BALITA Pebrero 19-25, 2018 PRRC and representatives from partners agencies pose for a soveinir photo after the “Urban Wetland Appreciation & Site Inspection” at the Estero de San Miguel in Manila. The activity is part of the observance of the 2018 World Wetlands Day. (Photo by Nelson Ortiz/ PIA-NCR) How... Lawless Groups (ALGs), and the communist terrorists (CTs) and their coddlers, supporters, and financiers,” the President stated in his letter to Congress. With a supermajority of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) members in Congress, the second extension was approved. Aside from the Maute group, the Duterte administration included the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Turaife Group, the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), and the New People’s Army (NPA). The BIFF and the ASG have existed even before martial law was imposed in Mindanao, and the NPA has been waging a revolutionary struggle for almost fifty (50) years — despite and in spite of the intense militarization of areas and declaration of martial law in 1972. In its decision, the SC admitted that the NPA was not included in the list of rebel groups that triggered the first declaration of martial law in Mindanao. With the turn of events, however, citing that the NPA continued operations during the peace talks and took advantage of the military’s distraction with the Maute fighters, they are now included as one of the reasons for the second extension of martial law. Although all petitioners questioned the factual grounds upon which the Duterte administration proposed the extension, the Court decided to go back to its decision in Lagman vs. Medialdea, on the first extension of martial law, and said that “the Court will have to rely on the fact-finding capabilities of the [E]xecutive [D]epartment; in turn, the Executive Department will have to open its findings to the scrutiny of the Court.” “Even during the joint session, human rights victims and survivors of martial law in Mindanao were not allowed to speak in the halls of the Congress to tell the horrors’ they faced under martial rule. And now the SC believes that it is just to extend the martial rule for another year. This decision is an insult to their continued from page 10 plight and to the terror they have to face every day,” said Gabriela Women’s Partylist (GWP) Rep. Arlene Brosas. 2. No nexus between human rights violations and declaration of martial law “The alleged violations of the petitioners’ civil liberties do not justify the grant of injunctive relief. The petitioners failed to prove that the alleged violations are directly attributable to the imposition of martial law,” the SC decision read. In declaring that there is no nexus between the record of human rights violations and the imposition of martial law, the SC chose to ignore the reports of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), various fact finding missions conducted in Marawi City during the period of Martial Law, and news reports about aerial bombings, illegal arrests and detention due to mistaken identities, and other human rights violations. Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago, one of the representatives of the Makabayan bloc in Congress, questioned the AFP about the human rights violations committed by the military. Upon reading reports of human rights workers during her interpellation, Department of National Defense (DND) Sec. Delfin Lorenzana merely said, “Hindi ako naniniwala na naghahasik kami ng lagim sa Mindanao. Hindi po nakarating sa amin ang report na iyan.” (“I do not believe that the military sows terror in Mindanao. Those reports did not reach us.”) When Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao offered to have residents of Marawi City and Mindanao testify on the human rights violations committed in Mindanao, he was not permitted by Congress. “We cited a long and heart breaking list of human rights violations during the joint session and the proponents of the martial law extension just fell silent about it,” said Brosas. With this decision seemingly absolving or ignoring the human rights violations, Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate warned that the AFP would be “further emboldened to commit atrocities against Lumads and other Mindanaons.” “Terrorism does exist in Mindanao — a terrorism perpetrated by the Duterte administration itself in order to sow fear among the people and suppress their dissenting and grieving voices, to suppress the exercise of their rights,” Elago said in a statement. 3. Safeguards, laws still exist to protect the people Similar to its decision regarding the constitutionality of the first extension of martial law, the SC declared that civil liberties and human rights were still protected because existing laws provided recourse for those who fall victim to the atrocities of the military. The SC cited the Anti- Torture Act of 2009, Writ of Amparo, Bill of Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other safeguards that will serve as protection to the rights of the people. Instead of issuing an injunction, the SC declared that the victims could instead lodge individual complaints against the perpetrators. Instead, as Karapatan warned, the legitimization of martial law for another year in Mindanao furthers the culture of impunity. During the period of martial law in Mindanao, terror- tagging and ‘wanted’ posters of progressive leaders, activists, and human rights advocates circulated in Davao. How the SC expects the people to get a favorable decision at a time when all institutions are either controlled or heavily influenced by the Executive Department is ludicrous and insensitive to the victims of human rights violations who have been denied justice for too long. “Just as the Duterte-controlled super majority in Congre ss colluded to approve the extension of martial law last December 2017, the SC followed through with a rubber stamp to legitimize martial rule, completing the ingredients for a full-fledged 3 PRRC raises awareness on the importance of urban wetlands QUEZON CITY-- In celebration of the World Wetlands Day, the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) conducted an “Urban Wetlands Appreciation and Site Inspection” in various tributaries (esteros) in Manila last Wednesday, 7 February 2018. Representatives from partner agencies, Philippine Information Agency NCR, Maynilad Water Services, Inc., Manila Water, DENR, and students from Bulacan State University joined the PRRC to boost their awareness and appreciation on the importance of wetlands in an urban setting. PRRC spearheaded in 2017 the installation and introduction of floating wetlands systems in key urban areas within Metro Manila’s waterways that are draining to the Pasig River. Two of tributaries that has been rehabilitated by the PRRC are the Estero de Concordia and Estero de San Miguel in Manila. They were also converted into linear parks together with the help of partner private companies and government agencies. In the process of rehabilitation, the PRRC was able to claim 3-meter easement to prevent proliferation of wastes from the informal settlers into the waterways. Another well-known wetland in Metro Manila is the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Eco-Tourism Area (LPPCHEA), a 175 hectare ecosystem located at South of Manila Bay which is also a sanctuary of both endemic and migratory birds. The PRRC has scheduled SM... after SM City Bacoor, SM City Dasmariñas, SM City Rosario, SM City Molino and SM City Trece Martires plus the SM Marketmall also in Dasmariñas. The mall’s 12,800 square-meter building is a simple cube shaped modular design that houses its major anchor, SM Supermarket and other familiar stores like SM Appliance Center, Watsons and Miniso. Imuseños will also find fashion boutiques, bookstores, jewelry stores, eyewear stores as well as stores of major electronic gadget brands like Samsung, Vivo, Huawei and Cherry Mobile to satisfy their special needs and wants. Food buffs will enjoy food trips to well-known local and tyranny,” Palabay said. Following the Marcosian template of having the SC legitimize the ratification of the 1973 Constitution, the Duterte administration is near the completion of its process toward dictatorial rule. “This SC will go down in history as the Court that chose to turn a blind eye to the reality of the political situation, allowing another fascist leader to rise into dictatorship. This SC will repeat more similar events for this year to strengthen the advocacy on environment protection and preservation especially Metro Manila. A study proved that urban wetlands make cities more liveable in various ways as it reduce flooding, replenish drinking water, filter waste, provide urban green spaces, and it is also a source of livelihood. There are various types of wetlands. Floating Wetlands are rafts that contain phytoremediating plants that absorb water pollutants. There are two types of wetlands: the Trap Type and Edge Type Wetlands. Trap Type Wetlands are installed aligned with the bridges. It is usually L-shaped rafts that help in trapping the garbage that pass through the waterway preventing them from spreading even more, which makes the garbage easier to get collected. The Edge Type Wetlands are installed beside the esteros to filter the wastewater from canals, houses, and streets before it goes through the bridge. The plants used in the floating wetlands also function as insect repellents, help improve the water quality, lessen the foul odor in esteros, and serve as indicators of water acidity. Some of the plants that can be found in wetlands are: Tanglad (Lemon Grass), Umbrella Plant, Vetiver, and Bandera Española. World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2nd of February to raise global awareness about the value of wetlands for humanity and the planet. (PIA-NCR/EPC/MAPA) continued from page 1 international food chains, coffee shops and specialty restaurants like Umeya, Big Ben’s, Weet Cake Solutions, Bianca’s Firebrick Chicken and Saddle Ranch Sizzling Steakhouse to name a few. SM Center Imus is a community friendly mall that with 24 hour services like a pharmacy, full-service primary clinic and a wellness center. A park-like town plaza with a playground, café’ and food stalls provide a place for families, kids of all ages and even old folks to gather and enjoy spending time with each other. Imuseños need not leave their place because with SM City Imus, everything’s here. (Ruel Francisco, PIA-Cavite) the mistake of its seniors made four decades ago in allowing the Marcos dictatorship to change the Constitution and thereafter declare Martial law,” Elago criticized. And just as history repeats itself, the people are once again reminded that while a person in power has all the tools of oppression, the power of the people will always be stronger than the strength of an isolated tyrant.