Category: Top Stories


Tens of thousands of civilian contract workers from poverty-stricken countries — among them Filipino Rey Torres (left) — were hired to support the U.S. war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan. In case of injury or death, they are supposed to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance financed by American taxpayers. But the program has failed to deliver medical care and other benefits.

Analysts say the Arroyo regime is exploiting a disorganized political opposition and an apathetic (or deceived, if not coerced) public to ram through charter change so Arroyo can remain in power — either as prime minister or House speaker — and possibly protect herself from legal suits in the future. The key to confronting this gambit, they point out, is to transform the people’s discontent and disgust into real political action.

Pressured by the military, officials of a high school in Quezon City rejected the enrollment of a student activist. She could only enroll at the school, they told her, if she signed a waiver that would prohibit her from participating in protest actions and rallies. Aghast and angry, the student decided to fight back.

The recently signed Salary Standardization Law 3 (SSL3) sets new salary rates for state workers. It’s a welcome respite amid the economic crisis, as well as an initial victory of the campaign for better wages. But government workers say SSL3, apart from giving really small increases, still has numerous anti-worker provisions. It is crying out for improvement.

Among other provisions, the CARPER bill mandates that private agricultural lands – the type that the Arroyos and the Cojuangcos own – can only be distributed if the original CARP managed to distribute 90 percent of its target. But CARP, despite the two decades it had, only distributed less than half of it. It’s an impossible provision that only underscores what progressive farmers have been saying all along – that CARPER is bogus.