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Iloilo City

OPINION | A Fable in Iloilo City

by Salvi Armada

The governance of Iloilo City is definitely so unlike the democratic management of a poultry farm. In a poultry farm, divergence in ability to fly high exists amongst fowls but feeds are distributed to each according to need. No loud squawks of complaints except of excitement at feeding time. As such, the Parliament of Fowls (Geoffrey Chaucer) stays sane, sober and sublime. So unlike the mishandling of June 10, 2021 incident at Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) substation in Jaro district.

The scandalous incident was the brazen violation of Mayor Jerry Treñas’ Executive Order No. 50 (MECQ status of Iloilo City) by the organizers and attendees. Earlier the Mayor pleaded, “…to stay at home. Please postpone whatever you need to do in the meantime. The cases continue to go up” (1 June 2021, Philippine News Agency). What followed was the outrageous inauguration gathering of crowd “hosted” by the BFP under Regional Director Jerry Candido. Somersaulting in the face of public rebuke, Mayor Treñas sheepishly accommodated Director Candido’s tepid apology. “RD Candido apologised as he DID NOT READ our prohibition on any mass gathering” (emphasis supplied, Panay News 10 June 2021), he intoned.

Such magnanimity extended to a high public official who openly violated health law because of feigned ignorance is something for the archive. Well, if Iloilo City is served by a “non-reading” ranking bureaucrat, it can be asked, “what to him is Plato and the Wings of Pleiades?”. Truly is he a director of a government Regional Office or “The Man with a Hoe”? (Meanwhile, the pesterous presence of a legislator in the said event can be disregarded). In my humble view this ruckus should not easily escape Edwin Markham’s poetic justice!

Enjoyment of liberty will be promoted but at no expense of justice for all.

There’s this reflexive maxim in the Animal Farm fable (1945 by George Orwell), “all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”. De Te Fabula Narratur: the moral fingers point back to us citizens and officials of La Muy Leal Y Noble dakbanwa sang Iloilo. Power and authority stand with truth and ought not be coated by lies though mixed with medicinal ingredients.

What about those ordinary residents caught violating the same prohibition? They were under no special consideration of the Mayor, they received just punishments in so far as the public knows. Seems like equality of citizens before the law is in practice a myth. The reversal of order and rationality and now the peripeteia in the poultry farm is what’s sauce for the goose is no longer sauce for the gander.###

(Photo credit to the owner.)

Iloilo Legislatures Slam Attacks Against Law Practitioners

Iloilo City – Iloilo Province and Iloilo City legislatures slam the continuing attacks against lawyers, judges, and other law practitioners during their respective regular sessions held last March 09, 2021.
Both the city and provincial legislatures expressed their strong condemnation on the acts of violence committed against legal practitioners. To the Iloilo Provincial Board, the attack against NUPL’s Atty. Angelo Karlo “AK” Guillen “sends an alarming message and shows an increasing cases of violence against law practitioners and manifests a culture of impunity.” The board also added that such “violence against law practitioners does not only endanger the lives of individual law practitioners but also sends a chilling message to deter and silence those who are working to pursue legitimate causes.”
Moreover, Iloilo City council said that cases of violence against lawyers, judges, and other officers of the Court are still prevailing in Iloilo City and in Western Visayas for the past three years despite provisions in the Constitution as to their protection. The council added that the attack against Atty. Guillen “does not and should not have a place in the City of Iloilo.”
The city council also urged the law enforcement authorities to “thoroughly investigate” the incident involving Atty. Guillen, pursue the perpetrators, and solve the case. Furthermore, the council calls for the creation of measures and programs for the protection of lawyers, judges, and officers of the Court./PT

72ND INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY PROTESTS, SUCCESSFUL AMID THREATS, INTIMIDATION, AND ARRESTS!

ILOILO CITY – On the very day of International Human Rights Day, Duterte demonstrated his fascist nature and committed human rights violations in the form of syndicated raids, planting of evidence and filing of trumped up charges against union organizers and a member of the media.

According to Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, Duterte haphazardly scandalized the International Human Rights Day following the arrest of the seven activists.

Palabay added that the main objective of such raids and baseless arrests by Duterte would be to silence the people from voicing out and the media from exposing its corrupt administration.

Despite the crackdowns, thousands of people marched towards Mendiola calling for the ouster of Duterte. They condemned the Duterte administration’s crackdown against its critics.

In Panay, different organizations and sectors have successfully gathered in the city of Iloilo and Roxas, as well as in the town of Kalibo, to commemorate the International Human Rights Day.

In Iloilo City, progressive groups gathered inside the University of the Philippines Visayas despite the deprivation of the city government to give a permit, series of intimidation, and the efforts of the police forces to stop the said activity.

The persistence of the people to conduct such protests, in various parts of the country, only shows Duterte’s isolation from the interests of the wider population.

According to those who participated in the protests, hunger, landlessness, low price of palay, unemployment, and the expensive prices of basic commodities, pushed them to join the protests despite the threats of the government.

For Bayan Panay, Duterte should be ousted because of his useless response to the crisis while being busy with spreading violence to silence the people and to cover up his inutile response.

In order to do this, the conveners of the Panay Peoples’ Coalition called for the people to unite to end Duterte’s tyrannical rule./PT

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS VI EXPRESSS CONCERN OVER RISKS OF ONLINE CONTRACT TRACING

ILOILO CITY – Atty. Jonnie Dabuco, Regional Director of the Commission on Human Rights 6 (CHR6), expressed concern regarding the legal implications of the collection of people’s personal data to be used for online contact tracing application under the Uswag Tracer of the Iloilo City Government.

The Uswag Tracer was launched last November 16 as a response of the City government to combat COVID-19. However, the application shuts down two days after it was launched due to large number of residents, employees, and tourists who applied to get their Quick Response (QR) codes required to enter establishments in the city.

Some Information Technology (IT) experts are also alarmed at the possibility that the data privacy of the application users will be violated.

According to Atty. Dabuco, there are information that the application is asking that are not even needed for contact tracing such as birth date, because such information, according to him, is one of the most sensitive information especially that it is often used in bank transactions and so on.

Another problem that the CHR saw was the capacity of the people to access QR codes as not everyone has smartphones and printers.

Finally, Atty. Dabuco said that this does not mean they oppose the initiative of the LGU. They are only suggesting in order to improve the system before it will be fully  implemented to the public./PT