Monthly Archives: June 2009

Critics told GMA: “Stop world tour, spare taxpayers’ money”

P 3 billion for foreign trips is shocking, unpardonable, says Pamalakaya
Critics told GMA: “Stop world tour, spare taxpayers’ money”
Shocked by the disclosure of opposition senator Francis Escudero that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo could have spent over P 3 billion taxpayers money for her foreign trips since she assumed the presidency in 2001, the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged the President to stop her world tour and spare billions of taxpayers’ money.

“If she wants to see the world in 80 days, she should use her own money, not the hard-earned taxes paid by the Filipino public. She is using public office and public funds for these senseless escapades abroad,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

According to Sen. Escudero, President Arroyo might have spent P 3 billion for the foreign trips she had taken since 2001. Escudero, also a leading presidentiable in the 2010 national elections, noted that Malacañang had spent over P 2 billion for travels for a five year period—2002 up to 2007. Last year, the Office of the President alloted P 408.6 million for travels, and allocated P 436 million for the foreign trips of Ms Arroyo this year.

Escudero also said the travel budget for 2007 was set at P 300.2 million for both local and foreign trips but this ballooned to P 693 million or more than double of what was authorized in the 2007 national budget.

The Pamalakaya leader said billions of taxpayers’ money was spent for white elephant trips of President Arroyo abroad. “The economy remains bad and in chronic crisis, the state of people’s health and education are worse than before, nothing has been done to uplift the lives of every ordinary Filipino,” added Hicap.

Pamalakaya agreed with Escudero, that Malacañang could have used the allocated budget as supplement to the budgets of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute which received a low budget of P 227.5 million in 2007, the Lung Center of the Philippines (P 221.5 million), the Philippine Heart Center (P 287 million) and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (P 239.5 million), all in the same year.

“Malacañang is spending more to the Imeldific and high end activities of the President and her rabid loyalists in and out of Malacañang. Ms Arroyo, indeed has practiced and emulated the lifestyle of former President Ferdinand Marcos and former First Lady Imelda Marcos, when the Marcoses were still in power. This is really horrible,” said Pamalakaya.

The militant group suggested to the leadership of the Philippine Senate and the House of Representatives to pass a joint resolution calling a halt to President Arroyo’s future travels abroad starting July up to the May 2010 elections.

“Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Speaker Prospero Nograles are known staunch allies of President Arroyo. But for the sake of national interest and the collective sentiment of the Filipino public and the taxpaying people of this country, the leaders of Congress should cross party lines and tell Ms Arroyo to stop her world tour project,” said Pamalakaya.

The militant group said it would be better if both Houses conduct a separate or joint congressional inquiry into the foreign trips of President Arroyo and find out the damages these foreign trips had done to Filipino people and to the taxpaying public. #

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Militants slam promotion of 3 Army officers linked to Jonas abduction

Extremely horrible, says Pamalakaya
Militants slam promotion of 3 Army officers linked to Jonas abduction

“Extremely horrible”

This was the immediate reaction of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) after learning yesterday that the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines promoted three Army officers linked to the enforced abduction of activist Jonas Burgos in Bulacan province.

“We were outraged by this latest political escapade of the defense and military officials. The partners in crime of the national security syndicate in Malacañang and retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan got their promotions for terrorizing activists, critics and the people in the communities opposed to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s republic of election fraud, state terror and super corruption,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

“Where is justice here? The three stooges of Palparan—Lt. Cols. Edison Caga, Melquiades Feliciano and Noel Clement were also accused and guilty of terrorizing the coastal and farming communities all over Bulacan province were given military promotions for performing their roles to the hilt as implementers of state-sanctioned terror,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

The three promoted Army officers, according to Pamalakaya, were the point persons of Palparan in orchestrating campaigns in coastal communities accusing the militant fisherfolk group of extorting P 50,000 monthly from fishpond owners, recruiting coastal people to join the New People’s Army and sowing terror among the people in coastal areas.

“Caga, Feliciano and Clement were oriented and trained in the tradition of Palparan. Their mindset were boxed in the political context of the counter-insurgency campaign known as Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and Oplan Bantay Laya 2 and their military mission for the government is to carry out extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances against political activists, critics and opponents of the Macapagal-Arroyo government and the military establishment,” Pamalakaya’s Hicap asserted.

Pamalakaya warned members of the Commission on Appointments (CA) on the serious implications that will arise from the confirmation of the three Army officers implicated in the abduction of Burgos and the number of political killings and enforced disappearances in the province over the last five to six years.

“Definitely there would be a major backlash if the CA will confirm the appointments of these killers, abductors and torturers in military uniform. It will entertain a major political showdown inside the parliament, in the streets and in the court of public opinion. We ask the members of the appointing and approving authority to quash the promotions of these extrajudicial killers and political kidnapping animals,” the militant group said.

Likewise leaders of Pamalakaya took turns in berating Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Arnulfo Burgos for defending the promotions of three Army officers.

“The promotions of the three stooges of the National Security Council and Palparan will further embolden members of Malacañang’s death squad to commit more political killings and enforced disappearances to clinch promotions from the extrajudicial killing republic of President Arroyo. That’s the objective and logical conclusion of this horrible act,” said Pamalakaya. #

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Bahrain business execs here to scout for RP lands—groups

Bahrain business execs here to scout for RP lands—groups

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and staunch ally Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) on Friday revealed that Bahrain’s business delegation will be in Manila to scout for lands available for production of rice, fruit and vegetable for the consumption of the growing population of Persian Gulf state.

KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos said the business delegation left Bahrain yesterday and will embark on a week long trip to the Philippines and Thailand to look for available lands for rice, fruit and vegetable plantations.

According to Ramos, despite the advise of United Nation’s Food Security expert Olivier de Schutter to call for a code of conduct to regulate the purchase of farmland across Africa, Asia and Latin America by Gulf states and private business, the Bahrain business delegation pursued the trip to acquire if not lease lands abroad.

The KMP leader said Bahrain businessmen will stay in Manila until June 28; however Malacañang still refuse to reveal the details of the trip and the detailed agenda accompanying the week long business trip in the country.

“Malacañang continues to treat its business talk with Bahraini investors as top secret confined to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and to the national security syndicate, despite mounting calls from all affected sectors for the administration to disclose the agenda and come aboveboard with this highly secretive agreement,” Ramos said.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap saidthe initial agreement between the Philippines and Bahrain was signed in May 2008 after Bahrain trade minister Hassan Fakhro visited Manila to secure vast plots of land to grow Basmati rice for Bahrain’s consumption.

According to Hicap, details of the agreement was finally clinched on June last year, and it was signed by the minister of agriculture of Bahrain and agriculture secretary Arthur Yap for the Philippines, but the two agriculture officials agreed not to release the details of the agreement. However, according to Hicap, Fakhro was quoted as saying that several Bahrain companies will come in the Philippines to invest in rice production and livestock processing.

“While 70 percent of the peasant and fisherfolk population is still landless, Ms Arroyo entered into a secret, unlawful and immoral deal with Bahrain that will offer the country’s agricultural lands at bargain prices to foreign investors. Now, we have the business delegation from Bahrain coming in to formally scout for the country’s agricultural lands. This is treason to the highest order,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

KMP and Pamalakaya said, aside from the Philippines, the Manama-based General Trading and Food Processing Company, one of Bahrain’s largest public trading corporation is also interested in securing lands in Australia, India and Sudan to develop supplies of Bahraini market, which is composed of not less than 750,000 people.

“Secretary Yap and his lady boss in Malacañang have a lot of explaining to do over this highly secret agricultural deal with Bahrain. No official statements from the government side have been issued to the public and the entire Filipino people are kept in total dark about this escapade of President Arroyo and her agriculture secretary,” both groups added.

Pamalakaya noted that in 2007, the Bahraini food giant set up a $ 2.7 million joint venture food processing venture in Qatar with the Qatar Company for Meat and Livestock Trading, which is expanding its overseas operation.

The group said aside from the Philippines, the Bahraini government has also secured an agreement with the Thai government for the production of Jasmine rice for direct export to Bahrain. Hicap said a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Bahrain and Thailand in May 2008, simultaneously with the visit of Fakhro in the Manila.

“Is this country for sale? Does President Arroyo maintain and execute a policy of selling the country’s agricultural lands to those who want to come to invest for agri-business undertakings? Is there such a policy? This seems to be the trend now with foreign groups coming in either to secure lease arrangements or buy lands in the country for production of agricultural products for super profits,” said Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya noted that a Japanese holding company based in United Kingdom and its’ local subsidiary have been allowed by the national government to reforest 400,000 hectares in Northern Luzon with coconut trees for production of biodiesel products. The agreement between the United Kingdom based firm- the Pacific Bio-Fields Holding Plc. and its local counterpart the Northern Luzon based—Bio-Energy NL to utilize some 400,000 hectares of forest areas for coconut plantation was sanctioned by Malacañang, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) for 25 years and renewable for another 25 years.

Pamalakaya lamented that the incident involving the free use of 400,000 hectares of lands for the production of bio-diesel for the use of Japanese users is a clear proof that the Japan-Philippines Economic and Partnership Agreement (Jpepa) is really anti-Filipino and merely intended to address the need of Japanese transnational corporations.

“In exchange for 400 nursing and caregiving jobs in Japan, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will allow the corporate exploitation of 400,000 hectares of Philippine agricultural lands to foreign groups identified with and serving at the pleasure of Japanese car makers. No Filipino can stomach this kind of across-the-nation betrayal of national interest,” it said.

In an announcement in Tokyo which coincided with the state visit of President Arroyo, the Pacific Bio-Fields Holding Plc. said the project would make alternative auto fuel which it plans to sell to Japanese users in five years. Its counterpart the Bio-Energy NL headed by company president Salacnib Baterina denied that the government will allow the use of 400,00 hectares for the production of bio-diesel for free.

Earlier, Pamalakaya and KMP questioned the intervention made by the European Union (EU) pressuring the Manila government from pursuing Charter Change to lift ban on foreign ownership of lands in the country.

“The European Union is committing a national political foul play in lobbying for the passage of Chacha that would lift the constitutional ban on foreign ownership of land. This country is not for sale; its lands are reserved for public ownership and for the common good of every hardworking Filipino. Please don’t touch our lands and quit from conspiring with the government over the national auction of Philippine lands to European business giants,” they said.

“This diabolical economic agenda of the European Union will further exacerbate, complicate and worsen the problem of landlessness and agrarian injustice in the country. Are they trying to colonize this country through economic means under this era of globalization-led modern day slavery?” the groups added.

Former foreign affairs undersecretary Merlin Magallona warned lawmakers calling for the removal of nationalist economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution could be playing into the hands of the European Union.

Magallona, also former dean of the University of the Philippines’ College of Law said that the 27-member of the European Union had formally requested the Macapagal-Arroyo government under the World Trade Organization (WTO) to remove the ban on foreign land ownership.

The European Union also requested the government to allow foreign nationals, particularly lawyers to be allowed to practice in the Philippines, according to Magallona who was a guest speaker at a forum on Charter Change in UP College of Law on Wednesday.

Pamalakaya and KMP also accused the Macapagal-Arroyo government of keeping the details of the EU-RP Partnership and Cooperation Pact, which was done as early as 2002, like what the government did to the RP-Bahrain agricultural pact.

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Militants pressed Congress to probe

Militants pressed Congress to probe
Big 3’s P 138 million daily overpricing

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday urged senators and congressmen to conduct a full-blown inquiry on the alleged day-to-day overpricing activities of big three oil companies in the country, namely Petron Corporation, Pilipinas Shell and Chevron Philippines, which the group said were robbing Filipino consumers some P 138.14 million everyday.

“The Big Three is raking some P 167 million in additional profits everyday due to overpricing and other forms of cartel operations. Congress must do something do to stop this extreme greed and it must do its assignment now, not tomorrow, not next week and definitely not next month,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

Quoting the study made by the leftwing umbrella alliance Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), Hicap said Petron Corporation accounted for P 64.63 million in total windfall from overpricing of petroleum products daily, followed by Pilipinas Shell with P 49.94 million and Chevron Philippines with a daily take of P 23.55 million in total profits from overpricing per day.

The Pamalakaya leader said Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, chair of the House Committee on Energy is not doing his job as head of the committee, adding that until now, no investigation has been made on the alleged overpricing and other manipulative practices of the oil cartel.

“Rep. Arroyo is the chair of House Committee on Energy, but he is nothing but a white elephant in Congress. The deafening silence of Congress on the money making scheme of the Big Three makes it a partner in crime of the oil cartel that includes Malacañang and key officials of the Department of Energy,” added Hicap.

Based on the studies made by Bayan, as of mid June this year, oil products are overpriced by an average of P 4.31 per liter. The group’s overpricing estimates differ from that of NEDA Secretary Ralph Recto because of the methodology used. While Recto said gasoline prices are overpriced by P 8 per liter, Bayan’s computation were arrived by computing the weighted average retail price of all petroleum products including gasoline, kerosene, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

“If that is the case, then prices of diesel should be sold at P 25 per liter and regular gasoline by
P 36 per liter. But because it is overpriced by P 4.30 liter, prices remained at P 29 and P 40 per liter respectively,” Pamalakaya said.

The increases in the prices of petroleum products prompted Pamalakaya to call Congress to legislate a fisherfolk production subsidy bill that will compel the national government to set aside P 32-B in production subsidies to small fishermen across the country to caution the impact of successive oil price increases and the current global economic and financial crisis.

“This fighting demand of the small fisherfolk for monthly production subsidy to arrest the uncontrollable hikes in the prices of petroleum products and the global economic and financial crisis is long overdue. But this government is not taking our legitimate call seriously,” Pamalakaya vice-chair for Luzon Salvador France said in a press statement.

France recalled that the demand for production subsidy was submitted to the office Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap on July 2008. “It’s been in the office of agriculture secretary, but Secretary Yap is not doing his assignment. The small fisherfolk are been kept in the dark with regards to their legitimate crusade for production subsidy,” he said.

The Pamalakaya leader said the main purpose of the P 32-billion production subsidy is to keep the wheel of production in the fisheries sector moving, because it is currently battered by high prices of oil products and skyrocketing prices of fishing gears and equipments.

Under the annual P 32-billion production subsidy for the fisheries sector proposed by Pamalakaya, all fishermen who own a small motorized banca will receive a minimum P 4,500 monthly oil subsidy, while those who operate non-motorized banca will receive P 2,000 monthly production subsidy.

According to France, the P 4,500 monthly subsidy constitutes about 50 percent of the monthly expenses spent by fishermen owning a small fishing boat in their daily fish capture. The Pamalakaya leader said the proposed measure if approved will benefit 313,985 small fishing boat operators and will cost the government a monthly production subsidy of P 1.4 billion per month or P 16 billion per year.

Pamalakaya’s proposal for production subsidy for 630,000 non-motorized fishing boats operators across the country will cost the national government some of P1.3 billion per month or roughly P 15.67 billion per year. All in all, the total subsidy for a little over small fishermen will cost he government some P 32 billion in total production subsidies annually.

The group said 100 percent of the production subsidy for fisherfolk operators of small fishing boats will go to oil, while around 50 percent of the proposed subsidy for owners of non-motorized fishing boats will go to gas subsidy, while the rest will go to other production and food needs of small fishermen.

Pamalakaya said the production subsidies for small fishermen could be addressed by immediately and indefinitely suspending the annual payments of foreign and domestic debts that eats up more than one-third of the annual national budget.

“The proposed fishery production subsidy program is about 10 percent of the national government’s allotment to debt servicing. It would be better if we suspend if not totally stop paying these fraudulent loans acquired and accumulated by the previous and present administrations for their own corruption purposes,” the group said. #

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Militant groups expose RP-Bahrain secret pact on agriculture

Militant groups expose RP-Bahrain secret pact on agriculture

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and staunch ally Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) on Thursday exposed what they called a secret agricultural pact between the Philippines and Bahrain.

In a joint press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos said the agreement was signed in May 2008 after Bahrain trade minister Hassan Fakhro visited Manila to secure vast plots of land to grow Basmati rice for Bahrain’s consumption.

Both leaders bared the agreement was finally clinched on June last year, and it was signed by the minister of agriculture of Bahrain and agriculture secretary Arthur Yap for the Philippines, but the two agriculture officials agreed not to release the details of the agreement. However, according to KMP and Pamalakaya leaders, Fakhro was quoted as saying that several Bahrain companies will come in the Philippines to invest in rice production and livestock processing.

“While 80 percent of the 90 million Filipinos are landless, and 70 percent of the peasant population is still landless, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo entered into a secret, unlawful and immoral deal with Bahrain that will offer the country’s agricultural lands at bargain prices to foreign investors. This is treason,” KMP’s Ramos said.

According to Ramos, aside from the Philippines, the Manama-based General Trading and Food Processing Company, one of Bahrain’s largest public trading corporation is also interested in securing lands in Australia, India and Sudan to develop supplies of Bahraini market, which is composed of not less than 750,000 people.

“Secretary Yap and his lady boss in Malacañang have a lot of explaining to do over this highly secret agricultural deal with Bahrain. No official statements from the government side have been issued to the public and the entire Filipino people are kept in total dark about this escapade of President Arroyo and her agriculture secretary,” the KMP said.

Pamalakaya’s Hicap noted that in 2007, the Bahraini food giant set up a $ 2.7 million joint venture food processing venture in Qatar with the Qatar Company for Meat and Livestock Trading, which is expanding its overseas operation.

The Pamalakaya leader said aside from the Philippines, the Bahraini government has also secured an agreement with the Thai government for the production of Jasmine rice for direct export to Bahrain. Hicap said a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Bahrain and Thailand in May 2008, simultaneously with the visit of Fakhro in the Manila.

“Is this country for sale? Does President Arroyo maintain and execute a policy of selling the country’s agricultural lands to those who want to come to invest for agri-business undertakings? Is there such a policy? This seems to be the trend now with foreign groups coming in either to secure lease arrangements or buy lands in the country for production of agricultural products for super profits,” said Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya noted that a Japanese holding company based in United Kingdom and its’ local subsidiary have been allowed by the national government to reforest 400,000 hectares in Northern Luzon with coconut trees for production of biodiesel products. The agreement between the United Kingdom based firm- the Pacific Bio-Fields Holding Plc. and its local counterpart the Northern Luzon based—Bio-Energy NL to utilize some 400,000 hectares of forest areas for coconut plantation was sanctioned by Malacañang, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) for 25 years and renewable for another 25 years.

Pamalakaya put to task Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile and House Speaker Prospero Nograles to immediately calendar the investigation of the highly treacherous pact between Pacific-Bio Fields Holding Plc. and Bio-Energy NL and perform acts of legislation that will invalidate the contract, which Hicap further described as “one-sided and an act of modern-day treason”.

“The Senate President and the Speaker of the House must rally the lawmakers in declaring the agreement illegal, immoral and unconstitutional,” the group said.

Pamalakaya lamented that the incident involving the free use of 400,000 hectares of lands for the production of bio-diesel for the use of Japanese users is a clear proof that the Japan-Philippines Economic and Partnership Agreement (Jpepa) is really anti-Filipino and merely intended to address the need of Japanese transnational corporations.

“In exchange for 400 nursing and caregiving jobs in Japan, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will allow the corporate exploitation of 400,000 hectares of Philippine agricultural lands to foreign groups identified with and serving at the pleasure of Japanese car makers. No Filipino can stomach this kind of across-the-nation betrayal of national interest,” it said.

In an announcement in Tokyo which coincided with the state visit of President Arroyo, the Pacific Bio-Fields Holding Plc. said the project would make alternative auto fuel which it plans to sell to Japanese users in five years. Its counterpart the Bio-Energy NL headed by company president Salacnib Baterina denied that the government will allow the use of 400,00 hectares for the production of bio-diesel for free.

Earlier, Pamalakaya and KMP questioned the intervention made by the European Union (EU) pressuring the Manila government from pursuing Charter Change to lift ban on foreign ownership of lands in the country.

“The European Union is committing a national political foul play in lobbying for the passage of Chacha that would lift the constitutional ban on foreign ownership of land. This country is not for sale; its lands are reserved for public ownership and for the common good of every hardworking Filipino. Please don’t touch our lands and quit from conspiring with the government over the national auction of Philippine lands to European business giants,” they said.

“This diabolical economic agenda of the European Union will further exacerbate, complicate and worsen the problem of landlessness and agrarian injustice in the country. Are they trying to colonize this country through economic means under this era of globalization-led modern day slavery?” the groups added.

Former foreign affairs undersecretary Merlin Magallona warned lawmakers calling for the removal of nationalist economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution could be playing into the hands of the European Union.

Magallona, also former dean of the University of the Philippines’ College of Law said that the 27-member of the European Union had formally requested the Macapagal-Arroyo government under the World Trade Organization (WTO) to remove the ban on foreign land ownership.

The European Union also requested the government to allow foreign nationals, particularly lawyers to be allowed to practice in the Philippines, according to Magallona who was a guest speaker at a forum on Charter Change in UP College of Law on Wednesday.

Pamalakaya and KMP also accused the Macapagal-Arroyo government of keeping the details of the EU-RP Partnership and Cooperation Pact, which was done as early as 2002, like what the government did to the RP-Bahrain agricultural pact.

“To set the record straight, the Philippine government is set to lease or sell some 1.5 million hectares of prime agricultural lands to foreign countries who have entered a bilateral economic and trade agreement with the Malacañang, whether these are aboveboard or discreet agreements,” the groups added. #

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Militants bring anti-Con-Ass, anti-Chacha fight to Pasig River

Militants bring anti-Con-Ass, anti-Chacha fight to Pasig River

From Ayala financial district in Makati City to the murky waters of Pasig River.

Members of the anti-Charter Change (Chacha) fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas who took part in the big rally against Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) and anti-Chacha rally in Makati last June 10, this time went back to Pasig River in Guadalupe and sailed away towards Malacañang Palace a 2 meter by 3 meter bamboo raft filled with anti-Con-Ass and anti-Chacha placards

“We want to send this message to Malacañang and inform President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her rabid loyalists that the fight against Con-Ass and Chacha will continue until Ms Arroyo comes to her senses and drops her immoral plans to perpetuate herself to power through any available means aside from prostituting and cannibalizing the 1987 Constitution,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

“This is just the beginning of more water-based actions against Con-Ass and Chacha. We intend to do more. We are prepare to brave the murky waters of Pasig River and Manila Bay just to show Ms Arroyo and her ruling Mafia that her days in Malacañang are numbered,” the fisherfolk leader said.

Hicap said another water-based protest is set on June 29 along the river bank of Pasig River in Manila, where another “balsa” (bamboo raft) filled with anti-Con-Ass and anti-Chacha placards will be sailed away towards Malacañang Palace.

The Pamalakaya leader said, the group is also planning to conduct a community swimming against Chacha on July 13, and a swim protest in Manila Bay few days before President Arroyo delivers her State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27.

The militant group said Malacañang is not only pushing Chacha for the political survival of President Arroyo, but as well to honor its commitments to foreign companies which want to avail of Philippine agricultural lands either for free or at bargain prices by lifting the nationalist provision in the 1987 Constitution banning 100 foreign ownership of land.

Pamalakaya said the European Union is now pressuring the Macapagal-Arroyo government to execute Chacha to lift the ban against foreign ownership of land under the RP-EU Cooperation and Partnership Act which was signed in 2002 but was kept from public scrutiny.

Another controversy, the group said, is the agreement between the Philippines and Japan, where the Macapagal-Arroyo government will allow the United Kingdom based Japanese firm–Pacific Bio-Fields Holding Plc. and its local counterpart the Northern Luzon based—Bio-Energy NL to utilize some 400,000 hectares of forest areas for coconut plantation for free provided that 60 percent of biodiesel products will be acquired by the Philippine government, and the remaining 40 percent would supply bio-diesel fuel to Japan for Japanese users in five years.

“This is the biggest sell out of national patrimony in recent years. The senators and the congressmen must do something to invalidate and stop this triple platinum betrayal. While 7 out of 10 Filipino farmers are landless, the Philippine government is giving away 400,000 hectares of land which is equivalent to the total land area of Masbate or Abra. This is condemnable to the highest order,” the group said. #

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GMA, Danding greed behind BNPP revival

GMA, Danding greed behind BNPP revival

The promise of huge kickbacks from the $ 1 billion budget allocation for the re-commissioning of the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) is the main reason why President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco through his son Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco are pushing efforts to revive the controversial project.

“The uncontrollable greed of President Arroyo and Danding Cojuangco is driving motive behind the revival of BNPP. Ms Arroyo and the real Pacman can deny this to high heaven but the $ 1 billion budget for BNPP re-commissioning is something they cannot ignore and just let go,” the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a press statement.

According to Hicap, by design and by standard, top officials of the Macapagal-Arroyo government who are behind the BNPP revival could get as much as 20 percent of the 1 billion US dollar allocation in total commission once the project is started.

“Since that is the policy for brokers, the corrupt officials of the Arroyo government could get as much as 200 million US dollars as direct and indirect commissions from the BNPP revival. On the other hand, Danding’s group will be able to get the lion’s share by taking control of the private operations of BNPP,” the Pamalakaya leader said

Hicap said Cojuangco is the controversial businessman behind the re-commissioning of the controversial plant because his son—Pangasinan Rep. Cojuangco is the principal sponsor of House Bill 4631 that seeks allocation of $ 1 billion for the revival of the BNPP.

“We will not subscribe to any idea that the son is doing it for a crusade. That’s baloney. Danding is Danding and knowing his history, he will get what he wants and his son is a representation of his mindset and interest over the revival of BNPP,” he added.

Pamalakaya added that the re-commissioning of BNPP as enshrined in HB 4631 is part of the long-running political accommodation between the Arroyo clique and the Cojuangco camp since 2001. According to the Pamalakaya leader, the revival of the BNPP is the latest exchange deal between the two camps.

The fisherfolk group noted that HB 4631 is aggressively supported by Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo, also the chair of the House Committee on Energy.

Pamalakaya said the BNPP revival and the possible takeover of Cojuangco of the controversial nuke plant in the near future was presided by the sale of Petron shares to San Miguel Corporation, and by the previous talks between Malacañang and Cojuangco on the disposal and sharing of the P 130-billion coconut levy fund.

The nuclear plant in Morong, Bataan- the current object of outrage by members of the scientific community, ordinary people and anti-corruption watchdogs all over the Philippines was started in 1975 at an estimated cost of $ 600 million.

The plant was completed in 1984 at a cost of $ 2.3 billion, its price bloated by the cronies of the late strongman President Ferdinand Marcos to ensure fat kickbacks for his group and for the ruling presidency at that time.

According to Philippine debt statistics, the Filipino taxpayers had been paying $ 300,000 a day on interest alone for the loan sourced from the Westinghouse under the auspices of and guaranteed by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

It said the debt was not fully paid until 2007, and by then, the Manila government had shelled out a total of P 64.7 B, a third of the interest payments alone. And for all the billions taken out of the Filipino people’s pockets, the country has yet to enjoy a single watt of electricity.

Pamalakaya echoed the statements raised by the science group Agham and the Network Opposed to BNPP Revival (No to BNPP Revival) that the risks in getting the Bataan nuclear power plant online would outweigh the 620 megawatts of electricity it could generate.

Pamalakaya said the projected shortage in 2012 of 3,000 megawatts of electricity can be addressed by building geothermal, hydropower and natural gas, wind and solar power plants even without the operation of the nuke plant in Bataan. It said unused geothermal plants across the country could still generate 750 megawatts of electricity, which are free from grave risks and cheaper sources of power for the 90 million Filipinos. #

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