Finalist-PhilBlogAwards 2010

Finalist-PhilBlogAwards 2010
Finalist for society, politics, history blogs



Wednesday, November 30, 2011



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Couples of countries are now calling for the formation of a world environmental organization. The most resonating call so far has been coming from Malaysia, one of the most prosperous nations of the ASEAN. Germany, France, and Brazil are among the resonators of the call.

As far as adopting green technologies are concerned, the developing countries notably the emerging markets have been observed to craft policies and executory measures among all the nations of the world today. That of renewable energy or RE has particularly seen the exemplary eagerness and action by the tiger economies and emerging markets.

Among the tigers, Malaysia is fast rising as a star in exemplary pursuits towards such greening ends. Below is a reportorial on the subject of world environmental organization.

[Philippines, 21 November 2011]


Malaysia adds to calls for world environment organisation

Zhen Yue

1 November 2011

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia has joined the call for global leaders to create a World Environment Organisation (WEO).

The prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, made the proposal in his speech at the First Preparatory Meeting of the World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability, held in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month (12–13 October).

He said that numerous environmental agreements have resulted in a complex system in which each agreement has its own secretariat and administration.

It is expected that global leaders will gather for the Rio+20 environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, next June, where the proposal will be discussed.

Najib's statement follows a letter written in 2009 by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the French president Nicolas Sarkozy, to the UN, requesting the creation of such an agency. Brazil, Italy and Kenya also support the idea.

And last year, during the annual meeting of the UN Environment Program in Indonesia, its executive director Achim Steiner raised the possibility of such an organisation, saying that "the status quo is no longer an option".

Najib said a WEO should be consultative and facilitative rather than regulatory. It would simplify existing systems, making them more coherent, and could achieve better coordination among UN agencies.

Malaysia has been focusing on adopting green technologies in line with its green technology policy.

Its government has also set up a national green procurement policy, which promotes the purchasing of green products by both the government and the private sector.

"In any country, government is usually the biggest consumer, and if government buys green there is a good chance this will spur industry growth and increase market demand," said Najib. "Only with a major overhaul of the governance system will we be able to address the challenges of environmental sustainability."

Nithi Nesadurai, president of the Environmental Protection Society Malaysia, said: "His idea has merit. Environmental issues are dealt with in a fragmented manner. A WEO could help look at the environment in a more holistic manner."


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Monday, November 28, 2011



Erle Frayne D. Argonza / Guru Ra

29 November 2011

Most gracious day of peace & love!

November 11, 2011 just passed away. It was a momentous event as energy spots, grids, and 4th dimensional portals across the globe gyrated with tremendous amplitudes, the influxes impacting immensely on those whose awareness is ever readier for the Ascension Day just 55 weeks ahead. Surreptitiously riding a-crest the November waves are the minions of Satan or Ahriman across the globe, sponsoring surreptitious conferences aimed at capturing as many unsuspecting souls whom they can drag along their post-2012 incarceration agenda (they will be banished in a new planet in Kama Loka or Hell, the lowest sub-plane of the astral plane).

Satan (Ahriman, Behemoth) took over the reign of power left behind by Lucifer who was punitively deprogrammed over 3 decades ago. Niched in the 3rd plane, Satan and his minions of Fallen Ones use the mental plane as a battle ground to trap souls in the dense spheres. Propagation of atheism and the usage of ‘cold forces’ to exterminate humans en masse are the agenda of the Ahrimanians or Satanists. There too are Ahrimanians using the Cult as platform for enslaving souls, the cults being fairly recent and are of the New Age variety.

Luciferans are now on the gradual retreat, and as they do this the Satanists down the ground keep busy to shore up whatever left-over strengths they have to enslave souls in their favor. Just recently, their puppet groups conducted a dubiously secretive 3-day conference in Manila. The event was dubbed as Cosmic in nature, which is true to the extent that it represents Cosmic Evil and gyrates with blasts of negative energies that could only lead to adverse effects on participants who are the least prepared for it. [Witness accounts from among the participants, shared thru a social network, amplify evidence to such expected adverse effects.]

I got wind up of the forthcoming event as early as mid-October yet. It was publicly announced in a UFO conference by a member of the cult group BROMOKI which seems to front for a broader coalition of cults and New Age groups with surreptitious agenda (surreptitious as their intentions are done without transparency). The BROMOKI has been orchestrating a so-called Spiritual Government for PH, a dubious bloc that doesn’t have a mandate from the true Spiritual Government led by Lord Sanat Kumara (based in Shamballah), Planetary Logos of Earth and guiding deity among the Lords of the Flame who oversee spiritual evolution on Earth since their arrival 18.5 million years ago yet.

Whether the said New Age cults know what Powers are behind them and where they are being brought to, are queries worth investigating. But what is clear to me is this: the true spiritual Brotherhood, the Brotherhood of Light to which this guru is an Initiated Fellow (I ascended spiritually in 2008), has no plan whatsoever of forming super-organizations in preparation for post-2012. The Brothers of Light rather have it on the agenda to let diverse networks of cosmic awareness persons and groups traverse along parallel trajectories, not by forming super-organizations or coalitions but by interconnecting through subtle threads of Light.

A week before the conference was held, couples of would-be volunteers for an ET interest group here (name withheld) called me up to consult me about the conference. I flatly told them that the Ascended Masters—who are Divine Elders tasked to lead and aid human beings in their evolutionary sojourns—have nothing to do with the conference being sponsored by a supposed Cosmic Office. Accordingly, they were told that the conference was all about God or is cosmic in nature, a contention that is filled with ambiguity even as it smacks of kindergarten stuff for ridicule.

Isn’t it a Standard Operating Procedure to provide the conference participants a copy of the theme and the agenda? There was no such advanced copy of the agenda. Also, the venue suddenly switched from the original Shangrila Hotel to another venue (a Makati hotel), thus making it all the more clear that the Shangrila thing was merely a decoy or camouflage for the real venue. Why were the sponsors concealing the knowledge about the venue?

So scared were the enquirers that they backed off from participating in the conference after hearing my preliminary analytical peregrination. Not only that, chances are they might no longer get active in the ET interest group which seems more of a pliant sub-altern for the New Age cult BROMOKI, unless the former can prove its sterling autonomy from cult coalitions which isn’t too late a thing for it to do.

I did my own investigative scan of the conference using the meditation tool, while at the same time registering the event before office of Archangel Gabriel and the Darjeeling Council of the Brotherhood for monitoring. Couples of visions appeared during the 3 nights of scanning, the following three images being the most focal:

· A Military Officer: A fatigue-clad officer, standing in side view facing West, with beret-type head gear, fair-skinned. I couldn’t decipher the nationality of this man, but clearly his role has to do with central supervision and monitoring of the event (to succeed).

· A building: An edifice that was solitarily standing in a large tract of land. I intuited that this was the building that served as central hub for commanding the conduct of the Manila conference and possibly satellite conferences across the globe. Most probably transmitters connect this building to certain ElectroMagnetic or EM transducers used as thought-bending equipment. Satellite-borne, the EM transducers are then beamed on any conference the Satanists conduct anywhere in the world.

· Very dark-hued Horned One with glowing short-tipped horns: Satan himself. This vision appeared last night, the night after the last day of the conference. This is the last evidence to indicate Who is in command of the sponsors of the cosmic evil conference. With this evidence at hand, I rest my case.

I could only surmise at how many of the participants ended up with fragmented psyche to the disheveled state of Multiple Personality Disorder of MPD. An MPD or schizoid is so pliant a subject for evil manipulators that the former can be easily commanded to do dirty tasks using the widely popularized hypnotic tools. Black Magic or Left Hand circles are so full of these MPDs and sociopaths, though many of them aren’t even aware of their being manipulated (such as the fake Lightworkers inside social networks who slander, insult, defame the true Lightworkers and the spiritual masters, and spread grand lies or deceptions of every kind).

Be forewarned about similar conferences going on in your country or area. Immediately report them to the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, and get yourselves extra protection with the Blue Ray of the Divine Ones while such conferences go on. Rest assured all those puppets of the Evil Ones will be imprisoned in the Kama Loka Planet (Hell) that is now awaiting them, or be destroyed accordingly in accordance with their abominations.


Saturday, November 26, 2011



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

What had happened to the children badly affected by wars across the planet? Those conflicts that are relentlessly fomented by insurgents wishing to establish mini-states rage like wild bushfires, conflicts that are orchestrated by the global oligarchy as a whole who finance and arm them via mafia conduits.

Kurdistan is a case in point where the conficts have taken place in Iraq and Turkey. The particular toll scales on children, women and aged have been at crescendo rates akin to those conflicts that have ruined once thriving states in Africa. Iraq is a case of a failed state, so it pays to follow through on the living conditions of the children in the whole country.

Incidentally, humanitarian and aid groups have been assisting the children in the war-torn regions such as Kurdistan. Below is reportage on the humanitarian efforts from the UNHCR.

[Philippines, 20 November 2011]


UNHCR assists displaced children in Iraq's Kurdistan region

News Stories, 31 October 2011

© UNHCR/H.Caux

ERBIL, Iraq, October 31 (UNHCR) In more stable countries, 13-year-old Firas and many of his classmates would probably be attending a school for children with special needs. They would also be benefitting from a much smaller student to teacher ratio.

But this is northern Iraq and these youngsters are just happy to be alive and receiving an education at the Amin Zaki state-run primary school in Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdis¬tan. Most of the 1,500 Arabic-speaking pupils fled their homes in Baghdad, Diyala, Kirkuk and Mosul after the eruption of sectarian violence in 2006.

"Many of the children in the school have been deeply traumatized by violence in our country," explained senior staff member Nazifa. "Some saw their fa¬thers killed. They are not fit to be in a normal school; they need special schools with psycho-social counsel¬ling. But we don't have those services here."

Firas did not lose any close family members, but he saw the war up close and ugly. A bomb exploded outside his school in Baghdad in 2007 and he still has nightmares about the traumatic experience. His family decided to leave the Iraqi capital because of the deteriorating security situation at that time.

The teenager's parents are happy that he can now continue his education, but he should be receiving special care for his trauma. What's more, the situation at the school has been far from ideal because of the arrival of significant numbers of students fleeing from insecurity in other parts of Iraq in recent years.

There are simply too many students. And overcrowding is a problem that affects most schools in this region. At the Shlama Primary School, also in central Erbil, the overworked teachers complain that having 40 to 50 pupils per class is too much. The average class size for primary schools in the developed world is 22.

Many of the students simply get left behind, the teachers say, while adding that the school infrastructure cannot cope with so many people. Moreover, with so many children per class, the Arabic school has to run a shift system some children attend in the morning and the rest come in the afternoon.

Fire-damaged classrooms at the Shlama school were renovated last year with funding from UNHCR, which has also carried out repairs at the Amin Zaki school. Shlama's 52 teachers, all internally displaced civilians from Baghdad, are grateful to have jobs, but say it is difficult to make ends meet on an average monthly salary of US$450.

"My rent is US$400 in Erbil and I am happy that my husband found daily labouring work, otherwise it would not be possible to survive," explains Ana, who also sets aside a small portion of her income to help the poorest students get to school by bus. Finding Arabic schools near their new homes in this predominantly Kurdish-speaking region has been difficult for some families.

Most of the displaced families have limited financial resourc¬es and cannot afford to live near the Arabic schools in central Erbil or to pay the US$50 monthly transport fees. "It's not always possible to pay for transportation fees for all the needy children," notes Ana. "So some of them stay at home," she adds.

Although the tuition at state schools is free, families have to pay for uniforms and school supplies. UNHCR is looking at ways to help families struggling to pay for transportation and other school-related costs. The agency has also funded renovation work on more than a dozen schools for internally displaced children in the Iraqi Kurdistan region in the past year, including six in Erbil.

"Improving access to education for displaced children in Iraq is a priority," stressed Claire Bourgeois, UNHCR's representative in Iraq. She added that UNHCR was working with the government and other organizations to provide livelihood opportunities for internally displaced Iraqis as a way to tackle the problems of school absenteeism and child labour.

At least the children in Erbil study in sturdy buildings. In Gojar to the east, more than 120 internally displaced children are studying in tents at a camp managed by UNHCR They and their families fled their villages on the Iraq-Iran border in July to escape artillery fire.

"Despite the tough conditions, it is still very cheering to see all these displaced children getting on with their lives," said Bushra Halepota, head of the UN¬HCR office in Erbil. She wished UNHCR could do more. Plans are under way to organize daily transportation to a school in the nearby city of Qaladiza.

By Hélène Caux in Erbil, Iraq


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Thursday, November 24, 2011



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

The narratives from poor communities in developing countries about folks thriving on a mere once-a-day meal is classic story of the ‘wretched of the earth’. Getting to know them closely through participant observation could make one feel what a living hovel is which, in esse, far outweighs the subjects of Franz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth.

In UN development parlance, such folks are concrete cases of those families earning below US $2 per day. The UN’s member countries were thus challenged to accelerate their poverty alleviation agenda so as to half the quantities of warm bodies falling within the ‘wretched’ criterion.

Below is an example of a human interest narrative coming from Asia that fits into the MDG success story.

[Philippines, 19 November 2011]


From one meal a day to three

Asea Begum inside her home grocery store in Mymensingh district, northern Bangladesh. (Photo: UNDP)

Inside Asea Begum's home, shelves teem with jars containing pulses, grains, spices and dried biscuits. A little girl runs in with a small plastic bottle that Begum fills with cooking oil in exchange for a few coins.

Asea Begum runs a small grocery store out of her one-room house in the Mymensingh district of northern Bangladesh. The store is a primary source of income for Begum, and allows her to provide for her family.


  • UNDP's UPPR initiative has improved living standards for more than 2.3 million people in Bangladesh.
  • UPPR has provided Slums in Bangladesh with 12,370 latrines, 2,122 tube wells, 46 kilometers of drains and 128 kilometers of footpaths.
  • More than 90 per cent of all posts in the UPPR initiative's community-led committees are held by women.

Not long ago, however, Begum and her family ate just one meal a day, consisting of plain rice and a few pieces of chili. Her children were always hungry and her husband, who pulls a rickshaw all day, was continually exhausted.

All this changed when Begum received a loan of 6,000 Bangladeshi Taka (about US$85) from her local community development committee. The loan allowed her to start a small grocery business and thereby signicantly increase her income.

After repaying the loan, she also borrowed cash to buy goats, which she raises and sells in front of her house. Her monthly income is now about US$15, after expenses, and she has become a member of her local community development committee.

These committees, made up of women like Begum, are the core of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) US$120m Urban Partnerships for Poverty Reduction (UPPR) initiative.

UPPR, which began in 2008 and will run until 2015, is implemented by various governmental and non-governmental partners and UN agencies. It currently has 100 government staff and 400 mostly national UNDP staff.

The project is the largest of its kind in Bangladesh and one of the largest in the world. Its goal is to reduce urban poverty in the country and improve the livelihoods and living conditions of Bangladesh's three million urban poor and extremely poor people, especially women and girls.

“Poverty reduction initiatives have the best effects when they target women,” explains programme manager Richard Geier, “because [women] are the most affected, under-employed, and they are the ones caring for children.”

UPPR’s committees provide the necessary support for members to embark on income-generating activities and obtain eco-friendly job skills training. They also assess the community’s needs in order to develop action plans for providing needed services, such as health facilities and legal assistance.

“We are mobilising community members, integrating them into community organisations, and this helps them become empowered to address their needs,” says Geier. “They used to be isolated, but now they know they can seek help.”

By the end of 2009, Bangladesh had more than 1,200 committees, consisting of 1.7 million people from 23 towns and cities.

The committees, which also encourage members to form savings and credit groups, are highly effective in promoting the kind of development local people want and need.

As a result of the committees’ work, the slums covered by the UPPR initiative now have 12,370 more latrines, 2,122 more tube wells, 46 more kilometres of drains and 128 more kilometres of footpaths.

The UPPR initiative’s strategy also includes policy advocacy, which helps to develop policies that support the poor and implement them at national and local government levels.

It’s a strategy that seems to be working so far.

By selling groceries and rearing goats, Begum has been able to replace her house’s flimsy bamboo walls with sturdier material and her family now eats three meals a day including vegetables and fish. Best of all, through her local community development committee she has a cadre of other women on whom she can rely for support.


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Wednesday, November 23, 2011



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Gracious day from the Pearl of the Orient!

12.3 Millions of laborers work under severe, forced labor conditions at any given time today. Such conditions are akin to the involuntary servitude of the colonial heydays of Western imperialism. Come think of it, the slave trade hasn’t really ended, it only mutated into a new form.

During the halcyon days of the British Empire, no less than over 20,000 ships owned by British traders were plying the seas just for one key purpose: to trade slaves sourced from Africa. The same slave traders, working behind the British East India Company, paid every intellectual prostitute that they can tap in order to propound and popularize laissez faire as a doctrine that, in reality, defended the interests of the same slave traders. Free trade means the unhampered, unregulated, uncontrolled trading of human chattel by greedy and inhumane British slave traders.

Today, that situation of the Empire’s dirty business is reversing towards a humanitarian bent. British consumers are now being urged to support the campaign against human trafficking, which seems to be a karmic payment for the sins of commission of their not-so-ancient compatriots.

Below is a report from the IOM about the anti-human trafficking campaign.

[Philippines, 18 November 2011]


IOM Campaign Urges UK Consumers to Buy Responsibly to Help End Human Trafficking

Posted on Friday, 14-10-2011

United Kingdom - Eliminating the demand for trafficked and exploited labour is critical if efforts to end human trafficking are to be successful, says the International Organization for Migration (IOM) ahead of Anti-Slavery Day in the UK.

Launching its "Buy Responsibly" campaign in London on 18 October 2011 (, IOM is urging consumers in particular to play a greater role in ending human trafficking in the UK and across the world.

Encouraging the public to question "What's Behind the Things We Buy?" the campaign, designed together with Saatchi & Saatchi in Geneva, hopes to mobilise consumer power in dramatically changing consumer habits in the UK.

Estimates put the number of people in forced or bonded labour and sexual servitude in the world at 12.3 million at any given time. Although public focus has largely been on the issue of trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation, greater incidences are emerging of trafficking for labour exploitation involving all ages and both sexes.

Despite best efforts by all those involved in countering human trafficking, indications are that it is at least as widespread today as it was ten years ago.

In the UK, there is a slow but growing realisation that slavery is present in the UK itself and not limited to distant shores.

"A change in mindset and practices among consumers and businesses needs to occur," Swing adds. "Consumers in the UK who are increasingly demanding fair trade have the power to end labour exploitation by buying responsibly and getting businesses to rethink how they operate. It's also in the interest of business to ensure that supply chains are free of trafficked or exploited labour," says Swing.

The IOM campaign, part of a global effort to address the demand side of human trafficking for labour exploitation, has already been launched in Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands.

The IOM campaign, part of a global effort to address the demand side of human trafficking for labour exploitation, has already been launched in Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands.

For the UK launch on 18 October, IOM and NGOs, including the Human Trafficking Foundation, Anti-Slavery International, Barnardo's and Stop the Traffik, will be in Trafalgar Square, in the heart of London.

A 5x4 metre upside-down giant shopping trolley imprisoning people representing trafficked migrant workers, an image of the campaign, will be on site in Trafalgar Square. The public will be encouraged to stop and ask what it can practically do to make a difference.

The Buy Responsibly launch is one of the many awareness raising events being held in London and across the UK by NGOs as part of Anti-Slavery Week.

BROADCASTERS – The Buy Responsibly TV spot is available for use and download

Please go to:

For further information on the Buy Responsibly campaign, please visit:

For further information on IOM and its Counter-Trafficking Work, please visit:

For any media or interview requests, please contact:

Jean Philippe Chauzy
Tel: +41 79 285 4366


Jemini Pandya
Tel: +41 79 217 3374

For any further information on the launch itself, please contact:

Chiara Gnoli:
Tel: +44 20 7811 6053


Chris Gaul:
Tel: +44 207 7811 6077


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Monday, November 21, 2011



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Ukraine, that once mighty component state of the Soviet Union, hasn’t seen much of the light of day of the new republic post-USSR. The once imperious and grand USSR was the world’s 2nd largest economy during its heyday, but historical mills have rolled on and the rugs under the feet of the Union peoples had drastically changed.

Badly sore on its feet for the dis-integration of that economic union, Ukraine had to scrounge for meager resources to re-start its sagging economy. It simply doesn’t have the experience to run a market economy, thus spawning mafia groups that took on every sector of the economy they can grab in a copycat of the Russian mafia.

Ukrainians, like their fellow ex-USSR folks, are compelled to seek for jobs overseas no matter what the mistreatment and risks they take. So desperate for cash are the Ukrainians that they’d opine a blindness to abuses and other mistreatments for the gainsake of pumping their cash-starved pockets.

What is your take of the Ukrainian downplaying of labor hazards overseas? Below is a report on the subject culled from the IOM.

[Philippines, 17 November 2011]


Ukrainians Underestimate Dangers of Human Trafficking, Report Finds

Posted on Friday, 14-10-2011

Ukraine - The overwhelming majority of Ukrainians have a limited awareness of the dangers of human trafficking, a newly published survey suggests.

The opinion poll conducted by a market research company GfK Ukraine for IOM Ukraine was carried out among a sample of 1,000 respondents (representative of Ukrainian population 14 – 65 years old by administrative units, types of settlements and gender). It found that 70 per cent of the interviewees believed they were not personally at risk of being trafficked.

While the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians (92 per cent) said they were aware of trafficking for sexual exploitation and 82 per cent conscious of the fact that Ukrainians are being trapped into forced labour, it is their low economic status and previous successful migration experiences which determine the level of risk they are under. 9 per cent of the poll respondents said they were planning to go abroad in search of living. Almost 80 per cent of this group's representatives would agree on illegal employment, 13 per cent are ready to work for any employer who would offer an attractive payment. Residents of the Central region are more inclined towards risky behaviour. According to GfK data, 36.6 per cent of Central Ukraine's population have to save on food and clothes. Up to 16 per cent of the Central Ukraine's residents have external migration experience.

"Although considerable numbers of Ukrainian migrants have experienced exploitation and abuse abroad, the poll suggests that many more are willing to engage in risky practices in their often desperate search for employment abroad," says IOM Ukraine's Chief of Mission Manfred Profazi. "This risk taking behaviour is often fuelled by migrants who have successfully escaped exploitation and have returned home with earnings."

Another disturbing finding of the survey is that Ukrainians tend to accept mistreatment and even rights violations in order to keep their jobs. According to the poll, 24 per cent of all respondents said they were willing to accept penalties from their employer for making mistakes at work. Further 11 per cent would accept withholding of their salaries, a method regularly used by traffickers to coerce migrants into exploitation.

More than 110,000 Ukrainians are believed to have fallen prey to traffickers since 1991 and Ukraine remains one of the main countries of origin of exploited labour in Europe.

As part of efforts to reduce the vulnerability of migrants to trafficking and exploitation, IOM Ukraine recently launched a website ( aiming to raise general public awareness of the irregular migration dangers and foster further cooperation among all partners fighting traffickers who increasingly use the internet to lure their victims into situations of exploitation.

"This is why IOM and its partners are increasingly going online to combat human trafficking," says IOM's Profazi. "This means getting our awareness message across job searching sites and employment portals, which regularly contain false promises of easy work abroad."

Since the start of its counter-trafficking activities in Ukraine in 1998, IOM Ukraine assisted almost 8,000 victims of trafficking, both women and men who suffered from sexual and labour exploitation mainly in the Russian Federation and Poland.

For more information please contact:

Varvara Zhluktenko
IOM Ukraine
Tel: +38-044-568-50-15


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Sunday, November 20, 2011



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Overall budget appropriation pattern in the US Congress has shown an increasing cuts of aid to other countries. The US $4 Billions given each to Egypt and Israel were squeezed down a mere $3 Billions for both countries.

The rationale given by the mentally bankrupt US legislators is that priority for allocations should be domestic needs rather than those that fit foreign relations matters. Isolationism is creeping inside legislators more so the House of Representatives or ‘lower house’. In US institutional history, the term ‘lower house’ was used to label the House of Representatives to signify the low level of wisdom and competence of its members relative to the Senate.

Signs of the times, isn’t it? US hegemonism on the global terrain is now crashing down in a context that is increasingly moving toward multipolar power arrangement. Domestic demands for larger money inputs is ever rising at exponential rates while the debt levels are sucking down financial resources intended for more productive uses (pump priming) and social welfare.

Below is an analytical piece about the subject culled from the New York Times.

[Philippines, 16 November 2011]


No Time to Get Stingy

Published: October 8, 2011

Spending for diplomacy and foreign aid has long been a favorite target of Congressional budget cutters. That’s truer than ever this year with the supercommittee looking for a $1.5 trillion reduction in the federal deficit. Why spend precious tax dollars overseas when the need at home is so great?

For the sake of national security, this country cannot afford to retreat from the world. Its investment in the State Department and foreign aid helps advance peace and stability by feeding starving people, providing access to doctors and medicines, opening new markets, promoting democracy, curbing nuclear arms and strengthening allies with military and economic assistance. It also gives Washington leverage.

There is a lot of public misunderstanding about foreign aid, which accounts for less than 2 percent of the federal budget. And the truth is, much of that money — too much — goes to American producers of food, medicine and weapons that are delivered abroad.

International affairs spending — on diplomats and embassies, aid to more than 100 countries and funding for the World Bank, the United Nations and others — declined after the cold war. It rose after 9/11, from about $32 billion in 2002 to $57 billion in 2010, largely because of obligations connected to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, aid to Pakistan and a greater investment in global health.

The trend is shifting again. As chart A shows, the budget was cut by $6 billion, or roughly 11 percent, in 2011, with a $2 billion reduction possible in 2012 if the Republican-led House prevails. The largest category of spending is direct economic aid, which supports global health programs, as well as efforts to reform economies, expand education and respond to disasters in Haiti, Japan and elsewhere. That type of spending was cut to $21 billion in 2011 from $25 billion in 2010.

Military and security aid to fight terrorism abroad, combat drug trafficking and underwrite foreign arms purchases and military training amounted to $8 billion in 2011. Israel gets about $3 billion annually, with money also going to Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. This is one category the House would increase. The State Department’s salaries, embassy construction and security, and contributions to international institutions make up most of the rest of the budget.

At least four critical areas would suffer disproportionately from cuts proposed by the House. The Obama administration opposes those cuts and is seeking limited increases. As chart B shows, food aid, which was $1.7 billion in 2011, would fall 28 percent to $1.2 billion in the House plan. A global health initiative, which is reducing malaria in Africa and preventing the spread of H.I.V./AIDS, under that plan would lose $700 million from its $7.8 billion budget. The United States Agency for International Development (Usaid), which oversees aid programs and ensures that funds are properly spent, faces a $400 million cut — and likely staff layoffs. Money for development projects like water filtration plants would be sliced by 18 percent by the House.

Savings squeezed from the State Department and foreign aid — which together are less than a tenth of the basic Pentagon budget — would be a tiny share of the $3.8 trillion federal budget. Yet the effects would be hugely damaging to American foreign policy. Washington needs resources to support new democracy movements in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. This is also a critical time in Iraq and Afghanistan, where demands for diplomatic resources are growing. National security has always depended on more than military strength. We need diplomats to anticipate problems and find nonmilitary solutions. The drive to cut diplomatic resources and foreign aid seriously harms our ability to do just that.


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Thursday, November 17, 2011



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

A rebel army called the Lord’s Resistance Army or LRA operates in Uganda and neighbors, inflicting damages on ordinary folks there. LRA rebels casually rape women they get across with, much like those ‘comfort women’ of Japanese Imperial Army troops then occupying vast Asian territories at the height of World War II.

It isn’t safe to estimate about the total number of women and children sexually abused by the same cabal of maniacal Lords’ rebels. We can only surmise at the trauma confronted by the victims and speculate about the psychosocial intervention or absence of it that could have addressed the traumas.

Incidentally, there were women who were able to survive, thrive and overcome the traumas. They undertake adult education as part of their drive back to mainstream life, with not of few of them becoming entrepreneurs in the aftermath of tragic victimizations.

Below is a special report on the subject coming from the media office of the UNHCR.

[Philippines, 15 November 2011]


From captive to budding entrepreneur with a boost from UNHCR

News Stories, 13 October 2011

© UNHCR/J.Katsurama.

DUNGU, Democratic Republic of the Congo, October 13 (UNHCR) -- Whenever Marie*, just 16, looks at her lively toddler, Honoré*, she has the most intimate reminder of the 25-year reign of terror inflicted by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army on innocent villagers in Uganda and neighbouring countries.

Marie is an escaped sex slave of the LRA, and her son, now about two years old, was born after she endured months of rapes by LRA soldiers. These days, though, she's not focused on the past, but is rebuilding her life and looking forward, thanks to her family and programmes funded by the UN refugee agency.

"The assistance I've received from UNHCR helped me overcome the trauma of my experiences," the young woman says. "Now I feel like I have returned to normal life."

Life was anything but normal after she and her classmates were rounded up by the LRA three years ago from their village in north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), near the border with South Sudan. The armed militiamen left older teenagers behind, and tied the children at the waist and marched them off. They were forced to carry food, clothing and furniture the LRA had looted from her village to the rebels' permanent base.

The LRA kept the children ensnared with what they said was magic oil smeared on their palms and foreheads and threats of death, underlined by the execution of one of Marie's friends after he tried to escape.

That unlucky boy was one of the estimated 30,000 people who died during the LRA terror that also displaced some 2 million people in northern Uganda alone. Today the LRA remains active in neighbouring DRC, South Sudan and Central African Republic.

For Marie, life ground down to days of forced labour in the field and nights of sexual slavery, all the while being forced to fake a cheerful demeanour. She gave birth at what she says was a secret camp set up especially for pregnant sex slaves. She recalls incredible pain without any medical care.

During her pregnancy, the Ugandan military had stepped up pressure on the LRA and in June 2010, Marie managed to escape during a battle. Ugandan soldiers took her and her baby boy back to Dungu, the capital of Marie's district. To her relief, her family welcomed her back and gave her a home of her own on their land.

"I was overcome by a feeling of joy to be reunited with my family again after such a long time," she recalls.

Her first challenge was to begin healing. Marie enrolled in a psycho-social programme run by UNHCR and its partners to help victims of sexual violence overcome their trauma and reintegrate into normal life.

"Continuing stigmatization of former victims of sexual violence remains a huge problem in eastern Congo," says Jorge Holly, head of UNHCR's office in Orientale province. "That is why UNHCR is supporting these empowerment programmes to reduce the risks of stigmatization and social isolation of many of these survivors of sexual violence."

So far this year, UNHCR has provided psycho-social support for 348 women in Dungu, a part of the country where rape is endemic. Literacy classes are helping traumatized women reintegrate into society, while also providing a platform for education on violence against women.

Marie has resumed her interrupted education and hopes to take part soon in a UNHCR programme that teaches women baking, sewing, budgeting and personal finance so they can support themselves.

Because of all she's been through, Marie exudes the maturity of someone far older, and speaks about her experiences in calm, measured tones. Cuddling Honoré, whom she now regards as a gift from God, Marie says that once she completes the new training, "I hope to be able to start my own business selling vegetables, so I can support my child and pay for my education."

* Names changed for protection reasons

By Sebastian Frowein
In Dungu, Democratic Republic of the Congo


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Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Beware! Other countries might pollute your own country’s waters and ecosystems!

This is the thematic message being highlighted to the global community by West Africa where transnational pollution is wreaking havoc on marine ecosystem. Industrial wastes are of particular concern in the region as they have magnified social dilemmas arising from their unregulated disposal into the seas and coastal areas.

Below is a special report from the UNIDO about the subject.

[Philippines, 14 Nobember 2011]


Working to prevent transnational pollution in the Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem

The location is Kpémé. It can easily be found in Google Maps. All that needs to be done is to enter the name and click on the image to enlarge. And there it is - Kpémé, in Togo, West Africa.

Now, click once more… and once again … and you will see what is supposed to be the sparkling blue waters of a part of the Guinea Current - a warm ocean current that flows easterly along the coast of West Africa. These waters, however, are brown. The reason? A phosphate factory in the nearby Kpémé which has been releasing its waste waters into the sea for years. “What looks like environmental fraud at first glance, is in fact a complex socio-economic dilemma,” says Christian Susan of UNIDO’s Water Management Unit.

The coastal region of Togo hosts more than 90 per cent of the industrial units of the country. Among these is the International Fertilizer Group (IFG) industry, which processes phosphates at Kpémé.

“The revenues from IFG contribute significantly to Togo’s Gross National Income USD. So far Togo has not yet enacted any standards for industrial waste water and phosphate accounts for some 20 per cent of export earnings and IFG is one of Togo’s largest employers,” explains Susan. Yet the effluents discharged in the coastal waters without any further treatment provoke enormous pollution problems along the coast of Togo as well as beyond the country’s territorial waters, including in Benin and all the way to Nigeria.

Since 2005, UNIDO has been supporting Togo helping– deal with the polluted coastal waters through the Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem (GCLME) project.

The GCLME is one of the world’s 64 large marine ecosystems that together produce 95 per cent of the annual world fish catch. The physical extent of the Guinea Current encompasses coastal waters from Guinea-Bissau on the north to Angola on the south, with 16 West-African countries sharing the resources of the GCLME.

The waters of the GCLME are among the world’s most productive and are characterized by abundant biodiversity. They support large populations of sardines, tunas, mackerel and other species important to the economies and livelihood of the more than 300 million people in the coastal zone as sources of food and export products.

The waters are not only rich in fisheries, but also support large-scale gas and oil production, coastal and mangroves that provide important nursery grounds for various fish stocks. Present and future generations in West Africa are largely dependant on these resources – enough reason for UNIDO to harness know-how and expertise and seek ways to clean-up the coastal region.

“The phosphate mine in Kpémé constitutes one of the most serious but by far not the only source of transboundary industrial pollution in this ecosystem,” says Christian Susan.

Under the umbrella of the Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem project, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) supports the sixteen countries sharing the ecosystem in their efforts to restore and sustain depleted fisheries, reduce pollution, restore degraded habitats and institutionalize eco-system wide cooperation.

The project is to be completed by April 2012. It is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and executed by UNIDO. It also benefits from substantial support provided by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (US-NOAA).

To strengthen regional cooperation the riparian countries have established the Interim Guinea Current Commission (IGCC). The GCLME project’s Regional Coordination Unit which is hosted by the Government of Ghana serves as the Commission’s executive secretariat.

“In line with UNIDO’s Green Industry concept, we make sure that industrial production is maintained while resource efficiency is increased and detrimental environmental impacts resulting from industrial production processes are reduced,” says Christian Susan.

“In 2006 we conducted in-depth research that led to the recommendation of low-cost, low-technology measures to control the pollution of GCLME waters by drastically reducing the particulate content of effluents from the phosphate processing plant. Then, in 2009, we helped prepare detailed engineering designs, bills of quantities and cost estimates. Today, UNIDO experts are assessing the environmental, social and financial feasibility to recycle and re-utilize the sludge resulting from the proposed waste water treatment plant for industrial purposes as well as for income generating activities.”

UNIDO, helped identify the best technology to deal with the industrial pollution and developed a forward-looking strategy. The Organization has also helped train experts in all 16 countries of the GCLME. They will continue the cleaning of the ecosystem.

By Eva Manasieva

Posted October 2011

To download a fact sheet on the programme, go here

For more information about the programme, please email:

Christian Susan
UNIDO Project Manager


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