Archive for March, 2009

Hongkong’s Chip Tsao & his cheap racial slur against Filipinos

March 31, 2009

Tsao in part wrote in his HK magazine column:

“Manila has just claimed sovereignty over the scattered rocks in the South China Sea called the Spratly Islands, complete with a blatant threat from its congress to send gunboats to the South China Sea to defend the islands from China if necessary. This is beyond reproach. The reason: there are more than 130,000 Filipina maids working as $3,580-a-month cheap labor in Hong Kong. As a nation of servants, you don’t flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter.”

“As a patriotic Chinese man, the news has made my blood boil. I summoned Louisa, my domestic assistant who holds a degree in international politics from the University of Manila, hung a map on the wall, and gave her a harsh lecture. I sternly warned her that if she wants her wages increased next year, she had better tell every one of her compatriots in Statue Square on Sunday that the entirety of the Spratly Islands belongs to China.”—Chip Tsao

Reactions of Filipinos

“The most racist, insulting and demeaning attack yet against Filipino domestic helpers.”—Migrante International Sec. Gen. Gina Esguerra

His very announcement that he gave her Filipino maid a harsh lecture and warned her to tell every one of her compatriots that Spartly Islands belong to China or she’d lose her wages, is already a sign of an unstable, irresponsible and racist employer who resorts to verbal abuse even for perceived bilateral and historic infractions. Luisa deserves a sane and more humane employer while he deserves to clean up his own filth.” —–Susan Ople, Blas F. Ople Policy Center.

“According to the meeting of leaders of the Filipino community, they are now preparing street protests]… The sentiment of our countrymen here is that the one who wrote the article, Chip Tsao, should apologize.” —-Romulo Salud, labor attache of the Philippine consulate general in Hong Kong

“We will look into that because we should not be provoked by one columnist. What that writer did was reprehensible. Let’s see what needs to be done. Press Sec. Cerge Remonde:

“If Filipinos stop going to Hong Kong, their economy would collapse. I propose a six-month, nay a one-year boycott of Hong Kong and let’s see what happens to their shops and hotels. We can do without going to HK and HK products.” —- Parañaque City Rep. Roilo Golez Golez.

“I don’t think we should dignify his (Tsao) statement as he is just one person and not a government or Hong Kong official but it is understandable that we are offended,” —–Pres. Spokesman Lorelei Fajardo

“That comment is uncalled for, it’s atrocious. We should protest vigorously against this slur against Filipino workers in Hong Kong,” —-Cebu City Rep. Antonio Cuenco

“I am not asking the DFA file a diplomatic protest. But our government must address this squarely and defend the dignity of Filipinos, If we need to take legal action against Tsao, let us do so. Our government should be in the frontline on this; they can hire a lawyer in Hong Kong if at all and file a case for damages.” —Sen Francis Escudero

“This disgusting, derogatory, and vile remark can only come from dim-witted and mediocre writing. The magazine should apologize straightaway. The article reflects the kind of attitude that promotes abuses against Filipina workers,” —-Rep. Ana Theresia Hontiveros

Filipinos deserve no less than a formal public apology.“—Sen. Pia Cayetano

“It’s the view of one person and we don’t think it is shared by the Hong Kong community and society… I think we ought to take it as that.” —-DFA spokesperson Ed Malaya

“Because of the administration’s failed employment policies, a record number of Filipino women have been forced to seek jobs abroad to make ends meet.”— Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay

“For the protection of migrant workers, the POEA should look into the said allegations, not only confined to forms of physical abuse but also emotional abuse such as public humiliation and verbal harassment.”— Sen. Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri (Photo Credit: Mattviews) ==0=

RELATED BLOG: “A “nation of servants” insults Filipinos in Hongkong” Posted by mesiamd at 3/30/2009

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Davao mayor denies the existence of a death squad blamed for more than 800 murders

March 31, 2009

It’s appalling to learn that since 1998, there are about 800 deaths which the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) attributes to death squads in Davao City. Leila de Lima, chairman of CHR says the unsolved killings are the most audacious violations of human rights prompting an inquiry over the “Davao Death Squad” aka DDS.

There have been reports that killers aren’t afraid of being identified for no one responsible for the hundreds who were killed have been prosecuted. The CHR chief is met with a challenge from Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who denies that death squad exists in his jurisdiction. He blames the deaths to drug traders and gang wars. The mayor ostensibly challenges the CHR to come up with evidence that his government is involved in vigilante killings.

“The Coalition Against Extrajudicial Summary Executions (CASE), composed of rights groups, and religious and concerned individuals, has tallied 814 vigilante-style executions from 1998 to February this year. More killings happened in the city this month. Many of the victims were reported to have had criminal records.”—-Inquirer (03/31/09, Tupas, JM)

Judge Isaac Robillo, the executive judge of the Regional Trial Court of Davao believes DDS exists and is condoned by a “bigger person,” —otherwise, the killings wouldn’t go on for such a long time with unrestrained brazenness.

The Rape & Slay of Rebelyn Pitao

It is said 185 and 45 of the victims are young adults and children respectively—an ignominious record for a place that prides itself of peace and order. The most recent is the brutal slaying of 20-year old teacher Rebelyn Pitao, the daughter of a communist New People’s Army (NPA) commander Leoncio Pitao.

Unidentified men snatched Rebelyn earlier this month while she was on her way home. The following day, she was found dead. Her body disclosed signs of torture and rape. Her father and Duterte tagged the military as responsible for her death.

The huge number of unsolved deaths is mind-boggling. Since 1998, only one case of summary execution has been filed and the public seems comfortable with such an astounding record. By death squad or not, if truly murders happen in the city how nothing has been done for 20 years to stop the lawless killings? De Lima rightfully asks the public to speak out against the immoral practice of taking the life of human beings without judicial process. About 16% of those killed in Davao are between 13 to 17 years old.

The defensive Mayor Duterte is reputedly overbearing in dealing with petty criminals in Davao. If he has nothing to do with the murders, why doesn’t he take the lead to probe the deaths so that justice can be served? Instead of showing lack of cooperation, isn’t it good to work with the CHR to get into the bottom of the crimes? Vigilante killings destroy the public reliance to the rule of law. (Photo Credits: Keith Bacongco; Barryohaylan)=0=

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Abu Sayyaf extremists warn of beheading ICRC captives

March 30, 2009

After two months of holding the three International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) workers in the mountains of Jolo, Sulu, the kidnappers headed by Albader Parad of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group demanded that military, police and civilian forces must leave 15 barangays in five towns in Sulu within 24 hours. The new demand came after three military men died and 19 others were wounded last week in a skirmish between government forces and members of the Islamic extremists.

There are fresh worries that Swiss Andreas Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni, and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba—-the three humanitarian workers snatched by the kidnappers, last January 15, 2009 in Mindanao will be harmed or killed. According to Sulu vice gov. Lady Ann Sahidulla, one of the negotiators said the terrorist group is serious in its threat to decapitate one of the hostages.

The appeal of the ICRC to spare and free the hostages have fallen in deaf ears. With little that it can do, government forces are weighing in on how to resolve the hostage situation which drags on, putting the hostages’ fate in greater danger.

The Abu Sayyaf has a disdainful history of beheading its innocent victims as in case of Peruvian-American Guillermo Sobero who was snatched together with 20 others in a Palawan resort before being killed 8 years ago.

Martin Burnham, a missionary died under Abu Sayyaf hands in a deadly shootout after being held in captivity for more than a year with his wife Gracia. In the past, this violent Islamic group with Al Qaeda ties is known to seek ransom that runs in millions. (Photo Credit: Charlie Saceda) =0=

Pope Appeals for the release of hostages

On March 31, 2009, the Vatican issued an appeal from Pope Benedict to set free the innocent ICRC hostages. The pontiff calls for “humanitarian sensibililty and reason to prevail over violence and intimidation.” His message was sent by the Holy See as the 2 P. M. deadline to comply with the kidnappers’ demand that the military and police pull back from Jolo draws near.

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A “nation of servants” insults Filipinos in Hongkong

March 29, 2009

The Philippines has been a recent target of a snide remark from a pea-brained Hongkong journalist who described the country as a “nation of servants.”

In a magazine write-up entitled on March 27, 2009, “The War at Home” Chip Tsao mockingly wrote that he told his Filipino maid she’d lose her job if she won’t tell her countrymen that Spratly’s islands for which the Philippines has long-standing ownership claim, belongs to China.

Tsao allegedly asserted that the Philippines’ claim on Spratlys was “reproachable,” adding that “as a nation of servants, you don’t flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter.’”—-GMA TV News. (03/27/09)

This is again an insult that parallels the “Desperate Housewife” episode when Fil-Am doctors where maligned as incompetents in a US soap-opera. Some years ago, there is also that dictionary that equated “Filipino” as a synonymous to maids. The disparaging comment of Tsao is certainly foul—another insensitive verbal abuse that could only come from a loose cannon.

Susan Ople, a former labor undersecretary said the Chinese columnist must be declared “undersirable foreign employer” for his racist and arrogant remark. Such can be a weak retaliation to a blistering insult. She also needs to stress that the country must find ways to make jobs available at home and curb the sending of Filipinos abroad. In the long term, the deployment of maids to foreign countries is exploitative, unsustainable, and bad for national pride. (Photo Credit: MattViews x 2) =0=

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Turning off the lights in defense of planet Earth

March 29, 2009

There’s a good feeling that can be derived from participating in the Earth Hour celebration—-a campaign by environmental groups to bring consciousness for the need to conserve our planet’s resources. More than 50 years ago, we have recognized the polluting influence of human activity on earth and only lately that we’re made aware of global warming—a concept of environmental change that divides scientists and laymen—those who believe it is real and those who don’t.

On March 28, 2009, between 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM non-essential lights on the Eiffel tower of Paris, the acropolis of Greece, the ancient Pyramids of Egypt, the Bird’s Nest Olympic stadium of China, Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Basilica, the Roman Colloseum of Italy and the Empire State building of New York City will be dimmed to bring the message of saving the planet.

More than 2,800 municipalities in 84 countries worldwide agree to shut down lights for 60 minutes to mark Earth Hour so that people can “internalize” the issue of caring for the environment. In the Philippines, the streets of Manila together with a hundred more towns and cities will be blackened in solidarity to the Earth Hour.

“The Earth Hour event is a message of hope and action,” Cebu Archbishop Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal said. “We will send this message to our world leaders, so that we can look forward to a meaningful action on their part — an action that can spell a big difference for our world… According to DENR regional secretary Antonio Principe, the country expects to save at least 560 megawatts of power during the one-hour lights off period, equivalent to cutting down roughly 330 tons on carbon dioxide emission.”—-Philstar (03/28/09/ Gatdula, D)

Whether global warming is just part of the normal cycle of the planet or a true man-made phenomenon, it is clear that humanity must work hard to lessen the pollution that foul our environment. The earth is now inhabited by about 7 billion people, a threefold rise in the last 300 years, capable of accelerating environmental damage on the irreplaceable lifeforms of the planet.(Photo Credits: dstueber; Wootang01; Ollik) =0=

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Bishop Rojas named as head of new diocese in Camarines Sur

March 28, 2009

The prelature of Libmanan, Camarines Sur which was canonically created by the late Pope John Paul II in March 19, 1990 had been designated a new diocese by Pope Benedict XVI and appointed Jose Rojas, Jr. as its bishop. This was announced by the pontiff’s envoy to the Philippines, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams. —CBCP News (03/25/09, Lagarde, R)

Together with 51 priests, Bishop Rojas, 52, who is from Naga City serves the new diocese with about 500,000 Catholics in 27 parishes.

For this significant milestone, UP Ibalon Bicol and its members joyously congratulate Bishop Rojas and the entire Libmanan Diocese. (Photo Credit: Libmanantowards20decade)=0=

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World’s largest egg up for sale

March 28, 2009

Believed to be the planet’s biggest egg laid in the 17th century by an elephant bird of Madagascar, the huge orb is up for sale in a Chelsea antique fair.

Offered for 5,000 pounds (about $7,000) in UK this week, the egg has a circumference of more than a meter. It is supposed to have been laid by a now-extinct flightless big bird larger than an ostrich —scientifically called (Aepyornis maximus) which stands about 10 to 11 feet. The egg’s volume is about 160x more than that of the chicken. (Photo Credit: wikipedia; http://wagerwebentertainmente/) =0=

Elephant Bird (Aepyornis maximus)
Source: Answers.com

(Aepyornithidae)
Class: Aves
Order: Struthioniformes
Suborder: Aepyornithes
Family: Aepyornithidae
Thumbnail description: Extinct, large, flightless birds of massive build, known only from fragmentary fossil remains
Size: Some species probably 10 ft (3 m), 880 lb (400 kg)
Number of genera, species: 2 genera; 7 species
Habitat: Thought to have inhabited woodland and forest in southwest Madagascar
Conservation status: Extinct
Distribution: Madagascar

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Opposing Barack Obama as Notre Dame University graduation speaker

March 27, 2009

The campus of Notre Dame University, a Catholic school in Indiana with a tradition of inviting US presidents as graduation speakers is stirred with controversy as the community struggles whether to allow Pres. Barack Obama to address students and receive an honorary degree in a commencement exercise on May 17.

“A public act of disobedience and grave mistake,” says Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of the Phoenix Diocese of Obama’s invitation.

Bishop John D’Arcy of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese refused to attend in protest against the president’s policies.

“Seventy percent of the alumni letters opposed having Obama giving the speech, while 73 percent of student letters supported his appearance.”—–AP (03/27/09, Coyne, T)

Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, one of the largest pro-life organizations in the United States committed to protect humans from conception to death issued a statement which read in part:

“American Life League joins the Cardinal Newman Society and all Catholics of goodwill in condemning Notre Dame University’s defamation of Our Lady through its unconscionable invitation of the leading symbol, hero, and darling of the culture of death.”

Objection against Obama has been sharp because of his staunch support for abortion and stem cell research which the Catholic Church condemns. The chief executive has recently lifted the ban for embryonic stem cell research and offered federal funding for its scientific investigation. He has extended tax-payer money in support to international groups which practice abortion as a way to control population. Angered Catholics feel having Obama and his liberal views contradict Christian moral values.

Those who favor Obama’s graduation appearance say that having the president in the university is an honor—a way of engaging him in a dialogue even when his opinions are diametrically opposed to the core beliefs of Catholics. (Photo Credits: BKWDayton; Hogan 27 world)

RELATED BLOG: “Obama’s stem cell research policy: the use of embryonic cells from helpless unborn sparks religious debate” Posted by mesiamd at 3/10/2009

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DNA test disproves Alfie Patten as Great Britain’s youngest boy dad

March 27, 2009

After the controversy sparked by pubescent fatherhood, Alfie Patten, the kid-faced 13-year old British boy who admitted being the dad of the baby delivered by his 15-year old girlfriend was after all not the father. This was confirmed by DNA test.

Chantelle Steadman, the precocious mother of baby girl Maisie turned out to have shared bed with some older boys other than young Alfie before she got pregnant. (Photo Credit: Stringer/ AFP/ Getty) =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Great Britain’s 13-year old boy-dad” Posted by mesiamd at 2/18/2009

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Finding the right term for the global war on terror

March 27, 2009

The Obama administration wants to retire the phrase “global war on terror” and replace it with “overseas contingency operation”—- This is political correctness pushed by critics who think the old term used by Pres. George W. Bush “justifies human rights abuses including detention and interrogation methods.”

In a directive to administrators and speechwriters, the Obama government seeks to avoid terms like “long war” and “war on terror.” Not everyone supports this fancy recommendation though. Those who know that “a spade is a spade” dismiss this as a wimpy change which lessens the real threat posed by terrorists.

Americans cannot protect themselves by “softening” the terminologies of war. It is dangerous to assume that their enemies will be kind to them by such naive gesture. (Photo Credit: MrMoonKe88; lonesome:cycler) =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rebuffs Obama’s peace message” Posted by mesiamd at 3/22/2009

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