March 6, 2015 · Posted in: General

We have a seminar!

THE Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism will be conducting a series of four four-day investigative reporting seminars in Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and Metro Manila from May-September 2015.

The first leg will be for participants from the Visayas.

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Interested? Want to join or send your reporters? Read more below.

Call for Applications

You can download the application form below.

NOTE FOR DOWNLOADING: Please click on the “download” buttons on this page to download the application form and the call for applications information sheet.

Application Form-PCIJ Investigative Reporting and Elections

A PHILIPPINE anti-graft court has recently dismissed for lack of merit a petition by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada to prevent the garnishment of his properties in relation to a P184-million plunder charge filed against him by the Ombudsman, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

PHOTO from Jinggoy Estrada Facebook page

PHOTO from Jinggoy Estrada Facebook page

The senator is facing plunder charges along with Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Bong Revilla and Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

The Inquirer also reported that in upholding its Feb. 17 order granting the Ombudsman’s petition for a writ of preliminary attachment, the Sandiganbayan said the arguments raised by Estrada in his motion for reconsideration were “unmeritorious.” A writ of attachment or garnishment is similar to a freeze order issued by the courts while a trial is going on.

Click on the photo to read the full report on the Inquirer webpage.

PHOTO FROM Jinggoy Estrada Facebook page | Photo by Albert Calvelo

PHOTO FROM Jinggoy Estrada Facebook page | Photo by Albert Calvelo

Senator Jinggoy E. Estrada, son of former president Joseph Estrada by first wife and former senator Dr. Luisa ‘Loi’ Ejercito Estrada, has straddled the worlds of politics and show business all his life. Over the last two decades, Jinggoy has starred in several films and at the same, been elected mayor of his father’s bailiwick of San Juan City, and later, as senator. Jinggoy is serving his second six-year term in the Senate until May 2016.

How much is he worth?

Click on the photo below to know Jinggoy’s net worth on our MoneyPolitics site.

PHOTO FROM Jinggoy Estrada Facebook page

PHOTO FROM Jinggoy Estrada Facebook page

 

 

LEADERS of the MBC with Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III | Photo from Makati Business Club website

LEADERS of the MBC with Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III, second from right | Photo from Makati Business Club website

BUSINESS leaders urged Congress to resume discussions on the Bangsamoro Basic Law as soon as possible as the nation marks the first anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

The Makati Business Club also renewed its call for the government to put the peace process back on track as it reaffirmed its “continuing and unwavering support” for peace efforts that would put a stop to the conflict in the Philippine South.

Below is the full text of the MBC statement.

As the nation commemorates the first anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the Makati Business Club reaffirms its continuing and unwavering support for the Mindanao peace process, and we renew our call to the government to put the peace process back on track at the soonest possible opportunity.

To enhance the prospects for peace in Mindanao, we urge Congress to resume discussions on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) at the earliest time. Consistent with the position released by 14 esteemed framers of the Constitution last 9 January 2015, MBC shares the belief that the Constitutional principles of genuine human development, social justice, and lasting peace underlie the CAB and, ultimately, the proposed BBL. In this context, we respectfully urge Congress to not allow revisions that would contravene these values nor run against the aspirations of the Filipino people to attain a just, harmonious, and progressive Philippines.

It has been more than two months since the Mamasapano incident. While the search for truth continues, we reiterate our stand that as the nation steadily moves forward from this tragedy, we must not allow political manipulation to take advantage of the legitimate grief and emotion that continues to pervade the public’s consciousness. Rather, sobriety, unity, and reason must be cemented as the guides that will steer efforts of government and the private sector towards genuine peace and in preserving the noteworthy gains that we have achieved in the last four-and-a-half years.

At this crucial juncture in the peace process, let us move forward with sobriety and courage as one united Filipino nation in search of Justice and Peace.

We are reposting this article originally published on the blog on March 30, 2014 .

THE SIGNING of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro is a milestone event, but like all significant events, it is never to be taken in a vacuum.

Decades of fighting and negotiating have left their imprints on this peace agreement, as they have on the first agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front in 1996. As well, years of neglect and prejudice have shaped the public’s view of Muslim Mindanao as they have shaped the Moros’ view of themselves.

PCIJ Multimedia producer Julius Mariveles has put together this soundslide of images and sounds, and facts and figures from the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front last Thursday in Malacanang.

EXACTLY a year ago today, the peace panels of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in Malacañang Palace.

President Benigno S. Aquino III and MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim led the signing that capped at least three years of negotiations between the government and the MILF since Aquino became president in 2010.

The landmark agreement was hoped to pave the way for the creation of a new, unique, and in some ways controversial political subsystem in the country that many hope would put an end to almost four decades of fighting in the Southern Philippines.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak called the agreement “a momentous act of courage” by both the government and the MILF rebels. Razak graced the signing of the agreement in Malacanang Thursday afternoon, since Malaysia has taken a very active role as an intermediary for the two sides.

The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro provides for the creation of the only parliamentary substate in a country that has always had a presidential form of government. The BangsaMoro would take the place of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), an earlier political experiment on Moro self rule that has been branded by both the government and the Moro rebels as a failed experiment.

PRESIDENT AQUINO and

PRESIDENT AQUINO, second from right, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, and MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, led in the signing of the CAB in Malacanang Palace, March 27, 2014 | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

THEY WANDERED into the Palace grounds, some with the confident strides of hardened and fearless combat veterans, others with the uncertainty of warriors suddenly confronted with the violent colors of pomp and pageantry.

Several hundred representatives from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front joined diplomats and dignitaries, government officials, civil society members, and even their old enemies from the Armed Forces of the Philippines at the Kalayaan Hall grounds in Malacanang Palace on Thursday to witness the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, a peace agreement aimed at ending four decades of strife in the Southern Philippines.

Read also the accompanying article “Of warriors and peacemakers” by clicking on the photo below.

Murad in his old office in Camp Abubakar, 1999 | Ed Lingao Photo

Murad in his old office in Camp Abubakar, 1999 | Ed Lingao Photo

Want to know more about the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro? Click the photo to view the document on the website of the Office of the Presidential Adviser On the Peace Process.

MILF delegates arrive in Malacanang Palace on March 24, 2014 for the CAB signing | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

MILF delegates arrive in Malacanang Palace on March 24, 2014 for the CAB signing | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

 

PRESIDENT BENIGNO S. AQUINO III as he delivers his speech  during the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) – Coke Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) Program Women's Month Celebration 2015 at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena, MOA Complex in Pasay City on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 | Rey Baniquet / Malacañang Photo Bureau / PCOO

PRESIDENT BENIGNO S. AQUINO III as he delivers his speech during the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) – Coke Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) Program Women’s Month Celebration 2015 at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena, MOA Complex in Pasay City on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 | Rey Baniquet / Malacañang Photo Bureau / PCOO

Top five government officials fail to get majority trust and approval ratings

The trust and approval of Filipinos for President Benigno S. Aquino III dropped significantly compared to the ratings of four other top government officials of the country, the March 2015 Ulat ng Bayan survey results of creditable pollster Pulse Asia showed.

During the November 14, 2014 to March 15, 2015 period, Aquino’s approval ratings dropped by minus 21 points (38 percent from 59 percent) while those of Vice-President Jejomar C. Binay and Senate President Franklin M. Drilon remained unchanged (46 and 49 percent, respectively).

SEN. PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DRILON, center | Senate Photo

SEN. PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DRILON, center | Senate Photo

Approval for House Speaker Feliciano R. Belmonte (27 percent from 34 percent) and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes A. Sereno (29 percent from 37 percent) also dropped.

Disapproval for the performance of Aquino also increased by 12 percentage points (23 percent from 11 percent) while that of Binay remained unchanged at 23 percent.

VICE-PRESIDENT BINAY, left, with President Benigno S. Aquino III. Is Binay pretending to be poor? | Photo from PCOO

VICE-PRESIDENT BINAY, left, with President Benigno S. Aquino III | Photo from PCOO

Almost the same number of Filipinos, however, are undecided about the performance of Aquino (39 percent). The percentage of those undecided was highest for Belmonte (53 percent), followed by Sereno (48 percent), Drilon (38 percent), and Binay (30 percent).

SOURCE: Pulse Asia

SOURCE: Pulse Asia

Aquino also got the highest loss of trust among Filipinos (36 percent from 56 percent) while the ratings of Binay (42 percent from 44 percent) and Drilon (44 percent from 42 percent) were almost unchanged while those of Belmonte and Sereno improved slightly (five percent and four percent, respectively).

SOURCE: Pulse Asia

SOURCE: Pulse Asia

 

Significantly, however, none of the leading government officials were able to obtain majority and approval ratings for the first quarter of 2015, Pulse Asia said.

Pulse Asia conducted the survey fieldwork for the survey from March 1 to 7, 2015, using face-to-face interviews with 1,200 representative adults aged 18 years old and above.

It said the survey has a plus/minus three percent margin of error with a 95 percent confidence level while estimates in Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao have a plus/minus six percent margin of error with a level of confidence also at 95 percent.

The Mamasapano operation and related developments dominated the news headlines before and during the face-to-face interviews conducted by Pulse Asia from March 1 – 7, 2015. These included:

  • The declaration by President Benigno S. Aquino III of 30 January 2015 as National Day of Mourning for the fallen officers;
  • The President’s absence during the arrival honors for the 42 of the 44 fallen policemen whose bodies arrived at the Villamor Air Base from Maguindanao on 29 January;
  • President Aquino’s conferment of the Medalya ng Katapangan upon the 44 slain PNP-SAF policemen during the necrological services held as part of the National Day of Mourning;
  • The conduct of several investigations to shed light on what really transpired in Mamasapano and who should be held accountable for the death of the 44 policemen;
  • A proposal for the creation of a still another body – an independent truth commission – to conduct a probe into the incident;
  • Amidst the unresolved questions surrounding the Mamasapano incident, calls for the resignation of President Aquino by several senior bishops belonging to the National Transformation Council (NTC), student groups and other militant organizations;
  • The statement by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) that it is not supportive of such calls even as it favors the creation of a truth commission; and
  • The expression by several business groups of their continued support for President Aquino and his administration’s peace initiatives in Mindanao despite the events in Mamasapano.

    SOURCE: Pulse Asia

    SOURCE: Pulse Asia

Other developments during this period that are connected to the Mamasapano encounter were:

  • The removal of PNP-SAF Commander Getulio Napeñas who was removed from his post on 27 January 2015 following the death of 44 of his men during the Mamasapano encounter;
  • The resignation of PNP Director General Alan Purisima on 05 February 2015 amidst reports that he was involved in the decision-making process related to the police operation in Mamasapano whilst under preventive suspension resulting from a graft and corruption charge;
  • Reports that disgruntled members of the country’s armed forces are planning to stage a coup against President Aquino in the aftermath of the Mamasapano incident and expressions of loyalty to the Philippine government by high ranking military and police officers who say that they still have to verify such reports; and
  • Military operations conducted toward the end of February 2015 by the AFP against the BIFF and the Abu Sayyaf in certain areas of Mindanao reportedly to reduce these groups’ ability to carry out violent attacks against civilians. The military offensive has resulted in casualties on both sides as well as the evacuation of thousands of civilians.

Pulse Asia said its pool of academic fellows “takes full responsibility for the design and conduct of the survey, as well as for analyses it makes based on the survey data.” Most important of all, “in keeping with our academic nature, no religious, political, economic, or partisan group influenced any of these processes.”

“Pulse Asia Research undertakes Ulat ng Bayan surveys on its own without any party singularly commissioning the research effort,” it said.

We are reposting this article published on April 15, 2014 about the challenges being faced by the sugar industry in Negros Occidental.

CUARESMA or Holy Week is the time when Filipinos reflect on the agony of Jesus Christ. It is also the time when the mamumugon — the workers in the vast haciendas or plantations of Negros Occidental — slip into a suspended state between life and death, a seeming purgatory on earth.

This is Tiempo Muerto, the dead season in the Philippines’ sugar bowl, a period between the planting and harvesting of sugarcane. It lasts from April until August, and is a season that the sugar plantation workers dread more than the typhoons that enter the country also around this period.

Click on the photo to read the full story.

NENE ROBATON studies at night using an improvised kerosene lamp as her source of light. Nene lives with her family in a hacienda. She hopes to become a teacher someday | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

NENE ROBATON studies at night using an improvised kerosene lamp as her source of light. Nene lives with her family in a hacienda. She hopes to become a teacher someday | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

View the accompanying video to this article on our Youtube Channel.