Tag Archives: Senator Manuel Villar

9 presidentiables urged to cross party lines and unite vs. failure of elections

By Bb. Joyce Cabral, Billy Javier Reyes, Sarah Ann Go and Gerry Albert Corpuz

MANILA, Philippines – The activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged the nine presidential candidates led by Liberal Party (LP) presidential standard bearer Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III, Gilbert Teodoro of Lakas-CMD, former President Joseph Estrada of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) and Nacionalista Party (NP) Manuel Villar to cross party lines and forge a political unity to oppose an alleged plot leading to failure of elections to retain outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in power.

The militant group issued the statement after President Arroyo called her top security officials yesterday to discuss security matters and possible social unrest arising from the May 10 elections. However, Malacanang said the no-election scenario was not discussed during the meeting.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said aside from the front runners in the May 10 presidential race, the rest of the candidates–independent candidates Jamby Madrigal, Nicanor Perlas and JC de los Reyes of Ang Kapatiran, Bagumbayan presidential bet Richard Gordon and Bangon Pilipinas’ Bro. Eddie Villanueva should obliged themselves to join the mass movement against a possible plot to extend Arroyo’s term via failure of elections.

“All presidentiables should cross party lines and prepare for the grueling battle in the streets against any grand design that would lead to declaration of failure of elections by Comelec and serve the hold over presidency in silver platter to Mrs. Arroyo and her ruling political syndicate ,” said Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said the first automated election system in the country from the start was designed to fail in accordance with the game plan of Malacanang, adding that the series of “unfortunate and chaotic events” as far as the automated election processes were concerned were staged to convince the public of an Arroyo extended presidency beginning May 10.

Hicap said the presence of four battalions of armed government troops in the National Capital Region, excluding the 900 troops deployed in Manila, Makati, Pasay, Taguig and Caloocan was a clear sign that the Arroyo government is setting the stage for declaration of civilian-military junta with Mrs. Arroyo as its president.

“The National Capital Region is virtually transformed into a police state occupied and ruled by Arroyo and her loyal lieutenants in the AFP,” the Pamalakaya official noted.

Hicap asked the camps of Aquino, Villar, Estrada and Teodoro and the rest of the presidential candidates to immediately set aside partisan politics and focus their political energy against the grand design of Arroyo and the pro-GMA clique in the military to sabotage the polls and keep Mrs. Arroyo in power under civilian-military junta.

Hicap same the same political call applies to vice-presidential and senatorial candidates, congressional, governor and other candidates running in the May 10, 2010 elections.

Pamalakaya said all anti-Arroyo political parties and groups who will oppose the hold over presidency could agree to the formation of transition council that will include people’s organizations, anti-corruption watchdogs, human rights groups, anti-fraud electoral organizations and well respected institutions and individuals.

The fisherfolk group said the transition council can function as a transition government that will prepare the next honest, orderly, peaceful and clean elections in the next three to six months. “Why not explore this politically correct therefore politically viable option in the name of national interest?”, Pamalakaya said. #

Leave a comment

Filed under Breaking News, elections, politics

Presidentiables told: Be ready for people power vs. GMA hold over presidency

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Bb. Joyce Cabral and Billy Javier Reyes

MANILA, Philippines-The militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged on Saturday all presidential candidates to sign a covenant calling for the staging of another People Power in case the Macapagal-Arroyo administration declares failure of elections or installs a hold over presidency through a coup instigated by pro-Arroyo faction in the military.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap asked Nacionalista Party (NP) standard bearer Manny Villar, Liberal Party presidential candidate Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III,Lakas-Kampi merger party Gilbert Teodoro, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino bet former President Joseph Bagumbayan candidate Sen. Richard Gordon, Bangon Pilipinas’s Bro. Eddie Villanueva and independent candidates Sen. Jamby Madrigal, JC de los Reyes of Ang Kapatiran Party and Nicanor Perlas to declare their readiness for another people power and commit to mobilize their political forces and members to frustrtate Arroyo’s hold over presidency in whatever form.

“Are they willing to join the people for another People Power? According to the latest survey of the Social Weather Station, 48 percent of the 92 million Filipinos are likely to join any call for popular uprising that will frustrate President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s sinister plot to perpetuate herself to power,” the fisherfolk leader said.

Likewise the same challenged was posed by Hicap to vice-presidential candidates Sen. Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party, Sen. Loren Legarda of Nacionalista Party, Bayani Fernando of Bagumbayan, Edu Manzano of Lakas-Kampi merger party, Jejomar Binay of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino and Perfecto Yasay of Bangon Pilipinas.

The Pamalakaya leader asserted the possibility of another People Power revolution in the Philippines is not a remote scenario according to political experts closely following the turn of political events unfolding two months before the May 2010 elections that include the Supreme Court decision allowing Mrs. Arroyo to appoint the next Chief Justice two months before the elections and the designation of Gen. Delfin Bangit as the new chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“If that is the case, then the 92 million Filipinos have no options but to take the streets for the third time around and stage another popular people uprising to frustrate President Arroyo’s attempt to perpetuate herself to power as a hold over president or chief of an installed civilian-military junta dominated by military generals loyal or associated with the party of Arroyo,” said Hicap.

Pamalakaya said the outrage expressed by political activists, lawyers, professionals and politicians opposed to the Supreme Court decision granting President Arroyo the power to appoint the next Chief Justice despite the constitutional prohibition and their opposition against the appointment of Bangit as new AFP chief is an indication that Filipinos are ready to go to the main capital for another People Power to effectively stop the ruling gangland in Malacanang from extending their terms beyond June 30, 2010.

Pamalakaya described the SC ruling as a major legal disaster and the appointment of Bangit and other rabid pro-Arroyo officials in various positions in the government highly revolting.

Pamalakaya advised President Arroyo to refrain from complicating things and instead do the most lawful, sensible and objective action that suits to the national interest and collective will of the people. It said the trouble with President Arroyo is her super obsession to stay in power beyond June 30, 2010 and the President is hell bent in appointing a Chief Justice that will follow the doctrine of Malacanang.#

Leave a comment

Filed under elections, politics

Only 3 presidential bets take up fishers’ issues—says group

By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Bb. Joyce Cabral

Manila, Philippines-

A boy presented a relief stub during Pamalakaya and Anakpawis' relief operations in Talim Island, Rizal

Leftwing activists belonging to the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday said of the 9 presidential candidates, only three—Nacionalista Party (NP) standard bearer Sen. Manny Villar, independent candidate Sen. Jamby Madrigal and Lakas-Kampi merger party bet Gilberto Teodoro have taken up the issues raised by small fisherfolk.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said Villar was more interested in providing production subsidies and relief to small fisherfolk hit by rising prices of petroleum products and seasonal disaster, Madrigal focused on the particular fight against the privatization and conversion of Manila Bay and offshore mining in the high seas, while Teodoro offered his help to fast track the cleanup of Manila Bay in accordance with the Supreme Court ruling and the pursuance of Philippine claim to the controversial Spratly Island.

“The rest of presidential wannabes have yet to issue any official policy statement how they would solve the multifaceted problems in Philippine fisheries, while the 3 presidential candidates need to concretize and be more comprehensive in addressing the sorry state of Filipino fisherfolk and the fisheries environment,” the Pamalakaya leader noted.

Hicap said his group wants to hear from Villar, Madrigal and Teodoro, while at the same time strongly encourages the rest of the presidential candidates—Liberal Party presidential bet Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III, Partido ng Masang Pilipino standard bearer former President Joseph Estrada, independent bets Richard Gordon, Nicanor Perlas, Bro. Eddie Villanueva of Bangon Pilipinas Movement and JC de los Reyes of the Kapatiran party.

Salvador France, Pamalakaya national vice-chair for his part, his group will stage the 2nd staging of Pamalakaya Fisherfolk Academy (PFA) next month, a presidential forum which aims to gather all presidential and vice presidential candidates in the May 2010 polls.

The forum which was first organized in the May 2007 elections for senatorial candidates, will ask all presidential candidates their respective stand and views on the fisherfolk electoral agenda which will be presented in the half-day forum.

The Pamalakaya official said among the doable demands their group will present to presidential candidates is the immediate and unconditional halt on all reclamation and conversion projects in Laguna Lake and Manila Bay, an indefinite freeze to demolition plans of fishing and urban poor communities along Manila Bay, Laguna Lake and other foreshore land areas across-the-country, the immediate recall of all offshore mining projects in Central and Western Visayas, Mindanao and Palawan seas, Northern Luzon and Bicol regions.

France said, Pamalakaya will also ask the presidential and vice-presidential candidates their position on proposals to abrogate the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa) and the repeal of the Fisheries Code of 1998 and the approval of production subsidy law for fisheries that provide financial and material support to small fisherfolk to improve production and their standard of living.

Pamalakaya will also ask the commitment of presidential and vice presidential candidates that if they win, they will investigate highly questionable contracts and projects implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA) including but not limited to the overpriced P 455 million ice making machine and the
P 7.14 billion agriculture funds which were missing according to the findings of the Commission on Audit dated December 2008.

Quoting the COA 2008 report, the Pamalakaya leader said a total of P 5.19 billion intended for farm-to-market road project were either missing or incomplete. France said the DA only spent P 1.3 billion or 38.99 percent of the total project allotment for 2008. Another big item, the P 1.3 billion fertilizer fund project under the GMA Rice Program was also bungled because local government units refused to participate in the implementation.

“The projects were reportedly incomplete. So the next question is where are the unspent funds? Are they really missing? Were they diverted or juggled to other highly questionable projects? What happen to the farm-to-market road project? Did it become farm to pocket (of GMA allies) road project?” asked
France.

Pamalakaya also took note COA’s other findings like printing of P 2.2 million fertilizer discount coupons which were rendered useless, the construction of mini-dams in Regions VIII, IX and XI built at a cost of
P 7.35 million but were rendered useless due to inferior construction, the construction of 11 Barangay Food Terminals worth P 1.55 million but only one was functional, and the remaining 10 were condemned due to operational deficiencies.

The same COA report described DA as notorious in purchasing equipment which are overpriced, not really needed or cannot be utilized or run by intended beneficiaries, adding that many of the equipment bought are unutilized, undelivered and now rusting in storage.

Pamalakaya said the earth shaking COA report should stop the national government and the agriculture department from buying 300 new ice-making machines to the amount of P 1.5 billion on top of the 98 ice-making machines which DA purchased in 2009 at an overpriced rate of P 4.6 million, 100 percent more of the prevailing industry price. #

Leave a comment

Filed under agriculture, corruption, disaster, elections, environment, foreign relations, global economic and financial crisis, Laguna Lake, Manila Bay

Presidentiables asked: “How do you solve a problem like Hacienda Luisita?”

By Billy Javier Reyes and Bb. Joyce Cabral

Manila, Philippines- Arriving in Metro Manila for the 8th day of Pambansang Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan (National Journey of Toiling Masses for Land and Justice), organizers of the 10-day long march posed this question to all presidential candidates, except Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III: “How do you solve a problem like Hacienda Luisita.”

Lakbayan organizers Danilo Ramos, secretary general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and party list group Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente in a joint statement asked presidential candidates Sen. Manuel Villar (Nacionalista Party), Sen. Dick Gordon, Lakas-Kampi merger party bet Gilbert Teodoro, independent candidates JC de los Reyes and Nicanor Perlas and Bro. Eddie Villanueva of Bangon Pilipinas to declare their position on Hacienda Luisita.

“Senator Aquino believes Hacienda Luisita is God’s gift to Cojuangco-Aquino clan, and therefore only God can take it back from them. So it is useless to ask this moral, legal and political question to him. It is obvious, Noynoy and the patriarchs and matriarchs of Cojuangco landed clan will not give up their immoral and unlawful claim on Luisita”, the Lakbayan leaders said in a joint statement.

KMP’s Ramos said the problems in Hacienda Luisita will not find a long lasting and just settlement under a Noynoy Aquino presidency, asserting that the 6,453-hectare sugar estate is the bread and butter and the source of economic and political power of the Cojuangco-Aquino for near century.

“So the 64-dollar question mark remains—how these presidentiables except Noynoy solve a problem like Hacienda Luisita?” the KMP leader reiterated.

KMP said Hacienda Luisita is only one of the more than 200 cases being handled by the group’s para-legal committee, adding that agrarian cases in different regions and provinces will also be carried by Lakbayan for concrete action and resolution including but not limited to cases of landgrabbing in Southern Tagalog orchestrated by landlord and developers identified with Ayala group of companies and the 3,100 hectare landgrabbing spree inside Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation in Laur, Nueva Ecija.

Ramos said the Lakbayan will also bring up issues of landgrabbing and land reform reversals with the expansion of plantations and mining in Mindanao island which he said have displaced thousands of farmers and indigenous peasants, the problems of coconut farmers in Bicol region and the widespread cancellation of farmer land titles in Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Panay and Negros island.

The KMP leader said the biggest gainer among the landlords during the nine years of Arroyo administration is business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, who was able to control the P 130-billion coconut levy fund and enlarged landholdings from 3,000 hectares to 30,000 hectares in the span of 9 to 10 years.

Ramos said Danding has vast landholdings in Negros (3,000 hectares), Palawan, Tarlac, Caraga and Isabela provinces.
For her part, Clemente of Anakpawis party list announced that it will co-sponsor with KMP a presidential forum next month to present the farmers and the rural people’s agenda in the May 2010 elections.

The Anakpawis official said aside from Hacienda Luisita, the other highlight cases of agrarian problems to be discussed and debated during the forum will include controversial issues surrounding Hacienda Looc in Nasugbu, Batangas, the land reform reversals engineered by Calabarzon program in Southern Tagalog and other land issues in Mindanao, Visayas, Bicol, Northern and Central Luzon.
As of press time, the South contingent composed of 1,500 farmers from Mindanao, Panay, Negros, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions led by the Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) are still marching from San Pedro Laguna to Alabang in Muntinlupa City. They marchers are expected to arrive in Alabang by 10:00 a.m.

The 500-strong North contingent led by Alyansa ng Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) will arrive in Monumento, Caloocan by 2: 00 pm, and will proceed to Our Lady of Grace past 3:00 pm, where they will hold a solidarity night and vigil. On January 22, organizers expect to mobilize 7,000 people for the long march from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to Mendiola.

The 10-kilometer march from DAR to Don Chino Roces bridge in Manila will be spearheaded by senatorial candidates Rep. Satur Ocampo (Bayan Muna) and Rep. Liza Maza (Gabriela), Anakpawis party list Reps. Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod, and leaders of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Pamalakaya fisherfolk alliance, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), the urban poor group Kadamay, the militant driver’s group Piston and other sectoral groups affiliated with Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), the Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) and Alyansa ng Mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL). With a report from Gerry Albert Corpuz

Leave a comment

Filed under agrarian reform, elections