Tag Archives: NDCC

Militant farmers want PGMA charged on San Roque Dam fiasco

By Gigi Babon, Billy Javier Reyes and Bb. Joyce Cabral

Manila, Philippines- The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) asked farming families in Pangasinan province affected by “tidal wave like” releasing of excess waters by San Roque dam to file class suit and other appropriate criminal and civil charges against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, against managers of the multipurpose dam and officials of the state-run National Power Corporation (Napocor).

In a press statement, KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos said President Arroyo under the principle of command responsibility is grossly liable for the scores of death and destruction in Pangasinan, and it is only legal and moral to have her lead the stellar cast of criminals behind the across-the-province massacre of peasant homes and rural economic and cultural life.

“We don’t care if she still has this presidential immunity excuse. That will not stop farmers from charging her before the country’s appropriate court. The proposal to deluge her with criminal charges along with top officials of San Roque Multipurpose Dam and Napocor is both legal and collective political exercise of people’s search for truth, justice and accountability,” the KMP leader said.

Ramos made the appeal to Pangasinan farmers to sue President Arroyo, a day after the Senate Committee on Climate Change headed by Sen. Loren Legarda agreed to help craft a protocol in releasing excess waters from dams following the incessant rain and devastating flooding that last week submerged 38 towns and cities in the province.

“Let’s call a spade a spade. This tragedy is intentional and can be rooted out to the eternal thirst for super profits of San Roque and Napocor, which has the seal of approval of the Office of the President. Now, President Arroyo wants to call her own version of investigation. What for? She should be at the center of the gathering political storm against San Roque dam and Napocor,” the KMP official said.

Sen. Legarda said her committee will summon all dam operators to another hearing on tomorrow to write the procedures prompted by back-to-back storms that hit Luzon over the past three weeks, triggered massive flooding and claimed 712 lives.

“We need to have a system or what we call a protocol in releasing water from the dams. We can’t rely on (dam officials’) ingenuity but on a clear scientific way,” said Legarda following a three-hour hearing last Wednesday.

Legarda said the mechanism was needed to prevent a repeat of the destruction and deaths caused by the sudden rise of floodwaters at the height of the onslaught of Tropical Storm “Pepeng” (international codename: Parma) just a week after Tropical Storm “Ondoy” (Ketsana) mauled Metro Manila.

But KMP said Sen. Legarda should now extend the invitation to legitimate stakeholders groups that include farmer organizations in Pangasinan, Tarlac, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, including peasant groups in other flooded provinces of Central Luzon namely Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and Bulacan.

The peasant group said aside from peasant organizations, the chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change should also invite experts and advocacy groups to shed light on San Roque Dam that includes cause-oriented organizations that opposed the construction of the dam in 1998.

“Senator Legarda is well informed that San Roque Dam and Napocor officials who attended the hearing two days ago are President Arroyo’s alter egos, and like Mrs. Arroyo, these officials have no conscience and therefore their stories are tall tales, certified incorrect and grandiose lies. We appeal to the good senator to have the farmers speak for themselves and present their alternative and politically correct views based on their rich grassroots experience and knowledge,” the KMP added. #

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Donor countries on storm Ondoy victims told: No strings attach please

Donor countries on storm Ondoy victims told: No strings attach please

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said donor countries who gave financial assistance to the Philippine government for the victims of tropical storm Ondoy should not ask something in return for their cash donations, saying the situation should not be used as an opportunity and occasion to advance any kind of agenda.

“If donor countries want to help and they are sincere, that is very much welcome to the Filipino people and we will regard their respective efforts as expression of international solidarity. But if they are up for something big, let’s say big favors from the corrupt government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, then forget it. No strings attach please,” said Pamalakaya information officer Gerry Albert Corpuz in a press statement.

“We have to be brutally frank here and we believe it is a politically correct attitude in dealing with these cash aids foreign donors. These powerful foreign economies will not give cash without getting something big for their investments. That is the history of our master-slave relationship with the world’s economic giants,” added Corpuz.

The Pamalakaya information officer said most of the donor countries have anti-Filipino agenda like the European Union, the United States, Japan, Australia and China.

Corpuz said the US, which donated $ 100,000 or roughly P 47 million to flood victims, is hell bent in keeping the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and is strongly opposed to moves of the Philippine Senate to renegotiate or terminate the military pact. He said the US is also eyeing a bilateral free trade agreement with the Philippines similar to or even bigger in scope compared to the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement or Jpepa, which was approved by the Senate last year.

Corpuz said the European Union, which promised 2 million euro humanitarian assistance or P 140 million in total relief aid wants to enter a bilateral economic pact with the Philippines through the RP-EU Free Trade Agreement and is said to be interested in owning vast tracts of prime agricultural lands in the country and is reportedly urging lawmakers to purse Charter Change to eliminate the constitutional ban on 100 percent foreign ownership of land.

Pamalakaya said aside from Jpepa, Japan, which donated $ 220,000 for typhoon victims, is asking Malacanang’s permission to use 600,000 hectares of agricultural lands in Northern Luzon for bio-fuel production, while Australia, which promised 1 million Australian dollars or P 40 million in total relief aid, wants to clinch a bilateral economic and military agreement with the Philippines.

The group said China, which P 6.6 million in total donations given to Ondoy victims, is still pursuing the RP-China agreement which entails 13 sub agreements in agriculture and 6 sub-agreements in fisheries, aside from the continuation of the stalled NBN-ZTE deal and the $ 546 million North Rail Project.

On Tuesday, the massive flooding triggered by tropical storm “Ondoy” (international codename: Ketsana) has inflicted over P4.6 billion in damage, the National Disaster Coordinating Council in its partial damage assessment said. Infrastructure losses reached more than P1.5 billion while damage to agriculture amounted to about P882.525 million, the NDCC said in its latest situation report.

“It is a partial damage assessment definitely, even loss to, or opportunity loss of revenues for establishments you know, I mean, that alone would amount to hundreds of millions at the least a day,” Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. said in a briefing after the Cabinet Meeting at the NDCC headquarters.

A total of 1,872,036 persons or 319,881 families have been affected by the flooding, the NDCC said.Of this number, 74,695 families or 374,890 persons have taken refuge in 607 evacuation centers.

The death toll of 240 was 100 more than Monday’s assessment. Thirty seven people remained missing. “I think for casualties the increase will be not as great but the damage figures may increase,” Teodoro said.

“The difficulty is, let’s say in a province you can very well judge a totally or partially damaged house, the problem in Metro Manila is if you have to inventory the appliances and articles inside the house, that poses some difficulty so an accurate picture of damages cannot be had easily,” the defense chief said.#

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Lawmakers urge to donate pork to flood victims

Lawmakers urge to donate pork to flood victims

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged senators and congressmen to donate if not all, at least substantial portions of their respective pork barrels to victims of storm Ondoy yesterday.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson for Luzon Salvador France said an allocation of P 2 million each from senators and congressmen would mean relief and rehabilitation fund of P 46 million from the Senate and
P 500 million from the House of Representatives for a total of not less than P 550 million.

“We ask our lawmakers from both houses of Congress not to entertain second thoughts of giving up their pork barrels for this purpose. The people are demanding their paid taxes to be spent on proper intention and noble aims, the Pamalakaya leader said.

France urged Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Prospero Nograles to sponsor a separate or joint resolution calling all members of the house to automatically allocate at least P 2 million of their pork barrels to victims of typhoon Ondoy.

“It is very doable proposal. An easy one. All the Senate President and the House Speaker have to do is to put this into writing and pass it this week. We hope Enrile and Nograles will do their assignment and accomplish what is being called by national situation and collective interest of the people,” added Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya said the P 550 million should be spent for immediate relief and rehabilitation efforts, while the national government should at least set aside P 20 billion for economic rehabilitation and production subsidies of affected sectors mostly the urban poor and poor workers in the National Capital Region and farmers and fisherfolk in Bulacan, Bataan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Rizal,Cavite, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte.

According to the latest report, 280,000 people were displaced by typhoon Ondoy, were 51 were killed, while 21 are still missing or unaccounted by the national and local disaster management teams.

Meanwhile, Pamalakaya information officer Gerry Albert Corpuz said their group will join the campaign being launched by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)to generate relief goods for the victims of typhoon Ondoy. The relief campaign dubbed as Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan (BALSA) will mobilize Metro Manila based activists to gather relief goods and materials for victims of flood.

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Government pressed to allot P 5,000 econ relief to victims of typhoon “Maring”

Government pressed to allot P 5,000 econ relief to victims of typhoon “Maring”

The fisherfolk activist federation Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday urged the national government to set aside an economic relief package amounting to P 375 million to victims of typhoon “Maring” in Central Luzon or P 5,000 per family for the 70,000 families displaced by the typhoon in 5 provinces in Central Luzon.

As of yesterday, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said Maring affected 69,509 families or 357,057 people in 305 villages in 27 towns and one city in Zambales, Bataan, Tarlac, Pampanga and Bulacan provinces.

The NDCC said floods affected at least 28 villages in Botolan, San Felipe and San Marcelino towns and Olongapo City in Zambales; 125 villages in Apalit, Guagua, Sasmuan, Floridablanca, Masantol, Lubao, Bacolor, Mexico and Arayat in Pampanga; 45 villages in Balagtas, Calumpit, Guiguinto, Marilao, Meycauayan and San Miguel in Bulacan; and 90 villages in Pilar, Morong, Hermosa, Dinalupihan, Abucay, Samal and Bagac in Bataan.

The NDCC said Maring caused P20.999 million in damages to agriculture in Pampanga, Zambales, Bataan and Tarlac. It added that rains and floods damaged bridges and roads in San Antonio and San Marcelino in Zambales; and Bacolor and Floridablanca in Pampanga.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said these villages affected by storm “Maring” are mostly farming and fishing communities, and placed the affected farmers and fisherfolk to about 52,000 families or 260,000 individuals.

“The government should address the immediate needs of the affected people, and go beyond the usual charity work and seasonal delivery of relief goods. The allocations of taxpayers’ money should go on this direction that would provide working rural people with quick economic relief and coupled with production subsidies to keep the wheel of production in the rural areas,” said Hicap.

Hicap added: “Let me remind President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that the victims of typhoon Maring are not begging alms, and she should not compel them to chase PNP trucks loaded with relief goods along the flooded waters of Central Luzon for a kilo of rice and three cans of sardines like what she did last Friday in Guaga, Pampanga.”

The Pamalakaya leader said an oversight committee or a monitoring task force composed anti-corruption watchdogs, respectable non-government organizations and people’s associations, including church people should be formed to oversee, if not monitor the implementation of the program to prevent corrupt practices and grandstanding of Malacanang and pro-Arroyo politicians.

“These public funds should benefit the public and not the ring leaders and rabid followers of the ruling gangland in Malacanang. This is one way of ensuring that these funds go the proper beneficiaries in the name of genuine service of the Filipino people,” Hicap said.

Aside from the P 5,000 economic relief package, Hicap said the government should also set aside enough funds for the rehabilitation of Central Luzon agriculture and fisheries devastated by typhoon Maring since last week.

The Pamalakaya leader aside from repair of roads and highways and other public infrastructures, rehabilitation efforts should include grants to farmers and small fisherfolk who production tools were destroyed of washed by the flashfloods that hit Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga and Bulacan. Hicap said, the grant will allow farmers and fishermen to procure farm tools and fishing gears, so they could attend to their work and resume production. #

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Palace told: Mobilize doctors, not security forces in anti-Swine flu drive

Palace told: Mobilize doctors, not security forces in anti-Swine flu drive

Leftwing militants identified with the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya)said the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC)is addressing the issue of swine flu through militarization and not on medical and scientific practice.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the proposed P 90 million fund to avert the entry of swine flu virus through employment of additional security forces to guard aiports and airports speaks of the authoritarian character of the Macapagal-Arroyo government in addressing issues including the health being of the Filipino people.

“What we need are doctors, nurses and the mobilization of the medical community to avert the entry of swine flu virus. But President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is turning this occasion into a national security concern, which is disgusting and extremely mind-boggling,” the fisherfolk leader said.

Pamalakaya recalled that the health department prreviously asked President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to set aside some 2 million US dollars for the purchase of additional 350,000 doses of the anti-viral drug oseltamivir.

At the DOH have 650,000 doses to treat around 65,000 people but the country still 350,000 doses to met a minimum of one million doses for at least 1 million people.

“Mrs. Arroyo is not listening to the medical community. She and her military officials would rather spend the money for additional employment of security personnel rather and ignore the mammoth calls for her to prioritize the medical requirements of the people against the swine flu virus,” said Pamalakaya.

In a press conference held at the NDCC headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo last week, Department of Health Undersecretary Mario Villaverde said the initial request budget of P 90 million against the swine flu virus is earmarked for the employment of additional security personnel to guard airports, seaports and tighten border controls, purchasing medicines and personal protective equipment like masks.

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro said the amount could be taken from the calamity fund of the NDCC, which he also chair.

In the same press briefing, Health Secretary Francisco Duque, the NDCC’s appointed crisis committee chief for the h1N1 crisis, added that the DOH was planning to purchase P10 million worth of Oseltamivir, the known anti-viral drug said to cure infected patients.

Duque added that the situation was evolving and that there was a possibility that the P90 million would not be enough in case an outbreak would occur.

But Duque reiterated that there has been no reported cases of H1N1 viral infection within the country and a “dooms day scenario” was still “far out.”

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