will provide live updates as they come about the crisis in Libya and the situation there of overseas Filipino workers.

10:36 am
Raymund Villanueva:

Bulatlat’s micro reporting of the peace negotiations ends at this point.  Thank you for following.  Keep checking this page for the first articles and photos to come out of the closing ceremony.

10:34 am
Raymund Villanueva:

Bulatlat’s micro reporting of the peace negotiations is ends at this point.  Thank you for following.  Keep checking Bulatlat for the first articles and photos to come out of the closing ceremony.

09:39 am
Raymund Villanueva:

The Filipino people demand and will continue to struggle, by all means possible, for nothing less that a just and lasting peace.–NDFP

09:39 am
Raymund Villanueva:
We put this fruitful and constructive round of formal talks to a close with a note of confidence, guarded optimism and hope, as well as a realistic appraisal of the difficult road that lies ahead.–NDFP
09:37 am
Raymund Villanueva:

…thank the Royal Norwegian Government for ably and patiently hosting and facilitating the peace negotiations.–NDFP

09:35 am
Raymund Villanueva:
We must muster all our political will, continue to find common ground, build principled unity and creatively craft mutually acceptable terms to forge these agreements.–NDFP
09:33 am
Raymund Villanueva:

…just and lasting peace, which is the common aspiration and avowed end goal of the negotiations can only be the result of fundamental and structural socio-ecnomic and political reforms that will benefit the people.–NDFP

09:32 am
Raymund Villanueva:

…GPH security forces have conducted offensive operations in violation of the current ceasefire, under the guise of civil-military operations…–NDFP

09:30 am
Raymund Villanueva:

…the GPH backtracked from its previous attempt to impose an indefinite or prolonged ceasefire as a precondition to the resumption of formal talks.–NDFP

09:28 am
Raymund Villanueva:

GPH security forces have conducted offensive operations in violation of the current ceasefire.–NDFP

09:27 am
Raymund Villanueva:

We note that the PNP…still refer to the CPP-NPA-NDF forces as CTs or simply “terrorists”.–NDFP

09:26 am
Raymund Villanueva:

Much more has to be done in ensuring that all GPH departments and agencies, especially the military and police forces, understand, respect and abide by this position.–NDFP

09:24 am
Raymund Villanueva:

We welcome the declaration of the GPH that the CPP, NPA and NDFP are not terrorist organizations and therefore peace negotiations with us are possible and appropriate.–NDFP

09:23 am
Raymund Villanueva:

Each party has bent over backwards from previous hard positions in order to find common ground.–NDFP

09:21 am
Raymund Villanueva:

We have moved the peace negotiations forward, breaking the 6-year impasse…caused by the previous Arroyo administration’s unilateral and prolonged suspension of the talks and grievous violations of the bilateral agreement…–NDFP

09:18 am
Raymund Villanueva:

Mabuhay to the RNG…the NDFP Panel…members of our own GPH delegation.–GPH

09:16 am
Raymund Villanueva:

…We have facilitated the participation of NDFP consultants…The NPA has released a former soldier and 2 policemen.–GPH

09:15 am
Raymund Villanueva:
We have reconvened the JMC of the CARHRIHL paving the way for the JMC’s full operations.–GPH
09:15 am
Raymund Villanueva:
We have reconvened the JMC of the CARHRIHL paving the way for the JMC’s full operations.–GPH
09:14 am
Raymund Villanueva:
We have reconvened the JMC of the CARHRIHL paving the way for the JMC’s full operations.–GPH
09:14 am
Raymund Villanueva:

We have convened the the working groups on political and constitutional reforms or PCR, leading to eventual formation of the reciprocal working group on PCR–GPH

09:12 am
Raymund Villanueva:

We have convened the the working groups on political and constitutional reforms or PCR, leading to eventual formation of the reciprocal working group on PCR–GPH

09:11 am
Raymund Villanueva:

We have reactivated the reciprocal working committee on social and economic reforms which shall soon be consulting with stakeholders.–GPH

09:09 am
Raymund Villanueva:

We have agreed on a joint statement that expresses our common achievements and aspirations.

09:08 am
Raymund Villanueva:
What difference does a peace settle make in the life of a country and its people? All the difference in the world.–GPH
09:07 am
Raymund Villanueva:

The goal of a just and enduring peace has compelled us to come to the table; and stay at the table.–GPH

09:05 am
Raymund Villanueva:
Tonight concludes a week of hard bargaining between our two panels, and up to the last minute, literally, we were not sure we could come to terms enough to move the peace process to another round.–GPH
04:01 am
Raymund Villanueva:

Joint Communique signed by both panels.  Closing Ceremony over.  Abangan bukas ang audio, video, photos and articles.

02:50 am
Raymund Villanueva:
No closing ceremonies. Panels to hold press conference immediately. Watch it live. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/gph-ndfp-talks-oslo-2011
02:48 am
Raymund Villanueva:

GPH Panel staff enter the conference room.

02:47 am
Raymund Villanueva:

GPH Panel staff enters the conference room.

02:29 am
Raymund Villanueva:
Live streaming of the closing ceremony of the GPH-NDFP Peace Talks here in Oslo. Expected to start in a few minutes. Stay tuned! http://www.ustream.tv/channel/gph-ndfp-talks-oslo-2011
03:01 pm
Web Master:

Labor Migration in 2009: A Terrible Year to Be an OFW
The regime of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo changed the face of labor migration in the Philippines. It pursued its labor-export policy aggressively, begging receiving countries to accept more overseas Filipino workers. In the meantime, it shirked its responsibilities toward OFWs in distress, in many instances even becoming complicit in the abuse of overseas workers. By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO

03:00 pm
Web Master:

Groups Work Double Time to Save Jakatia Pawa from Death Row
Migrante said it would flood the Kuwaiti government with appeals for Pawa’s life this week . The emir usually gives clemency to individuals on death row during the Kuwaiti Independence Day on Feb. 25. By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO

02:59 pm
Web Master:

Thank you for listening to Bulatlat Live. Please stay tuned for the replay.

02:57 pm
Web Master:

15 Years After Death of Flor Contemplacion, OFWs Remain Vulnerable as Ever
OFWs and domestic helpers are still going through the same nightmare that Flor Contemplacion suffered. Many rot in jail. Several have been sentenced to death. Thousands suffer abuse from their employers and neglected by their government. To these OFWs, the Arroyo regime is “chief executioner of the rights and welfare of OFWs.” By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO

02:56 pm
Web Master:

Kin of OFW in Death Row Asks DFA to Keep them Informed
They only learned about what happened to their kin Joselito when they chanced upon his co-worker in a social networking site. After being given the runaround by the Department of Foreign Affairs, they were finally informed that the Philippine embassy in Saudi Arabia is handling the case. That is the last information the government has given them. By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO

02:54 pm
Web Master:

Migrante International: With thirty years of labor export policy, the Philippines is expected to know what to do how to help distressed OFWs. But the government’s inaction and lack of sincerity to protect the rights of OFWs, has left distressed OFWs to lose trust and hope that they will get help and assistance.

02:48 pm
Web Master:

The lack of government policy for efficient migrant deployment and mechanisms to ensure protection of workers’ rights are the reasons why a lot of Filipinos are facing threats and abuses abroad.

02:42 pm
Web Master:

Garry Martinez of Migrante: It’s ironic that the Philippines is the model for labor export policy, but has a lot of distressed migrant workers.

02:36 pm
Web Master:

Migrante International: After the death of Flor Contemplacion, the government has not learned its lesson when it comes to the protection of OFWs. The government’s labor export policy only resulted to the increase in number of OFWs in death row, now numbering 125.

02:28 pm
Web Master:

Migrante International is presently handling 8 cases of OFWs in death row, mostly with murder charges and are incarcerated in the Middle East.

02:25 pm
Web Master:

Migrante International: As OFW deployment increases, cases OFWs in distress will definitely increase in number.

02:21 pm
Web Master:

Filipinos are known for being good-natured, which is sometimes the reason why they become victims of drug trafficking and illegal recruitment.

02:18 pm
Web Master:

Migrante International will ensure the rights and legal protection of OFWs who are jailed and in death row regardless of the charges filed against them.

02:18 pm
Web Master:

Migrante cited the case of Singson who was jailed in Hong Kong due to charges possession of illegal drugs. The government is extending help to Singson but they are very hesistant to help ordinary OFWs with the same charges.

02:12 pm
Web Master:

Migrante says, the government’s budget allotment for distressed OFWs is very small compared to remittances, amounting to millions, provided by OFWs to boost the economy.

02:09 pm
Web Master:

Garry Martinez of Migrante: Government officials told them that they will not extend any help to OFWs unless they are already in death row. According to officials of DFA, this is policy.

02:04 pm
Web Master:

News in Pictures: Migrant Group Welcomes China Decision, Calls on Government to Act on Cases of Other OFWs in Death Row
In a press conference held on Saturday at the Migrante International office, families of OFWs in death row and in jail appealed to the Philippine government to also act in haste for their relatives. “Let us also not forget that there are still others in death row who continue to appeal to the government for much-needed attention and intervention,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.

02:02 pm
Web Master:

Tales of Woe, Suffering, and Neglect of OFWs in Prisons Abroad
In jail, maltreated, away from home and without any assistance from the government, these OFWs are no longer concerned about pursuing their dreams of escaping poverty. Their main concern now is to survive their ordeal and be able to go home to their families as free individuals. By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO

02:02 pm
Web Master:

Lawmaker Calls Attention to Increasing Number of OFW ‘Drug Mules’
As per records of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), there are 630 Filipinos languishing in various jails in Asia, the United States, and in the Middle East. By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO

02:01 pm
Web Master:

OFW Survives Jail, Neglect of Philippine Government
All throughout her imprisonment, Camille said, no embassy official visited her nor asked her side of the story. “I went to court hearings five times but they (Philippine embassy officials) did not attend.” By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO

02:00 pm
Web Master:

Two OFWs in Saudi Jailed, Families Decry Government Negligence
Families of the two overseas Filipino workers who were charged with possession of illegal drugs in Saudi Arabia accused Philippine embassy officials of negligence after their loved ones were sentenced to three years of imprisonment and 600 lashes.

01:59 pm
Web Master:

Migrant Group Urges Philippine Gov’t to Investigate Death of OFW in Saudi Arabia
They went to Ajman, United Arab Emirates to work as cleaners and office assistants in various schools. Suddenly, their employer left them with unpaid utility bills and two months of salaries. After bearing intense heat and absence of electricity and potable water for more than a month, the 46 Filipina workers ended up in jail. By By ANGEL L. TESORERO

01:47 pm
Web Master:

Bulatlat Live: OFWs on Death Row (A Discussion with Migrante International). Show starts at 2 pm, Feb. 20, Manila time. You can post your comments or ask questions here.

01:46 pm
Web Master:

During the webcast, Bulatlat’s Carlos Conde and Janess Ann Ellao will discuss with Migrante International’s Garry Martinez the fate of dozens of overseas Filipino workers on death row in several countries, and what the Philippine government is doing about them.

01:43 pm
Web Master:

Welcome to Bulatlat Live’s discussion with Migrante International about OFWs on Death Row. The webcast will start in a short while. Please stay tuned.

07:52 pm
Raymund Villanueva:
View pictures of the the start of the second day of talks here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2110538&id=1293317554&l=d78804f3bb
07:12 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

OPAPP secretary Teresita Deles was not seen when the morning session of the GPH-NDFP Peace Talks was about to start, although she was seen having breakfast with Manila government panel members earlier.

07:03 pm
Web Master:

Audio Report: Opening Ceremony of GPH-NDFP Peace Talks in Oslo
Listen to the audio report of Kodao Productions and Bulatlat.com correspondent Raymund B. Villanueva on the opening ceremonies of the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations on Feb. 15, 2011, in Oslo, Norway.

07:01 pm
Web Master:

Statement by Alan Jazmines on His Arrest: ‘Violation of Jasig and Mockery of the Entire Peace Talks’
“In adding another arrest of a JASIG-holder on the very eve of the resumption of the peace talks, the leadership of the fascist AFP and PNP want to show how easily they can violate all peace agreements and make it appear that the NDFP and the revolutionary forces are weak and have really nothing to leverage on and gain in the peace process.” – ALAN JAZMINES, NDFP Peace Consultant

06:58 pm
Web Master:

Satur: AFP Must Keep Out of Peace Talks
Satur Ocampo laments the statements made by the AFP about the peace talks that were mostly disparaging or negative. He says there were designed to sabotage the peace process.
By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO

06:52 pm
Web Master:

News in Pictures: In Oslo, GPH and NDF Break a Six-Year Impasse
The government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines resumed peace negotiations on Feb. 15, 2011, after a six-year impasse. Up in the talks is the second of the four substantive agenda, socio-economic reforms.
By RAYMUND B. VILLANUEVA

06:45 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

This morning’s session is expected to end at one in the afternoon, local time.  Lunch follows at the hotel restaurant.

06:41 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

The media were given one minute to shoot videos and take pictures before being asked to leave the conference room.  The agreed-upon news blackout is in force.

06:40 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

Ambassador Ture Lundh of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry asked GPH Panel Chair Padilla and NDFP Panel Chair Luis Jalandoni to shake hands before the start of the morning session on the second day of the peace talks here in Oslo.

06:37 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

Second day of talks starts at eleven am, an hour later than originally planned.

06:06 pm
Web Master:

If the Peace Talks Were a Soccer Match, I’m Rooting for the NDFP
I support the peace talks because I believe that the armed conflict in the country can only begin to be resolved if the two sides, the two governments of the GPH and the NDFP, sit and talk and come up with solutions to the problems that precisely resulted in the conflict.
By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO

05:58 pm
Web Master:

Left to Congress: Tackle Land, Wage Issues to Time with Oslo Talks on Socio-Economic Reforms
“The armed conflict is deeply rooted in extreme poverty and social injustice suffered by the Filipino people and should be addressed by concrete measures A just and lasting peace cannot be achieved through abstract and empty peace rhetoric.” – Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano
By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO

05:37 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

There is a delay at the start of the second day of the talks.  Both panels were not ready and were not present at the conference hall at ten o’clock, the scheduled start of the second day of negotiations.  Both GPH and the NDFP groups are inside their own secretariat rooms, presumably for more consultations before they start the morning session.

04:47 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

Pictures of the Opening Ceremonies can be viewed here.

04:46 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

Listen to Sali Na, Bayan’s live report of the Oslo Peace Talks here.

04:34 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

GPH and NDFP panels prepare to start Day 2 of their ongoing peace talks in Oslo, Norway.  It’s 9:30 in the morning, Norwegian time.

04:29 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

GPH and NDFP Panels are getting ready to start Day Two of their ongoing peace talks in Oslo, Norway!

04:29 pm
Raymund Villanueva:
See pictures of the opening ceremonies of the ongoing GPH-NDFP Peace Talks in Oslo, Norway here: http://www.facebook.com/?sk=lf#!/album.php?aid=2110538&id=1293317554. Click, view, like, share!
07:37 am
Raymund Villanueva:

Welcome to Bulatlat.com’s coverage of Day 2 of the peace talks in Oslo between the Manila government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. Our correspondent there, Raymund Villanueva, will liveblog the event in a short while.

04:39 am
Raymund Villanueva:

Day one of the formal peace talks 2011 ended with a dinner hosted by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for all participants.

04:37 am
Raymund Villanueva:

Yesterday’s afternoon session tackled the reaffirmation of past agreements between the GPH and the NDFP.  These agreements include the The Hague Joint Declaration, JASIG, CARRHIHL, among others.

06:44 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

The peace talks breaks for lunch.  Executive sessions start in the afternoon.  Media is no longer allowed inside the conference room.

06:36 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

The Royal Norwegian Government has been approached and asked by the GRP (GPH) and the NDFP in 2001.  This is its 10th year as Third Party Facilitator to the peace negotiations.

06:34 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

RNG is brokering the talks “because it can.”  It emphasized that the conflict and the negotiations are strictly internal between the GPH and the NDFP.–Amb. Ture Lundh.

06:29 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

“There seems to be a rapport between the GPH and NDFP panels at this time.  We hope they would approve of substantial agreements within a reasonable amount of time.” Ambassador Ture Lundh of the Royal Norwegian Government Ministry of Foreign Affairs

06:26 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

GPH panel chair Alex Padilla and NDFP panel chair Luis Jalandoni answer questions from local and international media.

06:23 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

Formal opening ceremonies are over.  Photo session ongoing.  GPH staff ask to have their pictures taken with NDFP chief political consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison.

05:48 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

The NDFP offered to the GPH…a concise agreement as a basis for further talks for alliance and truth.  This is a challenge to the Aquino government…to work for a just peace for our people.–NDFP

05:45 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

The release of the political prisoners is a benign act of magnanimity.–NDFP

05:44 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

We expect the release 350 political prisoners, with the operationalization of the CARHIHL, will be undertaken.  They deserve to be released, just like the 400 military rebels, because they fought the abuses of the Arroyo regime.–Jalandoni

05:43 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

Prof Jose Maria Sison (for the NDFP) and Atty Alex Padilla (for the GPH) will head the discussions for socio-economic reforms-the second substantive agenda.–Jalandoni

05:41 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

Improve people’s livelihood and trade relations to benefit the people–NDFP

05:40 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

Presence of Rafael Baylosis and Randall Echanis are proof of the efficacy of the JASIG…The expeditious release of all consultants and political prisoners, including just recently, Allan Jazmines, must be accomplished.–NDFP

05:37 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

Imperative that both panels do away with the violations and filth of the previous Manila regime.–NDFP

05:37 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

NDFP blames the Arroyo regime for “scuttling” the peace negotiations through various and many means of sabotage and human rights violations.–NDFP’s Jalandoni.

05:35 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

The peace talks must be guided by mutually-acceptable principles and must come out with agreements that address the root causes of armed conflict.–NDFP’s Jalandoni

05:33 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

“We thank the Norwegian government for its determined and painstaking hosting of the peace talks.” –NDFP panel chair Luis Jalandoni

05:33 pm
Web Master:

As Peace Talks Resume, Another NDFP Consultant Nabbed
Luis Jalandoni, chairman of the NDFP peace panel, said the arrest of Alan Jasminez is an attempt by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to disrupt the peace negotiations which are just about to be resumed on February 15 to 21, in Oslo, Norway.
By RONALYN V. OLEA

05:32 pm
Web Master:

On Eve of Peace Talks, Groups Push for Release of All Political Prisoners
Fr. Dionito Cabillas, Selda secretary general, said the Philippine government should work for the immediate release of the political prisoners as a sign of goodwill in the continuation of the peace talks and for humanitarian reasons.
By RONALYN V. OLEA

05:30 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

“What we do here in Oslo is a matter of life and death.”–Deles

05:28 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

“Both sides are guilty of military reductionism.”–Deles

05:27 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

“Let it not be said that peace talks fail because of the failure of nerve, failure of imagination.”–Deles

05:27 pm
Web Master:

What Has Been Achieved in 25 Years of Peace Negotiations?
It would seem to many Filipinos that the peace negotiations between the government and the Communists have achieved nothing significant. Truth is, both panels have signed several important documents that should move the process forward. Would the Aquino administration genuinely commit to these earlier agreements?
By RONALYN V. OLEA

05:25 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

“We have no illusions that signing a peace agreement will solve all social problems.”–Deles

05:24 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

Deles’ remarks praises victory of Noynoy Aquino in the last presidential elections as well as the human, indigenous  and environmental rights advocacies of GPH panel members.

05:20 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

OPAPP secretary Ging Deles delivers opening remarks for GPH.  She “comes to Oslo with a heady mix of dread and anticipation–not unlike a woman about to give birth.”

05:19 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

Panel chairs introduce respective members of their negotiating panels.

05:18 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

NDFP Negotiating Panel chair Luis Jalondoni and GPH Negotiating Panel chair Alex Padilla exchange credentials.

05:16 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

“I wish you all the luck in the coming week, as well as on the long road to peace.”–Secretary Beide

05:15 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

“One of the most dangerous aspects of today’s societies is lack of dialogue, not its presence.  The alternative to dialogue is monologue.  Engaging in dialogue signifies confidence in your own values and principles.”–Secretary of State Beide, RNG.

05:13 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

“Norwegian government is proud of this positive moment…as humble facilitator of the talks.  You deserve all the support you need.  We hope you continue to build trust and move on to addressing the root causes of the armed conflict in your country.”–Norwegian State Secretary Espen Barth Eide

05:10 pm
Web Master:

Getting to the Roots of the Armed Conflict
To “address the roots of the armed conflict” means primarily to look into and arrive at a common understanding of the root causes of the Filipino people’s endemic poverty and the nation’s underdevelopment, then agree on the necessary measures to resolve them.
By SATUR C. OCAMPO

05:10 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

First formal talks between GPH and NDFP in six years begins.  Ambassador Ture Lundh of the Royal Norwegian Government welcomes all participants and congratulates both panels for “willingness face ach other and talk.”

05:06 pm
Web Master:

Next Agenda in GPH-NDFP Talks Can Make or Break Peace Process
Forging the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms is said to be the “meat” of the negotiations as it aims to resolve the root causes of poverty and lack of development in the Philippines.
By RONALYN V. OLEA

05:00 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

Ten minutes before the opening ceremonies, GPH and NDFP peace talks panelists, as well as consultants and staff, are already gathered inside the conference room of the Holmen Fjordhotell in Oslo, Norway.

05:00 pm
Web Master:

Resolving Hindrances, Going Farther Toward Peace
Serious implementation of CARHRIHL can best test the sincerity of the GRP and the NDFP in complying not only with its provisions but with all other agreements still to be arrived at. Mutual compliance will significantly improve the climate for continuing the peace talks.
By SATUR C. OCAMPO

04:58 pm
Web Master:

Welcome Breakthrough
The important thing is that both parties have publicly announced their commitment to work double time in undertaking this important endeavor, made more urgent and pressing by the continuing global and domestic economic crunch.
By CAROL PAGADUAN-ARAULLO

04:37 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

Thirty minutes before the scheduled start of the opening ceremonies, consultants and staff of the GPH and NDFP negotiating panels are starting to arrive at the conference room.  Norwegian and international journalists have also arrived.

03:46 pm
Raymund Villanueva:

It’s eight forty in the morning here in Oslo, Norway.   It is snowing outside and Oslo fjord is frozen.  Both GPH and NDFP negotiating panels are having breakfast.  The venue of the resumption of the formal peace talks is Holmen Fjordhotell, also the venue of the informal talks between both parties last month.

08:57 am
Web Master:

Reporter’s Notebook: Covering the Peace Talks in Oslo
If the atmosphere that night was any indication, the talks were off to a good start. Everyone seemed determined to have a good time and did not mind letting their hair down.
By MACEL INGLES

08:29 am
Web Master:

Philippines Eyes Peace Pact with Reds in 3 Years as Talks Resume
In a major breakthrough, Manila and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines agreed to resume the formal negotiations in February and a possible ceasefire the same month. The government panel also agreed to release several political prisoners, even as it acknowledges that the NDFP, contrary to what the US government and the Philippine military have been saying, “is not a terrorist organization.”
By MACEL INGLES in Oslo and RONALYN V. OLEA in Manila

08:25 am
Web Master:

In Oslo, a Chance for Peace Despite the Odds
“The challenges are great, but the possibilities for a peace agreement under the new presidency of Benigno Aquino are there,” Ambassador Ture Lundh of Norway’s foreign ministary said. “At the end of the day, however, it is the parties to the conflict that must prove decisiveness, boldness and political will to move forward, to achieve a just and lasting peace.”
By MACEL INGLES

08:24 am
Web Master:

‘Ka Bart’ Is Member of NDF Peace Panel, CPP Reiterates
The CPP said the continued detention of Alcantara and other NDFP peace consultants and their staff constitutes a blatant violation of the Jasig. “Every minute that NDFP consultants are detained by the GRP in violation of the Jasig puts into question the compliance of the GRP with past agreements and imperils the future of the peace talks,” added the CPP.
By RONALYN V. OLEA

08:20 am
Web Master:

Looking Forward: The GRP-NDFP Peace Talks
On the part of the Aquino government, a clear manifestation of openness and resolve to discuss basic social and economic reforms that would address the underlying reasons for the poverty, oppression and injustice that drive people to protest and rebel, would be a gesture peace advocates everywhere would welcome and applaud.
By CAROL PAGADUAN-ARAULLO

08:10 am
Raymund Villanueva:

The Opening Ceremonies of the latest round of peace talks between the GPH (Government of the Philippines) and the (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) to start in approximately eight hours.

08:07 am
Raymund Villanueva:

It’s minus eleven degrees Celcius in Oslo, Norway, venue of the GPH-NDFP peace talks.  Light snow outside.

08:05 am
Raymund Villanueva:

Bulatlat arrives in Oslo, Norway for the coverage of the resumption of formal peace talks between the GPH and the NDFP.  It’s 1:30 am, February 15.

07:57 am
Web Master:

Raymund Villanueva of Kodao Productions will liveblog the event from Oslo, Norway.

07:55 am
Raymund Villanueva:

Hello! Welcome to Bulatlat.com’s live coverage of the resumption of formal negotiations between the government and the NDF in Oslo.

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