Tag Archives: Anakpawis party list

Washington is eyeing Noynoy as new puppet to replace GMA, militants say

By Gerry Albert Corpuz in Manila
and Jayjay Jaiho in Tarlac City

MANILA, Philippines -The 28 national council leaders of the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) currently here in Manila for their annual meeting on Tuesday concluded that White House officials who recently contacted Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy’ Aquino are eyeing the son of former President Corazon Aquino to replace President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as “future US puppet”.

“It appears to us that the administration of US President Barack Obama and the ruling national doctrine syndicate in Washington D.C are in favor of Senator Noynoy Aquino to take over the place to be vacated by outgoing President Arroyo. For White House officials, Noynoy is a willing puppet and submissive political slave compared to Nacionalista Party presidential candidate Manuel Villar and 7 other presidential wannabes,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader theorized that Senator Aquino is highly acceptable to US economic and military decision makers and the American officials were convinced that Noynoy will continue to impose the anti-people economic pills like the 12 percent Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT) as suggested by the presence of former economic managers of GMA in his camp.

Hicap also noted that the Washington sees no problem with Aquino as far as the implementation of brutal counter-insurgency campaign like Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2 that resulted to the death of more than 900 political activists and enforced disappearances of more than 200 other activists critical of US interventionist policy in the Philippines.

“The US officials believed Noynoy will carry the same brand of puppetry, brutality and neo-liberal obsession of Arroyo and that makes him the most preferred political animal among the present line of presidential hopefuls in the May 2010 elections,” the Pamalakaya chair added.

Time Magazine

Aquino over the weekend revealed that the US has opened communication lines with his camp. He admitted his party mates had talked to some American officials, including former US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenny before she was recalled. The LP presidential bet said it was the US officials who initiated the meetings and he had the go-signal for his party mates.

Pamalakaya believed the latest edition of the US owned Time Magazine showing him as its cover boy for the month was part of the build up for the Aquino presidency. “It is Time Magazine and it is part of the mind conditioning and propaganda arm of Washington bigwigs who have sinister agenda and cruel intentions in the Philippines,” the group added.

Rejection becomes Noynoy

The 28 leaders of Pamalakaya today signed an organizational memorandum calling its 43 regional and provincial chapters all over the country to reject the presidential bid of Aquino. Describing Aquino as female version of Arroyo, they said the LP presidential bet is a ruthless person passing himself off as liberal politician and anti-graft crusader.

Pamalakaya stressed Sen. Aquino has a strong tendency to become a full-blown political monster and dictator. The fisherfolk group, a staunch ally of striking farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita said the bloody crimes of LP presidential bet and his landed family in connection with the continuing denial of land rights and injustice committed against Hacienda Luisita agricultural workers are non-negotiable and unpardonable.

The militant group agreed with the observation raised by Jose Maria Sison, founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) that if Aquino becomes the President, he and the Cojuangco-Aquino clan will use state power to frustrate and suppress the rights of farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita to keep the 6,453-hectare sugar estate under the continuing control of his family.

“As far as we are concerned, Noynoy decided to run for President not to fight corruption in the government but to engage in bigger crimes of corruption, and one these crimes is to maintain their unlawful and immoral claim on Hacienda Luisita,” the militant group said.

Long march

Meanwhile, some 500 farm workers of Hacienda Luisita yesterday kicked off their 5-day long march from Tarlac to Manila to demand the immediate and unconditional free distribution of 6,453 hectare sugar estate to 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries.

Dubbed Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan (March of the Toiling Masses for Land and Justice) the long march will be spearheaded by Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), the Luisita based United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) and Alyansa ng Mga Manggagawang Bukid ng Luisita (Ambala), Alyansa ng Mga Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Anakpawis party list.

Anakpawis party list secretary general Cherry Clemente said Luisita farmworkers will also demand the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) to immediately ask the Supreme Court to cite the Luisita management in contempt of court following what she called established machinations of the Cojuangco-Aquino family in Hacienda Luisita despite a standing order from the high court effectively stopping the management from pursuing any kind of development inside Luisita while the temporary restraining order is still in effect and the land dispute is still being resolved by the high tribunal.

Reports reaching Anakpawis headquarters in Quezon City said the Cojuangco-Aquino clan are allowing private groups to put fences inside the hacienda and were convincing the farm workers to stop planting rice and vegetables and resume sugar production. #

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Comelec told: Castigate AFP on partisan politics

By Mama Mila Liguasan and Akihira Tatchu

Manila, Philippines –

Pamalakaya took a brief respite after having their Feb.14 sortie in Baywalk, Manila Bay

The leaders of the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged on Sunday the officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to castigate officials and rank-and-file members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) involved in partisan politics.

In a joint press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and Vice chairperson Salvador France pressed Comelec chairman Jose Melo to invoke the constitutional provision banning all military officials and government troops from exercising partisan politics in lieu of reports that that some members of the AFP are engaged in campaigning against Makabayan senatorial candidates—Bayan Muna party list Rep. Satur Ocampo and Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza and activist party lists Bayan Muna, Gabriela and Anakpawis.

‘The commissioners of Comelec headed by Chairman Melo should impose an iron hand policy against officials and members of the AFP engaged in partisan politics. The military is violating the 1987 Constitution pertaining to partisan politics and this political-military adventure sanctioned by the ruling party in Malacanang must be put to an end,” the Pamalakaya leaders said.

Hicap and France who both came from Sorsogon learned that the military in the province are conducting house-to-house campaign in the province calling on all voters not to vote for militant party lists like Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, Kabataan Party and Act Teachers party list. The party lists formed Makabayan coalition party that includes Katribu party list, a new party list representing indigenous people and national minority groups in the country.

On Feb.23, Army Major Arnal Manjares hurt one of the campaigners of Makabayan during a house-to-house sortie, while conducting house-to-house campaign for progressive party lists and senatorial candidates Ocampo and Maza.

Based on the report reaching the headquarters of Bayan Muna in Quezon City, Manjares slapped the face of the volunteer and threatened the victim and his companions that they would be killed and harmed if they come back again and campaign for leftwing party lists and candidates in the area.

Pamalakaya said in the last May 2007 elections, cases of partisan politics specifically against Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela party lists were also documented Castilla Sorsogon, San Luis, Isabela, Nasugbu, Tanauan and Taysan in Batangas, Dasmarinas, Cavite, Cordon, and Cauayan, and San Luis Roxas, Isabela, Tuburan, Iloilo, Tubod, Lanao Del Norte, Palimbang Sultan Kudarat, Baggao, Cagayan, Burgos, Ilocos Norte, Kolambugan and Tubod Lanao del Norte, Roxas, Mindoro Oriental, Masbate, Guimba, Nueva Ecija, New Bataan, Compostela Valley.

There were also documented cases of military partisan politics against progressive party lists in Gumaca, Lucena, Sariaya, Candelaria, Lucena, Pagbilao, Gen. Luna and Macalelon, all in Quezon province, Alangalang and Tacloban in Leyte, North Cotabato, Marikina City, Makati City, any parts of Camarines Norte, Sa. Rosa, Laguna, Lavenzares, North Samar, Abuyog, Cagayan Valley, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Marawi City, many polling places in Lanao del Sur and many canvassing areas in Isabela.

Pamalakaya said the forms of military and police involvement include abductions and salvaging of progressive party list leaders and poll watchers, Illegal presence inside canvass areas or roaming around polling places and canvass areas, harassment of voters and forcing them not to vote militant party lists and instead vote for Palace backed party lists like Bantay of Rep. Jovito Palparan, transporting of ballot boxes in canvass areas, banning militant party list poll watchers inside the canvass areas and selecting only those they want to allow to enter, acting as bodyguards of candidates, presence of APC and 6×6 trucks near polling places and canvass areas, police counting the votes in precinct, the shooting and wounding of a Bayan Muna leader, the burning of school rooms, the Illegal arrest of poll watchers and the threatening Comelec official.

Pamalakaya also reiterated its call for Comelec to recall its previous decision allowing CAGGUs and other paramilitary units to carry fire arms during the election season. The militant group asserted that the long experience and track record of CAFGUs in partisan politics, acting as paid goons and private armies of powerful politicians, the poll body should have recalled its resolution and pursued the across-the-nation disbandment of special civilian armed forces.
Under Comelec resolution 8742 made effective last January 11, amending Resolution 8714, the CAFGU was exempted from gun ban along with members of the Presidential Security Group, Bureau of Fire Protection, Optical Media Board, the treasurers and deputy treasurers and members of the Internal Security Division of the Bureau of Treasury.
Prior to Comelec promulgation of Resolution 8714, Rear Admiral Alexander Pama, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao opposed the disarming of CAAs because these paramilitary groups are tapped by fishing companies to secure their venture in the South. For his part, Lt. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, chief of Western Command said as far as the military is concerned, the CAFGUs are part of the military organization and not all CAFGUs are utilized by private companies operating in far flung areas. #

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Fishers file DQ case against Yap before Comelec

by Gerry Albert Corpuz, Billy Javier Reyes and Sugar Hicap

Manila, Philippines- Leaders of the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) filed on Tuesday a disqualification case against former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Fisherfolk activists gave OKs to Anakpawis party list and Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza for senate race


In their 4-page disqualification case against Yap, Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap and Vice-chairperson Salvador France said the former agriculture secretary lacks qualification to run as congressman for the third district of Bohol because he is not a resident of province 3rd district. The Pamalakaya leaders said the position for which Yap filed a certificate of candidacy requires that a candidate be a resident of the district (3rd District of Bohol) for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the May 10, 2010 elections.

Hicap and France asserted Secretary Yap failed to meet the qualification because the former agriculture secretary still live in Ortigas, Pasig City and there is no evidence or overt act that Yap abandoned his domicile of origin. Both fisherfolk leaders said their case against Yap is similar to the recently concluded case decided by the poll body against actor Richard Gomez who was barred by Comelec from running in Leyte over the question of domicile.

“More than the issue of residency is the stockpile of graft charges filed by against Secretary Yap before the Office of the Ombudsman regarding irregular and highly questionable use of taxpayers’ money by the agriculture department. This disqualification case pertaining to lack of qualification to run on the basis of residency is just part of the whole process to unearth the truth on controversies surrounding this controversial cabinet of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” the Pamalakaya leaders added.

Last January 6, Pamalakaya filed plunder and other criminal and administrative charges against Yap in connection with the P 455 million overpriced ice-making machines. Included in the charge sheet are President Arroyo and other officials of the National Agribusiness Council (Nabcor), an attached agency of DA. On top of the P 455 million ice making fund scam is the P 7.14 billion which the Commission on Audit (COA) cited in its’ 2008 report was missing, diverted or bungled.

“We filed this case not to spoil the political ambition of Sec. Yap. We filed this case because we want truth and justice to prevail over the narrow interest of new breed of traditional and corrupt politician like Sec. Yap,” the fisherfolk alliance added.

Pamalakaya maintained Sec. Yap cannot even speak the language of Boholanos. The group also said the respondent and his family continue to stay in Metro Manila and that in the concept of domicile under election laws is at Alexandra Residence in Pasig City.

“How can he live and reside in Bohol when Sec. Yap practices his profession and conducts his business in Metro Manila? He continues to be a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Makati Chapter and likewise holds office in Quezon City. He cannot even speak the language of Boholanos and the people of Central Visayas verbally and by heart. It is really impossible” the group said.

The militant group asserted that Sec. Yap is not domiciled in Barangay, Buenavista in Loboc, Bohol or anywhere within the 3rd legislative district of Bohol. It said the respondent does not have real, substantial and material ties to the locality as to qualify him a resident of the said legislative district, adding that Sec. Yap spends much more time in Metro Manila than in Bohol.

“His visits in Bohol are infrequent, short and transient,” said Pamalakaya. #

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Affected El Nino fishers dump water lilies at DA in protest of government neglect

by Lollipop delos Reyes and Trinity Biglang Awa

Manila, Philippines-Fisherfolk affected by the El Nino phenomenon in Laguna Lake on Tuesday dumped water lilies at the gate of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Quezon City to protest what they called state neglect of small fisherfolk, one of the sectors devastated by the ongoing dry spell all over the country.

Some 20 fisherfolk activists belonging to Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), Anakpawis party list and Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) staged a roving picket carrying water lilies harvested from lakeshores of Laguna to denounce the agriculture department’s insensitivity to the plight of lake fishers across the 90,000 hectare Laguna Lake.

“We assert our political right to state subsidies so we can fish and survive the harsh impact of El Nino. But our legitimate right for social justice is eternally neglected and abandoned by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Secretary Arthur Yap ,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader said the national government, the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) and the local government units surrounding Laguna Lake have no contingency plans for lake people affected by El Nino. Hicap said not a single centavo has been spent for El Nino affected lake folk since January this year.

“What happened to the P 1.7 billion El Nino funds? Why the government and its local units at the grassroots level have yet to release the calamity funds allocated to mitigate the impact of extreme heat and dry spell? We are not begging for alms, we are asserting our political and economic right for subsidies,” added Hicap.

Pamalakaya had submitted 8-point demand for small fisherfolk and urban poor families to LLDA General Manager Edgar Manda last week for prompt and appropriate action—1. Stop demolition of 400,000 lake folk families around Laguna Lake, 2. Permanently open Napindan Hydraulic Control Structure (NCHS), 3. Stop reclamation and other forms of privatization and conversion in Laguna Lake, 4. P 5,000 housing rehabilitation fund for fishermen whose houses were destroyed during typhoon Ondoy, 5. Economic grant composed of 1 sack of rice per month for every poor fishing family, 6. P 1,500 worth of groceries per month for each poor fisherfolk family, 7. Promulgation of provincial and municipal orders allowing farmers and fisherfolk in the lake to plant around the lake or conduct other means of backyard livelihood as possible source of income and 8. mobilization of doctors and health workers in fishing villages to address El Nino generated diseases.

Pamalakaya lamented that Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap is pre-occupied with corruption tainted projects in DA like the controversial P 455-million overpriced ice making machine projects, instead of attending to the demands of el Nino affected sectors.

Last week, Anakpawis party list and Pamalakaya dared President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and 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.

“The funds which should be used to cushion the life threatening impact of El Nino to fisherfolk and rural producers are missing and nowhere to be found. But Yap is taking this highly explosive issue with a grain of salt,” added Clemente. #

We can't eat water lilies

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El Nino drives lake fishers to demand econ subsidy from gov’t

By Rey Manangan, Billy Javier Reyes and Pepsi La Loma

Taytay, Rizal- The impact of El Nino phenomenon on the already dwindling inland resources of Laguna Lake compelled lake fishers to demand the government a monthly supply of 1 sack of rice for every fishing family for free.

The proposal came from Laguna Lake fishermen identified with the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), Anakpawis party list the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) and the broad Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM).

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the demand for free supply of rice to cushion the impact of long dry spell is just one of the five set of economic demands pressed by small fishermen from Malacanang, concerned government agencies and local governments in Laguna Lake. He said the issue of lingering hunger and poverty in Laguna Lake that was further compounded by last year’s super typhoon Ondoy and now the El Nino phenomenon.

Hicap said the proposal was agreed by leaders of Pamalakaya, Anakpawis party list and SLLM during an all Laguna Lake leaders caucus held in Pamalakaya headquarters in Quezon City last week and was affirmed in the municipal assembly of Anakpawis –Cardona chapter in Talim Island yesterday.

“Our proposal for supply of 1 rice of sack for free will cover the month of March, April, May, June and July- where the long dry spell is expected to end. Aside from free supply of rice within the period, we also demand local government units to immediately release the calamity funds intended for their respective constituents and let fisherfolk and farmers plant crops for their subsistence or alternative livelihood,” added Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader also said that since the long dry spell is expected to generate heat related diseases among fisherfolk and poor lake dwellers, his group is also urging the Department of Health (DoH) to mobilize doctors and health workers to look into the situation of poor folk and be ready to provide the lake people with free check ups and medicines.

Hicap also pressed the government to set aside at least P 1,500 worth of groceries package for every family of poor fisherfolk and lake resident in the 90,000 hectare Laguna Lake representing the 9 lake towns of Rizal and 18 lake towns of Laguna, including the cities of Pasig, Taguig and Muntinlupa and the municipality of Pateros- all in National Capital Region.

For his part, Pamalakaya-Southern Tagalog chair and SLLM convener Pedro Gonzalez, the set of economic subsidy package is just an item to the set of Omnibus Demand crafted by fisherfolk , the party list group Anakpawis and other cause-oriented organizations in Laguna Lake.

Gonzalez said Malacanang, the Laguna Lake Development Authority(LLDA), the provincial and municipal governments of Rizal and Laguna and city mayors in Metro Manila should stop if not indefinitely suspend the demolition of communities in the lake and put an end to the ongoing massive reclamation and other joint state-private projects.

“Instead of proceeding with demolitions of fishing villages, privatization and conversion of public lands along the lake, we urge the government to provide P 5,000 rehabilitation grant to every fishing family so they could repair their houses wrecked by typhoon Ondoy last year,” said Gonzalez.

The 66-year old fisherfolk leader said LLDA should permanently open if not dismantle the controversial Napindan Hydraulic Control Structure (NCHS) to allow salt water from Manila Bay to penetrate Laguna Lake. Gonzalez said the regular entry of salt water in Laguna Lake will allow the lake to restore its former ecological balance and healthy inland environment.

This set of demands, according to Anakpawis party list secretary general Cherry Clemente will be submitted to the following agencies—the LLDA, the provincial and local governments in Rizal and Laguna, to the mayor of Pasig City, Taguig City, Muntinlupa City and municipality of Pateros.

Clemente said a petition for the same set of demands will also be submitted to the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the health department and to the Office of the President, House Speaker Prospero Nograles and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile for appropriate actions.

Tomorrow, a 10-vehicle caravan from different towns of Rizal and Laguna and NCR will join a march rally led by some 2,000 urban poor residents of Lupang Arenda in Taytay, Rizal to press LLDA to stop the demolition of their communities and endorse the El Nino driven demands set by Pamalakaya, SLLM and Anakpawis for people of Laguna Lake.

The government plans to evict 62,000 fishing and urban poor families in Lupang Arenda on the ground that they all live in danger zone areas, but critics said the government is using the issue of massive flooding caused by typhoon Ondoy last year to justify the demolition and make easy for the government to install big ticket projects in Laguna Lake. #

incumbent mayors are called to release calamity funds for El Nino victims

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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. #

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6 groups grilled Defense chief on torture of Morong 43

By Chocolate Moose Fernandez and Bb. Joyce Cabral

As the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) today sets court appearance of 43 doctors and health workers before the Court of Appeals for their writ of habeas corpus hearing, six rural based groups grilled took turns in grilling Defense Secretary and National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzalez, accusing that the latter as the mastermind, if not, one of the key security officials who gave the order to abduct and torture the 43 doctors and health workers.

In a joint statement, Danilo Ramos, secretary general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), John Milton Lozande of Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, Cherry Clemente of Anakpawis party list, Lito Bais, acting president of United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU), Zen Soriano of Amihan peasant women federation and Fernando Hicap, chair of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said Gonzalez is the criminal mindset behind the political kidnapping, illegal arrest and detention, and day-to-day infliction of mental and physical torture on 43 medical personnel who were arrested during a raid in a resort in Morong, Rizal while conducting health seminar last week.

“The horrible tales as narrated by the victims themselves reflect the militarist mindset of the Arroyo government, the pro-Arroyo generals in the AFP and Sec. Gonzalez—the undisclosed author of counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and Oplan Bantay Laya 2,” the six militant leaders said in a statement.

“Bert Gonzalez Is Bert Gonzalez, and for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo he is untouchable and the best entities to explain why Gonzalez is untouchable is the president herself and her master in Washington D.C,” they said, short of giving a hint that the defense chief is a deployed operative of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the Philippines.

The groups said any congressional investigation or appropriate probe conducted by any government agency should have Secretary Gonzalez both as prime suspect and hostile witness. The fisherfolk leader said the case of Morong 43 can be objectively face with the inclusion of Gonzalez in the investigation and list of resource persons of the Senate, in case it paves way to the resolution authored by Senator Pia Cayetano calling for a Senate probe on the controversial case.

Likewise, the six groups said the Moro 43 case should merit the immediate and unconditional suspension if not removal of Sec. Gonzalez from his two posts—secretary of Department of National Defense (DND) and National Security Council (NSC) head, being Arroyo’s chief security adviser.

KMP, Pamalakaya, Anakpawis and the three other groups said prior to the abduction of 43 doctors and health workers, Sec. Gonzalez announced the government and the military are all set to resume the campaign of legal offensive against suspected communist leaders and aboveground groups and personalities which he believed have direct and indirect connections with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing—the New People’s Army (NPA). The directive to file criminal charges against leftwing activists and perceived leaders and members of CPP and NPA took place a week before the raid was conducted in Morong, Rizal.

Meanwhile, the six groups challenged all presidential, vice-presidential and senatorial candidates in the May 2010 elections to sign a national covenant that if they win in the elections, they will avoid a repeat of Morong 43 and that the will respect constitutionally guaranteed basic human rights and civil liberties.

The 6 militant groups noted that presidential candidates Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III and running mate Sen. Manuel Roxas of Liberal Party (LP), Manny Villar of Nacionalista Party, Richard Gordon and running mate, former MMDA chair Bayani Fernando, Lakas-Kampi vice-presidential bet Edu Manzano, independents JC de los Reyes and Nicanor Perlas and Bangon Pilipinas’ Bro. Eddie Villanueva have yet to issue official statements on the defective arrest of 43 medical persons.

The groups said the same holds true to majority of senatorial candidates, and only a handful led by Nacionalista Party (NP) guest candidates Reps. Satur Ocampo (Bayan Muna) and Liza Maza (Gabriela) and Sen. Cayetano also of NP have sent official statements condemning the arrest and torture of 43 health workers. #

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