The 2009 Philippine Blog Awards

Friday, November 27, 2009

PERSONAL PICK: Maguindanao Massacre

I joined the Facebook group
We Condem the Maguindanao Massacre, Justice for the Victims!
Like the almost three (3) thousand members of the group, I share the group description
"All Filipinos should come out and condemn the Maguindanao massacre. let us not let this pass, let the world know, specially the Philippine government that we will not stop until justice is delivered to the victims of the Maguindanao massacre.

We have come to be known to ourselves and to the world as a nation that suffered from the Ondoy and Pepeng, came together as one to help each other, drew strength from each other then to a glorious and magnificent definition of a Filipino capable of being a champion boxer making world boxing history admired by all to a simple man in Cavite who on his own efforts took the pains of educating his neighbors by pushing a push cart through the streets and becoming the CNN hero of the year.

From that lofty and admirable high spot we are now, we Filipino are now reduced to this - inhumane, barbaric, monstrous killers of helpless men and women - killing, raping, putting bullets on all parts of the body of now 57 people.

They are wives, fathers and siblings of Filipinos, they are also our brothers and sisters. We must not stop. We must demand for justice. Let us save the Filipino".

The Maguindanao massacre, also known as the Ampatuan massacre (after the town where the mass graves were found), occurred on the morning of November 23, 2009, in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao province, on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. The victims were about to file a certificate of candidacy for Esmael Mangudadatu, vice mayor of Buluan town. Mangudadatu was challenging Andal S. Ampatuan, Jr., son of the incumbent Maguindanao governor Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr., in the forthcoming Maguindanao gubernatorial election,[1] part of the national elections in 2010. Those killed included Mangudadatu's wife, his two sisters, lawyers, and aides.

The massacre occurred after about 100 Ampatuan gunmen allegedly abducted a convoy of aides and relatives of a rival politician, Esmael Mangudadatu, plus a group of journalists.

The victims were snatched as they were travelling in a six-vehicle convoy to nominate Mangudadatu as the opposition candidate for provincial governor in next year's elections.

They were shot at close range, some with their hands tied behind their backs, and dumped or buried in shallow graves on a remote farming road close to a town bearing the Ampatuan name.

Fifty-seven bodies have been recovered so far.

Ampatuan Jr. is the son of Maguindnao's governor, a Muslim clan chief of the same name who commands his own private army and until this week was a close ally of President Gloria Arroyo's ruling coalition.

Maguindanao is a part of the lawless Mindanao island, where Muslim clans rule vast areas backed by their own private armies, often out of the national government's control.

Ampatuan Sr. had been grooming his son, currently a local mayor, to take over as governor of Maguindanao.

The victims' relatives alleged the Ampatuans organised the murders so that Mangudadatu would not run for that post.

The killing was really horrifying and the deadliest attack to humanity.

It reminds me of the horror of the Holocaust. The Holocaust began in 1933 when Hitler came to power in Germany and ended in 1945 when the Nazis were defeated by the Allied powers. The term "Holocaust," originally from the Greek word "holokauston" which means "sacrifice by fire," refers to the Nazi's persecution and planned slaughter of the Jewish people. The Hebrew word "Shoah," which means "devastation, ruin, or waste," is also used for this genocide.

In San Francisco, there is a Holocaust Memorial which I visited in February 2009. The Holocaust ideals are embodied in the wall inscriptions.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

PROPERTY POINT: Salvage Zones Utilization

Client wants to know if it can utilize an area constituting a salvage zone.

Under Article 51 of the Presidential Decree No. 1067, otherwise known as “The Water Code of the Philippines”, Salvage Zone is defined as “the zone of three (3) meters in urban areas, twenty (20) meters in agricultural areas and forty (40) meters in forest areas, along their margins, subject to the easement of public use in the interest of recreation, navigation, flotage, fishing and salvage. No person shall be allowed to stay in this zone longer than what is necessary for recreation, navigation, floatage, fishing or salvage or to build structures of any kind”.

The Philippine Ports Authority has jurisdiction over all shorelines or salvage zones. It cannot, however, grant an exemption for the individual personal use of the shoreline. Based on our representation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), we learned that the available option is for client to file a Foreshore Land Application.
By definition, Foreshore land is “that part of the land immediately in front of the shore; that part which is between the high and the low water marks and alternately covered with water or left dry by the flux or reflux of the tide.” Thus, a foreshore could be the twenty (20) meters of salvage zone in agricultural areas.

Under the 1973 and 1987 Constitutions, an individual may lease not more than 500 hectares and a corporation may lease not more than 1000 hectares. The term of a foreshore lease is twenty-five (25) years renewable for another 25 years. Like any other public land applications, foreshore lease applications should be filed at the DENR-Community Environment and Natural Resources Office within whose jurisdiction the land applied for is located.

Section 13 of the DENR Administrative Order No. 99-34 provides the procedure for applying for the Foreshore Lease.

1. Filing of the application with the CENRO;
2. Preliminary Investigation and Appraisal;
3. Survey of the Land;
4. Recommendation to the official concerned for the approval of the appraisal and request for the authority to lease the land through bidding;
5. Approval of Appraisal and grant of Authority to Lease the land through bidding;
6. Payment of the publication expense if the appraise value of the land exceeds P240.00;
7. Publication of the Notice of right to lease the land;
8. Public auction and submission of report of bidding;
9. Order of Award;
10. Preparation of the Lease Contract;
11. Letter to the Applicant enclosing copy of the Lease contract for signature;
12. Letter forwarding the lease contract to official concerned for his approval and notarization;
13. Letter transmitting to applicant the approved Lease Contract.