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Manila Bulletin, February 28, 2008 | Go to article overview

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Solon appeals for soldiers

Bukidnon Rep. Teofisto DL. Guingona III yesterday appealed to President Arroyo and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes C. Esperon Jr. to stop the maltreatment and correct the injustices allegedly committed against officers of the Philippine Army (PA) and Philippine Marines charged with mutiny over the foiled February 2006 coup attempt.

In a privilege speech at the House of Representatives, Guingona said they have been stripped of their constitutional rights as they have been allegedly subjected to various indignities and inhumane treatment such as prolonged solitary confinement and torture.

Guingona claimed their families, unaware of what was happening and where they were being held, were subjected to harassment and mockery from other soldiers. "They could only cry out in despair, as their pleas fell on deaf and hostile ears," he said.

He said blatant "abuse of authority without responsibility" occurred and they were persecuted by forcing them face an illegitimate court martial without any proper charges.

Due to the absence of a signature authorizing the filing of charges, the officers were made to face an illegitimate court martial, he added.

BAI marks 78th year

Sen. Edgardo J. Angara will deliver a speech before the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) on its 78th founding anniversary on Visayas Ave., Diliman, Quezon City today with the theme, "BAI @ 78 -- Focusing on Best Practices in Animal Production and Food Safety for Competitive Domestic and Global Markets."

Angara will speak on the importance of the first stage of food chain to maximize food safety as well as practices in controlling the health status of animals where food products are mostly derived.

In 1930, the BAI was created under Republic Act (RA) 3639 which divided the then Bureau of Agriculture into two distinct entities, the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and the BAI.

Under Section 5 of RA 3639, the powers, functions, and duties of the Bureau of Agriculture concerning domestic animals and animal diseases were transferred to and vested in the BAI.

Angara was former secretary of agriculture from 1999 to 2001 and implemented the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) that he authored.

AFMA was approved in 1997 and benefitted farmers and fisherfolk with improved seeds and plant materials, better irrigation, better financing, and market access. …

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