At Ground Level

Asserting national interest in trade negotiations

Though we are mere uzi or bystanders in the ongoing negotiations to forge a Trans-Pacific free-trade bloc, it is interesting, and instructive, to observe the converging and clashing national interests among the 12 countries involved. Final agreement is being difficult to reach, dashing President Obama’s timetable to seal the deal before the US presidential election 

Posted 3 years ago by

HR violations to hound P-Noy in his last SONA

By Satur C. Ocampo A month hence President Aquino will deliver his sixth and last state-of-the-nation address. However much he may embellish his administration’s achievements on the economy, anti-corruption drive and governmental reforms, he will be hounded by at least two unresolved issues: his “dismal record” on human rights and impunity and the Mamasapano tragedy. 

Posted 3 years ago by

A rightful land reform

A “moral imperative and a political necessity” is how a militant peasant organization and advocates of genuine agrarian reform described the launching yesterday of a Philippine Land Reform Movement at the UP College of Social Work and Community Development. Averring that the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (extended by legislation called CARPER, which ended on June 

Posted 3 years ago by

How US easily drags Phl into its ‘war on terror’

By Satur Ocampo Take what I have to say in the spirit of academic discussion, she counseled in her lawyerly manner. But academic views are more than what she said thereafter: they provide explanations for many questionable acts of the Aquino government in its relations with the United States. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has 

Posted 3 years ago by

P-Noy’s accountability on Mamasapano tragedy

By Satur Ocampo “What decisions did I make? My decisions were based on information available to me at the time, and that’s how I want to be judged.” That’s how President Aquino premised his “tell-all” speech last Thursday about the tragic Oplan Exodus counterterrorism operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25. He deemed his speech 

Posted 3 years ago by

Underdevelopment inertia 

Besides the slowdown in the growth of gross domestic product last year (to 6.1% from 7.2% in 2013), government economic planners have acknowledged that national poverty incidence in the first half of 2014 rose to 25.8%, from 24.6% in first-half 2013. In 10 of the 17 regions the Philippine Statistics Authority recorded double-digit spikes in 

Posted 3 years ago by

Govt shields US role in Mamasapano tragedy

If you have monitored the Senate hearings on the January 25 Mamasapano tragedy and the media reportage, can you adjudge as truthful the government assertion that there was no American involvement in the planning and execution of Operation Plan Exodus to “take down” Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman? Foreign Affairs Secretary 

Posted 3 years ago by

US hand in SAF tragedy confirmed

ndeed the Americans did it. They planned, funded, and closely monitored the execution of “Operation Wolverine/Exodus” carried out last Jan. 25 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao by the PNP Special Action Force they had trained and equipped. The objective was to arrest or kill Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir alias “Marwan” and his alleged local bomb-making associate, Abdul 

Posted 3 years ago by

Can GPH-NDFP peace talks gain ground in 2015?

Only 18 months remain of President Aquino’s six-year term.  He bows out in July 2016. In the new-year spirit of fulfilling a resolution — or an electoral-campaign promise he made in April 2010 — will P-Noy resume formal peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines with the goal of signing at least 

Posted 3 years ago by

Torture in US, Philippines: We need to be outraged

Torture — including the most brutal type used by state security forces on suspected “enemies of the state” — is back in media focus both in the United States and the Philippines. And human rights groups are challenging both Presidents Obama and Aquino: “What are you doing about it?” Last Tuesday, eve of International Human 

Posted 4 years ago by