The Inbox
  • Commentary

    By Ellen T. Tordesillas

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    Forty-four members of the Special Action Force, the elite group of the Philippine National Police, were killed by the rebel Muslim group the Aquino government has signed a peace agreement with. Yet, social media denizens are in an impassioned discussion over Philippine Miss Universe pageant candidate MJ Lastimosa’s “cake gown.”

    Last Monday, Direk Joey Reyes  posted this in his Facebook wall: “Dear Janet, Now you can be at ease. There is another woman more hated than you in the Philippines.Take care.”

    Janet, of course, is Janet Napoles, the pork barrel queen through whom senators and congressmen robbed billions of the people’s money.

    Thinking it was Social Services Secretary Dinky Soliman, who rounded up almost 500 destitute families in Pasay and Manila and brought them away from the sight of Pope Francis and the foreign press during the Papal visit two weeks ago, I commented, “Korek, Direk.”

    Reading the other comments, I realized the subject of the

    Read More »from Confronted with brutal realities, what do Filipinos do?
  • By Jake Soriano, VERA Files 

    Following complaints, budget carrier Cebu Pacific now aims to be more sensitive to the needs of passengers with disabilities.

    At the company’s request, National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) Acting Executive Director Carmen Zubiagalast week led in the orientation of flight cabin staff and reservation officers of the airline.

    “Discussed during the seminar workshops were international treaties and commitments of the Philippines, disability laws and common perspectives on disability,” said Zubiaga.

    “Thehighlightof the activity weresharings and lectures by persons with different types of disabilities on how they should be treated as customers and the assistance they need to avoid inconvenience during travel.”

    Some 25 supervisors from different Cebu Pacific departments such as flight services and ticketing attended the training.

    The airline made the request for a disability awareness and sensitivity seminar in preparation for their international flights to

    Read More »from Cebu Pac seeks training on handling PWD passengers
  • By Jake Soriano, VERA Files 

    Cotabato City — Every municipality in Maguindanao is expected this year to have an office for persons with disabilities (PWDs), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) here said.

    The provincial board unanimously approved last month an ordinance directing local governments to create a Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) down to the municipal level.

    DSWD Maguindanao focal person for PWD issues Nestor Cabigas Jr. said the department is set to conduct site visits over the next two months to check compliance.

    The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) ordered the establishment of PDAOs nationwide in a memorandum issued in September 2010 pursuant to Republic Act 10070, the law ensuring the implementation of programs for PWDs.

    But Maguindanao, being part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which exercises self-governing powers, could not implement it right away.

    Kailangan mo muna idaan sa Regional Assembly

    Read More »from Maguindanao to have PWD offices soon
  • Commentary

    By Ellen T. Tordesillas

    President Aquino has not yet spoken on reports, confirmed by Social Services Secretary Dinky Soliman, about the government banishing 490 homeless persons to a Batangas resort during the five-day visit of Pope Francis.

    But  his  deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte  said, “Wala naman hong ganoon. Parang insulto din sa bisita  kapag  sinabi mong ‘pag tinago niyo, hindi na niya malalaman’.Hindi naman natin din tinatago ang estado… Makikita naman ‘yan sa official statistics.”

    Insulto talaga.

    A journalist friend thinks it was not for Pope Francis that the government removed the destitute from Metro Manila’s streets. It was the foreign press that were coming to cover the Papal visit that they were more concerned about.

    The Aquino administration tried to present a lie.  Unfortunately for them, the lie was  uncovered. Time Magazine, The Guardian and the international wires wrote about it.

    Reports said on Jan. 14, the day before Pope Francis

    Read More »from Dinky’s family camping:Senseless and hypocritical
  • Text and photos by JAKE SORIANO, VERA Files

    Persons with disabilities (PWDs) are now guaranteed the best market for their products and services: the government.

    The signing last year of the implementing rules and regulations of Executive Order 417 or the Economic Independence Program for PWDs, is key to providing sustainable livelihoods for PWDs, say advocates.

    “PWDs are usually taught enough skills to engage in business, but we are left to compete in the regular market,” said Emer Rojas, the sector’s representative to the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), during last week’s forum on sustainable development for PWDs by the Alyansa ng may Kapansanang Pinoy (AKAP-Pinoy).

    Tinuturuan tayo ng kung ano-anoGumawa ng sabongumawa ng kandila… Eh kung hindi mabentaanong gagawin natin sa kandilaHintayin na lang natin, gamitin natin pagka-nakaburol tayo (We PWDs are taught soap-making or candle-making skills, but there is no stable market for these products. What do we do with unsold

    Read More »from Seize economic opportunities provided by law, PWDs told
  • Commentary

    By Ellen T. Tordesillas

    China’s activities in the South China Sea, not surprisingly, figured prominently in the fifth Philippines-United States Bilateral Strategic Dialogue held Tuesday and Wednesday in Manila.

    The joint statement on the meeting, co-chaired by Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Evan P. Garcia and Undersecretary of National Defense Pio Lorenzo F. Batino for the Philippines and by Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel and Assistant Secretary of Defense David Shear for the United States, stated that “ The two sides expressed concern over developments in the South China Sea that are inconsistent with the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and international law and emphasized the importance of upholding peace and stability, respect for international law, unimpeded lawful commerce, and freedom of navigation and over flight. “

    The joint  statement further said, “ The two sides reiterated that international

    Read More »from State Dept official: U.S. takes no position on South China Sea conflict
  •  

    By Norman Sison, VERA Files

    On the second day of his memorable visit to the Philippines, Pope Francis celebrated mass for the local clergy at the Manila Cathedral. In his welcome remarks after the ceremony, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the Archbishop of Manila, related to the Pope how the cathedral was repeatedly destroyed by fire, earthquakes and one war throughout its 440-year history.

    Most Filipinos know that the church was gutted in World War II, when American troops rooted out the Japanese in the 1945 Battle of Manila.

    But almost buried in the history was a Catholic priest, Pedro Pelaez, who was among those who perished when the church collapsed during a strong earthquake in 1863.

    Among the Philippines’ pantheon of heroes and historical figures, Pelaez is nearly a footnote to Filipinos. But his place in Philippine history is no less significant.

    The story of Pelaez, whose  efforts marked the beginning of the Filipino nationalist consciousness, provides an ironic backdrop to

    Read More »from Fr. Pedro Pelaez remembered with Pope Francis’ Manila Cathedral mass
  •  Commentary    

                 

    By Ellen T. Tordesillas

    I don’t do online purchases for fear that information about my credit card would be mis-used.

    That’s why I was surprised and outraged when I got a notice by email the other night that I was being charged two purchases, $39.99 each totalling  $79.98 almost $80.00 or P3,600.00.

    The items downloaded  were both Disney story time from ITunes.

    I don’t do business with I Tunes and definitely not with my credit card.

    My BDO visa was hacked!

    I reported the fraud to Apple.

    I also called up BDO which confirmed the two charges. The customer officer said they will investigate the subject of my complaint and the first step was for me to accomplish the Dispute Form they would be sending me. Meanwhile, they said they would be blocking my account.

    They also said they would still be billing me for those fraudulent purchases.

    I told the customer officer that I will not pay for those items I did not purchase. I also terminated my account.

    When you

    Read More »from Hacking negates convenience credit card offers
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    DSWD Maguindanao focal person for PWD issues Nestor Cabigas Jr. urges PWD voters to go out and register.

    By Jake Soriano, VERA Files

    Cotabato City – Persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) who still have not registered should do so now, an election coalition said.

    While nationwide voters’ registration is set until October 31 this year, the schedule is tighter for those within the ARMM because of the looming Bangsamoro plebiscite, as well as the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections in February.

    Kung plebiscite tayo ng June, ang makakaboto lang yung approved ng April 20 (If the plebiscite pushes through in June, only those approved by the Election Registration Board hearing on April 20 can vote), said lawyer Udtog Tago, provincial election supervisor of Maguindanao, during a stakeholders meeting led by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) on Tuesday.

    Voters must therefore register on or before March 31 to make the cut, he

    Read More »from Register now, PWD voters in ARMM urged
  • By Ellen T. Tordesillas

    This visit of Pope Francis is heartwarming as it is awesome.

    To those who will brave the heat (hopefully it doesn’t rain), the long walk, the long wait, hunger and thirst, bless your courage and your determination.

    I hope and pray that our love for Pope Francis will include taking care of our environment. I hope that as we try to cleanse our soul, we will make sure that we don’t dirty our surroundings.

    The EcoWaste Coalition said last year, during the celebration of the World Environment Day on June 5, Pope Francis urged everyone “to make a serious commitment to respect and protect creation, to be attentive to every person, to counter the culture of waste and disposable, to promote a culture of solidarity and of encounter.”

    “The Pope’s visit is an opportune time to roll out a campaign that will show our people’s unity and determination to switch to a ‘Zero Waste Pilipinas’ where waste prevention and reduction is the norm of life,” said Aileen Lucero,

    Read More »from Heed Pope Francis’ appeal to end culture of waste

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