Press Release
June 29, 2009

Press statement of Senator Loren Legarda


The torture of a Fil-American activist in the Philippines while on a vacation from the United States as revealed by the victim herself is but another confirmation of various United Nations reports condemning human rights violations in our country, including the widespread use of torture. Melissa Roxas was just lucky she escaped with her life to the US to be able to tell the ordeal.

In our country, hundreds of activists have been tortured, murdered and disappeared after having been allegedly abducted by military agents. Philip Ralston, UN rapporteur, has denounced those guilty of perpetrating these crimes as acting with "impunity". Government officials have denied these human rights but they kept on recurring with appalling regularity.

So long as these cases of torture, killings and disappearances of activists continue, no citizen of this country is safe in the exercise of his civil, political and human rights. It must stop. The government must stop it and bring the guilty to justice.


The layoff by Triumph International of 1,662 local employees highlight the need for the government to concentrate on efforts for job creation. Government tinkering with employment statistics will not convince our people that enough jobs are being created to provide employment to those who have lost their jobs and those who are just entering the labor force, like the new graduates.

The government has been trumpeting that it has created 1.5 million jobs last year. However, it turns out most of these jobs are in agriculture and self-employed sectors, meaning vendors and household helpers. In fact, according to reputable economists, the number of wage and salaried workers have gone done one percentage point last year.

It's time the President should cut down on her foreign travels. She should use the money saved to boost the stimulus package that would create more jobs. Less travels abroad would also enable her to concentrate with her advisers on the complex task of job creation.


The government must step up its collection of revenues to avoid a financial catastrophe starting next year. The International Monetary Fund has warned that unless the government raises its revenue our country would have a more drastic recession next year.

This means that the primary revenue-collecting agencies - the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs - should take further steps to root out corruption and increase their efficiency in assessing and collecting taxes. The IMF noted that the BIR again missed its target in the first quarter of this year.

The legislature should also cooperate by amending the tax laws to plug up loopholes for tax evasion, strengthen tax enforcement and reviewing tax incentives.

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