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Archive for December 10th, 2008

Arroyo wants ‘defense fund’ for kids

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Issues AO on protection of human rights

By Joel Guinto
First Posted 17:37:00 12/10/2008

MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday signed an order for all government agencies to strengthen their efforts to uphold human rights and, at the same time, ordered the social welfare department to set up a “defense fund” for children.

Under Administrative Order 249, all government agencies and local government units were directed to “strengthen and ensure compliance to their existing policies, plans, and programs as they would enhance government’s overall effort in the promotion and protection of human rights.”

“We are committed to further refining our procedures for the promotion and protection of human rights. That’s why, to that end today, I signed an administrative further strengthening government policies and programs for human rights,” Arroyo said in a speech during the 60th anniversary commemoration of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in Malacañang.

Arroyo also urged the nation to pool its efforts to protect the rights of children, who she said comprise a “precious, valuable but vulnerable sector” as she expressed concern over the alleged fielding by the communist New People’s Army (NPA) of minors in combat, and the welfare of children displaced by the fighting between security forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the south.

“To move the enhancement of children’s rights to a higher level, I talked to the secretary of social welfare this morning, and I said I’m directing her and the council for the welfare of children to [work on] the pooling of a children’s defense fund which shall document and help prosecute cases of child abuse and exploitation everywhere,” she said.

Specific orders were also given to:

• The Department of Justice to exhaust all legal means to resolve human rights cases and implement an updated comprehensive legal education campaign;

The Departments of National Defense (DND) and Interior and Local Government (DILG) to enhance human rights training for their personnel, and ensure the protection of the rights of persons displaced by their operations;

• The DILG to spearhead the capability-building for human rights of local government units;

• The Department of Education (DepEd) to establish centers for human rights education in public schools as well as assess the implementation of its human rights education exemplars.

Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairperson Leila de Lima, reporting during the same event on the human rights situation in the country, said the year “was marked with triumphs and challenges” with “the right to life remains at the forefront,” referring to the continued spate of extrajudicial killings.

She cited the murder of 10 persons during the robbing of the Rizal Commercial and Banking Corp. branch in Cabuyao, Laguna, and the subsequent deaths of what authorities described as suspects in a supposed shootout in Batangas province but which relatives of the fatalities insist was a rubout.

De Lima also cited the disappearances of activist Jonas Burgos and University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño, who the military is accused of abducting.

Meanwhile, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita called “not fair” the statement of Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, calling the human rights situation in the country a source of “shame and embarrassment.”

“I think it’s not fair really to be too general to say that human rights violations are very rampant, which [they are] not; and we are doing something about it, that’s the important thing,” he said in an interview with reporters at the Palace.

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Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002008-12-10T10:06:08+00:00+00:0012b+00:00Wed, 10 Dec 2008 10:06:08 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am12

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Pacquiao nixes talk of politics

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 12:42:00 12/10/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Boxing hero Manny Pacquiao shunned talk of politics, saying he is focused on his sports career, ready to take on anyone who will challenge him.

“I don’t want to discuss politics right now. I’m focused on my boxing career,” Pacquiao told reporters in Malacañang Wednesday when he paid a courtesy call on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“It’s still a long way to go before the elections. Let’s think about how we can unite first, how we can progress and move the nation forward,” he said in Filipino.

Immediately after he beat Oscar de la Hoya via knockout in Las Vegas over the weekend, rumors spread that Pacquiao would seek a congressional seat in Quezon City.

Pacquiao failed in his first try at politics when he ran and lost to incumbent South Cotabato Representative Darlene Antonino-Custodio in the 2007 elections.

Pacquiao’s camp is reportedly eyeing British boxer Ricky Hatton, or American Floyd Mayweather as his next opponent.

“Whoever they want me to fight, whoever wants to fight me,” Pacquiao said, when asked who he would take on next.

Pacquiao said he would take a vacation for the Christmas holidays. He will celebrate his birthday in his hometown of General Santos City on December 17, before going back to the United States to join his wife, Jinkee, who is due to give birth to their fourth child later this month.

The boxing hero thanked the nation, and Arroyo, for their prayers.

“Like what I always say, this victory is not mine alone, it for every Filipino,” he said.

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Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002008-12-10T05:12:23+00:00+00:0012b+00:00Wed, 10 Dec 2008 05:12:23 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am12

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Arroyo to Pacquiao: ‘It was a mismatch’

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‘There is a bigger God,’ says Pacquiao

By Joel Guinto, Izah Morales
First Posted 10:01:00 12/10/2008

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 2) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, at one point, shadowboxed on her seat, as she and boxing hero Manny Pacquiao talked at length about his stunning victory over Oscar dela Hoya.

Pacquiao, who was in a black long-sleeved shirt and blue jeans, called on Arroyo at the Malacañang Music Room on Wednesday morning, just hours after he arrived from the United States.

“It was a mismatch the other way around. You are not an underdog,” Arroyo told Pacquiao, referring to oddsmakers predictions of a Dela Hoya win.

Pacquiao told Arroyo that some sportswriters apologized to him for underestimating him.

He also said that having trained hard for the fight, he knew that “pagpasok ko sa ring, kasama ko ang Panginoon [when I entered the ring, I knew God was with me].”

Arroyo presented Pacquiao with a fondant carrot cake, in the shape of a red boxing glove, with “World’s number one pound for pound boxer” written on it.

Pacquiao, who arrived early Wednesday, attended a thanksgiving mass in Quiapo Church in Manila.

In a short speech before the crowd, Pacquiao recalled how some people told him that he had a “big problem” with De la Hoya.

But Pacquiao said that while he had a big problem, he assured them that there was a “bigger God who was much better.”

Speaking in Filipino, Pacquiao said, “Sabi nila malaki ang problema ko, pero sabi ko malaki nga ang problema ko, pero may Panginoon naman na napakagaling.”

But Pacquiao said he had this to say to those who didn’t believe him, “Don’t tell God I have a big problem, but face your problem because we have a big God.”

Monsignor Clem Ignacio celebrated the thanksgiving mass that started at past 8 a.m.

Environment Secretary Lito Atienza and Deputy National Security Adviser Chavit Singson, were with Pacquiao.

Boxing fans filled the church as Manila police secured the area.

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Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002008-12-10T05:11:21+00:00+00:0012b+00:00Wed, 10 Dec 2008 05:11:21 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am12

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