Thursday, December 29, 2011

Solutions for global challenges can only be achieved through solidarity – UN officials

From the Website of United Nations


Solutions for global challenges can only be achieved through solidarity – UN officials

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
20 December 2011 – Top United Nations officials stressed today that solutions to current world challenges can only be achieved if countries practice solidarity among themselves, calling on States to establish partnerships and dialogue to make progress on issues such as climate change, poverty and conflict prevention.

“Solidarity must be the foundation for global solutions,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message marking International Human Solidarity Day, observed annually on 20 December. “In a world of common challenges, no nation can succeed on its own, but by working together in common cause, we can build a safer, more prosperous future for all.”
Our times demand something different. We need big thinking, bold action and efforts to connect the dots among global challenges
In his message, Mr. Ban recalled calling on world leaders at the General Assembly debate in September to pay greater attention to five imperatives: achieving sustainable development, preventing conflict, stopping human rights abuses, mitigating the impact of natural disasters, and engaging the talents of women and young people. Without solidarity, Mr. Ban stressed, none of these can be achieved.

“This will not happen by itself. Nor will it happen with business as usual. Our times demand something different. We need big thinking, bold action and efforts to connect the dots among global challenges,” he said.

General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser echoed Mr. Ban’s remarks, highlighting that the current economic crisis, a constantly changing political sphere, and extreme weather conditions all threaten to slow down development if they are not tackled in a concerted manner by States.

“Common challenges require common responses. It is my wholehearted belief that solidarity, cooperation, and partnership between Member States, the UN system and civil society are the cornerstone of efforts to move forward,” Mr. Al-Nasser said.

Mr. Al-Nasser also emphasized the importance of solidarity between developed and developing countries and said the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil in June will be “a distinct opportunity to reinvigorate the international community’s commitment to achieving its sustainable development goals, as well as reaching global consensus on the eradication of poverty and global inequality. It is our chance to ensure that the benefits of sustainable development are extended to people of all countries.”

Virginia Dandan, the UN expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity, said solidarity should be seen not as mere rhetoric or act of charity, but as an effective way to respond to threats, drawing strength from partners and expressing a common humanity.
“Solidarity should, and must be a positive force in the lives of people and of nations, and must therefore be protected from exploitation and corruption,” she said, adding that world leaders should see it as a key factor for progress.

“Our common future is at risk and our common present is under grave threat and yet, world leaders continue the illusion that the crowds and their loud clamour for justice and fair distribution of resources, will eventually tire and go away in due time,” she said. 

“Their shortsightedness comes with the inability to see the chain that links together climate change, food crises, water scarcity, energy shortages, population pressure and displacement. These global challenges require multilateral global responses.”

Website of United Nations


CPP slams Aquino ceasefire violations

From the Website of PRWC

CPP slams Aquino ceasefire violations

Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines
December 26, 2011

Citing initial reports from the New People's Army (NPA), the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today slammed the Aquino regime for violating its own ceasefire declaration as its armed forces continue to wage its Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression against the people.

The CPP cited reports from Abra, Surigao del Sur, Isabela and Rizal provinces.

* In Abra, two truckloads of soldiers belonging to the 50th IB occupied Sitio Sagsagod of Barangay Saccaang, Sallapadan on December 21 while another platoon occupied Barangays Palaquio and Tabiog in the municipality of Bucay. In violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL), some of the operating troops stationed themselves inside the population centers and even at the Tabiog Elementary School while other troops scoured the mountains. The soldiers told the residents that they intend to stay up to the end of the year.

Around the same time, a van and two 6×6 trucks occupied the Barangay Hall of Barangay Gangal, a few meters away from Gangal Elementary School. Another AFP platoon disrupted a wedding in Barangay Naguillan, Sallapadan by unceremoniously entering the barrio after their combat operations. At present, 50th IB troops are also encamped inside the barangay hall and at the Barangay Bila-bila plaza in Sallapadan.

* In Surigao del Sur, residents of Tandag City complained last December 16 about the continuing presence of armed troops of the 36th IB Community Organizing for Peace and Development (COPD) team in the barangay hall of Barrio Mabuhay, which has been used by the AFP soldiers as their detachment. These troops are responsible for the increasing number of cases of military abuses since their deployment to the area in September. The residents were hoping that the COPD would be withdrawn with Aquino's ceasefire declaration.

* In Isabela, armed troops of the 5th Infantry Division launched a search-and-pursuit operation in San Mariano on December 16, on the very day that the AFP issued its ceasefire declaration. A section of the 17th IB was also transferred to San Mariano from its former base in the adjacent province of Cagayan.

* In Rizal, armed troops of the 16th, 59th and 76th IB continue to launch offensive military operations in the towns of Jala-jala, Pililia, Tanay, Baras, Rodriguez and Antipolo City under the guise of conducting peace and development operations. Not a single unit of the AFP has been ordered to go back to their barracks.

The CPP said the continuing military operations of the AFP under Oplan Bayanihan expose the duplicity of the Aquino regime and the AFP. They show that the 18-day ceasefire order is an empty declaration that serves only to cover up the continuing terrorist activities of the military, police and paramilitary forces.

PEACE TALKS - GPH peace panel lauds P-Noy’s approval of truce with CPP-NPA-NDFP

From the Website of OPPAP


GPH peace panel lauds P-Noy’s approval of truce with CPP-NPA-NDFP

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Posted on Friday, 16 December, 2011 - 09:41

Manila, Dec. 16 – The government peace panel in talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP) lauded President Benigno Aquino III’s call to approve the 18-day ceasefire with the communist rebels.

The President declared his approval of the suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) after the budget signing on Thursday.

The ceasefire will take effect today, December 16 and will run up to January 2.

“We are hopeful that the CPP-NPA-NDFP will reciprocate this gesture of the President with their own ceasefire albeit unilateral,” government chief negotiator Alex Padilla said.

“Besides giving our people 18 days of peace in this Holy Season, we hope this becomes a prelude to a longer, more meaningful ceasefire that will allow peace negotiations to continue and bring our nation to a just and lasting peace.”

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles also expressed her determination to carry on with the peace process.

“It shows that the government hears and heeds our people’s call for a peaceful Christmas and seeks, through this, to nurture people’s hopes and persistent efforts to attain peace in the coming year,” Deles stated. “Our security forces will maintain defensive positions through this period, but for the sake of our people, we hope that all groups will refrain from actions that will disturb our people’s celebration of this holy season.”

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which recommended the SOMO to the President, also showed its support in winning the peace.

“The AFP remains supportive of the government’s peace initiatives and will continue to exhaust all measures and avenues leading to a just and lasting peace for the nation,” AFP Spokesperson Col. Arnulfo Burgos said.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda also took note that a ceasefire will do good to both parties: “It’s always an opportunity for the rebels to come down from the mountains and be with their families.”

Last year, a holiday ceasefire ensued from December 16 to January 3 as the government and the CPP-NPA-NDFP prepared for the resumption of the formal peace talks.

OPPAP Website


Friday, December 09, 2011

At the inauguration of the new Epson Precision Philippines, Inc. facility in Batangas

From Website of GPH Government of the Philippines

Right to Work and Economic Rights

His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
At the inauguration of the new Epson Precision Philippines, Inc. facility in Batangas

[Delivered at Lipa City, Batangas, on December 8, 2011

Director General Lilia de Lima; His Excellency Toshinao Urabe; Mr. Minoru Usui; Mr. Osamu Koshiishi; Mr. Kazuyuki Amano; Mr. Tadaaki Hagata; honorable Mayor Meynardo Sabili; Mr. Tomas Alcantara; Epson Precision Philippines, Inc. officials and employees; fellow workers in government; honored guests; ladies and gentlemen:

In the welcome address delivered in Filipino, I feel compelled to speak in Japanese. [Laughter] Unfortunately, the only word that comes to mind right now is arigato gozaimashita.

Since I assumed office, I have had the good fortune to be invited to a significant number of inauguration ceremonies—from hotels, to shipyards, to factories similar to the one being inaugurated today. You all know how busy the schedule can get, but I must tell you: Whenever I’m invited to something like this, I do my best to make time and attend.

It’s always been important to us that businesses operating in this country find success and expand, and that new factories like this open here. And in these uncertain times, I would say that it is doubly important. So allow me to say that I am very thankful for your confidence in our country and that it is a privilege for me to be here to inaugurate this new factory with you today.

It is a point of pride for me that companies like Epson, who already have a workforce of more than six thousand people in this country, have been impressed enough by the skill of our workers to expand their manufacturing operations here. Again, let me say arigato gozaimashita. I have always said that the resourcefulness, the work ethic, and the ingenuity of Filipino workers are some of the biggest selling points in attracting investments in our country. And this factory, which will produce products for a world-renowned industry leader, is proof positive of the capabilities of our countrymen.

Epson Precision Philippines is putting in around 4.5 billion pesos into this new factory, which is to become a projector production facility. But so soon before it’s done, there are already some encouraging projections being made—that by the end of 2012, this factory will be giving jobs to 2,000 more qualified Filipinos. And who knows, perhaps by the time I step down from office, you will have employed much more than that.

We all know how 2,000 new jobs can serve as a substantial boost to our economy, but think about how it changes the lives of the 2,000 Filipinos who will then be able to earn a decent living, keep food on their tables, and send their kids to school.  More than that, these 2,000 Filipinos will also have the opportunity to work for EPPI, a company that has a reputation for treating its workers right, winning the Outstanding Employer Award given by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority three times in the past six years. [Applause] So I cannot emphasize how much this new facility can help our country.

I’d also like to point out that the inauguration of this factory significantly contributes to one of the cornerstones of our economy—the electronics industry. People outside the industry might not know this, but the electronics industry directly employs around half a million Filipinos—and this number has been steadily growing. Moreover, last year, the amount of investments made in the industry reached a record high: 2.3 billion dollars. And if that doesn’t drive home how important the electronics industry is, from January to September of 2011, it accounted for half of the entire country’s exports. Suffice to say, your sector has always been one of the strong points of our economy, and make no mistake about it: We have every intention of keeping it this way.

Allow me to share with all of you what we’re doing to improve the investment climate for companies in the electronics industry. For one, PEZA-registered enterprises such as yours receive a number of fiscal incentives—from income tax holidays, to exemption from export taxes, to duty-free importation of equipment. Likewise, the government provides significant fiscal and non-fiscal incentives under the Omnibus Investments Code for companies registered with our Board of Investments.

In addition, the Board of Investments has also been working closely with the Advanced Research Center for Development and the Congressional Commission on Science and Technology, to improve science, engineering, and technology research and development systems in the country.

We’ve also been working with organizations such as the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines, the Electronics Industries Association of the Philippines, and the Philippine Appliance Industry Association to make sure that your concerns are both heard and addressed at the soonest possible times.

We are also aware of how the recent global crisis has made life a bit harder for all of us, including export-oriented companies like yours. So, in this light, we have been working overtime to come up with strategies to strengthen exports, including those in the electronics industry. We’ve been diversifying access points to manage risks in export sales. We’ve been studying prospects in North and South America, in North Asia, and in some ASEAN partner countries as well. We’re also actively conducting export promotional activities such as fairs, and outbound and inbound missions. We are continuously monitoring the situation, and we are doing what we can so that the environment you operate in remains conducive to growth.

We all know the challenges facing the global economy at this time. Your continued confidence in my country signifies a shared mindset: Stability does not simply mean letting things be. When something doesn’t work, you have to move to fix it—even if it means ruffling a few feathers, and even if it means taking some risks. Otherwise, strategic goals will never be met. The strength of any corporation, any institution, any government, lies in the integrity upon which its ideals too are upheld. Passivity means erosion. By expressing their confidence in my country, EPPI has shown that they recognize this—that they believe our principles in governance will have concrete, long-term benefits for our country.

What we’re doing, after all, is about more than the economy, more than Filipinos being able to afford good Christmas dinners for their families—it is also about what Epson itself refers to as “Exceeding Your Vision.” It is about encouraging more excellent companies such as EPPI to invest here, and to be confident in selling products labeled “Made in the Philippines.” It is about reclaiming our national pride; it is about being proud of the country we will bequeath to our children.

So before I end, to those who will be working in this factory: I will never tire of saying how proud I am of the capacity of Filipinos workers to rival their global counterparts in any field. I know that it’s easy to be inspired after grand inaugurations such as this, but I am hopeful that even years from today, even when your gears are in full swing with the day-to-day grind, you continue to find it in yourselves to do the good work you will undoubtedly be doing once this factory begins operations. It was the same with this job of mine. It is easy to envision change, but we can only reach it by putting our heads down and putting in the work needed to achieve that change. I assure you, if we fulfill our respective roles in the collective task of rebuilding this country, we will ensure that this country remains in the broad light of day.

Again, congratulations, and before I end, may I just say again how thankful and grateful we all are for the confidence expressed by Epson Corporation. When the welcome address was delivered entirely in Filipino, it seemed to me the culmination of a true partnership that will undoubtedly lead to positive growth for both of our interests. And again, we thank you. Perhaps, we will show you, and I am sure and confident that we will indeed show you that your decision to trust in us will reap you the corresponding rewards. [The] government is committed to making business or doing business in this country that much easier. The opportunities you afford us—I am told that there is a multiplier effect of seven employees for every direct hire. So with the two thousand—or is it three thousand—that you have expanded today, you’re adding another 24 thousand jobs to the economy. And again, we thank you. We hope to empower you more as you empower us.
Thank you. Good day.

CPP twits AFP "ceasefire" talk

From the Website of PRWC


CPP twits AFP "ceasefire" talk

Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines
December 06, 2011

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today twitted the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for announcing that it was considering declaring a holiday ceasefire as reports of the military's year-long record of human rights violations appeared in the media. "This is just a way for the AFP to draw away attention from its dismal human rights record," said the CPP.

"All year long, the AFP is on a rampage committing one fascist act after another, imposing martial law and carrying out Palparan-style population control, food and economic blockades in peasant communities."

"For the people, it makes no sense for the AFP to declare a ceasefire if military units do not relent in setting up camps and detachments inside their communities and schools, taunt and force the people to follow the AFP's 'guardia civil' policies, harass and prevent them from working in their fields and earning their keep," said the CPP.

"What sense is there in declaring a ceasefire in the face of the continuing failure of the Aquino regime to put to justice officials and personnel of the AFP that have committed fascist crimes in the past," pointed out the CPP. "The most notorious of this lot, Gen. Jovito Palparan, continues to roam scot-free, despite clear evidence that he was personally responsible for the abduction, torture and murder of UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño and many others."

"There can be no peace without justice," declared the CPP.

"In a desperate effort to suppress the peasants' struggle for land reform and the minority peoples' defense of their ancestral lands against the incursion of foreign mining companies and plantations, the US-Aquino regime is waging 'Oplan Bayanihan' which is nothing but an all-out war of fascist violence against the people," said the CPP. "In less than a year, despite all its 'peace' and 'human rights rhetoric', Oplan Bayanihan has proven itself to be no different from Oplan Bantay Laya, the brutal war of suppression of the previous nine years."

The CPP said violations of human rights are on the rise especially those being committed by the AFP while they conduct so-called "peace and development" operations in rural communities. The AFP has been conducting brutal campaigns of suppression in the Cordilleras, across Bicol and Eastern Visayas, in Negros and Panay islands, in the Davao, Agusan, Surigao and Cotabato provinces, in Bukidnon and other areas.

GPH to MILF: We look forward to peace deal in 2012

From Website of OPPAP               

GPH to MILF: We look forward to peace deal in 2012

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Posted on Wednesday, 7 December, 2011 - 17:37

“This administration is looking forward to forge a negotiated political settlement in the first quarter of next year.”
Marvic Leonen

Kuala Lumpur, Dec. 7 - Government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel chair Marvic Leonen challenged the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to come up with a peace pact in 2012.

“This administration is looking forward to forge a negotiated political settlement in the first quarter of next year,” he said on Wednesday as the 23rd formal exploratory talks between the two parties concluded in the Malaysian capital.

Leonen described this round of formal talks as productive. “I agree with my counterpart (Mohagher Iqbal) that we have moved forward. The exchange between the two parties in the past three days has been frank, cordial and very professional.”

“We have laid our cards on the table, talking straight following daang matuwid (straight path) or Al sirat al-mustaqim,” he said. “We have now to build a stronger partnership – a partnership built on the strength of both – government and MILF. We agree with the MILF that any partnership should be sought at the soonest possible time to real autonomy.”
The GPH panel chair said he envisions the peace agreement with the MILF as “inspired by the Islamic virtue of Amanah qilafah or trust, stewardship and accountability.”
“It is in that spirit that we made a proposal to the MILF,” he added.

Leonen said that President Aquino has likewise expressed high hopes on forging a peace pact in the soonest possible time. In a media forum on Tuesday, the President said that he is “reasonably confident that we are both (gov't and MILF) after the same goal which is the attainment of a just peace.”

“It’s really a question of semantics,” President Aquino stated. “They (MILF) have a phraseology that we are not exactly comfortable with; we have phraseology that they think is a little bit weak.”

“But I think, in substance, we are on the same level, on the same plane and we will get closer and closer to that meeting of the minds with everybody’s assistance, of course,” the President added.

On the same note, MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal said that “the talks have moved forward,” but both parties still have a long way to go. “Hard and prolonged discussions for the past three days is just a tip of the iceberg,” he added.

Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato’ Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed also conveyed the same confidence. “I see some light, progress towards achieving real and lasting peace.”

IMT mandate to be renewed

In a joint statement, both parties agreed to renew for another year the mandate of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) which will expire in March 2012. Likewise, they agreed to adopt the Terms of Reference (TOR) of its Humanitarian, Rehabilitation and Development Component.

Composed of representatives from Malaysian, Brunei, Libya, Japan, Norway and European Union, the IMT monitors the ceasefire, civilian protection component, rehabilitation and development, and socio-economic agreements between the government and the MILF.
Both parties are set to meet again in January 2012 to continue their discussions on the substantive issues.

In closing, they extended their appreciation to President Aquino “for his commitment to a just and lasting peace in Mindanao” and to Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tan Haj Abdul Razak “for his continued support in the facilitation of the GPH-MILF peace talks.”

They also thanked the members of the International Contact Group, namely Japan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Conciliation Resources, Muhammadiyah and The Asia Foundation, who were present during the talks

Tuesday, December 06, 2011



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Sunday, December 04, 2011

Philippines – United States Reaffirm Alliance

From the Website of DND

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Strategic Assessment

Date16 Nov 2011 
Department of National Defense, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City 
Tel. Nos: 911-7171 / 421-2201 CATEX 9116001-12 loc 8148/8149 Fax No.: 4212201

Philippines – United States Reaffirm Alliance

The Philippines and the United States reaffirmed their collective commitment to meet their obligations under the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT). Embodied in the “The Manila Declaration” signed by PH Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the presence of Secretary of National Defense Voltaire T. Gazmin and US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. on 16 November 2011, the renewed commitment marks the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the MDT.

The Manila Declaration recalls the long-standing partnership between the Philippines and the United States as well as reiterates the strong commitment of the two countries in various areas of cooperation, ranging from defense and security to trade and economics. On defense and security, the two countries pledged to maintain “a robust, enduring and responsive security partnership…to enhance the defense, interdiction, and apprehension capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines”, advance mutual security through a high-level strategic dialogue, and further collaboration on regional forums such as the ASEAN Regional Forum, the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus and the East Asia Summit (EAS) to address security concerns such as climate change, nuclear proliferation and extremism.

On board the USS Fitzgerald where the signing took place, Secretary Gazmin acknowledged that the MDT enables both countries to protect and assist each other in times of war as well as work together to mutually enhance each other’s capabilities in times of peace. Meanwhile, Secretary Del Rosario noted the importance of a “flexible, reliable and interoperable” alliance especially in maintaining peace and stability in the West Philippine Sea. Secretary Clinton expressed appreciation for the enduring PH-US ties and conveyed the importance of gaining the people’s political support, promoting an adaptive and flexible alliance, and strengthening collective defense capability and communications infrastructure. These will ensure the alliance’s relevance and effectiveness to address security challenges.