Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Exploratory talks on enhancing 
HRights monitoring underway 

PEACE advocates in Bohol are now exploring possibilities of enhancing its capabilities as sees a tie up with a leading human rights center. 

In fact, in January, exploratory talks with the Human Rights Center of the Ateneo Law School would be a perfect opportunity to level with and find areas of common interests where we can complement each other, said Fr. Felix Warli Salise of the Local Peace Forum representing Bishop Leonardo Medroso. 

Local Monitoring Board coordinator Romeo Teruel said the proposal to establish a multi-sectoral quick reaction team (MSQRT) to address Extra Legal Killings (ELK) and Enforced Disappearances (ED) in Bohol is a welcome development for enhancing local capabilities despite a present mechanism for monitoring human rights cases here. 

Concerned about the irritating allegation of human rights violations especially caused by the conflict between the government forces and the Communist Party of the Philippines National Democratic Front New People’s Army, local authorities and peace advocates proposed the establishment of a Local Monitoring Board (LMB) 

The LMB is the local monitoring mechanism, which does the tasks of the Joint Monitoring Committee organized to oversee the implementation and monitor compliance of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), Executive Order no. 22 by Governor Erico Aumentado showed. 

Upon the establishment of the LMB, the governor also ordered the setting up of local monitoring centers on CARHRIHL in at least three towns in Bohol. 

Aumentado pointed out that the campaign and promotion of the respect for human rights is and effective instrument in achieving a long and lasting peace. 

Despite all these milestones, Teruel said the proposal can help Bohol in capacity building trainings on human rights mainstreaming, accessing legal remedies, documentation and investigation to provide immediate and effective aid to victims of EJK and ED. 

The move to put up MSQRTS came as EJK and ED have been reported all throughout the country. 

In response to the need to look for ways to address the problem at the local levels, facilitate immediate action and cooperation among government agencies, civil society groups in the field of documentation, investigation, resolution and prevention, explained Ma. Krizna Gomez, MQSRT program Coordinator. (racPIABohol) 

DENR declares moratorium 
On tarsier farm permits 

EFFECTIVE immediately, a moratorium on granting of permits for new tarsier facilities for tourism purposes in Bohol and all over the known tarsier ranges in the country has been suspended. 

This as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued a moratorium on granting permits for tarsier facilities in attempts to acquire more data on the nocturnal mammal that has been never failed to fascinate scientist studying Philippine wildlife. 

Conservationists and protection advocates alleged that the tarsius syrichta has been even especially abused even in facilities that have openly advocated tarsier farming and breeding in captivity programs. 

The suspension on tarsier facility permits also grant the department to gather data on the present situation of the tarsiers and the substantiate claims that these wild animals have been pushed to the edge of extinction. 

At the recent Dialog on the Philippine Tarsier Conservation held December 11 at the Seglim of the Bohol Tropics, the DENR undersecretary for Policy and Planning told the stakeholders present that Secretary Ramon Paje has issued a verbal command for the moratorium. 

“We are just awaiting for the official document, but as the order has come out, all permits on process have been effectively suspended,” Director Demetrio Ignacio said. 

A Czech scientist, Dr, Milada Petru, in a presentation showed videos and still photographs of how tarsier facility operators in Bohol have blatantly abused the animals. 

Videos showed caretakers rousing the nocturnal animals to feed them as tourists thrust cricket pierced in midribs to the tarsiers. 

Another video showed tourists handling the tarsiers to get photographs. 

Handling these animals stress them out and it would be safe to assume that these handled tarsiers do not survive long in their stressful environment. 

She recommended that the tarsier facilities put up at least a hectare of each pair and that shrubs and secondary vegetation be there for it to simulate the tarsier ranges in the wild. 

Bohol tarsier facilities however only put up a small fenced patch to display tarsiers, one that clearly limits the tarsier’s free raging characteristics, Dr. Milada added. 

With the income tarsier facilities are racking on tourists, many Boholanos have filed applications for tarsier farm permits, these however could be placed under suspension with the moratorium. (racPIABohol)

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