By Sugar Hicap
MANILA, Philippines-The decision of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to leave to the discretion of local government officials where the funds freed by her declaration of a state of calamity in Mindanao constitutes a direct bribe for whatever sinister political purpose she has in mind less than two months before the May 2010 elections.
“It is direct bribe, a form of political investment on whatever sinister agenda she is plotting against the more than 90 million Filipinos on or before the May 2010 elections,” the rabid anti-Arroyo group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a press statement.
Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap, President Arroyo is into wholesale buying of political patronage of local government officials to justify the possible declaration of either failure of elections in Mindanao, which could be used by the administration as a major political leverage to declare a national failure of elections in 2010.
“The war room in Malacanang says GMA should still be the president beyond June 30, 2010. In it is not written in any official memo, but it is in the mindset of President Arroyo and her political associates running the affairs of this country like an Italian or Japanese mafia,” the Pamalakaya official said.
The militant leader said the calamity funds should be spent to address the impact of El Nino phenomenon to food producers like farmers and fisherfolk, but the order of President Arroyo negates the very essence of how calamity fund should be spent.
“It is like President Arroyo telling local government officials to enjoy their calamity funds for whatever purpose they have in mind but at the same time reminding them that these calamity funds have political tag prices and strings are attached on these calamity funds in the name of Mrs. Arroyo,” added Hicap.
Pamalakaya noted that President Arroyo is concentrating the mobilization of resources in Mindanao while the impact of El Nino is notoriously felt in the majority regions of Luzon Island and other parts of Western Visayas and Negros Island.
Pamalakaya said the government should instead order the local government officials in El Nino stricken areas like Isabela and Cagayan, Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija provinces to employ their calamity funds to address the devastating impact of El Nino and refrain from making scenarios in Mindanao that would justify the near future declaration of state of emergency or island wide crisis.
“Why in Mindanao? What is so special about Mindanao? What she is up to in Mindanao? Corruption is just a sideline issue here. Something big is being planned here with the administration using Mindanao as a laboratory for political purposes,” the group said.
Pamalakaya also theorized that the declaration of state of calamity in Mindanao had something to do with the P 10-billion power deal which Malacanang wants to accomplish before the May 2010 elections. The group said the situation empowers the national government and the LGUs to enter into midnight deals with power groups obsessed in conducting power business in Mindanao.
The group said while Mrs. Arroyo has yet to declare a state of power crisis in Mindanao, the declaration of state of calamity effectively granted the government powers to pursue power deals with private groups in Mindanao.
Pamalakaya said the Arroyo had instructed the National Power Corporation (Napocor) to resolve the issue of how can it get the 5.5 megawatts excess capacity of the Southern Philippines Power Corporation plant in Sarangani province.
Her order for the government to enter into contract for additional power generation within the franchise area and the resumption of the operations of the 100MW power diesel in Iligan City are concrete manifestations that Malacanang are ready to enter into midnight deals with power groups.