Monday, September 14, 2015

women's participation in ‪‎peace‬ and ‪‎democratic‬ ‪‎governance‬ in Myanmar‬/Burma‬

ASEAN Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression (SOGIE) Caucus stands in solidarity with the women of Myanmar/Burma as they call and assert for a free, inclusive and meaningful political participation. ASEAN SOGIE Caucus upholds the belief that a legitimate form of governance requires that people, the rights-holders, have access to all spaces and processes of decision-making especially on matters affecting their lives.

We express deep concern that the Myanmar government has imposed restrictions to political participation, including the curtailment of freedom of speech and expression, which limits opportunities to hold the military and others in authority accountable. We also express concern over the increasing state sanctioned discriminatory measures on the basis of a person’s SOGIE, which has resulted to arrests and stigmatization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons[1].

ASEAN SOGIE Caucus hope that as all people stand side-by-side with the call for gender equality in peacebuilding and democratization, we also continue to challenge and work towards the eradication of social beliefs, customs and practices that disadvantage people on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Pnoy and BBL

Pres. Benigno C. Aquino III or Pnoy for short is performing badly in social surveys since the Mamasapano debacle where 44 members of Special Action Force (SAF) were killed in what was beleived as misencounter between the elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) last January 25. SAF was on a mission to get Marwan and Basit Usman who were tipped to have been hiding in the area controlled by MILF. Although MILF leaders denied having information about the two wanted terrorists, some quarters doubted the claim of the group. 

The incident occurred at a time where the government and MILF were in the process of working for a long and lasting peace for Mindanao through the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law or BBL. Sadly, the "miscounter" which also claimed lives of members of the MILF and some civilians in the area plunged the nation into a hated debate in view of the BBL as a roadmap to peace for Mindanao, long-battered with ill-effects of armed conflict with the moro rebels. Many quarters have questioned the integrity of the MILF on claims that they hid the high-profile terrorists - Marwan who got killed by SAF members. Usman was able to escape. 

Social surveys claimed that Pnoy's popularity significantly nose-dived which could be translated as waning support from the public. Politically, these issues will have negative impact on Pnoy who is on his last lap of his term as the nation will hold another presidential election in May 2016. With the remaining time, we don't know how BBL will fare with the critical issues faced by the president who is pressured to get peace work done. So the second editorial cartoon I drew depicts how Pnoy deals with the question on how to address peace problem in Mindanao.

The third editorial cartoon depicts the issue on maternal deaths in Davao Region. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mike 1, Bingo!

"Mike1, Bingo!" members of the assault team belonging to the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) excitedly informed their comrades awaiting developments of their operations to get Zulkifli Abdhir last January 25 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Marwan had been tagged as Osama Bin Laden of Southeast Asia for bombing incidents which were attributed to him by local authorities and the US. 

Mamasapano is an area in Maguindanao (Maguindanao hogged headlines due to the infamous Maguindanao massacre occurred about 5 years ago) believed to be controlled by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the MILF-split group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). The sample finger of Marwan matched to the DNA of the most-wanted terrorist in Southeast Asia, as announced later by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

While it succeeded in getting or killing Marwan who accordingly put a fight before he was shot and killed in his place, the operations were a catastrophic when about 44 elite forces were killed when they were engaged by armed men allegedly belonging to the combined forces of MILF and BIFF. The elite group was trying to regroup to their comrades when they were fired upon from various directions. A commando who survived the clash told reporters that there many shots came from high location so that commandos were hit on the head and through their kevlar helmets. It was a very lopsided fire-fight. Interviewed MILF members who took part in the clash claimed that they were surprised of the attack knowing that a ceasefire between the Philippine Government and the MILF was in effect.  

PNP officials said that the Operation Plan Wolverine was well-planned. But this is not true as there were serious blunders at the very start. PNP-SAF commandos were in a very disadvantage location when they became easy targets of their enemies. They were in the middle of a cornfield where covers could not be found. The area is also surrounded by a river with a muddy and sticky bank. This is the same river that the commandos traversed to get near the lairs of Marwan by crawling.

If proper coordination was planned, casualties could have been minimized. Reports claimed the Philippine Army failed to respond as they could not determine the exact battleground. More 300 PNP-SAF who were around also, reports claimed, refused to help the embattled commandos. A survivor told media he wondered why they did not reinforce.  

The MILF has been at war for over 40 years. The recent development includes an agreement with the administration of Benigno Aquino III to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which is hoped will be Mindanao's seed for a lasting peace. At the moment, we are not sure how the authorities would handle the situation. We don't doubt the sincerity of the MILF leadership's commitment to the peace accord being worked out, but the incident in Mamasapano raises questions which demand answers. For one, what Marwan was doing an area they control?   

It is hard to look elsewhere and forget the fate of the fallen 44. But war is not always the answer towards building a long and lasting peace. The fallen 44 were a big loss for the people of this country. There were costly blunders in an mission which started planning in April 2014. The death of Marwan and his bounty of USD5million could not compensate the precious lives of our fallen heroes. We hope justice will be served.

disclaimer: photo was lifted from inquirer  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Some Editorial Cartoons

Happy New Year! Three editorial cartoons for 2015 after taking a break from regular blog posting since my last post. When was that? Lol. Surely I miss this thing. Since the last post I made on this site, there were already countless hot issues which hogged the headlines but failed to land here. These editorial cartoons were in for 2015. The first drawing tackled one of the craziest scandals in the Philippines. Probably you heard or read about the news - how some big-time druglord inmates in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) lived in their so-called cells packed with the amenities of life. It appeared that they still continued with illegal activities even when they were locked up. The scandal was only uncovered when Department of Justice Sec. Leila Delima, raided the cells last year. Obviously, those anomalies were not possible without the knowledge of the people in the management of the NBP.

The second editorial cartoon dealt with the 2015 national budget of the Philippines. The portion on debt servicing was our concern. With its lion's share, the government has to make "both ends meet" through exacting more tax collection.

The third drawing tackled the possible political sabotage on the continuing effort to effect a sustained peace process in Mindanao. In a bid to end the armed conflict in Mindanao, the Government of the Philippines entered into a peace process arrangement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), giving them the chance to govern their own affairs. While this is being worked out, there were incidents of bombing which to my mind, acts which could possibly disrupt the peace efforts.       

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Editorial Cartoons on Partisan Politics in Tacloban

Typhoon Yolanda or Typhoon Haiyan was one of the strongest typhoons to ever hit the Philippines. We know how it wilfully lambasted Tacloban City and other areas in the Central Visayas region. The damage was heart-rending. Countess lives were lost as many people caught up in a storm surge. Homes and buildings were destroyed as typhoon plowed through the defenseless region.

As we focused on providing immediate relief support for the hapless victims of Typhoon Yolanda, partisan politics also cropped up to our dismay. Such issues are uncalled for in time of calamity, hence the topic of the editorial cartoons.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Assorted Editorial Cartoons

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Joint Statement of Malaysian-Philippine CSOs

Standoff in Lahad Datu: Engage in Dialogue Now with all stakeholders to resolve the crisis peacefully 

We the undersigned Civil Society organisations (CSOs) from Malaysia and Philippines are extremely concerned over the on-going standoff between the Malaysian security forces and followers of the Sultanate of Sulu’s heirs, Jamalul Kiram III at Lahad Datu, Sabah. We the CSOs, together with all individuals, organizations and networks, urgently call upon President Benigno S. Aquino III of the Philippines, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak of Malaysia and Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, to disavow all forms of violence, and instead supports dialogue as the primary mechanism for a resolution to the siege.

We are very concerned and worried about the security of civilians in Lahad Datu, Semporna and the surrounding villages and we would like to see a peaceful solution to resolve this ongoing problem. According to media reports, at least sixty (60) people have been killed in Lahad Datu, Semporna and Kampung Tanduo, Sabah.

We believe the situation in Lahad Datu requires swift and peaceful intervention. We urge all parties to resist from using force while remaining committed to dialogue and negotiation throughout this process.

We are also very concerned with the lack of real-time information with respect to what has actually taken place so far in Lahad Datu. Up to this point the information received through the Malaysian news media lacked transparency and created unnecessary rumours and assumptions about the situation. The people has rights to get the information on on-going issues in Sabah. 

In this context, we call on the governments of Malaysia and Philippines and the Sultanate of Sulu to:
  • Immediately declare a HUMANITARIAN CEASEFIRE so that agencies concerned can take immediate measures to ensure the safety of women, children, elderly and other vulnerable persons in the affected area.  And provide “safe zones” where humanitarian organizations and relevant agencies can install facilities to be accessed by those who are injured and require immediate medical care; 
  • Take immediate steps to end the use of violence and to engage in dialogue with all stakeholders to resolve the crisis peacefully. 
  • Take proper measures to ensure that in the process of resolving the crisis, the human rights of everyone involved are respected and protected especially civilians from Lahad Datu, Semporna and nearby villages;
  • Take immediate measures to secure the safety of journalists who chose to access the area at all times to ensure fair reporting and dissemination of information to the general public;
  •  Cease and desist from using excessive force and armed violence to end the prevailing conflict;
  • Initiate an independent and impartial investigation into the killings that has taken place and make the findings of the investigation public.
We fervently dissuade all the principals involved from brinkmanship by instead living up to your respective legacies as genuine leaders of your people with honor and dignity.

We urge you to come to terms with the unfolding of events that has serious implications on many lives and social institutions.  We all can’t afford that this will escalate into a grave humanitarian crisis spilling over into other nearby villages aside from Lahad Datu and Semporna, Sabah.

Time is of the essence.  The world is looking at you, now.

Civil Society of Malaysia and Philippines
March 8, 2013

Please sign this joint statement to show your concern, support and commitment to resolve the issue in Sabah in a peaceful manner.



Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
Women's Centre for Change (WCC) 
ALIRAN (Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara)
Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility
Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)
Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
Justice for Sisters
Seksualiti Merdeka
Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
Community Action Network (CAN)
Persatuan Sahabat wanita Selangor
Community Development Centre (CDC)
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
Malaysia Youth & Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)
All Women's Action Society (AWAM)
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)


Mindanao PeaceWeavers (MPW)
Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)
Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID) 
Free Burma Coalition – Philippines (FBCP) 
Active Citizenship Foundation (ACF) 
Agri-Aqua Development Coalition, Mindanao 
AGONG Peace Network, Mindanao
Akbayan Citizens Action Party
Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL)
Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao (AFRIM)
Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc
Banwaon One Tribe, One Territory, Mindanao
Center for Peace Education – Miriam College
Citizen’s Peace Watch 
Civil Peace Service Program – Southern Christian College
Coalition of Social Development Organizations
Coalition for the Development of Sibuguey – Western Mindanao
Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Governance
Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society
Council of Organized Social Service Agencies in Mindanao
Derepa te Erumanen ne Menuvu, Mindanao 
Focus on the Global South -Philippines
Gitib Inc., Mindanao
GZO Peace Institute 
Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas (HRDP)
Institute for Comparative and Advanced Studies (ICAS Phils)
Institute for Popular Democracy (IPD)
Interreligious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP)
IQRAA Islam Foundation
KAGDUMA, Incorporated, Mindanao
Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP)
Kebager te Ked-Inged, Mindanao
Kahugpongan sa Mindanaw 
Khairul Bariyyah Youth Movement (KBYM)
Landcare Foundation of the Philippines, Inc
Lumad Mindanaw Peoples’ Federation
Mindanao Peoples Peace Movement
Mindanao Peace Advocates Conference 
Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO   Networks (MINCODE) Secretariat  
Mindanao Alliance of Self-Help Societies – Southern Phils Educational Cooperative Center
Mindanao Congress of Development NGOs and NGIs –Mindanao
Mindanao Indigenous People Women Development
Mindanao Solidarity Network (MSN)
Network for Transformative Social Protection
Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka  (PAKISAMA)
Partnership of Philippine Support Services Agencies – Mindanao
Pakigdait, Incorporated
Paghiliusa sa Paghidaet – Negros (PsP-N)
Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM)
Partido ng Manggagawa (PM)
Pasaday Manobo Association (PAMAAS)
Pax Christi Institute - Philippines
Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ)
People’s Alternative Studies Center for Research & Education in Social Dev’t (PASCRES)
People’s Global Exchange (PGX)
Philippine Action Network to Control Arms
Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court
Philippine Human Rights Information Center (Philrights)
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
Philippine Business for Social Progress - Mindanao
Philippine Partnership for the Devt of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PHILDHRRA)
Pinay Kilos
Rajah Buayan Cultural Institute (RBCI)
Redemptorist Center for Social and Ecological Concerns - Mindanao 
Shariful Hashim  Cultural University (SHACUS)
SOCSKSARGEN Sociological Society
SPREAD – Oblates of Notre Dame
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)
The Peacemakers’ Circle Foundation
Women and Gender Institute
Women Engaged in Action on 1325 (We Act 1325)
Women’s Human Rights and Legal Bureau (WLB)
World March of Women – Pilipinas
Young Moro Professionals


Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict – Southeast Asia (SEA-GPPAC)
Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)
Asia-Pacific Movement on Debt & Development (JSAPMDD)
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific (CATW-AP) 
International Peace Bureau (IPB)
ISIS International
Media Defense- Southeast Asia

NABODHARA, Bangladesh

Generation Wave Institute

Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF)

East Timor Students Solidarity Council (ETSSC)

Asienstiftung (German Asia Foundation)
Philippinenbüro – Asienhaus

Burma Centre Delhi

All Nepal Peasants Federation (ANPFa)
All Nepal Women Association (ANWA)

Center For Peace & Civil Society (CPCS) 

Prof. Anuradha Chenoy, University of India
Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy, University of India
Mr. Ramon Casiple, IPER, Philippines 
Ms. Sia Phearum, Director, HRTF Cambodia
Mmk, Tggw, Myanmar

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

WWF Malaysia visits this site

One of the visitors of this blog is WWF Malaysia. Knowing the well-meaning work of WWF, I wanted to help it by promoting its site as linked. World Wide Fund for Nature needs our support. For you, I quoted from the site of WWF-Malaysia this sidebar explanation: 
Around the world, WWF works with communities, governments and businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Protection of Forests
Forests play a vital role in the fight against climate change. Forests are important carbon sinks and deforestation is estimated to be responsible for about 18% of current greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, forests have significant economic and ecological value by supporting biodiversity, clean water supply and local livelihoods.

WWF-Malaysia, though our conservation work on the ground, strategically addresses critical forest issues in Malaysia. Our forest work aims to:

Increase the coverage of forest protected areas (PAs) and improve the management of existing PAs, improve the management of production forests by promoting and facilitating responsible forestry and trade, restore degraded areas especially where there is need to maintain critical forest linkages and enhance the value of forests and its services via promoting financial mechanisms such as Payment for Ecosystem Services as well as Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Degradation.

Your support will enable us to continue our mission to reduce the effects of climate change and work towards conserving a living planet for our future. Thank you for pledging to Live Green!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Senate on Fire

One of the issues that shook up the Senate is the question over the MOOE or Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses that the senate president is giving to the senators. 

As tradition in the upper lawmaking body, MOOE is not to be accounted for or that reporting is not strict. That is ironical because MOOE is people's money afterall. It became more controversial because the senate president who had discretionary function to disburse the funds, as alleged, played politics by giving the funds to allies.

The update was that Senator Enrile resigned from the post.  

Climate Change

Recently, Davao Region experienced heavy rains that caused rivers to burst to their seams inundating communities nearby and some low-lying areas including Davao City. Affected residents fled to evacuation centers.     

The tailend of a cold front was blamed for the natural calamity that struck the region and other parts of Mindanao, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geographical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

But we are alarmed of the "message" these recent events brought to us. The strong typhoons that lambasted some regions in Mindanao last year and the flashfloods which plowed through the economic bases and homesteads of the hapless victims are an indication that something is wrong with pattern of the climate.

Mindanao used to be typhoon-free. We were made to believe then. And I remember when I was about six years old when a strong typhoon was reported to hit Davao. This was during the early seventies. And because of that news, some of our neighbors had to stay overnight in the two-storey house of our grandparents. Also, local businessmen loved to talk about Mindanao as ideal place for agri-production because it is claimed to be typhoon-free while Luzon and the Visayas Region were/are not. 

But if we look back at what happened last year - how Typhoon Sendong and Pablo wiped-out a number of communities, we are afraid to say that the phenomenon of climate change is for real as far as Mindanao is concerned.