fix articles 19035, michaela p. del callar
RP ‘surprised’ at Malaysia monitors’ pullout (tags)
he Philippines on Tuesday said it was surprised at Malaysia’s decision to end its monitoring mission to the troubled southern Mindanao island this year. The government’s chief peace adviser Jesus Dureza said he had just finished a trip to Kuala Lumpur and officials there had given “no indication of any announcement of total withdrawal.” “I feel that we, as neighbors, should be working very closely for peace,” Dureza said. “I am confident that Malaysia will be with us all the way.”
US court nixes RP ‘privilege’ over real estate tax debts (tags)
In a legal debacle for Manila, a United States federal court judge has ruled that the Philippines cannot invoke diplomatic privilege so that it would not be compelled to pay $19 million worth of unpaid real estate taxes to the New York City government. The New York City government scored a victory over real estate tax-delinquent states, including the Philippines, India and Mongolia, after US District Judge Jed Rakoff, in a written opinion, ruled in favor of the city. Rakoff’s ruling will force the three countries, which are renting out offices and business establishments housed in diplomatic buildings in New York, to settle their financial obligations to the city’s government. Reports said India owed the city $39.4 million including taxes, while Mongolia has to pay $4.2 million.
Ermita, 2 Cabinet men ‘spoilers’ of talks — MILF (tags)
he Moro Islamic Libe-ration Front (MILF) has accused the Arroyo administration of being a “spoiler” of the peace negotiations, noting that three Cabinet officials are “steering the talks to an unknown direction,” saying like before the MILF is being tricked. MILF secretariat chair-man Muhammad Ameen, in a statement posted on the group’s Web site, yesterday also doubted President Arroyo’s sincerity in signing a peace agreement before she steps down in 2010. “There are many spoilers of the peace process espe-cially in Mindanao, but all those are secondary, and the main or worst spoilers are those in the govern-ment itself,” he noted.
Reds reject peace overture (tags)
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) yesterday rejected a ceasefire offered by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. in a bid to revive stalled peace talks. CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, in a statement from the Netherlands, where he is in self-exile, said the group will only return to the negotiating table when the Philippine government moves to have it removed from a terrorist blacklisting in the United States and Europe. He stressed the Arroyo administration must also show it is sincere about stopping the military from carrying out political killings, while also indemnifying victims of human rights violations.
PROTEST VS POLITICAL KILLINGS GREETS GMA IN TOKYO TRIP (tags)
President Arroyo was greeted with protest on Tuesday as Japan-based human rights groups gathered in front of the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo urging her to immediately end the spate of political killings in the Philippines and prosecute the perpetrators. Members of Amnesty International Japan, Human Rights Now and other groups also called on Tokyo to push visiting Mrs. Arroyo on human rights issues.
Human rights in RP alarming — Oslo (tags)
A ranking Norwegian Foreign Ministry official has expressed alarm over the rise in political killings in the Philippines, describing the human rights situation in the country as “very difficult.” Speaking before a conflict and development seminar on the Philippines last June 20 in Oslo, Tore Hattrem, director general of the Section of Peace and Reconciliation of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, noted that the situation has stalled peace negotiations between the Arroyo administration and local communist rebels.