Tag Archives: debt servicing

Fishers worry because they can’t send kids to school this SY 2010

By Mimaropa France and Sugar Hicap

BINANGONAN, Rizal-Fisherfolk members of the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) in a consultation last week in Binangonan, Rizal said it would be hard for them to send their kids back to school this year because of increasing costs of textbooks, notebooks and other school materials compared to their daily income which was further reduced from a low of P 150 per day to rock bottom level of P 75 per day.

But Pamalakaya information officer Gerry Albert Corpuz said the increasing cost of elementary education even if there is no tuition fee is just a tip of an iceberg.

“Even if there is no tuition fee, the fisherfolk parents are financially handicapped to be able to buy these school materials for their two-three elementary students. How can a fisherfolk family with average members of 5 to 6 with three elementary kids wanting to go back to school this year would be able to afford the schooling of their children given the rising cost of elementary education nowadays? Some have decided to send only one of their three kids to school, while others said it they would look for loan to be able to send back at least two if not all their kids to school,” he said.

Corpuz interviewed a fishing family in Barangay Ticulio, Talim Island in Cardona, Rizal. The head of the family, a fisherman is currently earning between P 75 to P 100 day from his share in daily fish capture in Laguna Lake. He has two kids going to school this year.

The kids will use at least 10 notebooks each. The price of each notebook is P 10 per notebook and therefore he would spend P 100 per kid or P 200 for two kids. Next to be budgeted is the need for school uniforms and bags that would cost him P 1,000 peso each or P 2,000. Those alone would cost him P 2,200 and he has to work 30 days for him to be able to buy the immediate needs of his returning students this school year.

The Pamalakaya information chief said even if these fishermen in Laguna Lake could still send their kids to elementary schools in and out Talim Island, the usual problems of shortages of classrooms, facilities, teachers and textbooks still decide if they could be accommodated given to the

Corpuz who have visited several classrooms in mainland Binangonan and Talim Island said the average students each elementary schools could accommodate is between 100-150 students since there are only a few number of class rooms ranging from 5-15 class rooms per elementary school.

“The schools and its’ rooms are clean. Thank you to the wonderful work of school officials and their teachers. But the schools lack facilities and the rooms are not enough to accommodate the growing number of children who should avail elementary schooling. Some children ages 10 -15 have yet to finish elementary due to a number of reasons like shortages of rooms, teachers and textbooks and less livelihood and economic opportunities of their fisher parents,” Corpuz lamented.

“We are not asking for a miracle. What are asking is for the national and local governments to prioritize basic education to the people especially in those poor communities and majority of those communities according to government census are found in fishing villages all over the country. The problem is the government since time immemorial has abandoned state responsibility to education and has regarded learning as business for profiteering and not an paramount concern for the achievement and realization of social service and social justice,” said Pamalakaya.

According to the Department of Education (DepEd) out of 100 students, only 66 will finish elementary education. Of the 66, 42 will finish high school and 25 of them will go to college. But Pamalakaya said that statistics will continue to slide down as education problems continue and get worse as years pass by.

Pamalakaya agreed with the observations raised by Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) party list that the entire education system in the country is in deep crisis. Citing the same date provided by ACT Teachers Party list, the militant group said the numbers of out of school children ages 6-15 years old were approximately 1.87 million; this grew to 3.3 million in 2007. Last year, DepEd announced there were 5.6 million out of school children or about 2.3 million increase from 2007.

Independent estimates revealed the government has to earmark an additional P 91 billion to fill up the gaps in educational resources. “We hope the next administration will prioritize education and junk the policy of paying onerous debts to foreign and domestic creditors,” said Pamalakaya.

Earlier, Pamalakaya challenged the leading presidential candidate Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III to radically overturn the decision of the 14th Congress to allot P 726.63 billion for debt servicing this year and allot more funds to education and social services.

“We strongly recommend to the incoming Yellow Republic in Malacanang to scrap the P 726 billion budget for debt servicing earmarked by his predecessor President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the inglorious money market bastards and corporate financial gangsters of International Monetary Fund and World Bank,” the group said.

Pamalakaya advised Aquino to issue a marching order to Senate and the House of Representatives to suspend debt payment this year and instead allocate more funds to education, social services, production and job generation activities.

The militant group said Aquino can put to task the 23 senators of the Philippine Senate and the 270 members of the House of Representatives to review the approved 2010 national budget, and in aid of legislation passed a joint resolution suspending debt payment for 2010.

Pamalakaya said the next thing Mr.Aquino should do is to call Congress to amend if not repeal the automatic 40 percent appropriation to debt servicing as enshrined in the General Appropriations Act to empower Congress and the Office of the President to pursue the budget in accordance with public interest and opposed to the financial interest of foreign creditors and big financial groups here and abroad.

The militant group also learned the Philippine government is posed to allocate some P 829.41 B for debt servicing, which is P 102.78 B or 13.7 percent higher from this year budget for debt payment. Pamalakaya said of the P 829-B debt budget set aside for next year’s debt servicing program, P 367.28 B will go to interest payment, P 40.55 billion higher compared to 2010’s P 326.73 B.

The Bureau of Treasury said principal payment will reach P462.13 billion next year, 15.6 percent above the current year’s allocation of P399.9 billion. Of the total debt, treasury officials said P1.954 trillion was loaned from foreign creditors while P2.403 trillion was sourced from domestic creditors.

On the other hand, the Department of Finance (DoF) said the country’s total debt for 2010 would reach P4.83 trillion, higher than the previous forecast of P4.723 trillion. #

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Incoming Philippine President urged to suspend debt payment

By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Mimaropa France

MANILA, Philippines- Anti-debt activists belonging to the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Saturday challenged leading presidential candidate Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III to radically overturn the decision of the 14th Congress to allot P 726.63 billion for debt servicing this year.

“We strongly recommend to the incoming Yellow Republic in Malacanang to scrap the P 726 billion budget for debt servicing earmarked by his predecessor President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the inglorious money market bastards and corporate financial gangsters of International Monetary Fund and World Bank,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader added: “Mr. Aquino and the recycled Hyatt 10 economic managers can do that in their first 100 days in office. That can be done without much fanfare. We hope Noynoy and his self-proclaimed economic experts will face these all time money laundering giants and pursue the collective interest of the Filipino people”.

“Billions of pesos of hard-earned taxes by the 94 million taxpaying Filipinos go to payment of debts incurred by all time financial monopolies, business syndicates, money market gangs and bureaucrat capitalists. Aquino is hereby tasked to stop this modern day financial oligarchy and slavery,” said Hicap.

The Pamalakaya official advised Aquino to issue a marching order to Senate and the House of Representatives suspending debt payment this year. Hicap said Aquino can put to task the 23 senators of the Philippine Senate and the 270 members of the House of Representatives to review the approved 2010 national budget, and in aid of legislation passed a joint resolution suspending debt payment for 2010.

Pamalakaya said the next thing Mr.Aquino should do is to call Congress to amend if not repeal the automatic 40 percent appropriation to debt servicing as enshrined in the General Appropriations Act to empower Congress and the Office of the President to pursue the budget in accordance with public interest and opposed to the financial interest of foreign creditors and big financial groups here and abroad.

The militant group also learned the Philippine government is posed to allocate some P 829.41 B for debt servicing, which is P 102.78 B or 13.7 percent higher from this year budget for debt payment. Pamalakaya said of the P 829-B debt budget set aside for next year’s debt servicing program, P 367.28 B will go to interest payment, P 40.55 billion higher compared to 2010’s P 326.73 B.

The Bureau of Treasury said principal payment will reach P462.13 billion next year, 15.6 percent above the current year’s allocation of P399.9 billion. Of the total debt, treasury officials said P1.954 trillion was loaned from foreign creditors while P2.403 trillion was sourced from domestic creditors.

On the other hand, the Department of Finance (DoF) said the country’s total debt for 2010 would reach P4.83 trillion, higher than the previous forecast of P4.723 trillion. #

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Bayan Muna slams Palace refusal to stop debt payment

By Chocolate Moose Fernandez

Manila, Philippines- Bayan Muna party list Rep. Teddy Casiño slammed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for honoring fraudulent debts at the expense of the general public and Filipino taxpayers.

In a press statement emailed to The Pamalakaya Times, the activist lawmaker decried reports that the Macapagal-Arroyo government spent a total of P549.016 billion to service its debt from January to September this year.

The amount, according to Casino is two percent higher than the P537.352 billion it released last year for the same purpose. Some P235.283B of the total went to interest payments, slightly higher than last year’s P234.706 billion.

“After the devastation caused by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng worsened by the lack of government preparedness, it is shocking that the Arroyo administration still refuses to declare a moratorium on debt payments. These so-called ‘financial obligations” are nothing compared to government’s obligations to the Filipino people, millions of whom are worse off than they were previously because of the calamities,” Casiño said in a statement.

The Bayan Muna solon also castigated the government’s refusal to reorient the remaining section of its programmed payments for financial obligations for the rest of the year. For 2009, government aimed to allot a total of P698.5 billion for debt payments, 8.7 percent higher than the actual payout of P612.7 billion in 2008.

“It is an endless source of outrage that the Philippine government refuses to drop its debt payments when there are undoubtedly more urgent needs that should be attended to and provided for,” Casiño said.

“A debt moratorium is of utmost importance, as more funds are needed to hasten the rehabilitation are devastated areas and enable victims and survivors to get themselves back on their feet. The billions going to international banks and creditors should be given instead to local service infrastructure repair and creation,” Casiño pointed out.

Based on current data from the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr), the government released P61.277 billion for debt payments in September alone, higher by 1.87 percent from last year’s P60.149 billion allocation.

Interest payments to local lenders and foreign creditors were also exorbitant, with the former receiving P132.635 billion during the nine-month period, and the latter getting P102.648 billion from P93.379 billion paid out in the same period last year, an increase of 9.9 percent.

Principal payments amounted to P313.733 billion, or 3.66 percent higher than the P302.646 billion disbursed in 2008 during the same period. #

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Think tank to PGMA: Cancel debt payment to free up funds for calamity relief

By Billy Javier Reyes, Bb. Joyce Cabral,Gerry Albert Corpuz and Viva Regala-Alonzo

Manila, Philippines–The independent think tank and research group IBON on Thursday urged the Macapagal-Arroyo government to cancel debt payments and free up resources for relief and rehabilitation, instead of seeking financial loans from foreign donors.

In a press statement sent to The Pamalakaya Times, IBON senior researcher and economic expert Sonny Africa said the environmental shifts mean that extreme weather events will become more frequent and there must be much greater investments in the country’s disaster preparedness.”

“Extreme weather conditions are beyond government’s control, debt payments are not,” he added. “It is the height of insensitivity of the country’s leaders if they dogmatically insist on repaying debt in the face of the multiple crises facing the country,” Africa explained.

IBON’s Africa said the Arroyo administration paid P1.52 trillion in foreign debt service, interest and principal, from 2001-2008. It is scheduled to pay a further P224 billion in 2009 and P253.5 billion in 2010. In contrast, the programmed calamity fund for 2009 and 2010 were just P2 billion annually.

This unceasing debt service, according to IBON, is undermining the government’s capacity not just to prepare for disasters, give relief and support rehabilitation after calamities, but also to meet the people’s basic needs for health, education and housing—which could have ensured their adaptability to extreme weather changes and resilience to calamities.

IBON asserted that the government has a range of options for debt cancellation, said Africa . It can start from identifying a target overall percentage of debt stock and corresponding payments to cancel. It can identify particularly loans such as any still left over from the Marco s dictatorship or others funding particularly onerous or anti-developmental projects.

The research advocacy and polling group likewise stressed that government can prioritize loans from multilateral development banks such as the World Bank or Asian Development Bank which, unlike commercial creditors, purportedly extend loans for developmental purposes.

IBON said: “The drastic economic slowdown especially with the onset of the global crisis, the looming fiscal crisis with deficits rising rapidly and now the calamities due to tropical storms Ondoy and Pepeng are enough justification to call for emergency cutbacks in foreign debt payments. More than trickles of foreign aid, debt cancellation would free up resources for relief and rehabilitation and for overall economic development”.

“This is an opportunity for the government to exert political will and cease being a mendicant in its dealings with foreign governments and creditors,” said Africa . “We Filipinos are fully capable of helping ourselves if only the government stops its self-destructive debt policy”, it added..

IBON reiterates successive governments including the Arroyo administration have vigorously opposed any debt moratorium, cancellation or repudiation on the grounds of protecting creditworthiness. However, this long-standing lack of vision in the government’s debt management policy has proven to be extremely burdensome for the people.

The position of IBON on debt cancelation was supported by the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya).

It pressed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to immediately stop paying the country’s debts to foreign and domestic creditors and re-channel the annual budget to debt servicing to massive relief and reconstruction efforts of all areas devastated by storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng from South to North of Luzon.

“Immediately suspending debt payment and by re-channeling these funds for all-out relief and reconstruction will definitely make sense, but our problem here is Mrs. Arroyo who has no sense of genuine public service, lacks political will and undeniably defiant in correcting fatal mistakes,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader said if the government will stop paying these debt burdens at the maximum or impose debt moratorium for a significant number of years at the minimum to rebuild the country it would be able to make a big difference for Filipino public, especially those affected by Ondoy and Pepeng.

Hicap said the government has been honoring fraudulent debts at an average of P 450 billion per year or almost 33 percent of the annual national budget.

“Imagine the big push this amount would bring only if this government knows its priorities and has this great sense of serving people. But this government is the partner in crime of transnational interests whose business escapades and super profiteering ideology is behind this humanitarian crisis and across-the-nation corporate-driven calamities,” he stressed.

Pamalakaya rejected the proposal of Albay Gov. Joey Salceda for the government to seek at least $ 1 billion in foreign grants and concessional loans to be administered by a special reconstruction commission composed of the government, big business and civil society group.

Salceda, the former economic manager of the Arroyo administration said it is time for the government to admit that it needs help in a big way beyond the exigency of disaster response, saying the country can no longer opt to raise taxes or slash other priorities. The Albay Gov. said the country needs new external resources to address the situation.

Under Salceda’s proposed 1 billion US dollar aid, the government would cover the estimated P 46 billion in damage wrought by Ondoy, P 12 billion by Pepeng and P 7 billion by typhoon Frank that devastated Panay island last year.

The proposal also covers P 20 billion for relocation, P 21 billion for infrastructure rehabilitation and P 5 billion for livelihood . But Pamalakaya said if the government suspends if not erases its debt servicing policy and budget allocations for such purpose, the country can afford to finance rural and reconstruction projects, including a comprehensive disaster management programs all over the country. #

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Militant senatoriable calls for debt moratorium

Militant senatoriable calls for debt moratorium

By Bb. Joyce Cabral

Manila, Philippines- Makabayan party senatorial candidate and Bayan Muna party list Rep. Satur Ocampo urged the Philippine government to suspend payments, both interest and principal, on the Philippines’ foreign debt and instead use the funds for disaster response measures.

In a press statement sent to the Pamalakaya Times, Ocampo asked his colleagues in the House of Representatives to support mounting calls for a moratorium on debt servicing for the next three to six years or until the country recovers from the series of disasters that have befallen it.

“It would be the height of insensitivity and callousness if the government continues to allocate billions towards debt servicing when the Filipino people are in desperate need for relief. It will take years to rehabilitate the damaged areas, and it is certain that it will take much longer for the Filipinos severely affected by the calamities to get back on their feet and recover physically, emotionally and psychologically. It is also the state’s duty to ensure that the welfare of the victims is looked after, and their homes and communities are rebuilt and improved,” Ocampo said.

Ocampo, also the Deputy Minority Leader of the Lower Chamber of Congress, said that now is not the time for the government to prioritize foreign debt servicing.

The activist party list lawmaker asserted that now, more than ever, it is necessary to scrutinize and then overhaul the government’s budgetary priorities as it puts more importance to debt payments over social and productive spending.

The Makabayan senatorial candidate noted that as of October 2007, the country’s foreign debt was P1.589 trillion, or US$39 billion, according to the Bureau of the Treasury. More than 30 percent of the national budget for 2008 was allocated to interest payments.

“Pres. Arroyo should do all that is in her power as executive to seek help for the Philippines and the victims of Pepeng and Ondoy; and she can start by notifying the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other international finance institutions that the Philippines will be suspending debt payments immediately,” Ocampo said.

The Bayan Muna lawmaker noted that from 2003 to 2007, for instance, the Philippines’ foreign debt repayments amounted to some 1000 billion pesos. Do the math and consider how that money could have been used to improve the country’s disaster response capabilities. Funds being earmarked for dept payments for 2010 until 2016 should be utilized now for the relief operations and rehabilitation campaigns.

He said the victims in the evacuation centers and in the devastated areas can be given much more than instant noodles and canned good; soup kitchens can be put up and the victims can be served nourishing meals. Medicine and vitamin supplements can also be brought and distributed free, and sanitation facilities can be built,” Ocampo pointed out.

Ocampo said that an immediate moratorium on debt servicing will also allow the purchase of necessary technologically up-to-date weather forecasting equipment.

” Scientific, efficient and reliable weather forecasting and broadcasting equipment is an important service that will save lives and help reduce the potential damage to infrastructure,” he said.

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Fishers group demands P 32- billion production subsidies to cushion impact of global economic crisis

Fishers group demands P 32- billion production subsidies to cushion impact of global economic crisis

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday pressed their demand for a P 32- billion production subsidies for small fishermen to cushion the impact of global economic crisis.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap suggested a minimum P 4,500 oil subsidy for all small fishermen operating small fishing boats and P 2,000 for non-motorized small fishing boat owners across-the-country.

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

“We submitted the same production subsidy proposal to the Department of Agriculture at the height of the oil price increases last year. But Secretary Arthur Yap ignored our demand and dismissed our petition letter like one of those scratch of papers inside his office,” said Hicap.

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

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

Pamalakaya’s Hicap said the production subsidies for small fishermen could be addressed by immediately and indefinitely suspending the annual payments of foreign and domestic debts that eats up more than P 300 billion of the annual national budget.

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

Pamalakaya said the national government should also oblige commercial and aquaculture operators to give their fish workers the mandated minimum wage and certify as urgent the pending bill in both houses of Congress granting private workers a P 125 across the board, across the country wage increase.

To recover and further enhance the purchasing power of the Filipino fishermen, the workers and the poor, Pamalakaya said the government should scrap the 12 percent expanded Value Added Tax on all petroleum products, consumer good, utilities and services.

“These are doable items and sound economic measures to ease the burden and cushion the impact of global economic crisis. What this government need is a strong political will. But the trouble is the will of this government is only meant for big time ticket for corruption and unstoppable subservience to transnational interest and class interest of the elite,” added Pamalakaya. #

They will brave the murky waters of Manila Bay to protest the unstoppable hikes in the prices of petroleum products

They will brave the murky waters of Manila Bay to protest the unstoppable hikes in the prices of petroleum products

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