Belligerent

Though they already said that it was just an ‘honest mistake‘, the US government – in this major diplomatic slip up – has told the whole world it recognizes that the Philippines is, in fact, in a state of belligerency and that we really have two sovereign states here in the country!



Kung bakit umuulan ngayon ng bato sa EDSA

kuha ni Atom Araullo

Kung bakit ang mga sundalong Kano binabahay ng gubyerno sa pamamagitan ng VFA, tapos ang maraming mahihirap walang bubungan sa ulunan.

Kung bakit habang bilyon-bilyon ang kita ng mga matataas na upisyal sa jueteng, kickbacks at pangongotong; pinapalayas naman sa mga tahanan nila ang mga mamamayan.

Kung bakit may Pangulo tayong hasyendero – na sa kasalukuyan ay kumakain ng hotdog sa New York habang ibinabaon pa tayong lalo sa paghihirap bunsod ng mga kundisyong kasama sa mga nilimos niyang ayuda kuno – ay lubhang napakarami pa ring magsasaka ang walang lupang sinasaka.

Kung bakit kahit anong kayod ang gawin ng mga manggagawa, di pa rin mapagkasya ang kakarampot na kinikita para ipangbili ng pagkain, pangpa-aral sa mga anak at pangbayad sa upa sa tagpi-tagping bahay sa lugar na gaya ng Sitio San Roque sa may tabi ng Trinoma.

Kung bakit paparami ang bilang ng mga sanggol na inaabandona kung saan saan at di maawat ang paglaganap ng nakamamatay na dengue, sakit na puro mahihirap din naman ang puntirya; ay wala pa ring habas ang pagkaltas ng pamahalaan sa badyet na nakalaan para sa serbisyo sosyal.

Ito ang dahilan kung bakit maraming ‘iskwater.’

Ito rin ang dahilan kung bakit di papatinag ang mga mamamayan ng Sitio San Roque sa pagtatanggol sa mga tahanan nila.

Makatwirang paghahangad ng katarungang panlipunan. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit umuulan ngayon ng bato sa EDSA.

Mga kuha ni Kenneth Guda

Before we crucify Gulf Air Mom…

We must at least look into the possible circumstances that may have pushed this poor Filipina to abandon her new born baby in a trash bin inside an aircraft.

For one, the mother may have been suffering from postpartum psychosis – a rare, severe and dangerous form of postpartum depression that can be developed within the first three weeks following child birth – when she dumped the baby.

According to WebMD, “a woman with postpartum psychosis may feel detached from her baby and other people; have hallucinations involving smell, touch, sight, or hearing; have thoughts not based in reality (delusions); display bizarre behavior; or have urges to kill herself and her child or children.”

Postpartum psychosis is considered a psychiatric emergency requiring immediate hospitalization and treatment, the medical webside added.

Health experts argue that postpartum depression are caused by changes in a woman’s hormone levels after pregnancy. Apparently, any woman can get postpartum depression. But women who had “poor support from partner, family and friends” and those who had undergone a lot of stress have greater chances of getting it.

Gulf Air Mom, as we all know, is an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) returning from Qatar where she worked as a domestic helper for four years.

Cases of verbal, physical and sexual abuse, other forms of maltreatment and even murder, are widespread especially among domestic workers in the Middle East.

OFW watchdog Migrante-Middle East attests to the deplorable conditions suffered by Filipino women in the region.

John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-ME Regional Coordinator, cited ten (10) Filipinas in Saudi Arabia who were sexually abused and are now staying in an embassy run shelter with their children while awaiting repatriation.

“[The ten] are victims of sexual abuses by their employers, being in a deplorable condition working as domestic helpers, they run away, became pregnant and have given birth, and became illegal migrants whose work permits have expired,” Monterona said.

Gulf Air Mom could have possibly been raped while she was in Qatar. Rape, a very traumatic experience, may very well have triggered her postpartum depression.

So before calling Gulf Air Mom ‘heartless’, ‘criminal’ and before we  demand that she be ‘shot on site,’ we must first at least understand that there really are horrors abroad that can push an OFW to commit unspeakable and atrocious acts.

Sure, dumping an innocent new born baby to the trash bin is wrong. But so is thoughtlessly and hastily condemning another person without even looking at the harsh realities that drove her to the brink.

Gulf Air Mom could also be a victim here. But why is she the only one being punished?

Pending the result of the investigation by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), we should refrain from throwing stones at the poor and obviously distraught mother.

Media too should stop fanning the flames of public anger even more by not turning this sad story into a ‘telenovela.’

Curing a defective Romulo

Malacanang has reportedly “cured” Alberto Romulo’s “defective” appointment as Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary by simply antedating his appointment papers from August 10, 2010 to July 1, 2010.

But while defective appointments such as that of Romulo’s can easily be cured with just a slight of hand from Malacanang, can we ever cure a defective Romulo?

A relic from the previous Macapagal-Arroyo regime, Romulo was never a stranger to earth shaking controversies that rocked his leadership at the Foreign Affairs Department.

Beheadings

It was during Romulo’s term at the DFA that not one, but six overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were executed abroad. The six OFWs are: Antonio Alvesa, Sergio Aldana, Miguel Fernandez, Wilfredo Bautista, Reynaldo Cortez and Jenifer Beduya.

All of them were beheaded largely because of the DFA’s patented mishandling of their cases. In the case of Beduya, for example, the DFA only provided him with an interpreter and not a lawyer during the initial and most crucial stages of his trial.

Beduya was beheaded in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia October 2008.

Passport price increase

Romulo is also responsible for the meteoric rise in the cost of Philippine Passports. This was due to the onerous contract entered into by Romulo for the new electronic-Passports.

Migrante International, the largest alliance of OFW groups worldwide, has assailed the P857 Million E-Passport contract as “illegal, unethical and grossly overpriced“.

“Romulo has squandered millions of pesos in corruption via the e-passport project when the DFA had failed to provide welfare services, protection and assistance to OFWs, especially those in distress and facing death row,” Migrante said.

Thanks to Romulo’s onerous E-Passport contract, Passport costs shot up to P950 to P1,200 from P550 to P750 in the Philippines. Passports prices abroad  were higher and went up to as much as thrice the previous rates.

Budget cuts

Notwithstanding the left and right allegations of criminal negligence on the plight of distressed OFWs;  a cool, calm and collected  Romulo didn’t even raise any objection to the Palace instigated budget cut to the funds intended for helping OFWs abroad.

When Malacanang wanted to slash more than 50 percent to the combined budget of the Assistance to Nationals Fund (ATN) and Legal Assistance Fund (LAF) of the DFA, all Romulo can say was:

“In the spirit of teamwork and (because of the) gaping deficit…we abide by the decision of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to cut our budget… “

He said he is fully supportive of the President’s ‘austerity program’ to reduce the budget deficit “that’s why we are not going to ask for any increase in our budget.”

Never mind if the drastic budget cuts would spell doom to the more than 7,000 jailed; 10,000 stranded and 108 OFWs on deathrow.

Curing Romulo

Romulo, with his defective appointment finally ‘cured’, can now sleep soundly at night knowing that he can no longer be charged with usurpation of authority and misrepresentation for his acts from July 1 until August 9, 2010.

But then again, can an antedated appointment ever cure a defective Romulo?

If we are to ask an entire army of OFWs, whose condition has dramatically deteriorated with Romulo at the DFA’s helm, I think the answer is NO.

The anti-OFW in Noynoy rears its ugly head

With the drastic slash in the funds intended to help overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in distress, President Noynoy Aquino has signaled his administration’s total abandonment of the rights and welfare of millions of Filipino migrant workers abroad.

It was learned during Wednesday’s budget hearing in Congress that Malacanang has trimmed down the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) Legal Assistance Fund (LAF) allocation from P100 million to P27 million in the proposed 2011 national budget.

The LAF is used to pay mainly for the lawyers and interpreters who are hired by the government to defend OFWs jailed abroad, most especially for those who are languishing on death row.

Thus, the Malacanang instigated P73 million budget cut is a death blow to OFWs who are in desperate need of legal help from the government.

Currently, there are more than seven thousand jailed OFWs worldwide and about 180  more are awaiting execution in various death rows overseas.

If the observable indifference of Philippine posts to their plight is bad news enough for them and their families here in the country, it would be unspeakable if they hear about Noynoy’s plan to give our inutile embassy and consular officials more reason to abandon them!

Noynoy should rethink his plan to chop the DFA’s Legal Assistance Fund.

The move is patently illegal as it goes against the provision in the Migrant Workers Act that states P100 million are to be allocated for the LAF annually.

It is also immoral as the drastic budget cut completely flies in the face of more than ten million OFWs, whose “needs” Noynoy  had just wanted the DFA and other concerned government agencies to be more “responsive” to.

Is this what you mean by being “responsive” Mr. President? By chopping the only lifeline our hapless , desperate and locked up kababayans overseas have?