Tag Archives: Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

PH lawmakers urged to probe colleague on eco-zone project

By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Katrina Heredera

MANILA, Philippines- A group of small fisherfolk in the Philippines had asked members of the Philippine parliament to investigate the role of their colleague on the ambitious free port project in Central Luzon ,which it said is inimical to people’s interest.

Leaders of the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) went to the Philippine Senate yesterday to personally deliver its letter of appeal to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to have Senator Edgardo Angara investigated on the controversial Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Free Port Project (Apeco) in Casiguran, Aurora province.
Pamalakaya vice chairperson for Luzon Salvador France also furnished copies of their letter of appeal to the Senate President to Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Alan Peter Cayetano, Chiz Escudero, Francis ‘Kiko” Pangilinan, Gregorio Honasan and Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

In their two-page letter of appeal to Enrile, the militant group said the affected farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous people of Aurora province urge honorable office of the Senate President to conduct a thoroughgoing investigation on the life-threatening impacts of Apeco project to these sectors.
“Honorable Senate President, the APECO project is a total menace to the rights to land of the farmers, even fisherfolk and other sectors residing on the affected barangays of Casiguran. If not stopped, this project might lead to the whole destruction of Casiguran and nearby towns in Aurora province,” France said in the appeal.

The letter further reads: “The APECO project is the brainchild of Senator Edgardo Angara, his son Rep. Sonny Angara and the senator’s sister Aurora Gov. Bella Angara-Castillo and they should be blamed for the current chaos and chronicles of land grabbing in the Casiguran.”
According to a report filed by organizers of a recent fact-finding mission held in Casiguran from June 22-25, the Apeco project also affected farmers include those who have actual titles like Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) and Integrated Social Forestry certificates (ISF).

“Mr. Senate President please take into account that generations of farmers have been cultivating lands under President Manuel Quezon’s Proclamation 467 and Proclamation 723 of Governor-general Frank Murphy during the American occupation, and they too are objects of landgrabbing and displacement,” Pamalakaya noted.

According to the group, to fast track the eviction of farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous communities opposed to Apeco project, the proponents employ the military under the 48th Infantry Battalion, Bravo Company to harass the opposition to Apeco and create a culture of fear among the residents. The military base in barangay halls and blend with residents to serve their purpose for Apeco project.

Pamalakaya said a case in point took place in Brgy. Esteves, where a PENRO’s official known as Miña harassed an elderly peasant woman when he arrived with armed police on February 10, 2010 and coerced farmer residents to vacate their farms. Miña also poked a gun at a woman on March 11, 2008 at Brgy. Dibet.

“The military elements also harassed upland farmers at Brgy. Cozo on September 27, 2010. Farmers also believe that some of their barangay officials, particularly Brgy. Cozo and Esteves are being intimidated by APECO officials thus, abdicating to help those threated to be displaced,” the group said.
The national fact finding mission which Pamalakaya joined last month had reported that residents from the 5 barangays are usually opposing the APECO project. Some residents such as in Brgy. San Ildefonso and Culat said they are not familiar with the project as there were no consultations held before the enactment of the law and they oppose it as they concern about their sources of livelihood such as their farms and fishing.

“We are willing to provide more information about the impacts of the projects, and the leaders and residents of affected farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous people are willing to come out in the open and testify on the increasing difficulties they suffered once the Senate approves the call for the investigation of the Apeco project,” said Pamalakaya.

The militant group said the project is being rushed by the proponents led by the Angara family as indicated by the recent action of the Aurora office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) where the agency pursued a P 418-million peso worth of construction and road projects to pave way for Apeco project which it said is the ambitious project of the ruling Angara dynasty in the province.

Pamalakaya asserted the DPWH-Aurora is set to complete infrastructure projects necessary to jumpstart the free port project in Aurora. The group said the P 418-M funds allocated by DPWH in Aurora was meant to complete 71 projects and the completion of 9.16 kilometers of national roads that include the Baler-Cemento Road, the San Luis-Maria-Aurora-Castaneda road and the Baler-Dicolayungan road.

The group noted that the P 418-million Apeco driven projects were carry-overs of previous projects which were unfinished in 2009 and were continued in 2010. There were 66 carry-over projects, 26 were completed, 17 still ongoing and 23 are yet to be started. #

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Palace pressed to scrap midnight sale of gov’t assets

by TC Concepcion and Bb. Joyce Cabral

Manila, Philippines-The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to issue an executive order mandating an across-the-nation freeze of supposed plans to privatize and sell government assets in the remaining months of her term to prevent the administration party from using the proceeds for the electoral campaign of Malacanang favored bets in the 2010 elections.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the Office of the President is politically, morally and lawfully obliged to stop the plan auction of state assets, particularly the sale of government-owned prime property in the Fujimi district in Tokyo, which houses the residence of the Philippine Ambassador to Japan.

Hicap made the proposal to Malacanang after Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. warned that privatization could fatten the campaign war chest of the Arroyo administration with the looming midnight sale of a Philippine property in Japan.

The opposition senator was referring to the government-owned property in Tokyo, which according to real estate insiders and the Department of Finance could net P 3 billion for the government.

The Fujimi property in Tokyo district is still in the government list for sale and privatization, although Malacanang denied that the property is going to be developed for commercial purposes. Sen. Pimentel argued that the government had entered into an agreement with a real estate firm to build a commercial multistory building on the Fujimi property, which was acquired by the Philippine government in 1943 through the efforts of then President Jose Laurel Sr.

“President Arroyo is transforming this country into a house of midnight sale extravaganza. We agree with the observations of the Senate Minority Leader that her government is on a rampaging money making campaign for elections by disposing government properties and shares of stocks to the highest bidders to satisfy the regime’s greed for fat kickbacks and in preparation for the 2010 electoral derby,” the Pamalakaya official added.

Hicap’s group had previously opposed the sale of government shares in Petron and Meralco, as well as the planned auction of military camps in Bukidnon (10,000 hectares), Fort Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija (7,100 hectares) and Tumandok in Panay Island, asserting that these vast hectares of agricultural lands should have been distributed to landless farmers in the country.

Pamalakaya said the proposed executive order mandating concerned government agencies to stop the disposal of state assets should also cover the alleged plans to sell the sprawling complex of the National Center for Mental Health and Welfareville or Boys Town in Mandaluyong, the premises of the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa City, the Home for the Aged in Quezon City and the Philippine Coastal Corporation.

The militant group also said the government should scrap the auction of the 103-hectare complex of the Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) in Taguig City, which is expected to generate P 14 billion for the government, and the other plans such as the sale of government remaining shares in Petron, in San Miguel Corporation (SMC) and in the PNOC Energy Exploration Corp.

Last year, the Macapagal-Arroyo government raised P 90.6 billion from the privatization of state-assets- reportedly the highest ever recorded income for such transactions. The biggest asset sold last year was the National Transmission Corp. This year, the government intends to generate about P 80 billion from the privatization of power plants of the National Power Corporation.

Pamalakaya likewise pressed Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile and House Speaker Prospero Nograles to issue a joint resolution calling President Arroyo or the Office of the President and its concerned government agencies to stop the privatization and sale of all state assets.

“This will effectively stop Ms Arroyo and the ruling gangland in Malacanang from public assets that were put up by the millions of the Filipino taxpaying public. We don’t want to wake up one morning and see for ourselves the entire Philippines is already sold to foreign clients of the Arroyo mafia,” the group said.

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National inquiry on Ondoy tragedy sought

National inquiry on Ondoy tragedy sought

The militant alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Tuesday asked Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Prospero Nograles to immediately schedule a separate or joint national inquiry on the real causes behind the massive flood brought by storm Ondoy last Saturday that devastated the entire National Capital Region and the provinces of Rizal, Laguna, Quezon, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Bataan,Pampanga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Aurora.

“Let’s have a national inquiry on the Ondoy tragedy. Let us determine the real score behind this corporate induced and government sanctioned national disaster that killed hundreds of people and which sent hundreds of thousands of people homeless and displaced,” said Pamalakaya Vice-Chairperson for Luzon Salvador France.

The Pamalakaya leader suggested that following government agencies and officials to be summoned either by the joint congressional inquiry or separate congressional inquiry if Enrile and Nograles decide to push through with the probe on Ondoy tragedy.

– DENR Secretary Joselito Atienza
– DND secretary and NDCC chair Gilbert Teodoro
– MMDA chair Bayani Fernando
– DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno
– DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr.
– PAGASA Director Prisco Nilo
– incumbent governors of Quezon, Aurora, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga and Nueva Ecija.

Pamalakaya’s France said the 6 government officials should also take immediately a leave of absence in their respective officers or tender irrevocable resignations once the Senate and the House of Representatives begin their joint or separate inquiry.

The militant leader also said logging firms, quarrying companies and other business groups operating in Sierra Madre particularly in the provinces of Quezon, Aurora, Laguna, Rizal, Nueva Ecija and Bulacan should also be invited to shed light on the recent national calamity, which Pamalakaya said is destined to happen because of big business eternal thirst for super profits and government officials’ gluttony for fat kick backs and huge commissions.

Pamalakaya said what happened in the National Capital Region and nearby provinces in Southern and Central Luzon was directly connected and due to the all-out big time logging activities in Sierra Madre, which is supposed to be the backbone of Luzon.

“What is common to all these affected areas is that all these areas are enjoined and connected by the Sierra Madre mountain range. The present devastated state of Sierra Madre due to logging, quarrying and other forms of privatization and sell-out as promoted by the Macapagal-Arroyo government will cause more tragedy to the people,” the group said.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) yesterday said death arising from typhoon Ondoy is now 240, and many of the victims drowned in the floods, while others were electrocuted or killed in landslides, the council said.

Thirty-seven people remained missing on Tuesday while five others were injured, according to the council. Ondoy affected 1.87 million of the country’s 92 million people, with 374,890 of them now sheltering in makeshift evacuation camps, it 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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