At Ground Level

Basic problems as root causes of armed conflict

Thirty-three years ago the late Jose W. Diokno, eminent senator, human rights defender and quintessential nationalist, identified four “basic problems” of Philippine society, thus: 1. Widespread deep poverty among our people and inequality in wealth, privilege, and power; 2. Although supposedly independent, we are not really sovereign. With their military bases, the US government and 

Posted 3 years ago by

My ‘love affair’ with the justice system

On April 7 I’ll turn 75 years old. I had thought that my life – 50 years of which I have dedicated to activism for social and political change — would now move on towards relative quietude. Until I got an unexpected birthday gift: a rekindled “love affair.” No, not the kind you may instantly 

Posted 3 years ago by

Killings of activists: 173 under P-Noy’s watch

It seems that we will not see the ending of extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations under this second Aquino administration. What we have seen were continued killings with impunity — and not only of political/social activists. These were largely perpetrated through a method flagrantly used during the previous Arroyo government: killers-in-tandem aboard motorcycles. 

Posted 3 years ago by

AFP counterinsurgency drive inside public schools

In pursuing its counterinsurgency program, dubbed “Oplan Bayanihan,” the Armed Forces of the Philippines has used schools, hospitals, clinics, and religious places in blatant violation of certain national and international laws and conventions. From July 2010 to December 2013, the human rights alliance Karapatan said it had documented 18 cases of minors as victims of 

Posted 4 years ago by

AFP counterinsurgency drive inside public schools

In pursuing its counterinsurgency program, dubbed “Oplan Bayanihan,” the Armed Forces of the Philippines has used schools, hospitals, clinics, and religious places in blatant violation of certain national and international laws and conventions. From July 2010 to December 2013, the human rights alliance Karapatan said it had documented 18 cases of minors as victims of 

Posted 4 years ago by

Inequality blurs global recovery

A tempered sense of euphoria, spurred by developments in the US economy (the world’s largest, with gross domestic product at $16.245 trillion), qualifies the assessment that the global economy’s growth would pick up in 2014 and “finally overcome its hangover” from the 2008 financial-economic crisis. Tempering the euphoria is the acknowledgment among economists, analysts, and 

Posted 4 years ago by

Gatecrashing Nelson Mandela

Tomorrow the South African people, to whom he dedicated his lifetime struggle for freedom, justice, and peace ­— and his millions of supporter-admirers all over the world — will give Nelson Mandela a farewell salute as his body is laid to rest in Qunu, his boyhood village. Earlier, tens of thousands of South Africans, international 

Posted 4 years ago by

Parallels: Pork barrel, insurance, pre-need scams

By Satur Ocampo This column’s August 17 piece (“Insurance Commission remiss in regulating pre-need firms”) has elicited more reader reactions. Let me cite just two: • Leah Valientes rails against the Philippine Prudential Life Insurance Co., owned by the family of the late “businessman-philanthropist” Daniel L. Mercado Sr., run by his son, Daniel Jr. (chairman) 

Posted 4 years ago by

P-Noy mum on human rights, GPH-NDFP peace talks

By Satur C. Ocampo Last August 2, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process issued a quaint statement through its website. It’s titled, “Goodwill, sincerity will move GPH-CPP/NPA/NDF peace process forward.” It quotes remarks by Alexander Padilla, head of the government panel in the GPH-NDFP peace talks, which convey the impression that 

Posted 4 years ago by

Mandela on armed struggle

By Satur C. Ocampo In homage to his physical resilience versus the logic of the inevitable, one wishes that Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, will hold on at least until his 95th birthday on July 18. It is a certainty that he’ll live forever – as an exemplar of moral and political leadership, 

Posted 4 years ago by