Redirecting Media And Communications
Perceptions – A Need
By CHITO DELA TORRE
May 9, 2004
Not always is truth the objective of media and communications..."
Media and communications
play a vital role in today’s process of getting to know the candidates. They
let them talk. They let you see the candidates. They provide vivid pictures
of what candidates propose to do. They help build party decisions. They
provide reasons for changes in political strategies. They facilitate
budgeting financial resources for a campaign ad and for running a campaign.
Those who invest in media
and communications structures unwittingly carve pathways either to a lose or
a victory in the final counting of votes. The more the investments, the
bigger and wider those pathways become. The sturdier the pathways, the
better the chances of winning. The more pathways, the easier becomes the
road to an elegant victory in the polls.
Media and communications
pathways lead to the hearts and minds of voters, especially when more doors
fling open to welcome frontloads moved forward on such pathways; or, close
doors; or break lengths and widths of pathways.
No. Not always is truth the
objective of media and communications. It may merely be the dishing out of
information, or an attempt to dissuade, persuade, or condition a belief.
Unfortunately, candidates who have taken the bold step of talking about
their perceptions of the role of the media and communications, as they were
invited to candidates’ fora, simply settled for that unpolished objective –
to enable the media to disseminate information, to enable communications to
facilitate the diffusion of science and technology. Not one candidate went
beyond than with another step, that towards looking through a policy of
Good for you, people of
Samar. Good for you, people of the Philippines. You haven’t asked for more.
You haven’t craved for the desirable high.
But don’t worry.
Few conscientious media and
communications people have leaped to the right direction for the course of
life that is there, defined or them and their industry. This is very
unfortunate. The rest, and they are countless, while many are emerging to
join their flock continue, furtively or sans a sense of embedded profession
and the twin sense of excellence in doing their supposedly patriotic and
heroic job, to remain misdirected. It is their misdirection that leads
voters and candidates to inopportune vainglories.
So, what will all of us do?
Stop Sex Trafficking
for Children, Women
By RICKY J. BAUTISTA
of those who are usually trafficked are poor, have a little or no education
at all, or are single or unwed mothers, have backgrounds of abuse at home,
failed or abusive relationships..."
As we all know,
children and women, especially minors, need special safeguards and care
including appropriate legal protection to enable them to grow and develop in
an atmosphere of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and
solidarity. Every effort, therefore, must be exerted to ensure that children
are accorded this special protection and the women for their sexual and
reproductive health rights.
We are indeed
responsible for this, especially those people holding government positions.
We must see to it that in all our actions and plans concerning children and
women should take full account of his or her best interests.
On March 19-21, 2004, I
happened to be one of those media practitioners all over Region 8 who were
invited to attend a capacity building training on child and women
trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation organized by the End-Child
Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT) held in Montebello Villa Hotel in Cebu
readers, ECPAT is a non-stock, non-profit, non-government organization
advocating for the protection of prostituted children. The organization is
also a member of a global network of organizations and individuals working
for the elimination of child prostitution, child pornography and trafficking
of children for sexual purposes.
My book defined Sex
Trafficking as the transport, sale and purchases of women and girls for
prostitution, bonded labor and sexual enslavement within the country and
abroad. It often involves the use of force such as kidnapping and abduction,
the use of threats, trickery, deceit and other enticements, as well as a
variety of forms and practices where women are sexually exploited through
brothel prostitution, sex tours, marriage matching arrangements, serial
sponsorships and other work used as fronts for prostitution, sex shows and
Most of those who are
usually trafficked are poor, have a little or no education at all, or are
single or unwed mothers, have backgrounds of abuse at home, failed or
abusive relationships, ‘stokwa’ (runaways), and come from families
who rely on daughters to support their families.
Historical Roots of Sex Trafficking
T. Saguisag, ECPAT Philippines Cebu City coordinator said historical roots
of trafficking in persons could be traced way back in the Spanish period.
She stressed that during that period, girls as young as 13 years old were
recruited as domestic helpers, sales girls, beauticians or laundry girls to
Manila due to poverty and lack of employment opportunities from their
respective rural areas. Some were given to landlords to serve households as
payments for debts while those aged 16 to 17 were assigned to perform hard
and dangerous labor in the construction of ships, churches, government
buildings usually in places away from their hometowns.
Still in Spanish period,
as early as 1932, internal trafficking in young Filipina girls was being
carried out by “employment agencies” who brought them from
rural areas to cities, particularly Manila, apparently as servants, but, sad
to say, they were instead lured into dance halls and houses of prostitution.
In the mid-1949, or
during the American period, the demand for hospitality girls had increased
due to the presence of the American servicemen in the Philippines. Some
children served as mortgage while Ifugao and Negrito children
were sold like a commodity to people who could afford to buy them. It is
also in this year when several cases of moving children through Hong Kong to
the US using fake passports were uncovered by Philippine authorities.
Atty. Saguisag, a known
advocate for the protection of prostituted children said, sex trafficking
flourished during the Vietnam War’s first catering to soldiers and then for
Japanese, American, Canadian and European men in Southeast Asia when number
of brothels, KTV bars and massage parlors were established in different
ports of said places.
During the time of the
late dictator President Ferdinand Marcos (1970-1980s), the Philippine
government used sex tourism infrastructure as a means to promote tourism. It
did not outlaw or prohibit prostitution but instead used it to advance the
tourism industry in the country.
In 1980 to 1990s,
rural-urban migration and out-migration continued to increase during the
Aquino administration. The ‘Mail-to-Order’ brides who always ended up as sex
slaves in the brothels of Northern Europe and in the outback of Australia
In 1990, and even until
today, overseas employment became more attractive to Filipinos because of
the economic crisis, and this created a labor gap in the rural farms,
plantations and industries. The child laborers filled the gap, again, and
our present government officials seemed to be blind, deaf and mute about
this reality in the Philippines. No one from our government officials today
had the courage to show sympathy to the plight of these innocent Filipino
One good example of this
is the story of Karen, 16 years old; single that left their home in western
Samar because of her bitter experience at home.
Karen would have wanted
to finish her studies but her older brother and sister were given priority
to attend high school and vocational school so they could help the family.
But her brother left home as soon as he finished and they have not heard
from him since then. Her sister on the other hand got married even before
finishing school. All this time, her mother depended on her to help in
household chores, including looking after her grandfather. It was then that
she thought it was her turn to go back to school as also a way of finally
escaping from the unwanted attentions of her grandfather. “I was 13
years old then, my Lolo would come to me once my parents had left for the
market to sell our vegetables and I was left to attend household chores. He
threatened me and said something bad would happen to my parents if I told
them and that it was my duty to serve him anyway. I was scared and felt bad.
The last time he did it, it hurt so much because he was doing all kinds of
things and I felt dirty,” the girl said. She felt she had no one to turn
to except her two best friends. For her, she was better off staying with
them even if it means working at the nightclub. At the bar, she was forced
by the bar owner to serve 10 clients a night until she was rescued by the
police in recent raid.
Another horrifying story
was that of Gina, 23, who were promised to work as domestic helper (DH) in
abroad but landed in a brothel in Japan. At first, Gina thought she was
lucky when got the chanced to work abroad. She thought the money she would
earn would be a boon to her family left in Samar and can help in the
education of her younger siblings.
She relates, “Things
were fine for me until my employer started making sexual demands on me. I
was scared but I could not let it go on. So I told my employer’s wife.”
But for complaining, Gina was sold by her employer to a friend and became a
sex slaves for years. Until recently, when she was caught by the immigration
and sent back to the Philippines. She thought she would never see the
The shared experienced
of Karen and Gina tell us how government has fallen short of protecting and
promoting women’s health and well-being. Their situations and problems
result from their being denied access to information and services, the
cultural restrictions created by fundamentalist and anti-women views, and
These women are just two
examples of the thousands of women who suffer from the health effects of
social, economic, political and cultural inequities.
There is much more to be
said about the stories of Gina and Karen. The inhuman and degrading
treatment they received at the hands of their transgressors and health care
providers violated these women’s rights to life, health, liberty and
security of person. Their experiences illustrate how government’s failure to
provide essential laws to go against sex trafficking in the countryside. The
lives of these innocent women were put at risk simply because our government
officials had no clear manifestation of support, or interest to solve, or to
address all forms of sex trafficking, care about the sexual and reproductive
health matters of the Filipina women. We should therefore evaluate what kind
of government policies we have today so as not the situation becomes more
tragic in the near future.
Sex Trafficking Situation in the Philippines
from the Institute for Social Studies and Action (ISSA) with main office
located in Quezon City disclosed that the Philippines has an estimated 400,
000 to 500, 000 women in prostitution. Out of the 200, 000 or so street
children, some 60, 000 sell their bodies. While up to 600, 000 women and
children are trafficked through the Internet in at least 50, 000 websites.
Since 1986, some 55, 000
Filipinas entered the United States and Japan as mail-order brides. And of
the 959 cases of human trafficking in the Philippines, 65% were women, 53%
were sent to various Asia-Pacific countries, 25% to the Middle East and 19%
to Europe. An estimated 47% of the victims were deceived while 51% were
recruited with consent.
In 1998, at least 47,
017 Filipino “entertainers,” a euphemism for prostituted women, were in the
countries of Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Saipan and in Japan, accounting
for 95% of Filipino “entertainers” in Asia. Entertainers constituted 28.4%
or 43, 092 of women new hires.
This figure is so
alarming and as a true Filipino, we need to be involved on this scenario.
This is a case that we need to address simply because sex trafficking is not
only the concern of the victims but should also be my concern, your concern
and everybody’s concern. Because sex trafficking systematically violates
women’s human rights, including the right to life and security of persons.
It places women in danger of physical abuse and deprives them of bodily
integrity. These women are constrained of their right to travel and to
freedom of movement, as those who wish to travel abroad are at risk of being
victimized by traffickers. Women who are sold to prostitution are kept in
brothels and prevented from leaving and communicating with their families
Another is, their
freedom from slavery and abuse is violated. A trafficked woman who is
prostituted becomes the slave of any man who “buys” her, and she loses her
right to legal protection. Because a trafficked woman is often a victim of
illegal recruiters or travels through illegal channels, the laws of the
country of destination do therefore not cover her either.
government is a signatory to the three international instruments like the
1997 Commission on the Status of Women and the General Assembly Resolutions
on Traffic in Women and Girls initiated by the government of the
Philippines; 1995 Beijing Platform for Action; and, the 1994 International
Conference on Population and Development Declaration yet the government has
done nothing, and there is no Philippine law that squarely address this
Then, what must be done?
Biazon, a long advocate for women’s sexual and reproductive health and
rights, who is the lone guest speaker of the 1st Visayas Media
Practitioners training seminar on Gender, Sexuality and Reproductive Health
and Rights held at the Nature’s Village Resort in Talisay City last March
26-29, 2004 said there is a need for a political change. “We need to change
our political, economic and socio-cultural structures that create inequities
for women – whether as citizens, members of civil society organizations or
government workers. The non-government organizations and all sectors of
civil society must contribute to these efforts.
The absence of the
concrete solution made by the government is a shame for the world. We have
to do everything that is possible to stop sex trafficking. Why is there not
more action to help the helpless women and children, and to prevent them
from further suffering and dying? If we could act together it would be
possible to save so many precious lives. We must fight for all these
victims of discrimination. We must speak not only for women and children,
but also for all men, women and children everywhere. Unless we act a
fundamentalist view of life will prevail. Let us become the moral majority.
I hope and pray the Philippine government will wake up its mind and review
(For reactions and
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Reporter Newsweekly, 2nd Flr. Abesamis Bldg., Allen Avenue,
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Counting the Cost of
Corruption in the Philippines
By JUN S. AGUILAR
“…Elections are like a sponge, it sucks up all the money, most of it from
Among the very
first lessons in business is that "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH".
Somebody is bound to pay, Always. Especially when it comes to corruption. So
how does corruption get to us? Let's count the ways.
Loss of Government Revenue
victim of corruption is government revenue. In a developing economy like the Philippines,
this can be extremely debilitating. The continuing budgetary deficit of the
government results into cutbacks in expenditures for much needed social
The gap of
classrooms in public elementary schools is estimated to be about 40,000 this
coming school year. The case is even more pathetic, as the lack of qualified
teachers further confound the problems. While student population keeps on
growing year after year, these gaps in classroom, books and teachers is
widening. What do these lead to? Poor quality education of the future
citizens of the Republic further undermining their prospects of contributing
to nation building. THAT IS A VERY HIGH PRICE TO PAY FOR CORRUPTION.
sources of funding for infrastructure development, government has to resort
to partnership with the private sector. A public good like roads, bridges,
ports and airports will necessarily be charging user fees to be able to earn
profit and recover capital. Nothing wrong with because he who benefits
should share the cost. But a lot of these projects require performance
undertaking from the government to be financiable to lenders. This results
into the contingent liabilities of the national government burgeoning the
levels no one wants to even find out. Remember the NAIA III Terminal? an
edifice that can't be operated until now. The MACAPAGAL BOULEVARD which can
easily enter the Guiness Book as the world's most expensive boulevard? THE
SMOKEY MOUNTAIN PROJECT where almost a billion of OFW's money was invested
and has not been repaid until now? Last count in 2003, it stood to over P500
Billion. That’s about over 30,000 pesos per household. THAT IS NO LOOSE
CHANGE TO PAY FOR CORRUPTION.
government resources are constrained, environment protection programs are
neglected. We passed the Clean Air Act and yet we cannot put our acts
together in ensuring clean air. The law is toothless because the government
has no money to invest in monitoring equipment. Even garbage it cannot
collect. Remember the PAYATAS TRAGEDY? Meanwhile, to be able to generate
power and run our heavy industries, less desirable Plants are allowed to be
established. ASK THE PEOPLE from CALACA, BATANGAS, PAGBILAO QUEZON, and SUAL
PANGASINAN, all sites of COAL FIRED POWER PLANTS that contribute to
withdrawals from our deposit of breathable air, potable water and liveable
communities. The resource balance of our children's future is rapidly
depleting, A COST OF CORRUPTION THAT WE MAY NEVER BE ABLE TO ACCOUNT FOR.
Government Debt and Poverty
Again due to
budget deficit, government keeps on accumulating debt, which at end of 2003
stood at over 2.4 trillion pesos. That’s over 30,000 pesos for every
Filipino man, woman and child. At an average interest cost of 10% per year
for both short and long term loans, that is equivalent to a staggering P240
Billion in interest payment alone every year. That’s the amount of money
taken away form the mouth of the poor, who account to more than half of the
Philippine population. TURNING OUR BACKS FROM OUR MARGINALIZED CITIZEN IS A
STEEP PRICE TO PAY FOR CORRUPTION.
doesn’t prosper without protection. Those who practice realize that to keep
themselves in their lucrative posts, somebody politically powerful should be
able to stop any attempts to cut him from illicit money flow. In return, he
lavishes his patrons with gifts. Gifts in no small terms, which further
corrupt him and his patron. His patron, in order to accumulate more gifts
has to increase his influence. To increase his influence, he needs to milk
his corrupt benefactors. And it goes on deeper and deeper.
like a sponge, it sucks up all the money, most of it from corruption.
Election in the Philippines
are nothing but patronage politics. How else does one explain the millions
spent in a campaign in exchange for a few measly thousand pesos in the
salary of a public servant? There is only one explanation I have, THERE IS
NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH, SOMEONE IS BOUND TO PAY FOR IT.
How do campaign
contributors expect to recover their investments? In the form of political
protection to allow them to continue with their illegal activities. In the
form of rigged government contracts. In the form of economic rents taxpayers
eventually pay for.
corrupts and the deeper one gets into the mire, the more desperate one
becomes in defending the well from where he draws his booty. He will be
prepared to use trick, treat and threats to keep his business. And since
corruption, like stale food attract flies and worms, criminal syndicates are
not very far from them. So do their violent means of doing business.
with the proliferation of illegal drugs can be linked solidly to corruption.
How else do drug lords and pushers do their business under the noses of law
enforcers and local government officials except that they pay-off this
public servants or work in cahoots with them. Remember Mayor Mitra of Quezon
Province? He was caught red handed transporting a ton of shabu using the
This social ill
has led to the commission of many a heinous crime is prospering and
multiplying in every Barangay of this country because of corruption. RAPES,
MURDERS, and KIDNAPPING FOR RANSOM ARE TOO MUCH TO PAY FOR CORRUPTION.
High Cost of Doing Business
It is sometimes
beyond our imagination for a businessman to spend three full days in the
crowded city hall of a highly urbanized city trying to get a business
license. And he was just going to buy and sell eggs. How much more if he
wants to operate a industrial project. If there are 20 government offices he
needs to go through for various permits, licenses, certificates, approvals
and signatures, he needs an entire army of fixers to handle them. Precious
hours are lost among senior officers of the firm who have to wine and dine
to the whims and caprices of government officials. Remember the stinking
IMPSA and PIATCO deals?
whose code of conduct does not permit them to provide bribes and
pseudo-bribes end up spending tons of money just to end up deciding to leave
the country in exasperation.
On the other
hand, many of those who stay to do business have gotten used to government
people scratching their heads as they show up in their offices asking for
all sorts of gifts for every known relatives of a mayor, congressman,
senator, department secretary, bureau director or chief of police. What does
the businessman do? He just passes on to his customers this extra cost
incurred in doing business in the Philippines. Remember the Power Purchase
Adjustment (PPA)? This is one bloody scheme that sucks us dry!!!
Loss of Investor Confidence
As Judge W.H.
Heath said, if we cannot manage our money and assets, how can we be expected
to manage other people’s money? Investors demand that there be a reasonable
level of assurance that they will get their investment back. That their
investment will in fact make money. And that it will not be taken over by
extremely challenging to attract investors to do business in a country where
a fugitive from the FBI and convicted pedophile gets elected in Congress. Or
where tax evasion case with very clear outcomes is lost to technicalities.
donors find it hard to give us loans and technical assistance grants when
they know that a large portion of their money will be used to line up the
stomachs of politicians. They will have to invest in additional personnel,
incur additional costs just to watch us spend their money. Every time we
submit receipts they spend thrice the time just verifying whether they are
genuine or not. This is the only country in the world whose AUTHENTIC
DOCUMENTS (as declared and sealed from Malacanang) has one year expiry date.
Believe me it can be tiring to do these things.
When many in
the International community considers your country as corrupt, it does not
feel good. It does not buy you goodwill. Jeers and sneers YES. But respect?
NO!!! Just look at how we PINOYS are treated in foreign airports. Who would
forget Senate President DRILON being forced to remove his shoes in a US
airport despite showing his Diplomatic Passport. I myself had a very
disgusting experience in SCHIPOL airport in the Netherlands
(CARLO BUTALID & GRACE CABACTULAN MAY NOT AGREE WITH ME) and at Charles de
Gaulle in France. But can we blame them? Of course not. There's simply too
much Pinoys who are going out of the country with spurious documents,
escorted and facilitated by no less than BID personnel from NAIA. THAT IS
WHAT WIDESPREAD CORRUPTION IS COSTING US.
We have only
just began counting the cost of corruption. It cost us the prostitution of
our political institutions. We have now hoodlums in uniforms and hoodlums in
robes. It costs us many lives and honor lost to crime. It costs us our self
respect. And it costs us lost opportunities for a better future of our
If you ask me,
THAT'S TOO MUCH TO PAY FOR FREE LUNCH!!!
The Joke of Economy
BRYAN M. AZURA
“…For the record, this is the first time that the government is
administered by an economist. The peso went to its lowest under this
The value of
peso has now reached to an all-time low in the history of Philippine economy
closing at P55.90 to $1 the other day. Prior to that, it even reached to
P56.50 to $1 before closing at P56.75 to $1 after the Bangko Sentral ng
Pilipinas finally came to its rescue.
BSP Governor, Rafael Buenaventura, almost all currencies around the globe
have actually suffered but of all, it’s the Philippine peso that plummeted
the most. Although he made positive remark, on the other hand, he also
hinted that the Filipinos should prepare for the worst.
Region 8 will
not be affected directly with this, at least not in the next few days or
weeks. But economic observers have already expressed fears on the rise of
prices on commodities. Not long from now, if the peso-plunge trend
continues, definitely will affect each and every Filipino including you.
In other words,
this is not just a concern for stockholders and businessmen who basically
serve as the gauge of Philippine economy but for every Juan de la Cruz.
In the midst of
this worrisome economic situation, the Government, under the administration
of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, has been quick to speculate that this
is due to political instability in the country especially now that National
and Local Elections is forth coming. Just very timely, the peso went puff
days after the Commission on Elections junked the disqualification case
against Presidential bet Fernando Poe, Jr.
So far, this
has been the easiest scapegoat of the people in the government; Poe could
have been the reason of peso melancholy.
puzzles everyone is the fact that the Philippines, now being ran by an
“economist,” continually experience these miseries despite it, being
governed by “experts and experienced” (that’s what PGMA claimed when she
delivered a speech among businessmen sometime this week.) For the record,
this is the first time that the government is administered by an economist.
The peso went to its lowest under this economist. What a joke!!! A joke that
is serious. A joke that definitely is unbearable to every Filipino. An ain’t
When a time
such as this comes, why are these experts and experienced easy to blame
other people and circumstances? Why not blame themselves? In fact, they
should be blamed. Stop playing games with the Filipinos. This is too much.
To us Region 8
folks, make sure we make the right choices come May elections. We don’t want
to hear those jokes again, do we?