Tag Archives: Pamalakaya

298 out of 11k Lobocanos confirmed Yap is man from Loboc

By Billy Javier Reyes and Sugar Hicap in Tagbilaran City, Bohol
and Gerry Albert Corpuz in Manila

MANILA, Philippines-Some 298 Lobocanos signed a sworn statement affirming that former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, now running unopposed in the third district of Bohol is a true blue Lobocano entitled to run for congressional seat.

In a supplemental information filed before the Second Division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) national office in Manila, lawyers of Yap asserted that the sworn statement of 298 residents in Barangay Buenavista is strong proof that Sec. Yap is a legitimate resident in the village and his plan to run in the third district of Bohol is not questionable contrary to what petitioners Fernando Hicap and Salvador France, chair and vice-chair of Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) had raised in the disqualification case they filed against their client on March 9.

The Yap camp had previously questioned the legal capacity of Pamalakaya to file the disqualification case, citing Rule 25 of the Comelec, that groups like Pamalakaya can only question and file disqualification case against national candidates and not on local candidates. They said Yap is running for a seat in the third district of Bohol, and only the people in the third district of Bohol could question his candidacy.

But Pamalakaya’s Hicap said Yap, although running in the third district of Bohol, is no ordinary person in local politics. The Pamalakaya leader said Sec. Yap is the former secretary of agriculture, an influential national figure and one of the most cherished members of the Macapagal-Arroyo cabinet.

“Secretary Yap is a national public figure and influential member of the Arroyo cabinet who has been hounded by high crimes of corruption over the last six years. His misrepresentation of Bohol’s third district is already a big crime. The Filipino public will not allow Yap to use his congressional representation in Congress to evade charges of super corruption against him. Therefore, it is in the national interest of the people to frustrate Yap’s bid for Congress and instead have him prosecuted for first-rate crimes of corruption on multiple counts,” said Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya said 298 Lobocanos who signed the sworn statement do not represent the 250,000 populace of the third district of Bohol. He said the town of Loboc has 11,000 registered voters and 298 is just about 2 percent of the registered voters.

More than a week ago, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared former Agriculture Secretary Yap a sure winner in the third district of Bohol, which the fisherfolk alliance viewed as a marching order to the poll body to junk Pamalakaya’s disqualification case filed against Yap.

“We were not born yesterday. President Arroyo’s political prophecy declaring Secretary Yap as congressman of third district of Bohol is a marching order from Malacanang to Comelec to kill the disqualification case against Yap,” the group said.

President Arroyo who was the guest speaker at the first anniversary of a housing project for squatters moved out of Pasig River and victims of typhoons in Marikina and Pasig cities said she was sure of Yap’s unopposed victory in the third district of Bohol.

“Even if he alone votes for himself, Arthur Yap will become congressman because he is unopposed,” said Ms Arroyo.“I asked Yap to sit with me because even if he was already a former government official and now in the private sector and will become congressman,” Arroyo said.

Two weeks ago, Pamalakaya asked the Comelec to immediately tackle the disqualification case against Secretary Yap, adding it was puzzled by the development that the poll body has yet to tackle the case against Yap.

The group likewise filed supplemental information to Comelec to beef up the disqualification case they filed against Sec. Yap. The supplemental information was signed by three officials of Barangay Buenavista, municipal of Loboc disproving Yap’s claim that he lives in the village and a resident of the far-flung barangay, which the former agriculture secretary claimed as his present address as shown in his certificate of candidacy.

The supplemental information carried the signatures of former Barangay Buenavista secretary Corbino Cuhit, incumbent barangay councilor Basilio Balog and resident Mateo Ratonel, brother of incumbent barangay councilor Boy Ratonel which said that Yap was never been a resident of the barangay and the controversial secretary just arrived in their village at the start of the election season.

The three said the house and the address referred by Sec. Yap as his official domicile in Buenavista, Loboc is a far-flung community which is not passable to any regular vehicle except single motorcycles due to rough road and mountainous curves.

In their 4-page disqualification case against Yap filed last March 9, Pamalakaya 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 group asserted 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.

Pamalakaya maintained Secretary Yap failed to meet the qualification because the former agriculture secretary still lives in Ortigas, Pasig City and there is no evidence or overt act that Yap abandoned his domicile of origin. The group 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,” said Pamalakaya.

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,” Pamalakaya added.

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Alston report should merit expulsion of Palparan from House, says leftist groups

Alston report should merit expulsion of Palparan from House, says leftist groups

Farmers and fisherfolk activists camping by the gate of the House of Representatives for 27 days on Saturday said the follow up report of United Nations’ Special Rapporteur Philip Alston on extrajudicial killings in the country merits the expulsion of Bantay Party list Rep. Jovito Palparan from the Congress.

In their joint statement, the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the agricultural labor group Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and the women peasant federation Amihan said House Speaker Prospero Nograles should lead a move that will remove Palparan from the House of Representatives based on the follow up report of the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killing.

According to Alston follow up report, the Macapagal-Arroyo government had failed to apply the principle of command responsibility in the purported human rights violations by agents of the state, and one of the major proofs was the supposed appointment of Palparan to the Dangerous Drug Board (DDB) and his entry to Congress as party list lawmaker.

“The Alston report merely suggests that the House of Representatives under the Nograles leadership is coddling an extrajudicial killer in the person of Palparan. It also implicitly states that the Lower House under the tutelage of the Speaker is allowing The Butcher to use the House as a staging ground for more assaults against human rights and against vocal critics of the Macapagal-Arroyo government and the pro-Arroyo military establishment,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

“Speaker Nograles has no option but kick Palparan out of the House of Representatives. If he fails to do so, then the international community led by the UN will soon name him as protector of a political criminal and animal like Palparan,” Hicap added.

“It is like the Speaker of the House paying homage and fitting tribute to Palparan’s and Palace campaign on state terror and political killing. Rushing to the defense of Palparan is like endorsing the criminal activities of the regime, its military and Palparan. The Speaker is so disgusting,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

But the Hicap said the move to expel Palparan from Congress has a fighting chance because last February, 40 congressmen crossed party lines and signed a resolution opposing the appointment of Palparan to any government post.

Hicap was referring to House Resolution 999 in Congress that was filed at the time that the controversial retired military official will be assigned to either the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) or the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). The resolution states that “Palparan’s possible appointment is another knee-jerk reaction to government’s failure to effectively address the drug problem.”

“We have a fighting chance. We will write and talk to friendly congressmen to join our cause against Palparan and support another resolution calling for the expulsion of a political criminal and terrorist at large. It is long a way to go, but painstaking work and our justice driven campaign will convince other lawmakers to junk Palparan and send him behind bars instead,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

The resolution was initiated by Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, was signed by 40 others from Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Partido ng Masang Pilipino, Nacionalista Party, Lakas-CMD Balane, Liberal Party, CIBAC, An Waray, Anak Mindanao, Kampi, Nationalist People’s Coalition, Partido Demokratiko-Sosyalista ng Pilipinas, and Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino.

Last month, militant party lists filed a disqualification case against Palparan before the House Electoral Tribunal.

Pamalakaya said there were 991 victims of extrajudicial killings from January 2001 to December 2008 almost two thirds of the victims of extrajudicial killings were rural people that include farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous people, peasant women and agricultural workers and agrarian reform advocates.

The group said during Palparan’s stint in Central Luzon, a total of 139 activists were killed , while 66 were missing, in Southern Tagalog, also during Palparan’s stint, a total of 165 activists during the same period were summarily executed.

Pamalakaya said the most noted victims of Palparan’s campaign in Southern Tagalog were human rights activist Eden Marcellana of Karapatan-Southern Tagalog and peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy of Kasama-TK. Both leaders were killed on April 2003 in Mindoro Oriental while leading a fact-finding mission on alleged atrocities committed by the military under the command of Palparan. #

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Pamalakaya demands P 32-billion production subsidy

Pamalakaya demands P 32-billion production subsidy

Manila, Philippines- Members of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance (Pamalakaya) and Anakpawis party list on Monday fried two kilos of assorted fish at the Department of Agriculture (DA) as a symbolic gesture of presenting their demand for P 32-billion yearly production subsidy to caution the impact of global economic and financial crisis.

“This fighting demand of the small fisherfolk for monthly production subsidy to arrest the uncontrollable hikes in the prices of petroleum products was submitted to the office Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap on July 2008. But nobody in this government wants to listen and our position paper was reduced into a scratch paper,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

Pamalakaya said the main purpose of the P 32-billion production subsidy is to keep the wheel of production in the fisheries sector moving, because it is currently battered by high prices of oil products and skyrocketing prices of fishing gears and equipments.

Under the annual P 32-billion production subsidy for the fisheries sector proposed by Pamalakaya, all fishermen who own a small motorized banca will receive a minimum P 4,500 monthly oil subsidy, while those who operate non-motorized banca will receive P 2,000 monthly production subsidy.

According to Hicap, the P 4,500 monthly subsidy constitutes about 50 percent of the monthly expenses spent by fishermen owning a small fishing boat in their daily fish capture. The Pamalakaya leader 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.

Pamalakaya’s proposal for production subsidy for 630,000 non-motorized fishing boats operators across the country, will cost the national government some of P1.3 billion per month 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.

For her part, Anakpawis party list secretary general Cherry Clemente 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.

Clemente 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 one-third 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,” the Anakpawis official added.

Clemente also 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 improve the purchasing power of the Filipino fishermen, the workers and the poor, both groups 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 and financial crisis. But this government is not listening to the concrete and legitimate demands of the people,” Anakpawis asserted.

Pamalakaya likewise dismissed the 700 jobs being offered by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Eastern Visayas to displaced fishermen as “pittance and highly trivial”.

“The small fisherfolk in Eastern Visayas are not begging for alms nor asking for some kind of charitable escapade from the national and local governments. They are asking for decent, sustaining and life-supporting production activities not pittance and super roadshow charity work from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, “ lamented Pamalakaya.

The fisherfolk group was referring to the P 4-million livelihood and emergency employment assistance fund released by DOLE-Region 8, which Forter Pugon, regional director of the employment department said would benefit about 700 marginal fishermen and displaced workers in the region.

Of the P 4-million, P 1.468 million was alloted by the DOLE Region 8 to employment generation projects billed as Integrated Services for Livelihood of the Fisherfolk (ISLA) and the Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Ating Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD), which are currently being implemented in Lapinig town in Northern Samar.

Under the ISLA project of the labor department, the beneficiaries would undertake a small-scale fishing project in Lapinig town, using fish cage and other fishing methods. The project for small fisherfolk will also include enhancement trainings to prepare fisherfolk for another employment once the project is completed by concerned local government units. #

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Anti-FTA group sees 10-million European food aid to Manila as grease money for rapid OK of RP-EU pact

Anti-FTA group sees 10-million European food aid to Manila as grease money for rapid OK of RP-EU pact

Manila, Philippines—An anti free trade agreement (FTA) group in Manila on Sunday said the 10 million Euros or roughly P 640 million worth of food aid granted by the European Commission to the Philippine government was a form of grease money to fast-track the approval of the RP-European Union Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), which the group asserted has been kept from public scrutiny since 2004.

The Office of the Delegation of the European Commission to the Philippines in a press statement said the P 640 million grant was part of the first package of projects to support agriculture and improve food security in the country.

It said the projects will be implemented by the Department of Agriculture and co-financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will help to assure supply of rice seed and increase rice production to prevent the repeat of last year’s rice crisis.

But Fernando Hicap, national chair of the fisherfolk group PAMALAKAYA asserted the 10 million Euro food aid as oil money to facilitate the rapid approval of RP-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Manila and the European member states.

“The granting of the P 640 million food grant is highly questionable since it was timed when the Manila government and the European Union are negotiating on a bilateral pact which was authored, written and pursued by the EU giants”, the Pamalakaya leader said.

According to Pamalakaya, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her top economic and diplomatic officials never facilitated in the drafting of the RP-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and were reduced as mere audience as they European Union counterparts proceeded in writing the bilateral which is supposed to be a joint partnership agreement.

“The RP-EU is supposed to be a bilateral agreement to be drafted by the two parties involved. But the Arroyo presidency never participated in the drafting and was only made to wait for the final version of the pact that would be finalized by their EU counterparts. On the other hand, the P 640 million food grant looked like a prize for the Arroyo government for performing its role to the hilt as willing lapdog of the EU transnational giants,” the militant group said.

Earlier, Pamalakaya urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alberto Romulo to make available the content of the RP-European Union Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), which was initially drafted by EU a few years ago, and a copy of which was obtained by the Philippine government on Feb.1 2006.

The militant group also learned that Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo requested the office of Secretary Romulo to furnish him documents regarding the ongoing negotiations between the Macapagal-Arroyo government and the European Commission but what was given to activist lawmaker was the statement of the DFA on the RP-EU ongoing negotiations on the partnership and cooperation agreement.

“Why this agreement is being processed through the syndicate way? What is the big secret being concealed by the Philippine government and the European Commission from the Filipino people? If there is nothing wrong or sinister about the PCA, then both governments, by all means, should reveal the content and let the Filipino people judge according to their collective interest,” said Pamalakaya.

Likewise, Pamalakaya urged Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile and 22 other senators to compel the DFA Secretary Romulo to furnish the Senate all the important and vital documents concerning the PCA that involves issues such as trade and investment cooperation, economic and development cooperation, political cooperation and institutional framework.

“While the executive department’s job is to negotiate, the Philippine Senate which is the sole ratifying body should not be kept in the dark. The senators are constitutionally bound, legally mandated, politically and morally obliged to look into the impact and consequences of the PCA is which is currently being syndicated among top officials of Malacañang and the European Commission,” the fisherfolk group stressed.

Pamalakaya further asserted that the Senate should not be caught flat footed like in the case of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa) where the Senate, the ratifying body were kept in the dark in the early stages of the negotiations and was compelled to seal the agreement despite Jpepa’s all-out violation of national interest and the 1987 Constitution.

“If Jpepa is nightmare, the RP-EU partnership and cooperation pact is an across-the-nation tragedy that will soon hit this nation of impoverished and starving people. The real agenda of EU in orchestrating this biggest sell-out of the century is to pass the burden of their economic and global crisis to the downtrodden people of the Third World like RP,” the militant group said.

DFA undersecretary Edsel Custodio on Feb.19 released a foreign affairs statement on Feb.9, 2009 on the draft RP-EU PCA which was submitted by the European Commission on Nov.21 2006.

Usec. Custodio said the Philippines had received from the EC the initial draft of the PCA on 1 February 2006. At that time, the PCA consisted of two separate Framework Agreements: the first refers to the main PCA, while the second refers to the political elements on WMD, Terrorism, and the ICC.
In May 2006, President Macapagal-Arroyo had met with then-EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, and expressed the Philippines’ keenness on pursuing negotiations after thorough evaluation by the agencies of the Philippine government. In accordance with this directive, the DFA established the Inter-Agency process on the PCA.

According to Custodio, since then, the initial draft underwent further revisions by the EC. The second revised PCA draft dated 21 November 2006 merged the two separate Agreements of 1 February 2006 into one omnibus PCA. It is this version that has undergone a lengthy but thorough Inter-Agency process, spanning a period of over two years and involving around 30 agencies and offices of the Philippine government.

Inter-Agency deliberation continued throughout much of 2007. Some issues—particularly the nature and rationale behind the PCA and its relation to the regional FTA—emerged that required further discussion. For this reason, the DFA and the EC held the first informal consultations on the draft PCA on 24 September 2007. There we discussed the draft PCA with the EC in order to arrive at some clarity on the nature and rationale of the PCA and how to proceed further with a view to engaging in more substantive discussions.
Inter-agency discussion intensified in frequency and deepened in analysis in 2008. The number of agencies involved in the PCA increased, while some sub-clusters consolidated due to the inter-relatedness and cross-cutting nature of certain provisions.

The Philippine response to the PCA—the Counter-Draft—was now taking shape.
On 6 October 2008, a second informal consultation was held with the EC. By this time, our agencies have thoroughly deliberated on the PCA, with some changing positions reflecting the changing times and the complexity of the issues.

A Philippine Counter-Draft was almost substantially complete. Both sides tackled the issue of how to proceed further towards actually commencing formal talks and some institutional matters regarding possible structure and modalities of the impending bilateral negotiations.
On 24 October 2008, at the fringes of the ASEM Leaders Summit in Beijing, our Leaders, President Macapagal-Arroyo and EU President Jose Manuel Barroso, had made the announcement that both sides have agreed to commence negotiations. With the political mandate clear, and with no foreseeable legal or substantive impediment to negotiations, the only question left unanswered is when.

According to Usec. Custodio, this question was taken up during the 6th RP-EU Senior Officials Meeting, the official bilateral dialogue of the Philippines and the EU. There both sides agreed to start the first round of negotiations on the PCA on 9-10 February 2008, in Manila.

The EC also announced formally that an updated PCA draft, with new sections on labor and employment, justice, governance, and climate change, was to be transmitted to the Philippines by the end of 2008.

“This new EC draft, dated 22 December 2008, is still being considered by the Inter-Agency. Notwithstanding this development, the Philippines stands ready to discuss in more substantive detail its counter-proposal in this first Round of Negotiations on the PCA,” the DFA official added..#

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Don’t hide content of RP-EU partnership pact, leftists told DFA

Don’t hide content of RP-EU partnership pact, leftists told DFA

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to make available the content of the RP-European Union Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), which was initially drafted by EU a few years ago, and a copy of which was obtained by the Philippine government on Feb.1 2006.

“This is dangerous and a complete disregard of the country’s national sovereignty. The PCA is supposed to be a joint partnership agreement, but the proposed pact between EU and RP is authored solely by the European Union in accordance with the EU’s economic and political interests in the country and this is totally unacceptable,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

Hicap added: “Worse, this development and the situations surrounding the PCA evolution has been kept from national scrutiny and public discourse over the last three years by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and foreign affairs secretary Alberto Romulo.”

The Pamalakaya leader learned that Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo requested the office of Secretary Romulo to furnish him documents regarding the ongoing negotiations between the Macapagal-Arroyo government and the European Commission but what was given to activist lawmaker was the statement of the DFA on the RP-EU ongoing negotiations on the partnership and cooperation agreement.

“Why this agreement is being processed through the syndicate way? What is the big secret being concealed by the Philippine government and the European Commission from the Filipino people? If there is nothing wrong or sinister about the PCA, then both governments, by all means, should reveal the content and let the Filipino people judge according to their collective interest,” said Hicap.

Likewise, Pamalakaya urged Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile and 22 other senators to compel the DFA Secretary Romulo to furnish the Senate all the important and vital documents concerning the PCA that involves issues such as trade and investment cooperation, economic and development cooperation, political cooperation and institutional framework.

“While the executive department’s job is to negotiate, the Philippine Senate which is the sole ratifying body should not be kept in the dark. The senators are constitutionally bound, legally mandated, politically and morally obliged to look into the impact and consequences of the PCA is which is currently being syndicated among top officials of Malacañang and the European Commission,” the fisherfolk group stressed.

Pamalakaya further asserted that the Senate should not be caught flat footed like in the case of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa) where the Senate, the ratifying body were kept in the dark in the early stages of the negotiations and was compelled to seal the agreement despite Jpepa’s all-out violation of national interest and the 1987 Constitution.

“If Jpepa is nightmare, the RP-EU partnership and cooperation pact is an across-the-nation tragedy that will soon hit this nation of impoverished and starving people. The real agenda of EU in orchestrating this biggest sell-out of the century is to pass the burden of their economic and global crisis to the downtrodden people of the Third World like RP,” the militant group said.

DFA undersecretary Edsel Custodio on Feb.19 released a foreign affairs statement on Feb.9, 2009 on the draft RP-EU PCA which was submitted by the European Commission on Nov.21 2006.
Usec. Custodio said the Philippines had received from the EC the initial draft of the PCA on 1 February 2006. At that time, the PCA consisted of two separate Framework Agreements: the first refers to the main PCA, while the second refers to the political elements on WMD, Terrorism, and the ICC.

In May 2006, President Macapagal-Arroyo had met with then-EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, and expressed the Philippines’ keenness on pursuing negotiations after thorough evaluation by the agencies of the Philippine government. In accordance with this directive, the DFA established the Inter-Agency process on the PCA.

According to Custodio, since then, the initial draft underwent further revisions by the EC. The second revised PCA draft dated 21 November 2006 merged the two separate Agreements of 1 February 2006 into one omnibus PCA. It is this version that has undergone a lengthy but thorough Inter-Agency process, spanning a period of over two years and involving around 30 agencies and offices of the Philippine government.
Inter-Agency deliberation continued throughout much of 2007.

Some issues—particularly the nature and rationale behind the PCA and its relation to the regional FTA—emerged that required further discussion. For this reason, the DFA and the EC held the first informal consultations on the draft PCA on 24 September 2007.

There we discussed the draft PCA with the EC in order to arrive at some clarity on the nature and rationale of the PCA and how to proceed further with a view to engaging in more substantive discussions.
Inter-agency discussion intensified in frequency and deepened in analysis in 2008. The number of agencies involved in the PCA increased, while some sub-clusters consolidated due to the inter-relatedness and cross-cutting nature of certain provisions. The Philippine response to the PCA—the Counter-Draft—was now taking shape.

On 6 October 2008, a second informal consultation was held with the EC. By this time, our agencies have thoroughly deliberated on the PCA, with some changing positions reflecting the changing times and the complexity of the issues. A Philippine Counter-Draft was almost substantially complete. Both sides tackled the issue of how to proceed further towards actually commencing formal talks and some institutional matters regarding possible structure and modalities of the impending bilateral negotiations.

On 24 October 2008, at the fringes of the ASEM Leaders Summit in Beijing, our Leaders, President Macapagal-Arroyo and EU President Jose Manuel Barroso, had made the announcement that both sides have agreed to commence negotiations. With the political mandate clear, and with no foreseeable legal or substantive impediment to negotiations, the only question left unanswered is when.

According to Usec. Custodio, this question was taken up during the 6th RP-EU Senior Officials Meeting, the official bilateral dialogue of the Philippines and the EU. There both sides agreed to start the first round of negotiations on the PCA on 9-10 February 2008, in Manila. The EC also announced formally that an updated PCA draft, with new sections on labor and employment, justice, governance, and climate change, was to be transmitted to the Philippines by the end of 2008.

“This new EC draft, dated 22 December 2008, is still being considered by the Inter-Agency. Notwithstanding this development, the Philippines stands ready to discuss in more substantive detail its counter-proposal in this first Round of Negotiations on the PCA,” the DFA official added..#

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Fishers group says baselines law will revive Spratly offshore mining deal with China

Fishers group says baselines law will revive Spratly offshore mining deal with China

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s signing of the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law or Republic Act No. 9522 will lead to the revival of the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU), an offshore mining deal between the Philippines and China despite the latter’s against the controversial baselines bill.

In a press statement, the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said RA 9522 will legalize the equally controversial offshore mining agreement between China and the Philippines.

“Mrs. Arroyo and her company of hooligans in and out of Malacañang removed the Kalayaan group of islands from the Philippine territory to facilitate the revival and provide the full blanket authority to JMSU that would allow China to proceed with its biggest offshore mining escapade in Palawan and South China Sea,” the group said.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the Philippines baselines law which excluded Kalayaan group of islands from our territorial rights and jurisdiction is tantamount to treason to the highest order.

According to Hicap with the signing of baselines law, the Manila government will soon start renegotiating the stalled offshore mining project with China..

The Pamalakaya leader said the China National Offshore Oil Corporation will eventually set up gas pipelines from Palawan and the “regime of islands” to mainland China once the potential reserves of 3.3 trillion cubic meters of gas are confirmed in the ongoing gas exploration. This is the immediate consequence of this baselines bill,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

Pamalakaya said with the baselines law now in effect to be followed with the revival of the RP-China offshore mining deal in Spratly, the setting up of gas pipelines from Palawan to China will be the next big thing to happen since the transfer of gas can only be done through the construction of gas pipelines like in the case of the Malampaya gas pipeline project.

“That’s the next logical chapter of this highly detestable baselines law is China’s setting up of oil exploration empire in South China Sea and the Spratlys where pipelines will be constructed to complete the oil hunt and oil loot, and the Malacañang will just beg for alms in the form of taxes and other duties,” the group added.

Pamalakaya said his group’s fearless forecast in the next three years is that China will establish gas pipelines that would supply the energy sector of China, Malaysia and Singapore and that it would merely engaged in lease contract with the Philippine government for the use of 142,886 square kilometers encompassing Palawan and certain parts of the Spratly Islands being claimed by the Philippines over the last four decades.

Pamalakaya recalled last year the Chinese oil exploration vessel Nan Hai docked at Puerto Princesa City port to refuel after coming from a seismic operation in Southwest Palawan.

“Nam Hai 502 was in Palawan last year not only to conduct seismic operations because it is already confirmed that trillions of cubic meters of natural gas are found in the waters of Palawan and the Kalayaan group of Islands. The best kept secret there is that the Chinese oil explorers are seemingly engaged in mapping operations regarding the setting up of gas pipelines,” the group said.

The Pamalakaya added: “We were not born yesterday not to understand this geographical escapade of Chinese oil explorers. Once they explore, all aspects are considered from identification of gas deposits to how these deposits would be taken off and transferred to the home base of the oil exploration giant and their big-time clients in neighbor countries.” #

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Cam Sur Mayor, armed Bantay Kalikasan members shot 15 fishers, 1 killed, 4 wounded , says Pamalakaya report

Cam Sur Mayor, armed Bantay Kalikasan members shot 15 fishers, 1 killed, 4 wounded , says Pamalakaya report

The national headquarters of the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) today received a report from its regional affiliate in Bicol that Mayor Jaime Delena of Presentacion town, Camarines Sur and 20 other armed men believed to be members of the Philippine Army in Bicol region shot 15 fishermen on board of a small-scale commercial fishing vessel.

According to the initial report forwarded by Lakas Mangingisda ng Bicol (Lambat-Bicol), the regional chapter of Pamalakaya, last March 3, at around 2 p.m some 20 fishermen were on their way home from a fishing trip in off San Jose waters in Lagonoy Gulf when a group of 20 armed men led by Mayor Delena riding on a service boat provided by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR-Region V) fired shots at the returning fishermen.

The shooting incidence lasted for a few minutes, and witnesses said the BFAR service boat carried Delena and his armed companion backed to Presentacion municipal hall. Report said Domingo Barbado 22 years old was killed while three others—Andy Pana (18 years old), William Arroyo (49 years old) and Ricky Fernandez (31 years old) were wounded.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said Mayor Delena employed former members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to join the Bantay Kalikasan group, which he described as a group of trigger happy ex-soldiers and hired goons tapped by the mayor to scare and terrorize other fishermen fishing in the municipal waters of Presentacion, so he could monopolize fishing activities in his town, since the mayor is also an owner of several commercial fishing fleets in the province.

“We condemn this barbaric and brutal act of Mayor Delena and his goons. The mayor is acting as if he is the little militarist emperor or military dictator in Presentacion who is licensed to kill people in the name of his political survival and economic interests,” said Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader also condemned all members of Bantay Kalikasan and regional officials of BFAR Region V for conspiring with Mayor Delena in the brutal murder of Barbado and the frustrated massacre of 14 other fishermen.

The militant group said prior to the shooting rampage, Mayor Delena was also behind the illegal arrest and detention of a fisherman identified as Tirso Persia, 29 years old. Last March 1, Persia was accused on engaged in illegal fishing and was brought to the Presentacion town hall where Persia was tortured by alleged personnel of Delena.

Pamalakaya called on all the victims to come out in the open and filed appropriate criminal and civil charges against Mayor Delena, members of Bantay Kalikasan and regional officials of the BFAR Region V for these round-the-clock violations of human rights and fishing rights.

The militant group said it will ask the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), as well as the Senate and the House Committees on Human Rights to conduct an urgent investigation on the abuses and human rights violations committed by Mayor Delena and his men against the small fisherfolk in Presentacion, Camarines Sur.

“Mayor Delena should be investigated and he should be compelled to resign for performing crimes against the people and for betraying public interest,” said Pamalakaya. #

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Fishers washed clothes, took bath in

Fishers washed clothes, took bath in
DENR to protest looming LLDA-Maynilad water deal

Some 20 small from Binangonan washed clothes and bathed outside the national office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to protest the looming business deal between the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) and the Maynilad Water Services Inc. for the latter to tap the lake as a water source for cities of Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Las Piñas and Bacoor in Cavite.

The activists all belonging to the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and the multisectoral environmental group Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) warned environment secretary Joselito Atienza on the implications of his office granting of the required environmental clearance certificate (ECC) to the LLDA-Maynilad upcoming deal in Laguna Lake.

“Laguna Lake belongs to the Filipino people. By orientation, by design, and by historical and social purpose the lake is mainly a communal fishing ground. Any kind of privatization and conversion will not help save Laguna Lake which is currently at the deathbed of environmental destruction,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

Hicap, also the national convener of SLLM, said Secretary Atienza should come in and tell LLDA to stop the sell-out of Laguna Lake to Maynilad or to any other parties which are interested in transforming the lake into a haven for capital accumulation and super profiteering activities.

“Mr. Atienza, the no.1 seller and corporate pimp of the Arroyo presidency is hereby warned by public interest against granting an ECC to the LLDA-Maynilad joint water adventure in Laguna Lake. This government must be stopped from making sweepstakes like money, super profits and huge kickbacks at the expense of the people and the environment,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Likewise Pamalakaya and SLMM reiterated their call for LLDA General Manager Edgar Manda to back off from the looming deal with Maynilad despite the fact that although under Republic Act 4850, the LLDA is authorized to issue permits for the use and abstraction of lake water, it is not authorized to perform acts that are deemed to destroy the ecological balance and very nature of Laguna Lake.

“The LLDA is not authorize to sell Laguna Lake and change its orientation and social purpose in the name of corporate interests, accumulation of capital and vested interests of people in and out of Malacañang,” the group said.

Pamalakaya said under the looming LLDA-Maynilad deal, the Lopez owned water utility will extract 300 million liters per day (MLD) from Laguna Lake ,which it said is extremely dangerous to the lake environment. The group said the proposal will entail the closure of Napindan Hydraulic control system, preventing the entry of salt water of Manila Bay. He said fish species in Laguna Lake requires the mixing of salt and fresh water to spawn and survive.

The fisherfolk group said the Maynilad plan is like a death certificate to Laguna Lake killing not only the livelihood of more than 500,000 people engage in fish capture and fish culture activities. Pamalakaya said it will also endanger the fish supply and the fish need of millions of people in the National Capital Region, Laguna and Rizal provinces.

Pamalakaya and SLLM said despite of the present sorry state of Laguna Lake as Southeast Asia’s second largest lake, it is capable of producing at least 50,000 metric tons of fish per year, enough to address the fish requirement of not less than 10 million people.

Citing the study conducted by the Netherlands government for the LLDA, it said Laguna De Bay, being the largest lake in the Philippines and strategically located in the heart of Calabarzon region, is the most viable source of water for Metro Manila’s west zone.
Maynilad, which is authorized water concessionaire of the Manila Water Sewerage System (MWSS) for the western part of Metro Manila, said the proposed plan if approved will enable the Lopez water utility firm to supply water to the remaining 29 percent covered by its agreement with MWSS in the West Zone area.
At present, Maynilad renders water supply to about 703,519 customers, or only 71 percent of its total concession area. The rest of the west zone does not have enough water supply — mainly comprising the areas of Muntinlupa, Parañaque, and Las Piñas.
The LLDA said if it gives the go signal Maynilad will take over operations of the existing water treatment plant in Putatan, Muntinlupa, which currently extracts 180,000 cubic meters per month of lake water and then supplies it to the Ayala Alabang subdivision for the residents’ domestic use.

Maynilad will gradually implement the 300-million-liters-per-day extraction of water from the Lake. The first 100 million liters per day will be made available to the west zone of Metro Manila in 2010 and then water extraction will be increased to 200 million liters in 2011, and then 300 million liters per day by 2014. #

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4 rural groups call for Ombudsman Gutierrez’s ouster

Calling themselves perpetual victims of the Office of Ombudsman’s injustice, leaders of the four of the biggest rural-based groups on Saturday called for the ouster of beleaguered Ombudsman Atty. Ma. Merceditas Gutierrez.

“Ombudsman Gutierrez is the Ombudsman of the corrupt and the evil managers of Malacañang. She deserves to be ousted and condemned by the people and her name will be forever etched in Philippine history as coddler of big time syndicate manning the office of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” the fisherfolk alliance Pamalakaya, the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and the peasant women federation Amihan said in a joint press statement.

The four groups recalled that they filed a number of cases before the Office of the Ombudsman like plunder and graft and corruption against President Arroyo and a number of government officials and criminal charges against top military officials implicated in extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances including those involved in Hacienda Luisita massacre in 2006.

“Please allow us to remind Ombudsman Gutierrez that sometime in June 2004, we asked her office to investigate the possible involvement of President Arroyo, former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante and former agriculture secretary Luisito Lorenzo on the P 728 million fertilizer scam,” the groups said.

The groups added: “By June 2009, the fertilizer fund scam will celebrate its 5th year anniversary, and it seems Ombudsman Gutierrez is extending it for another five years or more. It is like extending the anti-farmer and pro-landlord Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program or CARP for another five years. This mind-boggling escapade of the Ombudsman is a classic case of bureaucratic coddling and corruption rolled into one.”

The militant rural groups said, another case they filed was a plunder compliant against President Arroyo and business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco in connection with the P 130-billion coconut levy case. They said the complaint was filed sometime November 2005.

“The Office of the Ombudsman has become a synonym for corruption, collusion and outright suppression of truth and denial of justice, and it seems that is the orientation of Ombudsman Gutierrez when she was transferred by her Palace backers to the Office of the Ombudsman,” they said.

For his part, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap further accused Gutierrez of sitting on the anti-graft case filed his group filed against President Arroyo, former environment secretary Michael Defensor, other government officials from the Department of Energy and DENR and private entities in connection with the offshore mining in Central Visayas, the oil spill in Rapu-Rapu, Albay and the massive and questionable issuance of environmental clearances by Defensor in February 2006.

The Pamalakaya leader recalled that the case was filed on February 13, 2005. In their 20-page complaint submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman, Pamalakaya leaders from Cebu, Bohol, Negros, Masbate, Sorsogon and Albay filed the case against Arroyo et al.

Pamalakaya in their 2005 complaint filed before the Ombudsman’s office asserted that President Arroyo and other key government officials made violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or RA 3019, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards or RA 6713 and other pertinent environmental laws in allowing Lafayette to conduct operations in Rapu-Rapu, Albay, in allowing oil and gas explorations in Tañon Strait (a protected seascape between Cebu and Negros islands) and Cebu Strait (Cebu) separating Cebu and Bohol and for distributing 4,968 environmental compliance certificates (ECCs) in 2004..

The complainants are led by Pamalakaya chapters–Pamana-Sugbo headed by its chairperson Victor Lapaz, Pamalakaya-Negros led by its secretary general Editho Namion, Bokkana-Bohol spokesperson Paulita Distor, Lambat-Masbate chair Darwin Abila and Lambat-Bicol secretary general Arieto Radores, representing the victims of Lafayette two mining spills in 2005..

Militant lawmakers Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano and the late Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran of Anakpawis party list and Liza Maza of Gabriela Women’s Party also signed as co-complainants of Pamalakaya and its chapters.

Aside from Ms Arroyo and ex-DENR Secretary Defensor, those who were included in the charge sheet were Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, former energy secretary Vince Perez, former Lafayette country manager Rod Watt and officials of the DENR and DOE in Regions V and Region VII. #

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Fishers to LLDA: “Back off from water deal with Maynilad”

Fishers to LLDA: “Back off from water deal with Maynilad”

The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and the multisectoral group Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) on Friday urged Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) General Manager Edgar Manda to back off from the looming deal with Maynila Water Services Inc. to tap Laguna Lake as a water source for the cities of Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Las Piñas and Bacoor in Cavite province.

In a joint press statement, Pamalakaya and SLLM said although the LLDA is authorized under Republic Act 4850 to issue permits for the use and abstraction of lake water, it is not authorized to perform acts that are deemed to destroy the ecological balance and very nature of Laguna Lake.

“The LLDA is not authorize to sell Laguna Lake and change its orientation and social purpose in the name of corporate interests, accumulation of capital and vested interests of people in and out of Malacañang,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

“The LLDA general manager has no option but to back off from the LLDA-Maynilad deal and rescind whatever written or verbal agreement the lake authority had entered into with the Lopez owned water utility,” added Hicap, who is also the national convener of SLLM.

The Pamalakaya leader said the proposal of Maynilad is to abstract 300 million liters per day (MLD) from Laguna Lake is extremely dangerous to the lake environment. Hicap said the proposal will entail the closure of Napindan Hydraulic control system, preventing the entry of salt water of Manila Bay. He said fish species in Laguna Lake requires the mixing of salt and fresh water to spawn and survive.

“We strongly urge Manda and the LLDA authorities to refrain from further privatizing and converting the lake for the purpose of Jurassic model of development, super profiteering and fat returns of commissions and kickbacks. The LLDA is hereby prevented by national interest from entering into a contract that constitutes sell-out and all-out destruction of people’s livelihood and environment,” said Pamalakaya.

The Pamalakaya said the Maynilad plan is like a death certificate to Laguna Lake killing not only the livelihood of more than 500,000 people engage in fish capture and fish culture activities. He said it will also endanger the fish supply and the fish need of millions of people in the National Capital Region, Laguna and Rizal provinces.

Pamalakaya and SLLM said despite of the present sorry state of Laguna Lake as Southeast Asia’s second largest lake, it is capable of producing at least 50,000 metric tons of fish per year, enough to address the fish requirement of not less than 10 million people.

Citing the study conducted by the Netherlands government for the LLDA, it said Laguna De Bay, being the largest lake in the Philippines and strategically located in the heart of Calabarzon region, is the most viable source of water for Metro Manila’s west zone.
Maynilad, which is authorized water concessionaire of the Manila Water Sewerage System (MWSS) for the western part of Metro Manila, said the proposed plan if approved will enable the Lopez water utility firm to supply water to the remaining 29 percent covered by its agreement with MWSS in the West Zone area.
At present, Maynilad renders water supply to about 703,519 customers, or only 71 percent of its total concession area. The rest of the west zone does not have enough water supply — mainly comprising the areas of Muntinlupa, Parañaque, and Las Piñas.

The LLDA said if it gives the go signal Maynilad will take over operations of the existing water treatment plant in Putatan, Muntinlupa, which currently extracts 180,000 cubic meters per month of lake water and then supplies it to the Ayala Alabang subdivision for the residents’ domestic use.

Maynilad will gradually implement the 300-million-liters-per-day extraction of water from the Lake. The first 100 million liters per day will be made available to the west zone of Metro Manila in 2010 and then water extraction will be increased to 200 million liters in 2011, and then 300 million liters per day by 2014. #

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