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KASAMA June 2007
Volume 21 Number 2

Compact for Peaceful Elections logoPhilippines Elections 2007: A regime hell-bent on remaining in power

... is capable of doing almost anything

The lingering political crisis in the Philippines didn't bode well for the May 14, 2007 elections. From the beginning of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's ascension to the presidency in 2001, instances of politically-motivated killings, elections-related or otherwise, have been increasing at an alarming rate.



Initial findings of the delegates of the 2007 Compact for Peaceful Elections – International Observers Mission

A sense of resignation over the electoral process, fraud, and violence dominated the conduct of the 2007 elections, according to seventeen international delegates who joined the Compact for Peaceful Election’s International Observers Mission as they presented their findings to the diplomatic corps and the Philippine media.

Guarding the Ballot Box on top of a jeepneyPhilippines Elections 2007: Compact 2007 International Observers Mission Group Recommendations

Recommended reforms to strengthen democracy

[NOTE: the official report containing the findings and recommendations of COMPACT—IOM 2007 will be presented to the diplomatic corps, the COMELEC, to relevant committees within the Philippine Congress and the United Nations, and to different civil society organizations in the Philippines and abroad.]

Canvass Watchers Philippines Elections 2007: Report from an International Election Observer in Cotabato City

Dr Lesley Clark

THE PHILIPPINES may be the oldest democracy in Asia but judging by events during the May 2007 mid-term elections it is not in the best of health. This conclusion was based on my experience as a member the international observers mission organized by the Compact for Peaceful Elections, a consortium of civil society groups and political groups including Akbayan, dedicated to promote violence-free and democratic politics in the Philippines. There were some 220 foreign observers for the elections in which approx 17,263 positions at national, provincial and local level were contested by some 79,000 candidates.


Rot In The SystemPhilippines Elections 2007: ROT IN THE SYSTEM by Lawrence Surendra

Dynasty politics, violence and a systemic bias against equity threaten Asia's oldest democracy.

Lawrence Surendra was a Compact IOM election observer with the Negros Occidental team.


PPT Logo Philippines Elections 2007: Negros Occidental — Sugar and Philippine Politics

Glimpses from a troubled region by Lawrence Surendra

The votes from the electorate on the island of Negros, being one of the top three provinces with a large population of voters, has played a crucial swing vote for politicians vying for seats in the Philippines Congress and Senate. This is the reason that historically all the famous political families of the Philippines from Macapagal, to Marcos, the Aquinos, the Cojuangcos and now Macapagal’s daughter Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have all maintained close electoral ties with the elites of Negros and in some cases even blood ties. It is also the home province of Cojuangco, who by the time he fled the Philippines with his political patron Marcos is said to have acquired over 5,000 hectares on Negros. He returned in 1989 and is reportedly now in possession of over 20,000 hectares of the most productive agricultural lands and has a tight grip on the politics on the island of Negros.



a documentary by jason bray

Corruption – Intimidation – Murder


Win With Women Global Initiative Political Caucus of Women Leaders in Mindanao is Launched

“Win with Women, for our Children's Future.”

A motorcade kicked off the day's activities on the morning of January 25, 2007. It was a momentous occasion. After months of hard work, the political caucus of women leaders in mindanao was finally a reality.


Pigram Brothers & Deborah Wall The Pigram Brothers: a top Aboriginal band talk about their Filipino heritage

by Deborah Ruiz Wall at the Dreaming Festival, Woodford, Queensland

I didn’t know the Pigram Brothers. But on our first night at the Woodford Dreaming Festival, my friends and I simply could not resist dancing till past midnight at their concert. I just had to meet them and find out a bit more about this fabulous seven-member band who I was told has Aboriginal, Filipino, English and Irish ancestry. At the back stage at the close of their second concert, I chased them with a digital camera and a tape recorder.


Aboriginal Flag Howard’s New Tampa – Aboriginal Children Overboard

by Jennifer Kemarre Martiniello

Howard’s new Tampa children overboard are our Aboriginal children. The Little Children are Sacred report does not advocate physically and psychologically invasive examinations of Aboriginal children, which could only be carried out anally and vaginally. It does not recommend scrapping the permit system to enter Aboriginal lands, nor does it recommend taking over Aboriginal ‘towns’ by enforced leases. These latter two points in the Howard scheme hide the true reason for the Federal Government’s use of the latest report for blatant political opportunism.


AFAD LogoGiving Face to the Desaparecidos

The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances

Philippines has been one of the many countries in Asia perpetrating enforced disappearances, defined by the United Nations as “the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty committed by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by the refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.”


Someone Else's WarFilm shows ‘trafficking’ of Pinoy workers to Iraq has an American face

by Jeremaiah M. Opiniano


A FINGER-LENGTH shard of metal on a white tissue paper nearly made Ailyn Mateo’s mother faint. Taken from Mateo’s right shoulder, the shrapnel from a bomb that killed 22 armed combatants and 11 civilians is a terrible testament to Filipinos’ desperation for work, even in a hell hole called Iraq.


Racism Report CoverRacism Report Released

The inaugural Racism Report released in April this year by the Confronting Racism in Communities project found that people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds are experiencing various forms of racism including racially and religiously motivated violence, destruction of personal property, threats of physical violence, verbal harassment and other forms of offensive speech and behaviour.

This is the first of four bi‑annual reports on the nature and extent of racism in Queensland. It provides an analysis of 145 racist incidents in Queensland that were reported to the Confronting Racism in Communities project team between 1st January and 30th June 2006. The data collection process is scheduled to continue until 30th June 2008.