Monday, 22 March 2010

Summary of my blog entries

Using a tool on, one can make a balloon image of the most frequently used words in one's blog. Check out the link below to see mine! It is no surprise that, having lived in Davao City for a year, the word 'killings' jumps out...

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Friday, 21 August 2009

Cracked Mirrors

In september zal een groepje voormalige straatkinderen uit de Filipijnen in Leuven een eigen theaterproductie opvoeren. De kinderen vertellen, zingen en dansen hun verhaal, dat van de straat, en de kracht en volharding die hen verandering bracht. De voorstelling is georganiseerd door het Vlaams Internationaal Centrum in samenwerking met de Provincie Vlaams Brabant. Het is een mooi initiatief en het wordt vast een heel interessante voorstelling, dus twijfel niet om langs te gaan! Je steunt er ook projecten in de Filipijnen mee!

Kapwa's 30th Birthday Anniversary :)

KAPWA UPLIFTMENT Celebrates 30th Founding Anniversary


kapwa anniversary

The KAPWA Upliftment Foundation marked its 30th anniversary celebration on July 3, 2009 at KAPWA Office located at Juna Subdivision, Matina, Davao City. With its theme “Building Partnership for Sustainable Development”, the ocassion was actively participated by former colleagues , development partners, IP leaders of partner communities and friends of KAPWA.

The celebration commenced with a thanksgiving mass celebrated by Fr. Emeterio Barcelon, SJ, the founding Chair of KAPWA Upliftment. A short program followed, with Mr. Ferdinand Marañon, KAPWA Board Chairman, welcomed the guests and visitors to the activity. Fr. Barcelon S.J., inspired the visitors especially KAPWA workers with his inspirational talk encouraging KAPWA workers to be more dedicated and committed in sharing its mission of service to others towards building a better future. A brief presentation on the KAPWA history was shared by Ms. Alma Monica de la Paz, the Executive Director. Central to its celebration was the book launching of KAPWA’s publication entitled “Change and Challenge”. This highlighted KAPWA’s experiences and learnings in their struggles of assisting the Indigenous peoples and upland communities in improving their quality of life while restoring the environment in the uplands.

For the past 30 years, KAPWA has devoted its services to serving the rural poor who live in deforested areas. It has provided services that have enabled them to acquire rights over the land they till, organize start up collective enterprises and enabled them to adapt farming systems appropriate to upland areas.

KAPWA has also trained non-government organizations, community based organizations and church workers on forest tenure and agroforestry technologies. We have worked side by side with local governments and other government and civic groups to protect our natural resources and restore degraded sites.

Founded on July 3, 1979, inspired by Fr. Emeterio J. Barcelon, S.J. as an entity to nurture service to others based on the teachings of the late Fr. Pedro Aruppe, S.J., then Jesuit Father General.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Germans to light candles vs extrajudicial killings in the Philippines

Written by Dateline Philippines
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 09:33

MANILA, Philippines – Members of Protestant churches in Germany will light more than 1000 candles in the city of Bremen on May 22 to call attention to the continued political killings in the Philippines.

The activity, dubbed “Sumabay Tayo! Walking together – for justice!” is part of the “Kirchentag,” a biennial gathering of German Protestant churches that is based on a theme and draws thousands of people from all faiths, Hannah Wolf, spokeprson for the activity, said in an emailed statement.

The candles will commemorate each of the more than 1,000 activists and political dissenters murdered since 2001, when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power.

Among the victims of extrajudicial killings are church people, lawyers, journalists, human rights defenders, farmers, workers, students and trade unionists.

The protesters will also launch a signature campaign meant to pressure the Philippine government to “investigate the killings, compensate survivors and relatives of the victims, and to end not only the political killings, but all human rights violations in the Philippines.”

Wolf, in the statement, said the activity’s organizers fear a deterioration of the “existing climate of impunity” with retired general Jovito Palparan’s assumption of a congressional seat representing the party-list Bantay.

Palparan is accused by human rights groups of responsibility for hundreds of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in areas he was assigned to as a military commander.

“Palparan is known beyond Philippine borders as a notorious human rights violator who, like others, must be prosecuted and brought to justice,” Wolf said.

Philipp Bück, coordinator of the German-based Action Network Human Rights-Philippines, said in the same statement: “More cases need to be prosecuted and perpetrators punished, particularly with regards to command responsibility within the police and military.”

In March, the network conducted a mission in the Philippines to look into the implementation of recommendations by various international human rights experts and groups on how to end the killings and disappearances.

Recently, United Nations special rapporteur Philip Alston, in a follow-up report to his fact-finding mission in 2007, said the government has failed to implement any of his recommendations and, thus, failed to quell the impunity that encouraged the commission of extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses.

In his original findings, Alston blamed most of the murders on a government counterinsurgency strategy that deliberately targeted members and leaders of legal organizations that authorities openly tagged legal fronts of the communist rebel movement.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Duterte Revisited - Mayor under Siege (At Last...)

Some time ago I posted an interview on this blog with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte:

Since then, the case of the vigilante killings in Davao City has snowballed. In February 2009, Davao City set a sad record. 80 people were murdered. The highest death toll in the shortest month of the year... The Commission on Human Rights headed by Attorney Leila De Lima came to Davao City to investigate a presumed connection between Mayor Duterte and the so-called Davao Death Squad. Duterte, as usual, denied the existence of the Davao Death Squad as well as any connections between the city government and the vigilante killings. Something doesn't quite add up, of course. Duterte prides himself in having rid his city of drug-pushers, rapists and murderers, but a gang of killers going about executing those very same criminals without taking the pains of disguising themselves somehow escaped his attention...

Attorney De Lima - who heads the commisision - rightly emphasized that Mayor Duterte is responsible for the killings any which way. Either he orchestrates the killings, in which case he should be put to trial and sent to prison. Or he merely tolerates it, which would make him a felony to serial killing. Or he really is powerless in stopping the Davao Death Squad, which would make him a highly inept mayor. His city, after all, is the murder capital of Mindanao. Not quite the haven of safety he advertises it to be.

Yet, in my personal opinion, there is someting even more disturbing about the whole case. Even if it were true that Duterte has nothing to do with the killings and that his only responsibility lies in his unwillingness or ineptness to stop them, then there is still that one startling fact: the vast majority of the people in Davao City assume that Duterte is behind the Davao Death Squad, and they applaud him for it. You will be hard-pressed to find anyone genuinely shocked about the killings. Even among local NGO people, it is not uncommon to hear people sanction the killings because 'it has made Davao City a safer place for ordinary citizens'. Although I can understand the people, I do think that there is something terribly wrong with an electorate that massively tolerates extra-judicial killings...

Friday, 1 May 2009

Final Presentation

So there I was... After months of visiting projects, talking to people and documenting snippets of their lives in pictures, the time had come for me to present my writings to the people I had been writing about: the Bagobo-Tagabawa of Mount Apo. I was pretty nervous, as you can imagine. It was also time to let go of scribbled notes in Cebuano and just speak from the top of my head (with a trembling voice, I admit, hehe). It was nice to see all the tribal leaders gathered and a real privelege for me to present my work to them. It must be odd to see yourself in print, but the stories were well received by the leaders. If all goes well, the stories will soon be published...

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Cebu Prisoners Perform "Thriller"

Here is an infamous video of Cebu prisoners doing Thriller. Yes, in the Philippines, convicts develop their dancing skills as part of their prison sentence. I saw it on Edward's blog, and I thought it was too good not to share it with you. Enjoy!