Monthly Archives: December 2009

Militants thanked Boy Abunda for supporting Liza Maza

By Chocolate Moose Fernandez

Manila, Philippines-Leftwing activists belonging to the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Saturday thanked TV-host and talent manager Boy Abunda for supporting the senatorial bid of Gabriela Party list Rep. Liza Maza.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya information officer Gerry Albert Corpuz said the endorsement of Abunda will give a big boost to Maza, one of the senatorial candidates which the 100,000-strong fisherfolk alliance will support in the 2010 national elections.

Another senatorial candidate which Pamalakaya will support according to Corpuz is Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo. Both militant lawmakers are now on their third terms as party list representatives.

“Boy Abunda is Boy Abunda. Boy is an influential person. His endorsement of Maza will be cherished by the marginalized fishermen who want the Gabriela representative and Ocampo of Bayan Muna be elected as two of the senators of the Republic in 2010,” said Corpuz.

The Pamalakaya information chief said their group which is spread in over 43 provinces nationwide will campaign actively for Maza and Ocampo when the official campaign trail hits the country by February 2010.

Earlier, Rep. Maza said she was not surprised when Abunda agreed to appear in political ads endorsing her bid for the Senate.

“He (Abunda) shares affinity with women’s rights. He knows that when we get representation in Senate, lesbians and gays will be a step closer to their goal,” said Maza in an interview.

She explained that women share a common cause with lesbians and gays who are seeking a bigger voice in the country’s lawmaking bodies long dominated by males. She said just like women, lesbians and gays face abuse and discrimination in society.

Maza also said Gabriela was the first to condemn the Commission on Elections’ decision rejecting the petition of Ang Ladlad Party to register as a party-list group representing the Filipino lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

“This is a clear violation of human rights, especially from marginalized sectors, to be involved in the political processes. It is reflective of the prevailing culture where homophobia and discrimination prevails,” she said.

After being shunned from having their own voice in Congress, Maza said Abunda offered to make a stronger pitch for her in the campaign for free.#

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Fishers believe Palace had a hand in P 455 million ice-making machines scam

By Billy Javier Reyes

Manila, Philippines-The leftwing fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Saturday said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had a hand in the procurement of 98 units of ice-making machines by the Department of Agriculture, which the group said was overpriced by P 2.3 million per unit.

“This anomalous transaction has the seal of approval of Malacanang. It is impossible President Arroyo is not informed about this money making racket at the Department of Agriculture. This is part of the fund generation campaign for 2010 elections,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader said Secretary Arthur Yap, who is at the center of this high crime of corruption is one of the protégés of President Arroyo. Hicap said Yap was probably tasked to clinch the highly questionable project to produce funds for the 2010 elections.

“The P 455 million ice making machine scam is chiefly authored by Mrs. Arroyo and members of the syndicate operating in and out of Malacanang and in and out of the agriculture department. Secretary Yap acted the lead actor in this newest high crime of corruption in DA,” added Hicap.

Pamalakaya today gave Agriculture Secretary Yap 9 working days to revoke the scandalous
P 455 million ice-making machines contract, as the group threatened to charge him with plunder before the Office of the Ombudsman on January 4 next year. The group said President Arroyo might be included in the charge sheet under the principle of command responsibility.

“Mrs. Arroyo and her no.1 operator at DA–Secretary Yap have 9 nine working days to revoke this anomalous and highly questionable contract. If they will not subscribe to this call for truth, justice and accountability, then we have no other recourse but to file plunder raps against them before the Office of the Ombudsman, nothing more, nothing less,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

Pamalakaya said Secretary Yap allowed the procurement of 98 units of ice-making machines at P 4.65 million per unit, while its actual price according to industry standard is pegged at P 2.3 million per unit.

“This ice-making machine project is nothing but a grand slam money making activity authored by Malacanang, Secretary Yap and their cash-making personnel at the department of agriculture. The crime constitutes plunder and grave violations of anti-graft and corrupt practices act, the law of government procurement and on the conduct and ethics governing public officials,” he stressed.

Before the Christmas break, some 50 activists belonging to Pamalakaya staged a holiday on ice protest by blocking the main gate of DA with 30 blocks of huge ice cubes to demand the immediate revocation of the contract.

Hicap, also the fisherfolk representative in Anakpawis party list national council, said the agriculture department through the National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR) awarded the government contract to a lone bidder—the Integrated Refrigeration System and Services (IRSS) on September 2, 2009, which will provide the ice-making unit at P 4,650,000 per unit, or about P 2.3 million higher compared to prevailing industry price for the ice-making machine.

“In the name of national interest and public trust, Secretary Yap should immediately revoke the contract because it is highly disadvantageous to the national government and to the taxpaying public. Imagine taxpayers will pay more than P 225 million of hard-earned taxpayers’ money to pave way this high crime of corruption. This highly inflammatory, mind-boggling and totally unacceptable,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

The Pamalakaya official said the government will pay IRSS the sum of P 455,700,000 for 98 units of ice-making machines with liquid freeze capability which will be supplied to selected municipal fish ports nationwide. But the group said the government can obtain 98 units of ice-making machines for P 225 million to P 230 million, or half of the quoted and agreed price with IRSS.

“P 225 million is P 225 million. That sum of money can be used to finance any kind of sinister agenda or cruel intention by the present power holders in and out of Malacanang. The money might also be used to finance the electoral campaign of Mrs. Arroyo’s national and local bets in 2010 elections. This is money making in aid of electoral campaign for 2010 polls,” added Hicap.

According to information gathered by Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list, NABCOR conducted a preliminary bidding last August 26, and IRSS which won the bidding, was only incorporated on August 25, a day before the preliminary bidding was conducted.

The groups said under Republic Act 9184 (Procuring Law), Section 37.1, the bidder must submit a copy of its single largest completed contract over the past 3 years, and such condition is impossible for IRSS, which was only incorporated on August 25, this year, a day before the preliminary bidding. The contract was finally awarded last Sept.2.

Aside from Secretary Yap, Pamalakaya said it will include in the plunder charge sheet the top officials of NABCOR namely Alan A. Javellana, President; Romulo A. Relevo, Chairman of the Bids and Awards Committee; Dennis Lozada, Winston Azucena, Melody de Guzman and Encarnita Cristina Munsod, all members of Bids and Awards Committee, and owners and operators of IRSS.

Earlier, Allan V. Ragasa, a complainant had filed charges against Sec. Yap and officials of NABCOR and officers of IRSS headed by its chairman Alexander Leung before the Office of the Ombudsman in relation to the questionable awarding of contract to IRSS. The complaint in violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 9184 was filed on Nov.18, 2009. #

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Militants tell Noynoy sisters: Hacienda Luisita reminds Cojuangcos’ corruption and greed

By Billy Javier Reyes

Manila, Philippines- Supporters of striking Hacienda Luisita farmworkers on the eve of Christmas Day chided sisters of Liberal Party standard bearer Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and urged them to refrain from talking and acting like clean folks in the country, reminding them that the ongoing dispute over the 6,453-hectare represents their family’s crime of corruption and greed.

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) was reacting to the statements issued by Aquino’s sisters—Aurora Corazon” Pinky” Aquino-Abellada and Maria Elena “Ballsy” Cruz that their brother—Noynoy represent the country’s hope against corruption and greed, and the people’s quest for clean government.

“Pinky and Ballsy should exercise extra prudence in issuing public statements, because later on these slogans and rhetoric excuses will boomerang on them. The case of Hacienda Luisita and the decades old denial of peasant land rights in the Cojuangco estate is a lucid testimony to Cojuangcos’ running crime of corruption and greed,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader: “We beg to disagree to their grandstanding and early political campaign to their presidentiable brother. The people of Hacienda Luisita knew the real score and they cannot deny that”.

The Aquino sisters recently interviewed in Victorias City while attending a birthday celebration of a Liberal Party congressional candidate in the third district of Negros Occidental that they continued to get warm and enthusiastic welcome from people who are spending their own money to put up headquarters around the country for their brother’s campaign.

Abellada said the people were telling them they are helping Noynoy because they want a better government and they have hope for change with her brother running in the May 2010 presidential elections. She said the people were sad about corruption and greed in the country and Noynoy’s entry to the presidential race next year revived memories and sparked hope for clean government for the Filipino people.

“We will not question their love for Noynoy but we will ask them what they have done to ensure that the farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita enjoy the fruits of their labor. Where is social justice in Luisita? The lands still belong to the Cojuangcos, the criminal minds and actors behind the Hacienda Luisita massacre are still free and enjoying a beautiful life,” Pamalakaya’s Hicap lamented.

Last month, representatives of Pamalakaya, the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and Amihan peasant women federation were in Rome, Italy and launched an international signature campaign in support of the land claim of striking farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita.

Pamalakaya information officer Gerry Albert Corpuz said the signature campaign initially solicited the support of 400 rural based activists in the United States, North America, South America, Europe, Canada, South Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia, who attended last month’s World Summit on Food Security held from Nov.16-18, and the parallel activity billed as People’s Forum on Food Sovereignty from Nov.13-17 also in Rome.

“The struggle of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers for land and justice was one of the highlights of the rural people’s participation in the UN FAO World Food Summit on Food Security and the parallel forum organized by civil society groups and peoples’ movements all over the world,” said Corpuz.

The signature campaign both urges President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Senator Aquino to act in accordance with the interest of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers by declaring the 6,453 hectare sugar estate free the Cojuangcos and ready for urgent and unconditional free distribution to farm workers.

The signature campaign also highlighted the demand for speedy trial of those involved in the Nov.16, 2004 massacre that includes top government and military officials of the Arroyo government and the Cojuangcos.

Pamalakaya’s Corpuz said despite the decision of the Ombudsman clearing the civilian officials and the Cojuangcos from their culpabilities in the Hacienda Luisita massacre, the demand for their inclusion in scores of criminal charges shall be pursued by their groups in the international court of public opinion. #

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Activists staged “holiday on ice” protest vs. P 455-M ice machine scam

By Chocolate Moose Fernandez and Billy Javier Reyes

Manila, Philippines-Some 50 activists belonging to the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and Anakpawis party list blocked the main gate of the office of the Department of Agriculture (DA) with 30 blocks of huge ice cubes to protest the agency’s procurement of 98 units of ice-making machines for P 4.65 million per unit for a total of P 455 million, which the groups said were overpriced by more the P 2.3 million per unit for a total of P 225 million.

“This holiday on ice protest is not meant to please nor promote Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse holiday on ice adventure. This is a highly agitating protest denouncing the money making scheme perpetually perpetrated by Malacanang and the agriculture department. Imagine, the Filipino taxpaying public will pay for P 455 million scandal ridden ice-making machine project, and worse, Secretary Arthur Yap and his gang mates are using our fisherfolk’s name to justify this multi-hundred million crime of corruption,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

Hicap, also the fisherfolk representative in Anakpawis party list national council, said the agriculture department through the National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR) awarded the government contract to a lone bidder—the Integrated Refrigeration System and Services (IRSS) on September 2, 2009, which will provide the ice-making unit at P 4,650,000 per unit, or about P 2.3 million higher compared to prevailing industry price for the ice-making machine.

“In the name of national interest and public trust, Secretary Yap should immediate revoke the contract because it is highly disadvantageous to the national government and to the taxpaying public. Imagine taxpayers will pay more than P 225 million of hard-earned taxpayers’ money to pave way this high crime of corruption. This highly inflammatory, mind-boggling and totally unacceptable,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

The Pamalakaya official said the government will pay IRSS the sum of P 455,700,000 for 98 units of ice-making machines with liquid freeze capability which will be supplied to selected municipal fish ports nationwide. But the group said the government can obtain 98 units of ice-making machines for P 225 million to P 230 million, or half of the quoted and agreed price with IRSS.

“P 225 million is P 225 million. That sum of money can be used to finance any kind of sinister agenda or cruel intention by the present power holders in and out of Malacanang. The money might also be used to finance the electoral campaign of Mrs. Arroyo’s national and local bets in 2010 elections. This is money making in aid of electoral campaign for 2010 polls,” added Hicap.

Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list asserted that Secretary Yap is lawfully and morally bound to revoke the contract. “Secretary Yap can revoke the contract and send NABCOR officials to the firing line for subscribing to this highly irregular and grossly scandalous agreement with IRRS. The secretary can do it at any given time of the day,” the group said.

According to information gathered by Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list, NABCOR conducted a preliminary bidding last August 26, and IRSS which won the bidding, was only incorporated on August 25, a day before the preliminary bidding was conducted.

The groups said under Republic Act 9184 (Procuring Law), Section 37.1, the bidder must submit a copy of its single largest completed contract over the past 3 years, and such condition is impossible for IRSS, which was only incorporated on August 25, this year, a day before the preliminary bidding. The contract was finally awarded last Sept.2.

Pamalakaya threatened to file a plunder case against Secretary Yap and other officials of NABCOR if they will not cancel the contract with IRSS on or before the end of 2009.

“Secretary Yap has 9 days to correct this multi-hundred million peso mistake. If he will not do his job, then we will file a plunder case against him before the Office of the Ombudsman and we will charge him and his conspirators of plunder and violations of anti-graft and corrupt practices act along with their private clients,” Pamalakaya said.

Aside from Secretary Yap, Pamalakaya said it will include in the plunder charge sheet the top officials of NABCOR namely Alan A. Javellana, President; Romulo A. Relevo, Chairman of the Bids and Awards Committee; Dennis Lozada, Winston Azucena, Melody de Guzman and Encarnita Cristina Munsod, all members of Bids and Awards Committee, and owners and operators of IRSS.

Earlier, Allan V. Ragasa, a complainant had filed charges against Sec. Yap and officials of NABCOR and officers of IRSS headed by its chairman Alexander Leung before the Office of the Ombudsman in relation to the questionable awarding of contract to IRSS. The complaint in violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 9184 was filed on Nov.18, 2009. #

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Pinoy activists outraged at outcome of Copenhagen climate talks

By the Center for Environmental Concerns, contributor, in Copenhagen, Denmark and Gerry Albert Corpuz, senior reporter, The Pamalakaya Times, in Manila

Copenhagen, Denmark- Climate activists from the Philippines expressed outraged at the Copenhagen Accord signed by 26 heads of states at the summit of the United Nations Conference of Parties 15 (COP15). The group was even more disappointed at the Philippine delegation, headed by President Gloria Arroyo, for being one of the first to sign the undemocratic document and once again selling out the interests and welfare of the Filipino people.

“The Copenhagen Accord, which does not commit the developed countries and biggest polluters to specific emission cuts targes at a specific deadline puts humanity nearer to the brink of world catastrophy. How the accord came to be is a case in point of how rich countries like the US preserve its interests at the expense of the welfare of the world’s population by imposing its power to prevent the creation of a fair, effective and legally binding deal,” said Clemente Bautista of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE).

KALIKASAN-PNE was among the hundreds of civil society organizations that flew to Copenhagen to participate in the talks by forwarding the positions and calls of the country’s most vulnerable and marginalized sectors. While the group did not have high expectations that a binding and substantial agreement will be signed at the UN summit, they were revolted how the talks turned out.

The Copenhagen Accord was brokered by the United States during a closed door meeting last Friday night with the BASIC countries: Brazil, South Africa, India and China, which the other countries left out of the meetings. The process was undemocratic, secretive and in gross violation of the UN charter and the rights of other nations to take part in an agreement where the fate of the world depends on.

The Accord also set the to limit the increase in global temperature to 2°C instead of the 1.5°C needed by countries such as Bangladesh and Tuvalu to stay above sea level. To achieve that, the accord aims to cut global carbon emission by only 50% of 1990 levels by 2050, with no specific target and legally binding commitment from rich countries to reduce their emission.

Aside from the emissions cuts, the accord supposedly commits the developed countries to raise climate funds for vulnerable nations.

Unfair accord

“While we have observed in the past 2 weeks that the climate talks is not a negotiation between equal parties, we have also observed how the Philippine delegation expressed enthusiasm for the unfair accord and contented itself with a few billion pesos of climate aid, ” said Marjorie Pamintuan of Agham Youth.

Ms. Pamintuan also participated in the COP15 with 350.org, an international movement campaigning for the lowering the carbon in the atmosphere to 350ppm.

Referring to an interview of expert negotiator Ms. Bernarditas Castro-Muller, Ms. Pamintuan explained that, “The $30 billion that is to be provided by rich countries for vulnerable nations between 2010 and 2012, and the $100 billion dollars ‘from a wide variety of sources’ to be available after 2020 could hardly be considered any help at all since ‘these will be in the form of loans’ which will bury the Filipinos into much deeper national debt.”

Ms. Pamintuan further pointed out that, “additional national debts means larger budget cuts for services like education and health since a large portion of the national budget is appropriated for debt servicing. With a destroyed environment, unhealthy bodies and without education, what kind of future does the Filipino youth have?”

“Instead of being used to increase the resiliency and adaptive of the country, the $380 million pledge of clean technology and forestry investment funds from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank that Mrs. Arroyo is so proud of will be allocated to hoax technological solutions like clean coal, market based mechanisms and will also facilitate the exploit of our energy and forest resources by foreign corporations,” explained Ms. Meggie Nolasco of Philippine Climate Watch Alliance (PCWA).

According to the PCWA statement , “If the government is indeed serious in addressing climate, instead of promoting technological fixes and false climate solutions it should prioritize people’s needs by immediately scrapping destructive environmental policies like the Mining Act of 1995 and stopping the building of new coal-fired power plants and coal mining projects.”

“While there is already a global consensus that any further delays in coming up with effective solutions will jeopardize the whole planet especially vulnerable nations such as the Philippines, Mrs. Arroyo and her delegation even commended the unfair and unsubstantial deal,” said Ms. Nolasco.

Ms Nolasco added that, “What Mrs. Arroyo and her delegation should have done was act in the interest of the Filipino people by standing firmly with the other nations in demanding that developed countries, especially the US, to commit to an effective, fair and legally binding climate deal.”

“However, we must not be disheartened in our struggle. We must sustain our collective actions even as we go back to our countries and press for true climate change solutions and lasting social justice,” ended Ms. Nolasco.

Not all about aid

In Manila, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday chided President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for praising her efforts to secure $ 380-million in financial aid to help the Philippines cope with the impact of climate change.

“Is that how President Arroyo measure the meaning of success? Where is climate justice in the $ 380-million pledges to fight global warming? We don’t call it aid, we call it bribery from top global polluters and environmental destroyers,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

Hicap said his group was dismayed on President Arroyo over her silence and non-committal and no-combative stance on the collective position of the G-77 for the United States and other major economies of the world to drastically cut their carbon emissions to cushion if not eliminate the phenomenon of global warming across-the-world.

“President Arroyo attended the Copenhagen summit on climate change not to attack the global warmers and present the global people’s agenda for climate justice, but to perform her duty as an apologist for the US and other rich nations,” the Pamalakaya official said.

In her arrival statement, President Arroyo described the Philippines’ efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change as a “life and death’ issue. She said her government is at the frontline of the changing global climate, as she mentioned the past storms that had ravaged the country, the Filipino people and their way of life.

The President said the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank committed up to $ 250 million from their clean technology fund in recognition of the Philippines leadership role in tackling climate changes in Asia. Mrs. Arroyo also took home $ 70 million for forestry investment fund and another 50 million US dollars from the global environmental fund. The Danish government promised another 10 million US dollars in support to the Philippines local water utilities.

Money, money,money

“Mrs. Arroyo works hard for the money for herself and not for climate justice and not for the people affected by US-led inflicted climate change. That’s the President’s vision in life—money, money, enough money for her eternal greed, nothing more, nothing less,” said Hicap.
While President Arroyo was rebuked by Pamalakaya, the militant group commended a group of Filipino activists who made their presence felt during the Conference of Parties (COP) in Copenhagen.

The group praised Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of the environmental group Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment and the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS), Ms Tess Vistro of Amihan peasant women federation, Paul Quintos of Ibon Foundation and Ces Quimpo of Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC) for bringing the Filipino people’s collective position on climate justice and the need to punish top global polluters like the United States and its transnational corporations for bringing global environmental disasters to 77 most poorest countries in the world.

“The Filipino people were not in default in the Copenhagen battle. Their voice was added to the worldwide demands for rich nations to stop exploiting and destroying the people and the resources and to ensure global climate justice against the super profiteering activities of US and other capitalist exploiting nations across America, Europe and Asia and the Pacific,” said Pamalakaya.

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Agri chief urged to recall overpriced ice-making machines

by Gerry Albert Corpuz and Billy Javier Reyes, senior reporters, The Pamalakaya Times

Manila, Philippines- Leaders of the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and Anakpawis party list on Monday urged Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap to recall the department’s purchase of 98 units of ice-making machines, which the group said was overpriced by P 2.3 million per unit.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the agriculture department through the National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR) awarded the government contract to a lone bidder—the Integrated Refrigeration System and Services (IRSS) on September 2, 2009, which will sell the ice-making unit at P 4,650,000 per unit, or about P 2.3 million higher compared to prevailing industry price for the ice-making machine.

“In the name of national interest and public trust, Secretary Yap should immediate revoke the contract because it is highly disadvantageous to the national government and to the taxpaying public. Imagine we will pay more than P 233 million of hard-earned taxpayers’ money to the preferred client of Malacanang. This is too much and super corruption to the highest order,” added Hicap.

The Pamalakaya official said the government will pay IRSS the sum of P 455,700,000 for 98 units of ice-making machines with liquid freeze capability which will be supplied to selected municipal fish ports nationwide. But the group said the government can obtain 98 units of ice-making machines for P 225 million to P 230 million, or half of the quoted and agreed price with IRSS.

“P 225 million is P 225 million. That sum of money can be used to finance any kind of sinister agenda or cruel intention by the present power holders in and out of Malacanang. The money might also be used to finance the electoral campaign of Mrs. Arroyo’s national and local bets in 2010 elections. This is money making in aid of electoral campaign for 2010 polls,” added Hicap.

Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente said Secretary Yap is lawfully and morally bound to explain why the agriculture department entered into a contract that is disadvantageous to the government and to the Filipino public.

“Do we really need these ice-making machines? Our fisherfolk members all over the country were not even consulted on these projects, but these ice-making machines had already their icing on the cake status as far DA and its’ favored contractor are concerned. Secretary Yap owes the public a honest-to-goodness explanation, nothing more, nothing less,” the Anakpawis official said.

According to information gathered by Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list, NABCOR conducted a preliminary bidding last August 26, and IRSS which won the bidding, was only incorporated on August 25, a day before the preliminary bidding was conducted.

The groups said under Republic Act 9184 (Procuring Law), Section 37.1, the bidder must submit a copy of its single largest completed contract over the past 3 years, and such condition is impossible for IRSS, which was only incorporated on August 25, this year, a day before the preliminary bidding. The contract was finally awarded last Sept.2.

Pamalakaya gave at least Secretary Yap a week to issue a memorandum calling for the revocation of what the group a highly irregular and extremely anomalous contract, adding that the agriculture secretary can do it even in one day.

The militant group threatened to file a plunder case against Secretary Yap and other officials of NABCOR if they fail to cancel the contract with IRSS in connection with the corruption tainted procurement of 98 units of ice-making machines pegged at P 4.6 million per unit.

“They have a week them a week or two to correct this multi-hundred million peso mistake. If they will not do their job, then we will take this case before the Office of the Ombudsman and have them charge of plunder and violations of anti-graft and corrupt practices act along with their private clients,” Pamalakaya said.

Aside from Secretary Yap, Pamalakaya said it will include in the plunder charge sheet the top officials of NABCOR namely Alan A. Javellana, President; Romulo A. Relevo, Chairman of the Bids and Awards Committee; Dennis Lozada, Winston Azucena, Melody de Guzman and Encarnita Cristina Munsod, all members of Bids and Awards Committee, and owners and operators of IRSS.

Earlier, Allan V. Ragasa, a complainant had filed charges against Sec. Yap and officials of NABCOR and officers of IRSS headed by its chairman Alexander Leung before the Office of the Ombudsman in relation to the questionable awarding of contract to IRSS. The complaint in violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 9184 was filed on Nov.18, 2009. #

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Boholanos urged to challenge Sec.Yap’s unopposed run in 3rd district

by Chocolate Hills dela Fuente and Bb. Joyce Cabral

Manila, Philippines-The militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday urged the electoral public in the 3rd district of Bohol to challenge the unopposed congressional bid of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, saying the congressional district deserves a better person rather than stick with a protégé of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“He is not the man for the job. Secretary Yap is part of the money making syndicate in Malacanang and voting him as congressman of the 3rd district is like paying homage to the never ending plunder campaign of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader issued the statement in reaction to news reports that Sec. Yap will run unopposed congressional candidate in the 3rd district of Bohol, Earlier, there was this speculation that Yap will face incumbent Rep. Adam Relson Jala or his father former congressman Eladio Jala in the congressional race, but the young Jala, who is eligible to run for re-election filed his certificate of candidacy for the gubernatorial race, leaving Yap unopposed.

The elder Jala, currently assistant secretary at the Department of Transportation and Communications, was rumored to have been offered a post at the Securities and Exchange Commission, but he has declined to issue any statement on the matter.

Both Yap and the Jalas were members of the ruling Lakas-Kampi. “It seems there is a gentleman’s agreement between Yap and the Jalas as brokered by Malacanang,” said Hicap.

Pamalakaya said Secretary Yap was recently implicated and charged in violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Republic Act 9184 or the Procurement Law before the Office of the Ombudsman for allowing an attached agency—the National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR) to procure 98 units of ice-making machines for fishery products which are overpriced by 100 percent compared to the standard price set by industry market.

The group recalled the department’s purchase of 98 units of ice-making machines, which the group said was overpriced by P 2.3 million. Pamalakaya said the agriculture department through the NABCOR awarded the government contract to a lone bidder—the Integrated Refrigeration System and Services (IRSS) on September 2, 2009, which will sell the ice-making unit at
P 4,650,000 per unit, or about P 2.3 million higher compared to prevailing industry price for the ice-making machine.

“Imagine a congressional candidate with this track record of corruption seeking to be called honorable representative of the third district of Bohol. Secretary Yap should immediate revoke the contract if he wants to gain respect and support of the electoral public. The deal which he had sealed for approval upon the order of higher ups is highly disadvantageous to the taxpaying public. Imagine we will pay more than P 233 million of hard-earned taxpayers’ money to the preferred client of Malacanang. This is too much and super corruption to the highest order,” said Pamalakaya.

The Pamalakaya said the government through DA will pay IRSS the sum of P 455,700,000 for 98 units of ice-making machines with liquid freeze capability which will be supplied to selected municipal fish ports nationwide. But the group said the government can obtain 98 units of ice-making machines for P 225 million to P 230 million, or half of the quoted and agreed price with IRSS.

“P 225 million is P 225 million. That sum of money can be used to finance any kind of sinister agenda or cruel intention by the present power holders in and out of Malacanang. The money might also be used to finance the electoral campaign of Mrs. Arroyo’s national and local bets like Secretary Yap. This is money making in aid of electoral campaign for 2010 polls,” added Hicap.

The group said Secretary Yap is lawfully and morally bound to explain why the agriculture department entered into a contract that is disadvantageous to the government and to the Filipino public.

“Do we really need these ice-making machines? Our fisherfolk members all over the country were not even consulted on these projects, but these ice-making machines had already their icing on the cake status as far DA and its’ favored contractor are concerned. Secretary Yap owes the public a honest-to-goodness explanation, nothing more, nothing less,” said Pamalakaya.

According to information gathered by Pamalakaya, NABCOR conducted a preliminary bidding last August 26, and IRSS which won the bidding, was only incorporated on August 25, a day before the preliminary bidding was conducted.

The group said under Republic Act 9184 (Procuring Law), Section 37.1, the bidder must submit a copy of its single largest completed contract over the past 3 years, and such condition is impossible for IRSS, which was only incorporated on August 25, this year, a day before the preliminary bidding. The contract was finally awarded last Sept.2.

The militant group threatened to file a plunder case against Secretary Yap and other officials of NABCOR if they fail to cancel the contract with IRSS in connection with the corruption tainted procurement of 98 units of ice-making machines pegged at P 4.6 million per unit.

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