The Inbox
  • 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
  • By Jake Soriano, VERA Files

    THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) will conduct special satellite registration for voters living within the proposed Bangsamoro Core Territory ahead of a possible plebiscite in the region.

    The election body issued in December a resolution instructing election officers to conduct special registration of voters in 204 barangays in Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Basilan, North Cotabato and Lanao del Norte.

    The resolution is part of the Comelec’s preparations for a possible plebiscite to ratify the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which is still pending in Congress, and to determine the region’s core territory.The draft law was transmitted to Congress on Sept. 10, 2014.

    The law, which seeks to address the 40–year conflict in Mindanao, is based on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in March 2014.

    “Ta-trabahuin pa yan (We are still working on it),” said lawyer Udtog

    Read More »from Comelec orders registration in 204 villages for Bangsamoro plebiscite
  • By Chickie Locsin, VERA Files

    Redentor Betito, 36, used to work as a part-time pin boy and a watch- and -wash your car boy. He is now coordinator of the Cebu City Task Force for Street Children (CCTFSC) program, a non-government organization offering street children shelter and option for a more meaningful life.

    At any given time, there are 30 children at its Parian Drop-in Center, a processing facility before they are transferred to the care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development or other member agencies of  CCTFSC.

    NGOs dedicated to social services are dependent on the generosity of philanthropists and funding agencies. The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) used to be a good source of funds until Janet Lim Napoles and some corrupt legislators diverted the funds to their pockets.

    That CCTFSC continues its operations minus money from PDAF is credit to the foresight of Margot Osmeña, wife of former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena, who established the Children of

    Read More »from Cebu’s program for street children survives sans PDAF
  • Commentary

    By Ellen T. Tordesillas

    The firing of Filipino nurse Ello Ed Mundsel Bello by the Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore for his Facebook rant against Singaporeans once again demonstrates the danger of people being in social media without fully knowing its capabilities and limitations.

    Last week, Bello, under the FB name Edz Ello, ranted on his wall:

    “Now the Singaporeans are loosers in their own country, we take their jobs, their future, their women and soon we will evict all SG loosers out of their own country hahaha. The best part, I will be praying that disators strike Singaporeans and more Singaporeans will die then I will celebrate. REMEMBER PINOY BETTER AND STRONGER THAN STINKAPOREANS.”

    Tan Tock Seng Hospital issued the following statement:

    “We have received feedback from concerned members of the public on inflammatory online posts allegedly made by one of our nursing staff. This is a serious matter. We are a public healthcare institution and we expect our staff to be

    Read More »from Fired nurse in Singapore should read Elbert Hubbard
  • By Jake Soriano, VERA Files

    Upi, Maguindanao–The local police here warned residents against accepting job offers to work as housekeepers in Marawi City due to reported cases of exploitation there.

    The Upi Police Station Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) said illegal recruiters and traffickers have been preying on poor women minors from the barrios.

    With the consent of their families, these young women are usually recruited to work as maids in Marawi, capital city of Lanao del Sur, and once there, are left at the mercy of their employers.

    May umuwi din dito na naging sira-ulo (There was a case where one came home here deranged),” said PO3 Margie Pahati of the Upi WCPD.

    Kasi maltreated sya doon. Hindi sya napapakain o nasasahuran ng maayos. Tapos naging sira-ulo sya (She was maltreated there, was not fed well and paid properly. She became mentally disturbed).”

    Pahati said some victims are not allowed to return home for several years. There were also instances where the names of

    Read More »from Maguindanao town police warn residents vs trafficking modus

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