FiRE News Digest!

Here’s our first FiRE news digest assembled by our Vice-Chair, Cris Hilo! Check back soon as news surfaces frequently from the Philippines, U.S., and wherever Filipino migrant workers may be.  Should you have any links, please leave them for us in the comment box below, and we’ll be sure to include them in the next digest, which reaches a readership of about 500 FiRE supporters!

Happy reading!

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Philippines

GOV’T ECONOMIC TEAM: : ‘Slowdown,’ not recession
By Maila Ager INQUIRER.net

Posted date: November 12, 2008

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) There is no economic recession in 2009 just a “slowdown,” according to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s economic team, as it allayed businessmen’s fears.

Arroyo approval rating stays low–survey
By Joel Guinto INQUIRER.net

Posted date: November 12, 2008

MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s approval and trust ratings remain low as her administration continues to be besieged by corruption allegations, according to an independent survey.

Pulse Asia Inc.’s October Ulat ng Bayan survey showed that the Arroyo’s public approval rating stood at 27 percent while her public trust rating was at 24 percent.

U.S.

Paulson Says Treasury Is Shifting Focus of Bailout
By DAVID STOUT

WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. announced a major shift in the thrust of the $700 billion financial-rescue program on Wednesday, at the same time joining several agencies in prodding banks to speed up the thaw in the country’s credit system.

Mr. Paulson said the $700 billion would not be used to buy up troubled mortgage-related securities, as the rescue effort was originally conceived, but would instead be used in a broader campaign to bolster the financial markets and, in turn, make loans more accessible for creditworthy borrowers seeking car loans, student loans and other kinds of borrowing.

Gay Marriages Begin in Connecticut
By LISA W. FODERARO

NEW HAVEN — Bunches of white balloons and giant sprays of long-stemmed red roses festooned City Hall here Wednesday morning, as one of the eight couples who successfully sued the state to allow same-sex marriage became the first to obtain a marriage license as the law took effect.

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Surface James Balao!

We’d like to notify FiRE supporters of an email from an ally about one of the latest disappearances under GMA’s Oplan Bantay Laya, or the Philippine equivalent to the Homeland Security Act projects which unconstitutionally terrorize millions of Americans.  Balao was one of the founders and lead organizers of the Cordillera People’s Alliance, an organization that worked toward resolving issues of the national minority (the indigenous Filipino population.)   Please visit the website for more information, and consider writing a letter to the Philippine government via Amnesty International.  There are also many more articles here.

Dear friends,

It has been 55 days since James Balao disappeared. “It’s feared that he may have been the target of a political abduction by government forces,” writes Amnesty International.

To learn more about James’ disappearance and to learn what you can do, please visit http://sites.google.com/site/surfacejamesbalao

Diego