Tag Archives: World Bank

World Bank eyes RP as Asia’s begging capital

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Bb. Tayuman Recto-Yap and Akihira Tatchu

MANILA, Philippines- The plan of the Brettonwoods institution to support the direct cash assistance fund to millions of impoverished Filipinos through an increased fresh loan to Manila government sparked protest from a Philippine group highly critical of the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The leftist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday assailed WB over its recent move to double its assistance in the country for 2011 so the national government could fund its conditional cash transfer (CCT) program to poor Filipinos. Impressed by the Philippine government’s initiatives on good governance, WB country director Bert Hofman last Friday said WB will increase the current overall assistance to the Philippines from $ 630 million to $ 1.3 B in total assistance to the administration of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.Hofman said the aid increase was approved last week at the annual meeting of the WB and International Monetary Fund (IMF)with the Philippines economic team.

In 2007, the WB approved a five year support to CCT with $ 400 million loan as funding support for 2008 as launched by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) then under President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo administration. This year, Congress passed the national budget for 2011, allotting P 21 B for CCT, an increase of P 9 billion compared to last year. The P 21 B for CCT elicited protest from 100 congressmen.

But Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the increase in aid assistance merely suits the political agenda of WB-IMF to turn millions of Filipino poor into beggars and mendicants, transform them into passive political entities highly allergic or hostile to politics of change in the country.

“The WB-IMF supports the CCT program because it sees it as a socio-political instrument that would convert this nation of over 90 million starving Filipinos into a Republic of mendicants and beggars rather than into a progressive nation with critical thinking and struggling people fighting for land, jobs, rights and justice.The increase in assistance with the purpose of supporting the CCT program is mainly a counter-insurgency program in form and in substance,” Hicap explained.

“The WB-IMF backed CCT program is also counter-productive in the sense that it does not create jobs and does not transform people into productive citizens but helpless folks begging for alms,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

The WB country director said the initiatives of the Aquino administration for poverty alleviation were doing well for target beneficiaries and that transparency under the new government made them more comfortable to provide additional assistance to Aquino government.

“It is business as usual for IMF-WB. It will lure the Aquino administration enter into another cycle of debt trap and national death bed due to debt. Behind the triple platinum debt offer of this US-led financial monster is the cruel intention of IMF-WB to get involved in Jurassic public-private partnership (PPPs) economic escapade of the Aquino administration,” said Pamalakaya.

The militant group also slammed the Philippine officials who signed the deal with IMF-WB during a meeting in Washington D.C. Pamalakaya said Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Budget and management SecretaryFlorencio Abad and Socio-Economic planning secretary Cayetano Paderanga Jr. should be condemned to the highest order for what the group called a millennium sell out of the national economy.

“These officials of Noynoy Aquino committed one of the major blunders in the 21st century when they offered the Philippines at the altar of IMF-WB millennium exploitation.They should be remembered in history as modern-day traitors along with President Aquino for undertaking this sell out of national patrimony and grand scam denationalization and privatization of national economy,” said Pamalakaya.

According to Pamalakaya, the IMF-WB aside from raking super profits from interest on loans, would also take part in highly profitable business in the country including but not limited to the expansion of Light Railway Transit system, the improvement of sewerage system of Maynilad and Manila Water.

The militant group said IMF-WB also wants to facilitate PPPs in tourism, food supply chain, construction of airports and other road networks, mass transport, national highways, water, power and other utilities.

Pamalakaya said the P 18.7 B Laguna Lake Dredging Project in Laguna de Bay was one of the PPPs approved by the Arroyo government prior to the May 2010 elections.The group said the project is between the Philippine government and the Fortis Bank of Belgium, which is a private commercial bank based in Brussels. It said around 400,000 lake families or roughly 2 million people in Laguna Lake will be displaced by the Laguna Lake dredging project #

Leave a comment

Filed under corruption, debt, foreign relations, politics, US intervention

Incoming Philippine President urged to suspend debt payment

By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Mimaropa France

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under corruption, elections, foreign relations, global economic and financial crisis, neoliberalization, politics

Pinoy activists outraged at outcome of Copenhagen climate talks

By the Center for Environmental Concerns, contributor, in Copenhagen, Denmark and Gerry Albert Corpuz, senior reporter, The Pamalakaya Times, in Manila

Copenhagen, Denmark- Climate activists from the Philippines expressed outraged at the Copenhagen Accord signed by 26 heads of states at the summit of the United Nations Conference of Parties 15 (COP15). The group was even more disappointed at the Philippine delegation, headed by President Gloria Arroyo, for being one of the first to sign the undemocratic document and once again selling out the interests and welfare of the Filipino people.

“The Copenhagen Accord, which does not commit the developed countries and biggest polluters to specific emission cuts targes at a specific deadline puts humanity nearer to the brink of world catastrophy. How the accord came to be is a case in point of how rich countries like the US preserve its interests at the expense of the welfare of the world’s population by imposing its power to prevent the creation of a fair, effective and legally binding deal,” said Clemente Bautista of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE).

KALIKASAN-PNE was among the hundreds of civil society organizations that flew to Copenhagen to participate in the talks by forwarding the positions and calls of the country’s most vulnerable and marginalized sectors. While the group did not have high expectations that a binding and substantial agreement will be signed at the UN summit, they were revolted how the talks turned out.

The Copenhagen Accord was brokered by the United States during a closed door meeting last Friday night with the BASIC countries: Brazil, South Africa, India and China, which the other countries left out of the meetings. The process was undemocratic, secretive and in gross violation of the UN charter and the rights of other nations to take part in an agreement where the fate of the world depends on.

The Accord also set the to limit the increase in global temperature to 2°C instead of the 1.5°C needed by countries such as Bangladesh and Tuvalu to stay above sea level. To achieve that, the accord aims to cut global carbon emission by only 50% of 1990 levels by 2050, with no specific target and legally binding commitment from rich countries to reduce their emission.

Aside from the emissions cuts, the accord supposedly commits the developed countries to raise climate funds for vulnerable nations.

Unfair accord

“While we have observed in the past 2 weeks that the climate talks is not a negotiation between equal parties, we have also observed how the Philippine delegation expressed enthusiasm for the unfair accord and contented itself with a few billion pesos of climate aid, ” said Marjorie Pamintuan of Agham Youth.

Ms. Pamintuan also participated in the COP15 with 350.org, an international movement campaigning for the lowering the carbon in the atmosphere to 350ppm.

Referring to an interview of expert negotiator Ms. Bernarditas Castro-Muller, Ms. Pamintuan explained that, “The $30 billion that is to be provided by rich countries for vulnerable nations between 2010 and 2012, and the $100 billion dollars ‘from a wide variety of sources’ to be available after 2020 could hardly be considered any help at all since ‘these will be in the form of loans’ which will bury the Filipinos into much deeper national debt.”

Ms. Pamintuan further pointed out that, “additional national debts means larger budget cuts for services like education and health since a large portion of the national budget is appropriated for debt servicing. With a destroyed environment, unhealthy bodies and without education, what kind of future does the Filipino youth have?”

“Instead of being used to increase the resiliency and adaptive of the country, the $380 million pledge of clean technology and forestry investment funds from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank that Mrs. Arroyo is so proud of will be allocated to hoax technological solutions like clean coal, market based mechanisms and will also facilitate the exploit of our energy and forest resources by foreign corporations,” explained Ms. Meggie Nolasco of Philippine Climate Watch Alliance (PCWA).

According to the PCWA statement , “If the government is indeed serious in addressing climate, instead of promoting technological fixes and false climate solutions it should prioritize people’s needs by immediately scrapping destructive environmental policies like the Mining Act of 1995 and stopping the building of new coal-fired power plants and coal mining projects.”

“While there is already a global consensus that any further delays in coming up with effective solutions will jeopardize the whole planet especially vulnerable nations such as the Philippines, Mrs. Arroyo and her delegation even commended the unfair and unsubstantial deal,” said Ms. Nolasco.

Ms Nolasco added that, “What Mrs. Arroyo and her delegation should have done was act in the interest of the Filipino people by standing firmly with the other nations in demanding that developed countries, especially the US, to commit to an effective, fair and legally binding climate deal.”

“However, we must not be disheartened in our struggle. We must sustain our collective actions even as we go back to our countries and press for true climate change solutions and lasting social justice,” ended Ms. Nolasco.

Not all about aid

In Manila, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday chided President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for praising her efforts to secure $ 380-million in financial aid to help the Philippines cope with the impact of climate change.

“Is that how President Arroyo measure the meaning of success? Where is climate justice in the $ 380-million pledges to fight global warming? We don’t call it aid, we call it bribery from top global polluters and environmental destroyers,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

Hicap said his group was dismayed on President Arroyo over her silence and non-committal and no-combative stance on the collective position of the G-77 for the United States and other major economies of the world to drastically cut their carbon emissions to cushion if not eliminate the phenomenon of global warming across-the-world.

“President Arroyo attended the Copenhagen summit on climate change not to attack the global warmers and present the global people’s agenda for climate justice, but to perform her duty as an apologist for the US and other rich nations,” the Pamalakaya official said.

In her arrival statement, President Arroyo described the Philippines’ efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change as a “life and death’ issue. She said her government is at the frontline of the changing global climate, as she mentioned the past storms that had ravaged the country, the Filipino people and their way of life.

The President said the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank committed up to $ 250 million from their clean technology fund in recognition of the Philippines leadership role in tackling climate changes in Asia. Mrs. Arroyo also took home $ 70 million for forestry investment fund and another 50 million US dollars from the global environmental fund. The Danish government promised another 10 million US dollars in support to the Philippines local water utilities.

Money, money,money

“Mrs. Arroyo works hard for the money for herself and not for climate justice and not for the people affected by US-led inflicted climate change. That’s the President’s vision in life—money, money, enough money for her eternal greed, nothing more, nothing less,” said Hicap.
While President Arroyo was rebuked by Pamalakaya, the militant group commended a group of Filipino activists who made their presence felt during the Conference of Parties (COP) in Copenhagen.

The group praised Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of the environmental group Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment and the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS), Ms Tess Vistro of Amihan peasant women federation, Paul Quintos of Ibon Foundation and Ces Quimpo of Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC) for bringing the Filipino people’s collective position on climate justice and the need to punish top global polluters like the United States and its transnational corporations for bringing global environmental disasters to 77 most poorest countries in the world.

“The Filipino people were not in default in the Copenhagen battle. Their voice was added to the worldwide demands for rich nations to stop exploiting and destroying the people and the resources and to ensure global climate justice against the super profiteering activities of US and other capitalist exploiting nations across America, Europe and Asia and the Pacific,” said Pamalakaya.

Leave a comment

Filed under debt, disaster, environment, foreign relations

Ombudsman sacrificed 17 DPWH execs to get FG, Ebdane off the hook, says militant group

Ombudsman sacrificed 17 DPWH execs to get FG, Ebdane off the hook, says militant group

The 17 officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) who were named in the charge sheet of the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged anomalies regarding World Bank-funded road projects were made as sacrificial lambs to get First Gentleman Atty. Jose Miguel Arroyo and public works secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. off the hook.

“This is ridiculous, outrageous and a grand design for one of the biggest cover ups of the 21st century. Where is the Ombudsman’s sense of truth and objectivity here? This anti-graft office is setting the stage for another major whitewash, nothing more, nothing less,” the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a press statement.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the charging of 17 DPWH officials minus the alleged principals—the president’s husband Atty. Arroyo and Secretary Ebdane, is nothing but a political masquerade.

“The Filipino public will not buy the idea that Atty. Arroyo and Secretary Ebdane were not part of the collusion in orchestrating corruption in the Arroyo bureaucracy. The people are not born yesterday not to understand this well-placed syndicate and mafia operating in and out of Malacañang and in and out of the public works portfolio,” he added.

The Pamalakaya leader said the Filipino public is expecting the Office of the Ombudsman to absolve the First Gentleman and Secretary Ebdane from this large-scale act of corruption in the Macapagal-Arroyo government.

“The taxpaying public is convinced the Office of the Ombudsman will not touch the untouchables and it will just go after the starlets and bit players in the DPWH. The Filipino taxpayers are correct, because the Ombudsman decided to drop the presidential husband and Secretary Ebdane from the charge sheet and from the horror roll,” added Hicap.

However, Pamalakaya appealed to the 17 DPWH officials named in the charge sheet of the Office of the Ombudsman to tell all and reveal the involvement of First Gentleman and the public works secretary on alleged anomalies in foreign and national government funded projects.
“Bare all and tell all. The truth will set them free. That should be their political motto once they face the probers of the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with this case and other anomalies involving the top honchos in Malacañang. This is their time to redeem themselves and become the people’s witnesses against this regime of greed,” the militant group added.

The Office of the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office (FIO) on Wednesday recommended the conduct of a preliminary investigation to determine if graft charges could be filed against 17 officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways being linked to the allegedly anomalous World Bank-funded road projects.

Assistant Ombudsman Mark Jalandoni, head of the FIO, named those who should be investigated include former DPWH secretary Florante Soriquez, current undersecretary Manuel Bonoan, and assistant secretaries Bashir Rasuman, Salvador Pleytol and Juanito Abergas.

Jalandoni said the FIO pushed for a preliminary investigation on Soriquez because he approved the results of the bidding. He said Bonoan also has to undergo probe because he was the chairman of the DPWH-BAC for Visayas and Mindanao projects, as well as Rasuman because he was BAC chair for Mindanao.

The Office of the Ombudsman also recommended the investigation on Mocamad Raki-in Sr., vice-chairman for the Mindanao area; Rafael Yabut, vice chairman for operations for Area III; BAC members Emerson Benitez, project manager lll and head of the BAC-Technical Working Group; Baliame Mamainte, project director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development-Project Management Office (IBRD); Lope Adriano, project director for the IBRD-PMOP; and Atty. Joel Jacob, officer-in-charge of Legal Service.

Others are Camilo Foronda, OIC for Legal Service; Director Antonio Molano, Jr. of the Bureau of Research and Standards; Leonora Cuenca, OIC of the Comptrollership and Financial Management Services; Director Walter Ocampo of the Bureau of Construction, all BAC members and Florencio Aricheta, representative from National Constructors Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Construction Association.

If there is probable cause, the officials could be charged for violating Section 3 (e) and (i) of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices); and Section 4A (a) and (b) of RA No. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Government Officials and Employees).

They could also be charged with administrative cases of grave misconduct, dishonesty, conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service and neglect of duty. #

Leave a comment

Filed under corruption

Japanese contractor asked to testify on WB funded projects

Japanese contractor linking First Gentleman, former senator
to WB rigged projects asked to testify

“Please testify.”

This was the appeal of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) to a Japanese contractor named in the World Bank report linking First Gentleman Atty. Mike Arroyo in the alleged collusion and rigging in the bank’s funded road projects in the Philippines.

“The truth shall prevail over and above business and personal interests. In the name of national interest, we appeal to the Japanese contractor to come out in the open and bare all about this endless game of collusion, contract rigging and first-rate crime of corruption,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

“We are after the truth. This is not only about business interests and business ethics here. The people’s hard-earned taxes are involved here; therefore the 90 million Filipinos have the legal, moral and political rights to demand what exactly transpired,” added Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader also asked the Japanese contractor to name the former senator he mentioned to World Bank probers who recently found out that three Filipino contractors and four Chinese companies had colluded to rig the bidding for a $ 33-milion WB-funded road project in the country.

“What is so special about this former Senator? Why he was in the picture? What’s his role in this 33-million US dollar contract rigging and corruption? The Filipino public deserves the real score and not the reel score,” added Hicap.

The World Bank report said the Japanese contractor got an impression the money was important in doing business in the country during his meeting with Atty. Arroyo and the ex-Senator. In another meeting with the former Senator, it had been made clear to him that there would be no business in the Philippines without paying money.

The contractor was told that the money would have to be paid as high up as the president, senior government officials and politicians in order to do any further business in the country.

Pamalakaya likewise asked the local contractor interviewed by the World Bank to shed lights on the $ 33-million rigged WB road project in the Philippines. The local contractor identified the presidential husband as behind Eduardo de Luna, owner and proprietor of E.C de Luna Construction Corp., one of the firms blacklisted by the World Bank.

The local contractor said de Luna acts as the intermediary between contractors and politicians for the bid fixing. Another foreign contractor interviewed by the World Bank said he was told to form a relationship with de Luna if he is to bag any project, and he was told that de Luna has connections with the First Gentleman.

The E.C de Luna construction group was permanently banned by World Bank, while two other Filipino construction firms—Cavite Ideal International Construction and Development Corp. and CM Pancho Construction were barred for four years.

The four banned Chinese firms were China Road and Bridge (banned for 8 years), China State Construction (banned for 6 years), China Wu Yi Co. (banned for 6 years) and China Geo-Engineering (banned for five years).

On top of the group’s appeal for World Bank witnesses to come out in the open, Pamalakaya said the WB expose on contract collusion and rigging should merit the expulsion of Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane as chief of the department.

“Secretary Ebdane should resign and shall be continuously grilled by any investigating bodies looking into the alleged involvement of government and private entities close to the ruling political gangland in Malacañang,” said Pamalakaya.

The militant group said if Ebdane has still some political delicadeza as a political animal and a human being, he would quit his post and subject himself to investigation. #

6 Comments

Filed under corruption