Category Archives: mind-boggling people

2 new books on outgoing RP President ridiculed

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Bb. Joyce Cabral and Bb. Tayuman Recto-Yap

MANILA, Philippines- Rabid critics of outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo dismissed as garbage the two books written for her by two of her closest allies in Malacanang. The books narrate how the scandal rocked Arroyo handled the different crises that hounded her administration and the good jobs accomplished during her nine-year stay in power but skipped two of the most controversial issues—the NBN-ZTE scandal and the Hello Garci election scandal in 2005.

In a press statement, the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said the books entitled “Beating the Odds” penned by Secretary Ricardo Saludo and Renato Velasco, a UP political science professor and current board member of Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) and “Beat The Odd” authored by deputy Press Secretary Gary Olivar are nothing but a compilation of lies and should be regarded by the Filipino public and book lovers as stinking garbage.

“The high crimes of corruption, the extreme brutality and the first-rate puppetry of President Arroyo to Washington D.C is an open secret to 94 million Filipinos and all these lies peddled by Arroyo associates in their books will not score a giant kill at the political box-office,” said Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France.

Secretary Saludo told reporters the books are all about governance which students and academicians could use as reference material. He said the books would be helpful to people in the academe and government. He said the two books which will be released anytime before June 30 were not an attempt to put the President in good light.

“Beating The Odds” authored by Saludo and Velasco tackles the July 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, the threat posed by the SARS virus, terrorism and illegal drug trade, as well as the budget deficit—and President responded to these challenges and passed the tests with flying colors. A newspaper ad on Thursday described the book as a “crisis-management bible for the 21st century.

“Let Arroyo and her gang fool themselves on periodic and perpetual manner. No one will believe these books are product of intellectual honesty,” Pamalakaya’s France added.

However, Pamalakaya suggested Mrs. Arroyo to write her own book detailing her sins and crimes to the Filipino people. The militant group even suggested a title for the book. “How about a book written by Mrs. Arroyo herself aptly titled “The Day I Robbed Your Glory”, I Am Sorry or “The Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Scandal” which will have Arroyo confessing her sins and top notch crimes to the Filipino people that include but not limited to NBN-ZTE scandal, Hello Garci and the bloody series of extrajudicial killings from 2001 to 2010.

“I guess the “I Am Sorry” is the more appropriate title for her book and this is a potential blockbuster that could rival the best-selling novel of all time,” Pamalakaya added.

Saludo said he and Velasco only “selected” the crises that happened between 2001 and 2004. “These were the topics that we felt we could handle,” they explained.

Saludo said he and Velasco felt the wiretapping scandal should not be lumped together with the other crises because it required a “more extensive treatment.”

The other book Beat The Odds,” is more about Ms Arroyo’s accomplishments and written by Olivar whose title is based on the acronym Ms Arroyo coined when she assumed power in 2001 to summarize her 10-point agenda. With a report from Trinity Biglang Awa.

Leave a comment

Filed under corruption, elections, mind-boggling people, politics

Makati Business Club exec entry in Aquino cabinet assailed

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Bb. Tayuman Recto-Yap and Cherry Pie Eggpie Sandoval

MANILA, Philippines-A leader of the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Tuesday scored presumptive President elect Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III for appointing one of the top executives of the influential Makati Business Club as a member of his incoming cabinet.

“Mr. Aquino is playing the game of big business with the highly questionable entry of MBC Executive Director Alberto Lim to the incoming Yellow clique expected to rule Malacanang like a high prized political and economic syndicate in the next six years. This is unfair and totally inimical to public interest,” says Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

In an interview on dwIZ radio today, Lim refused to say what government position Aquino had offered to him but expressed willingness to serve the country by joining the Aquino government in its fight against corruption. Lim’s group supported Aquino in the presidential race and was perceived as influential among the groups which backed the 50-year old lawmaker in the last May 10 presidential elections.

Lim said he is not sure what position Aquino would offer to him although there were reports from some quarters that Aquino is considering him to head either the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) or Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

“It is payback time for Mr.Aquino and it is happening at this very early with close associates dividing the spoils among themselves. Is this what the US-installed presidency has to offer to the 94 million Filipinos?” said Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader accused Aquino of dividing the spoils among the favored blocs in his camp that include but not limited to the Kamag-Anak Incorporated, a group which close relatives of Aquino who started their corrupt career during the administration of the late President Corazon Aquino and the Hyatt 10 composed of former cabinet members and civil society groups formerly allied with outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who deserted the latter at the height of Hello Garci election fraud scandal in 2005.

Hicap advised the MBC official to turn down the offer of Aquino, saying he and his group would be in better, and in politically and morally correct position to act as watchdog for good governance and against corruption if Lim and his group would stay outside the Aquino camp.

“The Aquino camp is also being perceived as week and prone to high crimes of corruption. If Mr. Lim wants to fight corruption and promote good governance, he and his group could do it better if they maintain a high level of independence from Aquino and his upcoming gangland in Malacanang,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

The MBC executive director is the fourth “confirmed” member of Aquino’s prospective official family, after Corazon Soliman as social welfare secretary and Teresita Deles (adviser of the government peace panel) and longtime friend Paquito “Jojo” Ochoa who is being groomed as the next executive secretary or justice secretary or presidential legal chief. #

Leave a comment

Filed under corruption, elections, mind-boggling people, politics

Poll bets ganging up Villar, but silent on Hacienda Luisita row

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Cherry de Belen and Billy Javier Reyes

MANILA, Philippines- A group of activist fishermen supportive of the cause of striking farm workers in Hacienda Luisita lamented that many presidential candidates are busy attacking one of the front runners– Nacionalista Party (NP) presidential candidate Manny Villar but scoreless and clueless on issues pertaining to the 6,453-hectare sugar estate owned by the family of Liberal Party (LP) presidential standard bearer Sen. Benigno Simeon ” Noynoy” Aquino III.

In a press statement, the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged presidential candidates who usually attack the NP presidential bet to tackle and discuss their position this time on Hacienda Luisita including but not limited the demand for the immediate, unconditional and free distribution of the sugar plantation to 10,000 farmworker beneficiaries.

“Some presidential bets and their political sidekicks continue to attack Mr. Villar, but obviously silent on the issue of Hacienda Luisita. Are they afraid of Noynoy and the feudal aristocracy of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan? Do they believe farm workers have attained land and justice for their five decade more struggle inside the sugar estate of the Cojuangco-Aquino?” asked Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader noted national candidates like former President Joseph Estrada and his senatorial bet Juan Ponce Enrile of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) and independent candidate Senator Jamby Madrigal are active in demolishing the presidential bid of Villar, but extremely silent on the issue of Luisita involving Sen.Aquino and his family.

“Since the election campaign started on Feb.9, Noynoy and his sisters, members of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan and their partners in crime in the civil society have been engaged in day-to-day distortion of truth about Hacienda Luisita. But critics of Villar never lift a finger to tell Noynoy and his camp to stop fooling the people and the general public and proceed with land distribution. And this political development is not only puzzling and mind boggling. It is extremely dangerous,” said Hicap.

“Why members of the anti-Villar syndicate are not taking up the issue of Hacienda Luisita and the massacre of 7 farm workers? That is really a major puzzle in election campaign. While the issues ranged against Villar could be valid or just mere black propaganda, still these are issues that should be addressed by the Villar camp. However, the anti-Villar crusaders still owe the public, the electorate and the Hacienda Luisita folks a honest-to-goodness explanation how they remain silent on Noynoy and Hacienda Luisita,” the Pamalakaya official said.

Before the weekend, militant farmer groups led by striking farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita staged a 30-vehicle caravan from Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) national office in Quezon City to the Supreme Court in Manila to ask the Supreme Court (SC) to lift the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) it issued in 2006 before the May 10 presidential elections and allow the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) and DAR to proceed with the distribution of 6,453-hectare sugar plantation to 10,000 farmer worker beneficiaries.

The caravan was led by Hacienda Luisita based United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU), the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid ng Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) and the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and they delivered a two-page letter of appeal billed “Let the Promise of Land and Justice Reign in Hacienda Luisita” which asked SC Chief Justice Reynato Puno and 14 other justices to recall the TRO, revoke the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) and order DAR to immediately proceed with the distribution of Cojuangco-Aquino sugar plantation.

In their letter of appeal signed by Lito Bais, acting president of ULWU, Wilfredo Marbella of KMP and Joseph Canlas of Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL), the Hacienda Luisita farmworkers said the Supreme Court has yet to act on the motion filed by their lawyers asking the high tribunal to immediately lift the TRO, revoke the SDO and compel DAR to proceed with the free distribution of Luisita lands to farmworker beneficiaries.

The Luisita farmworkers asserted the TRO granted by the high court against the revocation of SDO was further used and abused by the Cojuangco-Aquino and the Luisita management to further exploit and oppress the farmworkers.

“Honorable Chief Justice, on the ground, cohorts and henchmen of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan are doing the dirty jobs for the feudal lords of Hacienda Luisita to fortify land control. The Cojuangco-Aquino corporation established the Luisita Estate Management (LEM) to supervise and administer the day-to-day affairs of the sugar estate. The LEM has also tolerated the terrorizing presence of government troops and Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVOs) conducting round-the-clock surveillance and harassment of leaders and members of farmworkers’ groups,” the groups said.

Anakpawis party list said the LEM has been disposing hectares of lands to commercial banks like the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) and other foreign commercial enterprises also had acquired hectares of the disputed sugar lands despite the TRO issued by the high court in 2006.

“The questionable entities sprouting like mushrooms inside Luisita have been constructing fences as if Luisita has been divided among them in the name of private property and their private security guards chasing away farmworkers who want to cultivate idle lands either for meager income or subsistence livelihood,” Anakpawis noted.

The 10,000 Hacienda Luisita farmworker beneficiaries believed the high tribunal is politically, constitutionally and morally obliged to correct a glaring fatal decision that justified the issuance of TRO on Stock Distribution Option, the effects of such judicial action further contributed to the long-running and intensifying campaign of injustice and landlessness in Hacienda Luisita.

“Honorable Chief Justice Puno and the 14 other members of the high tribunal, once again, we appeal to your sense of justice. Lift the TRO and allow PARC and DAR to proceed with the free distribution of Hacienda Luisita to the 10,000 farmer beneficiaries,” they said. #

3 Comments

Filed under agrarian reform, corruption, elections, human rights, mind-boggling people, politics

Fishers group asked CBCP support vs. Las Vegas like casino in Manila Bay

By Bb. Joyce Cabral

MANILA, Philippines-A militant alliance of small fishermen on Wednesday revealed a close associate and crony of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was given the franchise to develop portions of a reclaimed area in Roxas Boulevard to construct a Las Vegas type gambling complex in Manila Bay.

In a press statement, the activist Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and staunch ally Anakpawis party list on Sunday appealed to the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to join the groups’ crusade against the ambitious multi-billion casino project in Manila Bay.

“To the archbishops and bishops of the CBCP, please hear and support our appeal and prayer against this giant gambling escapade of Malacanang and its cherished cronies,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said Enrique Razon Jr., head of multinational port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) and a known crony of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has bought a gaming company that will build a casino at the Bagong Nayong Pilipino project.

“This is ridiculous, very, very ridiculous. Please allow us to inform the bishops that the Supreme Court ruling is clear——-Malacanang should rehabilitate Manila Bay and should not transform the bay into a gambling capital of Asia is contrary to the high court decision,” said Hicap in reference to the Dec. 2008 Supreme Court decision mandating the national government and concerned government agencies to restore Manila Bay back to its historic and proud past.

Hicap learned last week that Razon had acquired a controlling stake in Bloombury investment Holdings Inc from Jose Ch. Alvarez, owner of Columbian Motors Corp. The Pamalakaya leader said Alvarez sold his controlling interest in Bloombury, one of the companies tapped to develop the ambitious $ 15 billion Las Vegas casino project to be installed along the 120 reclaimed area in Manila Bay.

“The bishops are politically and morally obliged to confront this gambling project of the ruling Mafia in Malacanang. That is one their callings as far as the Christian faith and the people’s collective interest are concerned,” the Pamalakaya official added.

According to a news report, Bloombury is one of four companies granted a provisional license by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to set up and operate gaming and entertainment facilities at the Bay Shore Bagong Nayong Pilipino Entertainment City project at the Manila Bay reclamation area in Parañaque.

The other companies granted licenses were Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc., the partnership between the Andrew L. Tan-led Alliance Global, Inc. and casino-resort operator Genting Hong Kong Ltd., SM Investments Corp. and Universal Entertainment Corp. (formerly Azure Corp.), which makes gaming machines and is a co-investor in the Wynn chain of casino hotels in Las Vegas and Macau.

“The issue of Manila Bay casino project is not only about cronyism and the despicable partnership between Arroyo and his cherished client-Mr. Razon. At stake here is the marine environment, the livelihood of 3 million people in Manila Bay and the national interest of 92 million Filipinos. Sad to say, President Arroyo sacrificed these stakes to make more money and make his crony the happiest and the luckiest guy on earth.

Pagcor president and chief operating officer Rafael Butch Francisco announced on Monday the construction at the Bay Shore Entertainment City was expected to start in the latter part of the year. Sources said the Razon’s entry into the Pagcor project came after his exit from the power transmission business. Last month, Henry Sy Jr.’s OneTaipan Holdings, Inc. bought Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp. from Razon’s group for $350 million.

Pagcor said the construction is expected to start in the third quarter at an estimated cost of $400 million for the first phase. According to the state-run gambling corporation, the complex will include two five-star luxury hotel towers of over 1,000 rooms within a world-class entertainment and convention facility.

The Pamalakaya fisherfolk alliance said the construction of Manila Bay casino similar to first-rate casinos in Las Vegas and Macau will trigger the displacement of 3 million coastal people in Metro Manila and Cavite who are still dependent to fishing as principal source of livelihood, and any move to transform or convert Manila Bay for other purposes like the $15-billion casino project will have a killing impact on the livelihood of small fishermen, aside from the fact that they would be demolished from their communities, once construction of support structures and establishments begins.

“The irrevocable desire of President Arroyo and Mr. Razon to convert Manila Bay into an international gateway for big time gambling addicts both international and domestic is not only blasphemous, but also detestable and highly revolting. This government is sacrificing the future of Manila Bay fishers at the altar of corporate interest and gambling addiction of the international and domestic elites,” the Pamalakaya said.

The militant group said the construction of Manila Bay casino will also trigger reclamation of other coastal shores along Manila Bay that will result to eviction of fishing communities and coastal villagers along the bay.

Pamalakaya recalled from 1992 to 1995, the demolitions of coastal shanties became an everyday ordeal in Pasay Reclamation area. Houses were uprooted on almost day-to-day basis. Small and big time bribery to divide the communities were conducted to facilitate the demolition of homes as if the words and orders of Malacañang were the words of God in this country.

The setting up of casino and resorts, including SM’s Mall of Asia was all in the master plan of the government known as Manila Bay Master Development Plan that officially started during the time of President Ramos and projected to end between 2020 and 2025.

Pamalakaya said 3,500 small fisherfolk and their families in Pasay Reclamation Area, and another 3,000 coastal and urban poor families along the coastal shores of Parañaque were evicted by the government of former President Ramos to pave way for the construction of the proposed casino that would make the Philippines the Las Vegas of Asia.#

Leave a comment

Filed under Breaking News, corruption, environment, Manila Bay, mind-boggling people

Pamalakaya assails Red exporting tag

By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Krelin Montenegro

MANILA, Philippines-The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), a member of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) assailed on Saturday the Philippine government’s claim that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was sending communist cadres in place like India and Thailand under the banner of the league.

“This is too much. This brazen and bizarre state terrorism campaign of Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzalez and NICA director general Pedro Cabuay should be condemned to the highest level. We demand the two terrorist officials of the Manila government to retract their statements, issue public apologies here and abroad and refrain from making further outrageous claims based on and mobilized by the doctrines of national security and global terrorism,” said Pamalakaya national chair and ILPS fisherfolk representative Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader said ILPS is an international assembly of 350 progressive and democratic organizations from 50 countries fighting for the collective rights and interest of the working peoples of the world.

“It is the Philippine government who is exporting its state terrorism campaign against Filipino progressives abroad by spreading these malicious claims and false allegations in the name of US led terrorism all over the world and in the name of national security doctrine in the name of modern day global slavery and oppression,” added Hicap.

Pamalakaya said it had participated in various international conferences and gatherings under the banner of ILPS not to export cadres and train local insurgents but to promote international solidarity through sharing of Filipino fisherfolk issues and struggles in the Philippines and support their peers’ struggles in other parts of the world through campaigns, mobilizations and other form of advocacy.

The militant group said it had been to India twice for international gatherings opposed to World Trade Organization and free trade liberalization in 2005 and 2008, and had been to Thailand in 2002 once and thrice in 2009 not to export communist rebels but to discuss the impact of trade liberalization on fisheries, share experiences on disaster preparedness and express sectoral views on the ASEAN Human Rights charter.

Pamalakaya said it is planning to file appropriate criminal and administrative charges against Secretary Gonzalez and Cabuay and that they will soon consult their lawyers about what charges shall be filed against the two security officials.

For a start, the group said it will ask the 350-member organizations of the ILPS in 50 countries to declare the two Philippine defense officials persona-non-grata in their respective countries and issue statements denouncing the Manila government’s claim against the ILPS to high heaven.

In 2008, Pamalakaya attended the 3rd General Assembly of the ILPS in Hong Kong. During the assembly, Pamalakaya sponsored a resolution urging the Philippine government to stop all offshore mining activities in the country.

The resolution was signed by 350 member organizations of the ILPS that include social activists and respected leaders of people’s movements in the United States, Canada, Italy, Turkey, Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Iran and Brazil to mention a few.

Last year, Pamalakaya attended a fisherfolk conference in Bangkok, Thailand which was sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN).

During the conference, Pamalakaya and ILPS-Philippine chapter of the league conducted a petition signing that urged FAO officials to investigate the left-and right destruction of food and fish baskets in the Philippines by the Macapagal-Arroyo government through privatization and anarchic conversion of agricultural lands and fishing areas by foreign monopolies and their domestic partners in the country. The petition was supported by food security groups in the US, North and South America, Italy, France and countries from Central, South and East Asia. #

2 Comments

Filed under elections, human rights, mind-boggling people, Offshore mining, politics, US intervention

“There’s money for Italian planes, but no funds for fishers’ subsidy”- Group

By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Kremlin Montenegro

MANILA, Philippines-The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) assailed on Monday the $ 13 million contract the Department of National Defense (DND) inked with an Italian aircraft manufacturer, while it continues to ignore the demand of El Nino stricken fisherfolk for a four-month production and economic subsidies to mitigate the impact of the prolonged drought in the country.

“Malacanang and the defense department allocated 13 million in green bucks or roughly P 598 M of taxpayers’ money for the purchase of 18 SF-260 planes from the Italy while ignoring the fact that thousands of El Nino affected fishermen are in dire need of support funds to resume production and mitigate the economic impact of extreme heat besetting the country,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

The contract between the Italian manufacturer Alenia Aermacchi S.p.A was approved in 2008, but the firm started assembling SF-260 planes only late last year due to undisclosed complications. According to Teresa Parian, chief operating officer of Aerotech Industries Philippines Inc. (AIPI), the Italian manufacturer’s local partner, said the DND agreed to reconstitute the project and to obtain fresh mandate from government in late 2009.

“Can we use the training planes to fish for livelihood? Can it perform miraculous cloud seedings that would soon produce heavy rainfalls of economic subsidies and hunger mitigation measures? The people’s hard earned taxes are spent on white elephant projects like the 13 million dollar Italian training planes,” Hicap lamented.

The procurement of 18 SF-260 planes from Italy is part of the long-delayed modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). According to the executive summary of the AFP modernization plan, in order for the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to have respectable air defense system, the PAF has to acquire a minimum of two squadrons of multi-role fighter aircraft. The SF-260 will cost the government $ 700,000 each P 32 million each.

“This Republic of war freak officials like President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and defense Secretary Norberto Gonzalez is engaged in avant-garde wastage of people’s money in the name of bureaucratic corruption and in the service of their militarist agenda and obsession for bloody war. This 13 million dollar plane deal is grossly inimical to national interest, people’s welfare and strong cry for social justice,” said Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya last month submitted to the Department of Agriculture (DA0 and the Laguna Lake Development their demand for a P 10,000 per month economic and production subsidy to fishing families affected by the El Nino phenomenon.

The group had said the government should mobilize the P 1.7 billion El Nino budget allotted last year and the calamity funds of provincial and local government units to provide relief to red tide and fish kill stricken areas all over the country. The Pamalakaya fisherfolk alliance had also urged senators and congressmen to donate their remaining salaries from March 1 to June 30, including unspent portions of their pork barrel to fisherfolk and farmer victims of El Nino.

The group said the public could generate P 40,425 each from each district congressman. If there are 220 district congressmen, the fund which could be raised would be P 8,893,500 per month or P 35.57 million for four months. There are 23 senators at present, and each senator also receives
P 40,425 per month or P 929,775 for all senators. If they senators decide to donate their salaries to El Nino victims, the amount that can be generated from senators’ salaries for next four months would be
P 3,719,100.

“If there are 243 congressmen and senators who will donate at least P 20 million of their remaining pork barrel for the year, that would amount to P 4.86 billion, excluding their salaries. All in all, the combined salaries and donated pork barrel would amount to over P 5-billion which could be of big help to affected farmers and fishermen,” Pamalakaya said.

Long marchers assailed landlessness and the war policy of GMA

Leave a comment

Filed under agriculture, Breaking News, corruption, foreign relations, mind-boggling people, politics

Yap’s wait and see attitude puzzles militant group

By Billy Javier Reyes and Bb. Joyce Cabral

Manila, Philippines-Leaders of the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and staunch ally Anakpawis party list wondered why up to now Agriculture secretary Arthur Yap refuses to vacate the Department of Agriculture (DA) post despite the Supreme Court announcement this week that all appointed government officials running in the May 2010 elections were deemed resigned when they filed their certificates of candidacy.

Secretary Yap had filed his certificate of candidacy and is running unopposed in his bid to represent the 3rd district of Bohol province this May 2010 polls. But Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said Yap’s continued stay in the agriculture department revealed that the controversial Cabinet official has some “monkey business” to finish before the leaves office.

On Feb.23, the high tribunal issued decision directing all appointed government officials who are running for elective posts in May 2010 elections to quit public office. SC spokesperson Atty. Midas Marquez said the ruling was immediately executor, but the parties involved can file a motion for reconsideration.

“Is Secretary Yap over and above the Supreme Court? It is really mind-boggling and super puzzling why up to now; the agriculture secretary never said anything about the high court’s direct order for him to relinquish his post. Perhaps he has still some unfinished monkey business in DA. Just to remind the public, Yap steered DA into one of the top grossing corrupt offices in the Macapagal-Arroyo administration,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

“Secretary Yap has been very silent since the SC made its ruling on appointed government officials seeking elective posts in May 2010 elections. It will just take an hour for him to write and tender his resignation,” added Hicap.

Last week, Anakpawis party list and Pamalakaya dared President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Agriculture Secretary Yap to account a total of P 7.14 billion in taxpayers’ money, which the Commission on Audit (COA) found missing or diverted to other purposes in 2008.

Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente said President Arroyo and Sec. Yap did not disclose the public the report and findings of COA about the disbursement of more than 7 billion pesos, which the state-run auditing body said was lost to “wasteful operation, bungled project implementation or missing and diverted funds.

“Mrs. Arroyo and Mr. Yap concealed the COA report to the public for obvious reason—first rate crimes of corruption were committed involving billions of public funds courtesy of the Office of the President and the Office of the secretary of Agriculture,” she said.

Quoting the COA 2008 report, the Anakpawis official said a total of P 5.19 billion intended for farm-to-market road project were either missing or incomplete. She said the DA only spent P 1.3 billion or 38.99 percent of the total project allotment for 2008. Another big item, the P 1.3 billion fertilizer fund project under the GMA Rice Program was also bungled because local government units refused to participate in the implementation.

Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list took note COA’s other findings like printing of P 2.2 million fertilizer discount coupons which were rendered useless, the construction of mini-dams in Regions VIII, IX and XI built at a cost of P 7.35 million but were rendered useless due to inferior construction, the construction of 11 Barangay Food Terminals worth P 1.55 million but only one was functional, and the remaining 10 were condemned due to operational deficiencies.

The same COA report described DA as notorious in purchasing equipment which are overpriced, not really needed or cannot be utilized or run by intended beneficiaries, adding that many of the equipment bought are unutilized, undelivered and now rusting in storage.

Pamalakaya said the earth shaking COA report should stop the national government and the agriculture department from buying 300 new ice-making machines to the amount of P 1.5 billion on top of the 98 ice-making machines which DA purchased in 2009 at an overpriced rate of P 4.6 million, 100 percent more of the prevailing industry price.

On January 6, Pamalakaya and Anakpawis led complainants to the plunder case filed against President Arroyo and Agriculture secretary Yap and officials of National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor) in connection with the controversial P 455 million overpriced ice-making machines project said the government through the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor). #

2 Comments

Filed under agriculture, corruption, elections, mind-boggling people, politics

Energy chief’s plan to lead party list charge raised eyebrows of militant group

By Sugar Hicap

Manila, Philippines-The alleged plan of Department of Energy (DoE) secretary Angelo Reyes to lead a transport party list group in the May 2010 elections literally and figuratively raised the eyebrows of leaders of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday.

In a joint statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and Pamalakaya vice-chairperson Salvador France said if there was truth to report that incumbent 1-UTAK party list agreed to have Sec. Reyes as its first nominee, and then a first-rate murder and political prostitution of the party list system was again committed by the Macapagal-Arroyo administration.

“Imagine, Sec. Reyes, the undisputed puppet of oil cartel and no.1 employee of offshore mining companies in the country is the no.1 nominee of a party list group which describes as sectoral party list group that caters to the interest of the marginalized and the oppressed. God this is imaginable and mind-boggling,” the two leaders said in their joint statement.

Hicap and France said the information was fed to them by ally transport group Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON). The two Pamalakaya officials said the militant transport group shared to them the information circulating in the transport sector that Sec. Reyes planned to run as no.1 nominee of the administration backed 1-UTAK party list, displacing former first nominee and incumbent Rep. Atty. Vigor Mendoza.

The Pamalakaya leaders agreed with PISTON that Sec. Reyes bid for party list bid has something to do with the plan of Mrs. Arroyo to clinch the post of House Speaker in the May 2010 elections. They said President Arroyo is saturating the House of Representatives with Palace commissioned party lists to ensure the Arroyos would still dominate the lower House under the new elected President.

“This 1-UTAK party list is really a very, very mysterious party list in the tradition of mafia and syndicate. First its incumbent congressman is a corporate lawyer, now it wants a former military general and top coddler of oil cartel to represent poor drivers in Congress. This super roadshow treachery of the party list system must be further expose and oppose with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo receiving the largest share of blame and wholesale condemnation,” the Pamalakaya leaders added.

Aside from being a reliable puppet of the oil cartel and a certified militarist and human rights violator, Pamalakaya said Sec. Reyes was also responsible for the mushrooming of destructive oil and gas explorations in Philippine territorial waters.

The group said the latest offshore based crime of Reyes was the approval of the oil and gas exploration in Palawan, near the Kalayaan group of islands.

Pamalakaya said the energy secretary pushed for the approval of Geophysical Survey and Exploration Contract (GSEC) No.101 also known as Sercice Contract no.72 (SC72) and awarded the contract UK firm Forum Energy Plc. The exploration contract grants the London-based oil and gas company the right to conduct offshore mining that covers 880,000 hectares of marine waters located in the Red Bank basin in Palawan or 150 kilometers east of Spratlys group of islands.

“The no.1 nominee of 1-UTAK party list worked hard for a project that would lead us to a major environmental catastrophe. Look, a total of 880,000 hectares of marine waters were sacrificed by Sec. Reyes to uphold the extreme greed of powerful corporations for super profits at the expense of national patrimony, people’s rights to livelihood, and sound and sustainable environment,” the group lamented.

“The shameless and brainless party list behind Reyes bid for party list congressional seat is unpardonable. This is an across-the-nation insult to the collective intelligence of the Filipino people and the voting public,” added Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya said the offshore mining activity might result to huge decline in the production of fishes and other marine products in the country. Hicap said offshore mining in the Visayan Sea and Palawan alone could lead to decline of year fish production by 600,000 metric tons or 20 percent decline annually, and it would affect the livelihood of not less than 100,000 fisherfolk and the 500,000 people largely dependent on fishing as means of livelihood.

Forum Energy said the service contract they obtained from DoE is within 200 nautical miles of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) based on Republic Act 9522, or the Philippine Archipelagic Baseline Law passed by Congress last year.

Citing the impacts of oil and gas exploration of Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. Ltd. (Japex) in Tanon Strait, a protected seascape separating the island provinces of Cebu and Negros, Pamalakaya said fish catch was drastically reduced by 67 to 75 percent from a high of 15-20 kilos average catch per day to 3-5 kilos of fish per day due to offshore mining.

The militant group also cited previous studies on the effect of offshore mining which said that an oil exploration activity generates 214,000 pounds of air pollution every year, 50 tons of nitrogen oxides, 13 tons of carbon monoxide and 6 tons of sulfur dioxide and 5 tons of volatile organic hydrocarbons.

Pamalakaya said drilling operations could produce 1,500 metric tons to 2,000 metric tons of highly toxic water waste materials per drilling. The group said other toxic materials which oil and gas exploration could produce include cadmium which causes lung cancer, lead which causes gastrointestinal diseases, blood and kidney disorders, mental retardation and affects the nervous system, chromium which causes lung and liver cancers, kidney and other respiratory illnesses, and arsenic which causes lung, liver and skin cancers. #

Leave a comment

Filed under Breaking News, corruption, disaster, elections, environment, foreign relations, global economic and financial crisis, mind-boggling people, Offshore mining

Arrest of 43 medical workers linked to Gonzalez legal offensive vs. militant groups

By Akihira Tatchu, Pepsi La Loma and Sarsi Pimentel

Manila, Philippines-The arrest of 43 doctors and community based health workers is line with the legal offensive ordered by defense secretary and National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzalez issued last week to commence the final staging of the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya 2.

The militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said the arrest of 43 medical volunteers was made a week after Gonzalez announced that Malacanang and the Armed Forces of the Philippines will heighten its legal offensive against members of militant groups as Oplan Bantay Laya 2 ends with the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in June 30, 2010.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said Secretary Gonzalez and the national security gang in Malacanang had agreed to pursue and intensify the fabrication of trump up charges against leaders and members of militant organizations which the military branded as front organizations of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing the New People’s Army.

“What happen in Morong, Rizal was a wholesale political abduction, political kidnapping, gross disrespect of people’s constitutional and basic human rights and all-out political persecution done in the name of a brutal, corrupt and evil regime of Mrs. Arroyo and her extrajudicial killing republic,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

Hicap also asked the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to immediately undertake an investigation to what he called state-sponsored terrorism and gross violations of basic human rights.

“We strongly ask Commissioner Leila de Lima to personally lead the investigation and in soonest possible time file human rights and other appropriate criminal charges against Lt. Col. Noel Detoynato, military officials of the Army 2nd infantry division and the 300 soldiers who orchestrated this gruesome and Adolf Hitler like campaign,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Health volunteers from Council for Health and Development and Commed conducted free medical services among victims of typhoon Ondoy last year. No government doctors came to help these Ondoy victims

2 Comments

Filed under Breaking News, elections, human rights, mind-boggling people, politics

Luisita workers asked Supreme Court to cite Cojuangcos, RCBC for contempt

By Jayjay Jaiho, contributor

Tarlac City, Tarlac- Striking farmworkers in the 6,453-hectare Hacienda Luisita sugar estate owned by the family of the late President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino today asked the Supreme Court to cite in contempt the Cojuangcos and management officials of Luisita Estate Management (LEM) and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) for violating the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the high tribunal.

In the TRO issued by the high court on June 14, 2006, the SC called for a status quo between the Luisita management and the farmers stating that no action should be taken regarding the used or selling of the disputed sugar lands in Hacienda Luisita as long as the legal issues are not been resolved like the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) which the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) had recommended to be revoked to pave way for the immediate distribution of the Cojuangco sugar estate to farm workers and other qualified agrarian reform beneficiaries.

But Luisita workers leader Lito Bais, spokesperson of Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and acting chair of United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) asserted that the Cojuangcos and RCBC blatantly violated the status quo and should be cited in contempt of court when LEM allowed the foreclosure of the 170 hectares of Luisita land by the commercial bank, which he said was a covert ops or a syndicated move by the Cojuangcos to regain hold of the disputed land.

The acting ULWU chair added that “Luisita Estate Management had no legal and moral rights to dip into the issue because they are not one of the party involved. LEM should stay away from our issue, we think that this shadow management created by no other less by the Cojuangco family to brought confusion among Luisita farmers and to sabotage our legitimate fight which is the distribution of land to bonafide farm worker”.

September last year, RCBC started putting up fences on the 170 hectares located in Barangay Balete. The RCBC representative said that this farm lot had been foreclosed as payment for the Cojuangco’s debt. At first they hired the farmers to put fences not saying its real purpose, and then we learned later that RCBC has already owned the land we planned to cultivate”.

“We think this move of RCBC is in cahoots with the LEM’s attempt of persuading Luisita farmers to engage in an non antagonistic tactic creating a convincing environment that the Cojuangco’s will not going reclaim the land to them. But this is the same LEM that issued a memo dating December 2008 which is threatening Luisita farm workers to vacate the lands that they cultivated after the infamous Hacienda Luisita massacre,” added Bais.

“It seems that they changed tactics knowing that the Luisita farmers will not be cowed over their memo… In fact right after RCBC put up the fence, LEM release a statement through “Balitaan sa Luisita”, the management publication bannering series of dialogues between them and the farm beneficiaries in different barangays whereas the farmers are agreeing on land use program’ Bais stressed.

He also said that ‘If we traced back the statements of presidential wannabe Noynoy Aquino, their family are having a hard time coping on Luisita’s expenses that is why they’re considering the selling of the former sugar land state. On our part, as “co-owner” we think on what Noynoy, the LEM creation and RCBC move is part of a grand dubious scheme design to reclaim the lands that we painstakingly fought with our sweat and blood.

ULWU and UMA also received a report that Hacienda Luisita Incorporated will be dissolved in lieu to the creation of LEM. According to Atty. Jobert Pahilga, the lead counsel of Luisita workers, in order to legalize LEM, the Cojuangco’s will also seek the approval of the Department of Agrarian Reform.

“And if HLI will be dissolved, Stock Distribution Option will be implemented no more. Thus automatic distribution of the what is left to be distributed in accordance with Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program’s provision,” said Pahilga.

While asking the high tribunal to immediately cite the Cojuangcos and RCBC in direct contempt of court, UMA and ULWU said it would be better if the SC will lift the TRO, affirmed the decision of PARC to revoke the SDO and allow the immediate, unconditional and free distribution of Hacienda Luisita to some 8,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries.

“The TRO is prolonging the agony of agrarian reform beneficiaries inside Hacienda Luisita.

The Supreme Court is legally, morally and politically mandated to carry out the cause for agrarian justice and social emancipation. However, the TRO it issued last June 14, 2006 counters this mandate at the expense of landless farmworkers,” the groups said.

The high court issued a TRO instructing PARC and Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman to refrain from distributing Hacienda Luisita lands to farmworker beneficiaries.

The SC Third Division also ordered the Hacienda Luisita Incorporated to post a cash bond of P 5 million for the TRO.
The TRO came from the petition filed by HLI questioning PARC resolution No.2005-32-10 dated Dec.22, 2005 upholding the decision of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to revoke the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) plan of the Hacienda Luisita management.

The PARC also ruled to place the entire Hacienda Luisita estate under compulsory acquisition, earmarking some P 15-billion for the acquisition of the sugar estate own by the family for ex-President Aquino. #

Leave a comment

Filed under agrarian reform, elections, human rights, labor woes, mind-boggling people, politics