Farm workers are massacred in Negros with many questions unanswered and a “seen-zoned” Secretary of Tourism. These are the stories ANC will be covering today:
Massacre of farmers
Church and local officials in Negros Occidental have condemned the massacre of nine sugar workers in a hacienda there Saturday night. Human rights group Karapatan is calling for a probe into the incident. Neri Colmenares is pinning the blame on the government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Colmenares pointed out that in April, a military official said agricultural lands being tilled by the workers were in fact New People's Army (NPA) communal farms. The Philippine National Police (PNP) said a conflict between the farmers and the landowner is the probable cause of the massacre.
A glimmer that faded
It was a glimmer of hope that might have faded too quickly. The saga of the peace talks between the government and the communist movement resurrected a few days ago, but has since degenerated into another word war. The government’s chief peace negotiator Silvestre Belo said they are pushing through with localized peace talks, a move that was criticized by communist leader Joma Sison. Over the weekend, Sison they are ready to come back to the negotiating table. This statement was precipitated by President Rodrigo Duterte’s speech crediting the NPA for his win in the last elections. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace is cautious over new statements by Sison, saying the leaders of the communist movement have little or no control over their fighters on the ground. The AFP joined the call for the NPA to lay down their arms. This all comes after the government had linked the communists to the Red October plot.
Tourism Secretary Berna Puyat said she wrote officials in El Nido, Palawan to explain supposed violations of local laws but did not get a response. She said she felt she “seen-zoned” on this. ANC will pick up the story and get answers from El Nido tourism officials, as well as local officials. Meanwhile, airline flights resume in Caticlan and Kalibo in anticipation of the opening of Boracay island. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) also clarified that there is no total ban on parties on Boracay. Parties can be held for as long as they are indoors and away from the shore.
The Senate will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. on the issue of the third telco. ANC will bring you the hearing live. According to Sen. Grace Poe, the Senate needs to get updates on the status of the selection of the third telco to break the telecom duopoly in the country and improve the country’s dismal internet speeds, which are one of the lowest in the region. The hearing comes after a company aspiring to become the third telco sued the National Telecommunications Commission.
The controversy over the P6.8-billion shabu shipment is raging and taking many twists and turns. Whistleblower Ma. Lourdes Mangaoang said the President knew about discrepancies in the shipment and that Customs did nothing to probe the matter. What did the President do about the information? Customs chief Isidro Lapena claimed the opposite, saying they are probing the shipment. What have they found out so far? PNP Chief Dir. Gen. Oscar Albayalde could be at the budget hearing of the Department of the Interior and Local Government at the Senate. Albayalde earlier said they would work double time to recover the shipment, which the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said is flooding the streets of Metro Manila.