Author Archive

Scientist Group Calls Anew for Scrapping of EPIRA, VAT amid the Power Rate Hike

October 30, 2008

With the impending 36 percent hike in electricity rates, AGHAM, an organization of scientists and technologists, called anew for the scrapping of the EPIRA or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act, and the VAT on electricity.

BY BULATLAT

The AGHAM (Science and Technology for the People), an organization of scientists and technologists, has called anew for the scrapping of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).

Dr. Giovanni Tapang, AGHAM national chairperson said that as long as EPIRA allows the passing on of the costs and losses of distribution utilities and generation plants to the people, the rate of power would continue to increase.

The adjusted Manila Electric Company’s (Meralco) rates recently approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on its average distribution, supply and metering charges bode of a 36-percent power rate increase for consumers.

Tapang said the ERC’s ‘alphabet soup of recovery mechanisms’: Generation Rate Adjustment Mechanism (GRAM), Currency Exchange Rate Adjustment (CERA), Deferred Accounting Adjustment (DAA) result to increases.

Not the end

“These increases are reflected on the distribution utility charges and it is not yet the end of power rate increases. Come three months hence, NAPOCOR (National Power Corporation) and Meralco would apply for another adjustment for their generation rates on top of the current rate hike. As the economy sinks, we will be facing a never ending spiral of price increases allowed by the ERC under the EPIRA”, said Dr. Tapang.

The continuing privatization and deregulation of electric power by the EPIRA run counter to the interests of the Filipino people. It has only made electricity inaccessible due to ever increasing costs, Tapang pointed out.

“Like a gun pointed at our heads, there seems to be no escape from the barrage of increases coming from Napocor and Meralco. Electricity is used daily in our activities, yet the ERC, NAPOCOR, MERALCO and the Arroyo government seem unconcerned about the heavy impact these increases have in our lives”, noted Dr. Tapang.

VAT

Dr. Tapang said the Arroyo government should also be held accountable for the continuing Value Added Tax (VAT) imposed on electricity rates. He said that removing the VAT would immediately lower electricity rates by around 10 percent.

Repeal EPIRA

Tapang maintained that Congress, especially the Committee on Energy chaired by Representative Mikey Arroyo, should seriously consider repealing the pass-on provisions of the EPIRA or to scrap the law altogether.

He said they should instead pass House Bill 3010 or the proposed measure seeking to repeal Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) sponsored by Anakpawis, Bayan Muna and Gabriela.

“The people will always remember that it was Gloria Arroyo who pushed the EPIRA law into force and that she is the main implementor of the liberalization of the power industry. The EPIRA has not brought any relief to the people and this

World Crisis to Adversely Affect China Too – Sison

October 30, 2008

The current GDP of China is reportedly already USD 3.251 trillion. But China is a huge country with a huge population of 1.33 billion. With a per capita income of only around US$ 2,700, China is still a very poor country, a far cry from the US per capita income of US$ 46,000 in 2007. China and the Philippines have per capita incomes of nearly $2,500 and $1,500, respectively in 2007. Both of them are still ranked below the more than 100 countries with higher per capita income and are among the poor countries of the world. But China has more capacity than the Philippines in coping with the crisis and will more than ever regard the Philippines as a profitable client in the vicinity.

BY NOEL SALES BARCELONA
Bulatlat

As the world’s stocks free fall and the world economy slides towards the brink of a recession comparable to the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Peoples’ Republic of China appears to be better prepared than others.

China’s economy grew by 9.9 percent during the first quarter of 2008. During the third quarter, growth only slipped to nine percent, with decreasing demand for Chinese exports being the main reason for the slide.

During the October 4 Kapihan sa Sulo on the melamine milk scandal involving China, Chito Sta. Romana, ABC television producer in Peking (Beijing), shared his insights not only about why the melamine milk scandal in China happened but also about China, its economy and politics.

Sta. Romana concluded that China is Leninist in politics but capitalist in its economy; US-Chinese relations are “tied on the hips”; the economy of China is now expanding and it’s tilting the balance in world economic affairs; and it wanted to bring more muscle to emerging economies in Asia like India and Indonesia so that the “monopoly” of power of America will be lessen or dispersed. Sta. Romana also said that China doesn’t want to become an imperialist, like the US.

Bulatlat interviewed Jose Maria Sison, founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines, regarding his views on China and his comments on the insights shared by his former comrade Chito Sta. Romana.

Bulatlat: Is there such a thing as capitalist-Leninist China?

Sison: The expression “capitalist-Leninist” is an oxymoron. Indeed, China’s economy is capitalist. But it is not Leninist in politics because state power is not in the hands of the working class.

Bulatlat: How do you see the current relationship between China and the US, both in economy and polity? Sta. Romana said, they’re “tied on the hips.”

Sison: In a sense, the two countries are “tied on the hips”. They can gyrate together in the current global economic and financial crisis. China has become dependent on exports to the US, which are now hard hit by the contraction of US consumer demand. And the values of China’s US dollar holdings, US treasury bills and bonds, US corporate bonds and securities are seriously undercut and damaged by the current crisis.

Bulatlat: By 2010 or maybe later, China’s economy is projected to amount more than US$3 trillion. Considering this, what would be the effect of China on the global economy and the capitalist system?

Sison: The current GDP of China is reportedly already USD 3.251 trillion. But China is a huge country with a huge population of 1.33 billion. With a per capita income of only around US$ 2,700, China is still a very poor country, a far cry from the US per capita income of US$ 46,000 in 2007. China and the Philippines have per capita incomes of nearly $2,500 and $1,500, respectively in 2007. Both of them are still ranked below the more than 100 countries with higher per capita income and are among the poor countries of the world.

Bulatlat: Do you believe that China will become a superpower, economically and politically, while it is said to be “refusing to deploy its army the world over” unlike what the US has done? Or is China now a superpower?

Sison: China has a weak economic base for becoming a superpower. Its military strength is limited to a defensive position. In fact, it is the object of military containment as well as economic engagement by the US.

Bulatlat: What do you think would be the moves of the Chinese government with regards the conflicting claims on the Spratly islands? Sta. Romana was quoted as saying that the Chinese government is now willing to buy the islands for US$2 billion or more.

Sison: The Chinese government seems to prefer the diplomatic approach within the ASEAN-China framework of constructive dialogue and cooperative relations regarding the Spratlys. However, the high bureaucrats and big compradors of China and the Philippines are constantly cooking up deals. The rulers of the Philippines are unprincipled and corrupt enough to sell Philippine interest in the Spratly islands to foreign buyers.

Bulatlat: What do you think of the melamine-tainted milk scandal now hounding China, especially since two milk products, which were found to be toxic, Yili and Mengniu were produced by state corporations?

Sison: The most unscrupulous and worst kinds of capitalist criminals are bred in countries in which capitalism has emerged from the dismantling of socialism by corrupt bureaucrats and their partners in the so-called free market. The US food monopolies have seized the melamine incidents to discourage the purchase of Chinese products in the global market.

Bulatlat: Please give your forecast on the effects of the global economic turmoil and the fast-growing Chinese economy on the Philippines and the Philippine revolution.

Sison: The global economic and financial crisis will worsen at least in the next two years and may extend to as long as 10 years. The Chinese economy will be adversely affected. But China has more capacity than the Philippines in coping with the crisis and will more than ever regard the Philippines as a profitable client in the vicinity.

The worsening crisis generates conditions favorable for the advance of the Philippine revolution. (Bulatlat.com)

Bolante back in RP

October 28, 2008

By Jerome Aning, Maila Ager
INQUIRER.net, Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:04:00 10/28/2008

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 2) Controversial former agriculture undersecretary Joc-joc Bolante arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Tuesday night aboard a Northwest Airlines Flight 71 at exactly 10:32 p.m.

Bolante’s arrival was confirmed by NAIA’s media affairs division chief Connie Bungag.

In a statement released to reporters a few minutes before he arrived, Bolante said he will “answer any and all accusations at the proper forum” after he undergoes a medical check up and treatment.

The former government official has been accused of engineering the so-called fertilizer scam, which involved the alleged diversion of P728 million intended for assistance to farmers to the 2004 campaign kitty of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

He left the country in January 2006, after the Senate issued a warrant for his arrest.

The Senate said the arrest order was issued after Bolante snubbed summonses to appear at the inquiry into the P728-million fertilizer scam. Bolante is alleged to have engineered the diversion of the funds to the 2004 campaign kitty of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

However, in the statement, Bolante said he “had no intention of snubbing the Senate hearings and I had made known to the Senate in writing the reasons for my non-appearance that I had made prior commitments abroad, which were set long before the Senate scheduled hearings.”

“Now that I am back, I shall now fulfill my promise to face the issues and all the malicious accusations against me,” Bolante said in the statement, in which he also claimed that he fled the country and sought asylum in the United States for fear of his life after the Senate issued a warrant for his arrest.

“This confirmed my belief that forces from many fronts were out to get me–either in prison or six feet under the ground,” he said.

“In truth and in fact, I committed through counsel in writing to appear before the Senate during the last week of January 2006,” he said.

“Many baseless accusations have been thrown against me these past years,” Bolante said. “I chose to remain silent but I have come to realize that the more I remain silent, the more vicious the accusations have become.”

Bolante was arrested by American immigration authorities after his US visa was cancelled on the request of the Senate. He sought asylum in the US but was denied.

New CPAs of 2008 (R)

October 28, 2008

Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008
1905 RABANZO, BELINDA CARGO
1906 RABORAR, IVY JOYCE LOPE
1907 RACPAN, KATRINA ANNE CARMONA
1908 RADA, MICHAEL JOHN ROQUE
1909 RADOVAN, ADRIAN CHRISTIAN PINEDA
1910 RAFLORES, CHRISTIAN ANTHONY VILLEGAS
1911 RAFOLS, IRESH BENEROS
1912 RAGASA, GEARSON SAET
1913 RAGO, KAREN LAUREN DE JESUS
1914 RAGONTON, CLINT LLOYD RUPLO
1915 RAGPALA, KAREN JOY ALEGADO
1916 RAMALLA, ROWENA ANTOC
1917 RAMIL, ROBERTO JR MANDAC
1918 RAMIREZ, ARMITHA MARTIN
1919 RAMIREZ, HIDEL DAWN VILLALON
1920 RAMISO, CHRISTY MALAYA GANADEN
1921 RAMOS, BOEIN REMORAY LABRADORES
1922 RAMOS, CHARIE MAE TIPAWAN
1923 RAMOS, DAVID MORTERA
1924 RAMOS, FREAH GRANADO
1925 RAMOS, GERALDINE GIRON
1926 RAMOS, JHONALYN PANGANIBAN
1927 RAMOS, KARL ANDRE LO JUMAWAN
1928 RAMOS, KATRINA FERNANDO
1929 RAMOS, MELISSA ORFANEL
1930 RAMOS, MONICAROSE ALOMIA
1931 RAMOS, RHEA DE GUZMAN
1932 RAMOS, RHODORA SAN JUAN
1933 RAMOS, SUSAN DELIZO
1934 RAMOS, VINCENT JESUS ANGELES
1935 RAMOSO, KARL WILLIAM GABOY
1936 RANCAP, MIGUEL CARLO SANTIAGO
1937 RANILE, NERRISA PRESTOSA
1938 RAQUEL, DOMINICK INFANTADO
1939 RARA, GABRIEL JUN MADULA
1940 REA, RHEALIN CAYAGO
1941 REALIZA, ROSE ANN ESTABILLO
1942 REBOLLOS, JET LORD PANTUA
1943 REDIDO, MARIBETH LAURON
1944 REDILLAS, SYRINGIE DAGCUTA
1945 REDULLA, MA ABEGAIL
1946 REFUERZO, JURELIE TINDOC
1947 REGINIO, GEROSON CANA
1948 RELOVA, FRITZ ESGUERRA
1949 REMO, JOANN CATANGAY
1950 REMO, NESTOR JR OSILA
Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008 Page: 41 of 50
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008

Seq. No. N a m e

1951 REONAL, CARLO LLARENA
1952 REOYAN, FAITH MARIEL NAVEA
1953 REQUIZA, MARSHA PONCLARA
1954 RESPICIO, KRISTINE GUTIERREZ
1955 RESUELLO, ANABELLA ROMERO
1956 RESURRECCION, IZA VILLANUEVA
1957 REX, ALLAN LIONEL IBARRA
1958 REYES, ABIGAIL TIANELA
1959 REYES, ANGELO AQUINO
1960 REYES, CECILLE CORTEZ
1961 REYES, CHRISTIAN LORD EFREEM AGUILA
1962 REYES, GERNALYN CHUA
1963 REYES, HAZEL ROSE PINLAC
1964 REYES, JENNALYN VENICA TING
1965 REYES, JOANNA ERIKA ABREMATEA
1966 REYES, JOHN PAUL GARCIA
1967 REYES, MARK ANTHONY AVILA
1968 REYES, MICHELLE DE OCAMPO
1969 REYES, NOIME LANDICHO
1970 REYES, SAM AYTONA
1971 REYES, SANDY DANCEL
1972 REYES, TERRYFIN DEL RIO
1973 REYES, VANESSA PAULA REYES
1974 REYNANTE, RAYMUND JESS GUERRERO
1975 REYNO, DAVID WAGNER MACALANDA
1976 REYNON, RACHEL ANNE RACADIO
1977 RICAFORT, JEFFREY CELESTINO
1978 RICAÑA, CHARLES CHRISTIAN PULIDO
1979 RICO, NEIL DAVEN PONPON
1980 RIMANDO, ANIE CARINA SUNIEGA
1981 RINGOR, DIANNE CUENO
1982 RIONDA, JOELLE LORRAINE TORINO
1983 RIVAREZ, JAMES GEOFFREY HUSMILLO
1984 RIVAS, REINA CARMEL SUYKO
1985 RIVERA, GLAIZA GATCHALIAN
1986 RIVERA, KATRINA BULALAQUE
1987 RIVERA, MA ROCHEL DE GUZMAN
1988 RIVERA, MARNELLI OLIQUINO
1989 RIVERA, PHABELLE SANTOS
1990 RIVERA, RACHELLE VENTENILLA
1991 RIVERA, SHELLA MAY ANULAO
1992 ROA, LEA MAE SABACAN
1993 RODELAS, JEPH BERC ALSON
1994 RODIL, JAE ANNE LEAL
1995 RODIS, MARKO VIKTOR AGAO
1996 RODRIGUEZ, AXIL FORTES
1997 RODRIGUEZ, CHRISTINE COMPETENTE
1998 RODRIGUEZ, GLORIA PLAZA
1999 RODRIGUEZ, MARIE ANTOINETTE CUARESMA
2000 RODRIGUEZ, MARY JEYBEE PAGCALIWANGAN
Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008 Page: 42 of 50
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008

Seq. No. N a m e

2001 ROGA, NORALYNE ESPARES
2002 ROJAS, RODMER LUMINTAO
2003 ROMAGOSA, GRACE VILLAREAL
2004 ROMANO, LEONIDEZA PACAMALAN
2005 ROMANO, PATRICIA KARLA BARCELONA
2006 ROMERO, RICHELLE BALINGIT
2007 ROPAL, ROMEL NEONAL
2008 ROSALES, CATHERINE PATRISHA SALDANA
2009 ROSALES, CLARESE LESLE LANSANGAN
2010 ROSALES, JOVILLE RESUELLO
2011 ROSALES, RONN ROBBY DE CASTRO
2012 ROSARIO, GIA ALCAUSIN
2013 ROSARIO, MARK DAVIS BURGOS
2014 ROSARIO, RICKY ESPINOZA
2015 ROSARIO, ROMULO JR TESIL
2016 ROSATASE, CANDY ORBISO
2017 ROSETE, ARMAN NICOLAS
2018 ROSETE, JENNIFER MANGLANLAN
2019 ROSETE, ROGER FRIGILLANA
2020 ROSTATA, MARYFLOR MONTERO
2021 ROTA, CARMELA SULTAN
2022 ROTONI, KRISTINA RIVADELO
2023 ROXAS, APRIL ALLOU QUIMBO
2024 ROXAS, JASON REUEL LIM
2025 ROXAS, JHONNA MAGCAWAS
2026 RUBIO, MELISSA PABITON
2027 RUBIO, PAUL GEUEL DURAN
2028 RUFON, LUIJIES TARONAS
2029 RUMBAOA, IVY JOY CORNELIO
2030 RUMBAOA, VOLTAIRE QUEDDENG
2031 RUMBAUA, DAHLEE MAY BATTUNG
2032 RUMBAUA, MIRASOL MALLO
2033 RUSTE, MA MONICA LIM

Corruption in Water Costs Billions of Dollars, Hits Poor the Hardest – Global Report

October 28, 2008

To compensate for the losses caused by corruption, Transparency International reports that an additional $45 billion would have to be invested over the next decade in order to reach the Millenium Development Goals, particularly increasing the access to safe water.

BY RONALYN OLEA
Bulatlat

The Transparency International’s “Global Corruption Report (GCR) 2008: Corruption in the Water Sector” reveals corruption costs billions of dollars and hits poor the hardest.

Organized by IBON Foundation and Water Integrity Network (WIN), the East Asia forum launch of the TI report was held October 24 in Makati City. The GCR was previously launched in New York City, USA and in the Netherlands.

Priya Shah, assistant programme coordinator of the WIN, shared the highlights of the GCR 2008.

WIN is a network of individuals and organizations that are able and willing to support the cause of increasing Water Integrity. It has over 650 members in more than 50 countries.

Shah said corruption manifests in all of the areas of the water sector – water resources management, water and sanitation, water for food, and water for energy.

The GCR contains over 30 country reports.

According to the report, corruption jacks up the cost of water services between 10 to 30 percent globally each year.

Shah said that illegal payoffs increase the cost and lower the quality of public works projects by between 30 to 50 percent. Government monopolies inflate the prices for goods by as much as 15 to 20 percent as a result of illicit gains. Governments can pay prices inflated anywhere from 20 to 100 percent for expensive goods and services due to over-billing of procurement contracts.

Renaud Meyer, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country director, said that more than US$1 trillion (US $1,000 billion) are paid in bribes every year, just over three percent of world income in 2002.

More than 70 percent of small and medium enterprises in transition economies perceive corruption as an impediment to their business, he added.

In Africa, $148 billion leaves the continent every year because of corruption.

Shah cited unchecked water pollution and overuse in China and Spain; embezzlement and bid-rigging in large infrastructure development projects in India, Lesotho; embezzlement of water budgets in Paraguay, distorted distribution of water points in Malawi, inflated costs of infrastructure in India; local water mafias control supply in Ecuador and Bangladesh; water jobs awarded through patronage or bribery in Mauritania; bribery and extortion in bill collection, repair works in Kenya and Zimbabwe.

She said that corruption in irrigation contracts makes up to 25 percent of the contract volume in India and there are distorted subsidies where largest farmers collect disproportionate share of earnings in Mexico and US.

Hydropower, said Shah, attracts US $50 to 60 billion annual investments. The report reveals distorted environmental impact assessments in India; embezzlement, bribery, bid-rigging in construction in Argentina and Paraguay; fraud and manipulation in resettlement and compensation programmes in China, Indonesia and Zambia.

To compensate for the losses caused by corruption, TI reports that an additional $45 billion would have to be invested over the next decade in order to reach the Millenium Development Goals, particularly increasing the access to safe water.

Shah identified the fundamental characteristics of corruption in the water sector. These are: public officials have wide discretion and little accountability; lack of checks and balances; weak enforcement mechanisms; the benefits of corruption are greater than the consequences of being caught and disciplined; and, demand for accountability for services is usually missing.

Meyer, of the UNDP, cited the human cost of the water crisis. He said that some 1.8 million children die each year as a result of diarrhea—which is 4,900 deaths a day. This is equivalent to the under-five population in London and New York combined. Deaths for diarrhea in 2004 were about six times greater than the average annual deaths in armed conflict for the 1990s.

He added that 443 million school days each year are lost to water-related illnesses.

Millions of women spend up to four hours a day collecting water. Almost 50 percent of all people in developing countries are suffering at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits, he said.

Meyer said anti-corruption strategies can help guarantee the right to water, ensure access to affordable and safe water services by the poor, help reduce the risks on the environment and provide energy security and help reduce the impacts of climate change and impending food crises.

Shah said there is a need to forge actor alliances as the stakes are high and to empower local communities. (Bulatlat.com)

Costly, Incomplete Irrigation Projects Being Paid for by Gov’t, Farmers at Losing End

October 28, 2008

Delays in government irrigation projects, and unresolved inquiries and cases of corruption pertaining to these are costing taxpayers millions since 2002. But in the end, it is the small farmers bear the brunt of corruption, said IBON Foundation Research Head Jose Enrique Africa.

BY RONALYN OLEA
Bulatlat

Delays in government irrigation projects, and unresolved inquiries and cases of corruption pertaining to these are costing taxpayers millions since 2002. But in the end, it is the small farmers who bear the brunt of corruption, said IBON Foundation Research Head Jose Enrique Africa.

In his presentation at the launching of the Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report (GCR) 2008: Corruption in the Water Sector, Africa cited two irrigation projects rigged with irregularities – the Casecnan Multipurpose Irrigation and Power Project (CMIPP) in Nueva Ecija and the Talibon Small Reservoir Irrigation Project in Bohol. Said projects discussed in the Philippine case studies were presented by Africa to the GCR 2008.

Irregularities

The CMIPP has two components – a $675 million build-operate-transfer (BOT) project that diverts water from two rivers, runs this through a hydroelectric power plant, and collects it in a dam; and a P6.8 billion irrigation component for distributing water to 53,000 hectares of rice land and for rehabilitating irrigation systems for 55,100 hectares more.

Africa identified controversies in the approval of the project. He said that an inter-agency committee,

which evaluated the project, found the CMIPP not financially viable. “They found that over the 20 year life span of the project, they estimated it would be able to deliver water only about 53 percent of the time.”

He also revealed that an agreement was executed even before going through the appropriate processes. The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) executed an agreement with the contractor CE Casecnan Water and Energy Company, Inc., a local subsidiary of California Energy International, in November 1994.

“It was controversial because it was only submitted to the appropriate government body, the Investment Coordination Committee of the NEDA (National Development Authority) three months later, in January, 1995, and the approval was actually made only in May 1995.”

Africa also pointed out that the project was unsolicited and therefore, under the law, it should not qualify for government guarantees.

He said the implementation was also problematic as project delays were quite significant. Although the target completion of the project was supposed to be in 1998, construction for the irrigation component only started substantially in 2003. It was supposed to be completed by 2008.

Africa said, “The delay is a problem because of government guarantees. The government has been paying water delivery fees since 2002 even as the project has not yet been completed.”

The Philippine government had paid $320 million in guaranteed water delivery fees from 2002-2006. “This was paid despite the fact that less than one and a half percent of the land to be irrigated by the project has been irrigated. A total of 50, 000 hectares have yet to be irrigated.”

Africa blamed the ‘onerous’ contract with the Casecnan CE that obliges the NIA to pay water delivery fees of a minimum guaranteed dollar-denominated amount for 20 years whether or not any water is actually delivered or any farmland is actually irrigated.

Over the same period, Africa said, the total gross revenuesof NIA was just $170 million but they had to pay the CE Casecnan $320 million. The Bureau of Treasury has been paying these water fees on behalf of NIA and considers these as loan to NIA.

In 2006, NIA paid $77.2 million to CE Casecnan.

Missing dam

Meanwhile, the P199.4-million Talibon Small Reservoir Project (TSRP) in Talibon, Bohol was supposed to irrigate 1,000 hectares of land.

Africa said the project was conceived in 1987 and the provincial irrigation office at that time reportedly found it to be not viable. In any case, surveying and pre-engineering work started and bids were solicited in 1995. A private contractor, which submitted the lowest bid lost, allegedly upon the lobbying of a lawmaker. By 1998, the Bohol Provincial Irrigation Office requested authority to undertake the project.

Construction was supposed to finish in 1999 but until now, it remains incomplete. An investigation in 1995 by a local anti-corruption alliance found that although P119.1 million ($4,639,837 at the 1995 average exchange rate of $1=P25.669) had already been spent, there was still no sign of any reservoir, dam or irrigation.

Unresolved

Africa revealed that the controversies surrounding the two projects remain unresolved.

In 2002, the Senate had more than a dozen hearings regarding the CMIPP.

“Unfortunately, after all the hearings, the final report was never completed…Close connections to the president at that time were allegedly abused to keep the project. At the end of the day, there was no conclusion,” said Africa.

The CMIPP and the Senate inquiries regarding it were conducted during the term of President Fidel Ramos. Despite the anomalies, Africa said the project was pushed through on the strength of, among others, memorandums from Ramos in May 1993, which sought investors for the projects and in November 1994 to fast-track the approval process.

In 2006, the Senate also initiated an investigation into the TSRP. But like the CMIPP, there was no conclusion. A case against local NIA officials was filed before the local office of the Ombudsman in 2004 but remains stalled to date.

Renaud Meyer, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country director, who attended the launching of the GCR 2008 expressed disbelief that Senate inquiries went to naught.

Farmers at the losing end

Africa said farmers are at the losing end.

He said that small farmers in Talibon, Bohol lost in three ways: the labor they contributed to the construction valued at P1.2 million ($46,748); the land they ‘voluntarily donated’ and the crops foregone to make way for the project’s canals and roads and for which they were never compensated; lastly, they still have no irrigation to speak of.

Africa further said, “Many small farmers in Nueva Ecija are hoping that water will finally pass through the canals into their rice fields. Few, if any, are aware that they would be using the most expensive water in the country that is being paid for by the national government at the expense of other irrigation projects, which might have been developed for millions of irrigation-less small farmers elsewhere.”

Africa said agriculture is important to the Philippine economy. The state of local agriculture, however, remains backward. The lack of irrigation aggravates the situation. Only 30 percent of the total agricultural land is irrigated.

He reaffirmed the fundamental characteristics of corruption presented by Priya Shah of the Water Integrity Network (WIN) – public officials have wide discretion and little accountability, weak enforcement mechanisms, and the benefits being greater than the risks of getting caught. “Quite clearly, our struggle against corruption is also a struggle for good government and a struggle for more meaningful political change.” (Bulatlat)

Interfaith Mission Deplores All-out War, Humanitarian Crisis in N. Cotabato, Maguindanao

October 28, 2008

Even as the Arroyo government publicly declares it is for peace in Mindanao, a National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission conducted in North Cotabato and Maguindanao from Oct. 22-24, 2008 concluded that: “The military offensives in North Cotabato and Maguindanao are carried out under the pretext of pursuit operations against Kato and his group, but these in reality fall within the context of an all-out war.” Even evacuation centers are not spared from the military offensives, the mission said, resulting in the deterioration of the situation reaching the proportion of a humanitarian crisis.

BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Bulatlat

Even as the Arroyo government publicly declares that it is for peace in Mindanao, a National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission conducted in North Cotabato and Maguindanao from Oct. 21-24, 2008 concluded that the military offensives purportedly meant to merely pursue Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commander Ameril Ombra Kato and his group appear to be part of an all-out war.

The two provinces are among the foci of renewed fighting between government troops and the MILF.

“The situation in these provinces is deteriorating continuously, and it has now reached the proportions of a humanitarian crisis,” said Joel Virador, national vice chairman and former representative of Bayan Muna (People First).

The NIHM*, spearheaded by Kalinaw Mindanao, went to Pikit, North Cotabato and Datu Piang, Maguindanao.

The two municipalities have become hosts to persons displaced by the armed conflict in the two provinces. Based on Oct. 2 data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in Datu Piang alone there are 9,800 family heads with 50,012 dependents.

Skirmishes

There had been encounters between government troops and the MILF as early as June 30 in Sitio (sub-village) Maligaya, Barangay (village) Malamote in Kabacan, North Cotabato.

The next day, another skirmish took place in Sitio Tubak, Brgy. Pagangan in Aleosan, North Cotabato. The MILF fighters who figured in this firefight were identified as belonging to the 105th Brigade, led by Commander Ameril Ombra Kato.

The weeks before these incidents saw massive military deployment to North Cotabato, supposedly to secure the province for the Aug. 11 elections in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

These encounters drove community residents to evacuate to Brgy. Bagolibas in Aleosan and Brgys. Bual and Nalapaan in Pikit.

Later that same month, armed men burned some houses in Brgy. Bual and stole a number of farm animals in Brgy. Bagolibas.

On Aug. 2, some 84 houses in Aleosan were razed to the ground. The government claimed that these burnings were perpetrated by MILF fighters led by Kato.

On Aug. 8, four days after the Supreme Court’s issuance of a temporary restraining order on the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MoA-AD) between the government and the MILF, the military implemented Oplan Ultimatum and additional troops were positioned in Pikit, Aleosan, and Midsayap. This, and the dissolution of the government panel in the peace negotiations with the MILF, served as prelude to the intensification of the fighting in North Cotabato.

While clashes continue in North Cotabato, the fighting has also spread to nearby Maguindanao.

Military operations have led residents of affected areas to flee to evacuation centers.

Humanitarian mission

In a statement released to the media in an Oct. 24 press conference in Cotabato City, the NIHM participants described the evacuees’ situation thus:

In the evacuation centers, the displaced persons suffer from inadequate facilities. Most of them have set up tents in whatever public place available. With heavy rains and flooding now common at this time of year, many child evacuees are sick with cough, cold, fever, and diarrhea. A number of evacuees have died of disease. There is also the trauma experienced by the evacuees, particularly the children.

Composed of human rights groups, relief workers, church-based groups, doctors, nurses, students, business groups, human rights advocates, peace advocates and various cause-oriented groups, the NIHM conducted human rights documentation, psycho-social and medical treatment, and relief operations for evacuees in Pikit and Datu Piang.

The NIHM documented various human rights abuses by the military in the two provinces. Violations included a raid in an evacuation center in Aleosan, North Cotabato. Evacuees interviewed by the NIHM in Pikit and Datu Piang narrated accounts of deaths due to strafing and aerial bombing, as well as threats and intimidation, torture, abductions, illegal searches and arrests, as well as divestment and destruction of property.

Among the prominent human rights violations documented by the NIHM was an Oct. 15 raid on a house, which had served as an evacuation center in Aleosan. The occupants were beaten up by the raiders, who were identified as elements of the Philippine Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion. Two of the occupants, Rakman Suleik and his son Samsudin, were taken away and brought to the Aleosan Municipal Police Office, where Rakman learned that there was a case against him. Samsudin, who delivered a testimony before the entire NIHM on Oct. 23, insisted that the soldiers who took his father did not show any warrant of arrest. Rakman is still in detention and there is no clear information on whether or not he has been charged with any offense.

“They had already evacuated (to escape the military’s atrocities), but even the evacuation center was not spared,” said Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights) secretary-general Marie Hilao-Enriquez.

Meanwhile, the NIHM also assigned teams to conduct psycho-social treatment for the child evacuees. The psycho-social teams served a total of 214 children, and found manifestations of trauma in them, including restlessness and disruption of sleeping patterns. In the psycho-social activities, the children were asked to relate their experience regarding the conflict through sharing, drawings, and role-playing. The psycho-social teams noted that in their sessions, the children commonly expressed either fear or hatred of soldiers. Their drawings usually showed fighter planes dropping bombs on houses, the psycho-social teams disclosed.

The medical teams, who served a total of 192 patients, for its part noted that many of the patients were complaining of ailments that could be attributed to the conditions in the evacuation centers, such as ever, dizziness, headaches, skin and respiratory infections, and diarrhea.

The NIHM also conducted relief operations on Oct. 22, benefiting some 766 evacuees in Brgy. Batulawan, Pikit and Brgys. Tee and Poblacion in Datu Piang.

“All-out war”

The NIHM participants compared the situation in North Cotabato and Maguindanao to what happened during the all-out wars declared by the Estrada and Arroyo governments in 2000 and 2003, respectively. Said the participants in their statement:

The military offensives in North Cotabato and Maguindanao are carried out under the pretext of pursuit operations against Kato and his group, but these in reality fall within the context of an all-out war. The policy of “disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation” (DDR) which is now being carried out by the government shuts the door to peace and leaves all-out war as the main option. The so-called pursuit operations and “surgical operations” being conducted in North Cotabato and Maguindanao are characterized by the excessive use of firepower mainly against the civilian populace.

No military personnel have been called to account for the atrocities against human rights. The military’s tactic has invariably been to divert the blame for atrocities onto other groups.

The situation in the two provinces continues to deteriorate and has reached the proportions of a humanitarian crisis. As yet, there appears to be no end in sight to the miseries of those who have borne the brunt of the fighting.

The interfaith mission recommended the cessation of military operations in the two provinces. “This is the easiest way by which the evacuees could return to their homes and rebuild their lives,” said Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance) secretary-general Renato Reyes, Jr.

Aside from this, the mssion also recommended that the issues related to the conflict be addressed in the proper forum, particularly the Coordinating Committee for the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), a joint ceasefire monitoring body composed of representatives from both the government and the MILF. They also called for an independent investigation into human rights abuses perpetrated since the renewed fighting broke out, indemnification and rehabilitation assistance for the victims of the war, and the resumption of peace negotiations between the government and the MILF. (Bulatlat)

*The organizations that participated in the NIHM are Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women’s Party, GABRIELA, Karapatan, Kawagib-Moro Human Rights Organization, Suara Bangsamoro, Liga ng Kabataang Moro, Initiatives for Peace in Mindanao, Kalumaran, Health Action for Human Rights, Bangsamoro Medical Society, Ecumenical Mission for Peace and Development, National Council of Churches in the Philippines, Southeast Mindanao Ecumenical Council, Cotabato Regional Ecumenical Council, Children’s Rehabilitation Center-Southern Mindanao, Kabiba Alliance for Children’s Concern, Center for Women’s Resource, AlphaSigma Phi-CCSPC (Cotabato City State Polytechnic College) Chapter, The Torch Publication-CCSPC, Moro Youth Religious Organization, Assumption College of Davao-Social Work Students, Notre Dame University Peace Center, Notre Dame University College of Nursing, Notre Dame School of Dulawan, United Youth for Peace and Development, Lay Forum Philippines, United Methodist Church-Mindanao Philippines Annual Conference, Episcopal Diocese for Southern Philippines, United Church of Christ in the Philippines-Southern Mindanao District Conference, and Holy Cross of Davao College-Social Work Students.

New CPAs of 2008 (Q)

October 26, 2008

Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008
1885 QUARIO, EMILY FLORENTINO
1886 QUE, FRANCO ONG
1887 QUEBALAYAN, HYLEN NAVARRO
1888 QUERUBIN, ELIZABETH PABON
1889 QUIDET, RONELL JAVIER
1890 QUILANA, MELODY JADE FIGUEROA
1891 QUILLOPE, MADEL MALLILLIN
1892 QUIMINALES, FELIX JUAN ACOSTA
1893 QUIMPO, MARIAN LIE DALIDA
1894 QUINTELA, KARINA CAÑADILLA
1895 QUINTERO, CHERIE MAE CUEVAS
1896 QUINTIN, PHEMY AMOR ANDRES
1897 QUINTO, ABELARDO JR TAMBOT
1898 QUINTOS, DARWIN AQUINO
1899 QUIRANTE, KRIZA FORTE
1900 QUIROZ, BERNARDINE VILLANUEVA
Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008 Page: 40 of 50
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008

Seq. No. N a m e

1901 QUIROZ, CHARINA NIVERA
1902 QUITLONG, KAREN RAGUS
1903 QUIÑONES, ARN CALO
1904 QUIÑONES, RUTH ANN DAVID

Balao is alive, Baguio court told

October 26, 2008

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:49:00 10/26/2008

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—Missing activist James Balao is still alive and is being detained in a military camp.

This was a tip received by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance on Thursday, after the first hearing on the petition for a writ of amparo for the surfacing of Balao at the regional trial court in La Trinidad, Benguet.

“Our source informed us that James is still alive and is in detention,” Beverly Longid, CPA chair, said in a forum here on Friday.

Asked to comment about the possibility that his son is still alive, Balao’s father Arthur said: “I am happy to learn that my son is still alive but I am still confused because I do not have the information about his whereabouts.”

On Thursday, the family of Balao and militant groups led by the CPA and the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) held a rally in front of the Justice Hall of Benguet to drum up the call to issue the writ.

Witness’ account

During the hearing, representatives of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), which represented the respondents in the petition, tried to have the case dismissed but failed.

A witness, Aniceto Adawing who was cross-examined during the hearing, said he saw five armed men accost Balao in Barangay Lower Tomay in La Trinidad on Sept. 17.

Adawing said the men poked their Armalite rifle and .45 cal. guns at Balao and announced that they were arresting him for suspected illegal drug pushing.

Adawing said he was certain that the men were from the police.

Lawyer Gerik Caesare Paderanga, OSG associate solicitor, said most of the petitions which were filed under the writ had been dismissed due to baseless accusations.

Balao’s family filed the petition to compel the military, James’ suspected abductor, to produce him.

The family asked the court to direct the military to disclose the whereabouts of Balao, a founding member of the CPA.

The family also asked the court to allow its authorized representatives to inspect military or police facilities where Balao was believed detained.

Procedure lapse

The OSG also failed to submit a return during a hearing, which, according to human rights lawyers, was a violation of the procedure.

The return is the answer of the respondents to the issues against them which should be submitted five days after the petition was received.

Paderanga said they failed to submit the return because the process would take long as the respondents involved extraordinary people such as President Macapagal-Arroyo, Cabinet secretaries and police and military officials.

“We understand that the family is suffering but the submission of the return will require a lot of time. We have to be practical,” he said.

Lawyer Mary Ann Bayang, Balao counsel, said the failure of the government to submit its response because they were extraordinary people was a flimsy excuse.

“Saying that the respondents were extraordinary people was not an excuse. Whether they were ordinary or extraordinary people, they should be treated equally before the court. The more that they have to comply because they are public officials,” she said. Desiree Caluza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

Solons back Guimaras vs mining

October 26, 2008

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:43:00 10/26/2008

ILOILO CITY, Philippines—Five Congressmen have urged the House of Representatives to support the stand of officials and residents of Guimaras against mining operations on the island-province.

House Resolution 841, filed on Oct. 10, calls on the chamber to support the opposition of Guimarasnons against the entry and operations of mining companies.

The resolution was sponsored by Guimaras Rep. JC Rahman Nava, Bayan Muna Representatives Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño, Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan and Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano.

In the resolution, the congressmen described the island as rich in natural resources and one of the pristine popular tourist destinations in the country.

Environmental nightmare

It said the island is well known for its export quality mangoes with around 250,000 mango trees planted all over the island.

“The varieties of mango produced on the island are among the sweetest in the world and are best for making dried mangoes, jam and other delicacies,” according to the resolution.

The congressmen said the island’s tourism potential lies on its pristine beaches and environment, which is still recovering from the devastation of a massive oil spill two years ago.

Over 2 million liters of bunker fuel was spilled into the waters of Guimaras after MT Solar I sank off the coast of the island on Aug. 11, 2006, amid rough seas. The spill contaminated marine resources and dislocated thousands of residents dependent on fishing.

The congressmen said the island’s tourism potential, rich biodiversity and livelihood of the people are in danger because of pending mining applications.

Mining expanse

Guimaras Gov. Felipe Nava earlier said that 65 percent of the island, or around 37,000 hectares, are covered by three applications for mining. These cover 22 villages in Nueva Valencia town, 13 in Sibunag, 12 in San Lorenzo, six in Buenavista and five in the capital town of Jordan.

The coverage of mining applications ranged from 2,000 to 30,000 hectares.

Years back, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources had approved the application for a mineral production sharing agreement of Dorilag Cement Corp., which covered 1,794.60 hectares in the towns of Jordan and Buenavista. But this has failed to operate because of the opposition of the local government.

One mining company alone, the Fil-Asian Strategic Resources and Properties Corp., a subsidiary of the Australia-based Rusina Mining NL, plans to explore for gold and copper deposits in a 2,400-hectare area covering nine of the 20 villages of Nueva Valencia.

Mercy mission claims harassment

October 26, 2008

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:42:00 10/26/2008

COTABATO CITY, Philippines—Members of an inter-faith humanitarian mission, composed of legislators and representatives of non-government organizations, on Saturday charged the military of trying to stop them from visiting conflict-affected communities in Mindanao.

The military denied the charge, saying the group was only routinely questioned at a checkpoint and warned that they were entering a risk area.

But Amirah Lidasan, national chair of Suara Bangsamoro and Kalinaw Mindanao, said soldiers belonging to the 64th Infantry Battalion pointed their guns at them and tried to intimidate them at a checkpoint in Barangay Pagatin in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

Lidasan said her group, which included Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan and former Bayan Muna Rep. Joel Virador, were visiting civilians displaced by military operations against Moro rebel leader Ameril Ombra Kato in Maguindanao and North Cotabato from Oct. 21 to 24.

“We were treated like the enemy,” she said in a radio interview on Saturday.

“They were trigger-ready, some pointed their guns at us and they were disrespectful,” Lidasan said.

She said that when they told the soldiers that they were members of NGOs who wanted to see the situation of the refugees and abandoned communities, “they did not want us to proceed.”

Lidasan also said the soldiers wanted to confiscate their video and still cameras.

Ilagan said they were later allowed to visit some areas.

When asked for a response, Col. Marlou Salazar, chief of the Army’s 601st Infantry Brigade, said the soldiers did not bar the humanitarian mission from entering Datu Piang and Datu Saudi Ampatuan towns.

He said it was standard procedure for the military to check those entering conflict areas.

“First, they did not coordinate with us,” said Salazar.

“When we asked them to wait while we were checking road security, it did not mean we prevented them from visiting the areas,” Salazar added. Edwin O. Fernandez, Inquirer Mindanao

Church backs probe on Ati eviction

October 26, 2008

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:41:00 10/26/2008

ILOILO CITY, Philippines—The Church mission helping Ati families on Boracay Island welcomed a congressional investigation on the alleged displacement of Ati families from their community.

It also called for the fulfillment of a promise for a permanent relocation site for the Atis on the island made by President Macapagal-Arroyo three years ago.

“We welcome the filing of the resolution so the claim of Atis for ancestral domain will be heard and addressed,” said Sr. Victoria Ustan, head of the Holy Rosary Parish Ati Mission (HRPAM).

The Church mission has been living in the Ati community for years in Sitio Bolabog in Barangay Balabag, one of three villages of the island-resort.

Party-list Representatives Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño of Bayan Muna, Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan of Gabriela and Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis have filed House Resolution 829, which directs the House committee on national cultural communities to investigate the alleged dispossession of the Ati of their lands in Boracay.

Driven off by development

Ustan said the Ati families remain at risk of being driven away from their homes as development projects continue in the already congested island-resort.

The Atis and Church workers have earlier complained that they have no pathway to their homes due to the construction of resorts and hotels near their village.

At least 39 families have been staying on parcels of land at the northern end of the island that are owned by the families of provincial board member Jose Yap and Aklan Rep. Florencio Miraflores.

The Atis have a pending application for the issuance of a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT), claiming they are the first inhabitants of the 1,032-hectare island-resort, which they filed on Feb. 23, 2000.

Anthropologists have backed up claims the Atis were the earliest settlers on the island but were displaced and driven away starting in the 1970s when the island started attracting tourists.

8-year wait not over

A permanent injunction by National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) regional hearing officer Sulpicio Gamosa Jr. was issued on April 28, 2006, against holders of tax declarations claiming ownership of the lands the Atis occupy.

The order barred the relocation or eviction of the Atis without their consent until their petitions for CADT are resolved. The NCIP has failed to resolve the petitions after eight years.

Ms Arroyo, in 2005, promised the Atis they would not be evicted from Boracay but would be relocated to a one-hectare lot within the 80-hectare Eco-Tourism Village on the island but the transfer has not materialized.

Ustan said they later found that the lot would be donated to the Atis on the condition that they would waive their rights to ancestral domain.

“They want a permanent place to stay but they will not agree to that condition,” said Ustan.

Ustan said the Atis were also wary of moving to the relocation site because it’s near tourists.

“They do not want to be showcased. They want to settle in a place where they can live quietly and not to be disturbed and driven away anymore,” said Ustan.

Ustan said they were also worried that a 30-meter wide circumferential road project could displace Ati families.

The Atis are considering an area near the beach on the opposite side of the white beach where hotels and resorts are concentrated.

Ustan said in this area, the fishing boats of Atis will also be protected because there were instances that these were ran over by speed boats and bigger boats.

All-out war for Arroyo, De Venecia

October 26, 2008

By Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:53:00 10/26/2008

MANILA, Philippines—Former Speaker Jose de Venecia has abandoned his initial stand and decided to endorse the latest impeachment complaint against President Macapagal-Arroyo, his former friend and ally.

At a press conference held Saturday in his Makati home, De Venecia announced that he would testify in the impeachment hearings at the House of Representatives and spare no one in revealing the truth.

The Pangasinan lawmaker also said his endorsement of the complaint, filed by his son Jose “Joey” de Venecia III and several others, was without reservation and in line with his call for moral revolution. (He had earlier said he would not endorse the complaint out of delicadeza, or propriety, in light of his son’s involvement.)

“This fight is not my son’s fight alone; the complainants represent a wide segment of national society. Their fight is part of the nation’s search for truth and justice. And we must restore to public office the virtues of openness, accountability, integrity and good governance—all of which the Arroyo administration vhas cast aside,” De Venecia said, reading from a prepared statement.

But in Beijing, where she is attending the 7th Asia-Europe Meeting, the President does not appear to be taking notice.

According to Press Secretary Jesus Dureza, the issue is “under the radar” of Ms Arroyo, especially now that she is helping find solutions to the global financial crisis.

“Let’s leave them to their own antics,” Dureza told reporters at a briefing, referring to the group that had filed the fourth impeachment complaint against Ms Arroyo.

He said that with Ms Arroyo nearing the homestretch of her term, she was more concerned with “preparing the country so that when the next president comes, it will be in good shape.”

‘No matter who gets hurt’

De Venecia said he would not hesitate to answer questions about the deals that the Arroyo administration had forged, including the scuttled $329-million National Broadband Network (NBN) deal with China’s ZTE Corp. and the Northrail project, in which he is implicated.

“I am prepared to testify at the witness stand if called by the House. I will answer all questions no matter who gets hurt,” he said.

De Venecia said the impeachment complaint would also serve a good purpose—to delay purported attempts to amend the Constitution to extend Ms Arroyo’s stay in power.

He said his earlier push for Charter change had stemmed from a noble and pure purpose, but “the motive now may not be so pure.”

De Venecia called on his fellow lawmakers to vote on the impeachment case on its merits and not on party affiliations. But he said he did not want to campaign to them to support the complaint because it was their duty to listen to their conscience.

He added that it was too early to declare the death of the complaint, and dismissed comments that it would not fly because 2010 was just around the corner.

“One week is a long time in politics, according to Winston Churchill,” he said.

The new complaint accuses Ms Arroyo of betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the Constitution, bribery, graft and corruption, and other high crimes.

Minority lawmakers have endorsed it but conceded that they lacked the 80 votes needed to get it through the administration-dominated House.

Role model

Joey de Venecia said he hoped that his father would serve as a role model for other lawmakers so that they would be convinced of the need to support the impeachment complaint.

Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño, an endorser of the complaint, said De Venecia’s change of heart would help sway other lawmakers to back it.

But the President’s allies belittled the former Speaker’s stand.

“Truthfully, I think that the anti- and pro-impeachment ‘numbers’ have not changed in the House despite the JDV endorsement and support,” Speaker Prospero Nograles said in a text message.

He said he was able to assess the majority sentiment—that the impeachment complaint was ill-timed—from consultations with party leaders.

In a separate statement, Nograles called on the House committee on justice to act “swiftly and judiciously” on the complaint so that lawmakers could focus on the economy.

Rep. Abraham Mitra said De Venecia’s endorsement was “lightweight” because his friends in the House were more loyal to Ms Arroyo.

Mitra also said De Venecia was not a credible endorser because it was apparent that his action was for the benefit of his son, and not the country.

Rep. Rodito Albano likewise said De Venecia’s vote was immaterial, and accused the latter of just wanting to get back at the administration for unseating him from the speakership.

National interest

De Venecia said he had decided to endorse the complaint because he could not abandon the national interest and ignore the gravity of Ms Arroyo’s purported sins.

“For me not to endorse such grave allegations—and to prevent them from being heard by a competent political court—would in itself constitute a crime against the Filipino people,” he said.

He also said that after he announced his initial stand, leaders of the Catholic Church and of civil society tried to persuade him to change his mind.

Among these leaders were Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Eddie Villanueva of the Jesus is Lord Movement and retired general Fortunato Abat, he said.

Asked what he thought were the tactics that the administration would use to kill the impeachment complaint, De Venecia cited former President Joseph Estrada’s purported claim that Malacañang could make money flow in the House.

But he refused to comment when asked if he agreed with Estrada.

De Venecia also railed at fresh attempts to persecute him and his son, which he said had reached “ridiculous heights.”

He said the justice department had recommended that his son be criminally charged for the scuttled NBN deal even though it was the latter who had pointed out the purported irregularities surrounding the project.

He lamented that the President’s husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo, and former Commission on Elections Chair Benjamin Abalos were spared despite being “most prominently connected to the NBN scandal.”

“By prosecuting and persecuting the innocent and protecting the guilty, the Arroyo administration has made a mockery of the justice system and forfeited the popular trust,” De Venecia said.

Sheer numbers

Dureza admitted that Ms Arroyo would have to deal with the legal process of impeachment no matter how frequently such a complaint had been filed against her.

But Malacañang is leaving it to Congress to decide on the fate of the new complaint, he said.

Given the present composition of the House, which will decide if the case is to be transmitted to the Senate, Ms Arroyo can afford to be optimistic, even confident.

Her allies comprise the majority of the 238-member House, as was the case when the three previous complaints were all crushed by the sheer strength of numbers.

Gabriel Claudio, Ms Arroyo’s adviser on political affairs, voiced the Palace’s stance in a text message:

“JDV or no JDV, the administration is confident of being able to defend itself and the President from any issue raised in the impeachment complaint.”

Claudio said De Venecia’s announcement did not come as a surprise.

“I guess he has to do what he has to do. After all, Joey is his son,” Claudio said.

He reiterated that the complaint would not prosper. “[Its] chances of success as well as the utter inappropriateness and destructiveness of its timing in light of the current global economic tempest remain the same,” he said. With reports from Christian V. Esguerra in Beijing and TJ Burgonio in Manila

SAYS PALACE ‘Press freedom alive in RP’

October 26, 2008

By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:56:00 10/25/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Secretary Cerge Remonde on Saturday played down the drop of the Philippines in the worldwide press freedom index of an international media watchdog, saying it was a matter of perception.

Nonetheless, Remonde, chief of the Presidential Management Staff, said he was “saddened” by the drop in ranking, and added that the government would take steps to “improve our ranking.”

“But if you think hard about it, this is more perception than reality,” he said over the government-run Radyo ng Bayan.

If the watchdog were closely monitoring the TV and radio networks and newspapers, it would discover that the Philippine press was “very lively, aggressive and free,” Remonde said.

“Not a day goes by without the media bashing the government. It’s being criticized rightfully or wrongfully here in the Philippines,” he said.

The Philippines dropped several notches in the Reporters Without Borders’ Annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index for 2008. From 128th last year, the country plummeted to 142nd this year in the index of press freedom in 173 countries.

The index measures the state of press freedom in the world. It shows the degree of freedom that journalists and news organizations enjoy in a country, and the actions taken by the authorities to respect this freedom, the group said.

The watchdog blamed corruption as among the main reasons for the poor ranking of countries, saying this “eats away at democracies.”

Iceland, Luxembourg, and Norway topped the list, all tying for first place. Turkmenistan (171st), North Korea (172nd), and Eritrea (173rd), on the other hand, were at the bottom.

============

My Take:

A classic example of a liar who believes his own lies and sees it as the absolute truth.  He even failed to mention the number of killings of journalists in the country.  Tsk.

Bangsamoro state eyed under federacy

October 26, 2008

By Vincent Cabreza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:56:00 10/26/2008

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. on Friday said the autonomous governments mandated by the 1987 Constitution for indigenous Filipinos of the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao would not be touched by charter amendments seeking to create a federal government in the Philippines.

Pimentel said the existence of the autonomous governments, particularly the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, would repair the damage caused by a failed government attempt to sign a deal creating a Bangsamoro Juridical Entity with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

In August, a peace panel organized by President Macapagal-Arroyo and its counterpart in the MILF drafted a memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain creating the BJE.

The talks eventually collapsed after the Supreme Court stopped the scheduled signing of the memorandum of agreement in August. On October 14, the Supreme Court declared MOA-AD unconstitutional.

Pimentel presented the 63-page Joint Resolution No. 10, which outlines the creation of 11 Philippine federal states under an amended Constitution, before 500 north Luzon officials who attended a Charter change consultation here on Friday.

Baguio Representative Mauricio Domogan, a member of the House committee on constitutional amendments, organized the forum.

Pimentel said a Bangsamoro federal state would take the place of ARMM in a new bureaucracy to avoid antagonizing former Moro rebels.

But unlike previous political organizations designed for a Muslim community, the proposed Charter reforms would allow a Bangsamoro government to be administered by sharia (Islamic legal system).

Giving the region its own sharia-supervised state means the government is finally acknowledging the Muslim Filipino identity, he said.

The discussion pacified many of the Cordillera delegates, who are trying to revive Cordillera autonomy before legislators push for federalism, Domogan said.

The Cordillera drafted the country’s first law creating an autonomous region but the bid failed to win support during a 1990 plebiscite. A second law was also not ratified in a plebiscite held in 1998.

Some of the delegates, who discussed Charter reforms with Pimentel, were worried that the constitutional amendments would make Cordillera autonomy obsolete.

ARMM remains the only active autonomous region in the country, Pimentel said, but it has its flaws.

“There is a critical element missing [from ARMM] to address the problems of the Moro people…Pinag-aralan ko ito nang mabuti (I studied this thoroughly). That problem is our lack of recognition of their cultural identity,” he said.

“What is the basis of this identity? That element is the absence of the sharia… Without their laws, they could not truly say they are being allowed to live their lives as Muslims,” Pimentel said.

Egyptian, Indonesian and Malaysian legislators have already assured the Philippines that sharia can still be bound to Philippine laws that forbid extreme punishment such as beheading and stoning, Pimentel said.

He said the government has been attacking the Muslim secessionist problem with war when all it needed to do was accept their religion.

==========

My Take:

With the MOA-ADs failure, the MILF will surely be smarter enough not to take Pimentel’s hook, line and sinker.

Senate report: Euro generals ‘guilty’ Graft, money laundering cited

October 26, 2008

By Juliet Labog-Javellana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:47:00 10/26/2008

MANILA, Philippines—The Senate committee on foreign relations has found the entire Philippine National Police delegation to the 77th Interpol General Assembly in Russia guilty.

In a draft report signed by its chair Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, the committee recommended the criminal prosecution of the eight-man PNP delegation for graft, malversation of public funds, and violation of the anti-money laundering law and banking rules.

In what was perhaps the fastest legislative investigation conducted in the Senate, the committee also recommended that PNP Director General Jesus Verzosa and Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno be subjected to preliminary investigation for violating government travel restrictions.

The report is being circulated for the signature of the committee vice chair, Sen. Mar Roxas, and its members.

The committee opened on Thursday an inquiry into the P6.9 million brought to Russia early this month by then PNP Director and comptroller Eliseo de la Paz, who has since retired.

Santiago gave the Philippine Daily Inquirer a copy of the eight-page report on Friday, a day before she flew to New York for the Nov. 6 elections of the International Court of Justice. The senator is vying for an Asian seat in the court.

She said she issued her report after the committee ended its Thursday hearing, where De la Paz was a no-show.

But she said the inquiry could be reopened when De la Paz is brought before the committee.

Antonette Aristoza, the committee secretary, told the Inquirer that as of Saturday, there were “no instructions for further hearings.”

Criminal liability

The committee’s first recommendation was for the Department of Justice and the Ombudsman to conduct a preliminary investigation on the PNP delegates to the Interpol assembly.

The report said it “appears that some or all of them might be criminally liable” for the following offenses—malversation, under Article 17 of the Penal Code; technical malversation of public funds under Article 220; violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 and the New Central Bank Act.

The PNP delegates were De la Paz, Deputy Directors General Emmanuel Carta and Ismael Rafanan, Directors Romeo Ricardo, Silverio Alarcio and Silverio Doria, Chief Supt. Jaime Caringal, and Supt. Elmer Pelobello, the designated aide of the group.

The wives of De la Paz, Caringal, Carta and PNP chief Verzosa also joined the trip, but both the police and Puno have maintained that the women paid their own way.

The report said the delegation violated the travel ban under Administrative Order No. 103 issued by President Macapagal-Arroyo in 2004. AO 103 suspends foreign travels except for ministerial meetings and scholarship or training that are of no expense to the government.

The same ban, on account of austerity measures, was reiterated in Executive Order No. 459 issued in 2005, and PNP Circular No. 202-017 issued in 2002, which provides that foreign travels shall not involve government or PNP funds.

The report said the delegation also violated the law on allowable travel expenses stated under EO 298, which provides for a daily subsistence allowance of $229, or about P11,450. The report noted that the per diem of the PNP delegation amounted to P21,418, or almost double the amount allowed by law.

The PNP delegation also violated the law against the travel of officials who are about to retire, the report said.

It said all but one of the officials who went to Russia were more or less 55 years old, near the retirement age of 56.

Puno

“Such preliminary investigation should include the [interior] secretary,” the report said.

It held Puno liable for violating Malacañang’s rules on travel, after noting that the grant of travel authority to some officials and employees were delegated to department secretaries like himself under EO 459.

“Under the doctrine in administrative law that liability follows duty, the [interior] secretary should be held liable for violating the travel ban under [AO] 103 issued in 2004,” the report said.

During the Thursday hearing, which served as a scolding session for Puno, Verzosa and the other PNP officials, Santiago assailed the interior secretary for allowing the trip to Russia despite the existing austerity measures of the President.

She also questioned Puno and Verzosa for allowing the retiring police officials to travel in violation of government rules.

The report asked that Verzosa be subjected as well to preliminary investigation for ignoring the travel ban.

“At the hearing, the PNP chief admitted that he was informed of a so-called contingency fund in the amount of some P7 million, but all he did was to order an investigation after the event,” it said.

De la Paz

The report also recommended that De la Paz be arrested and detained in the Senate.

But up to Saturday, the Senate has not issued the arrest warrant for De la Paz, who made himself scarce after arriving from Russia on Tuesday.

The report noted the ex-comptroller’s statement that he would appeal his arrest before the Supreme Court.

“Even so, unless the Supreme Court orders otherwise, De la Paz should remain in detention under Senate custody, until he purges himself of the contempt,” it said.

The committee cited De la Paz in contempt when he failed to show up at the inquiry. Santiago then ordered his arrest, but the warrant needed to be signed by Senate President Manuel Villar, who arrived from abroad only on Saturday.

The report also pinned down De la Paz for several violations, saying his claim that he was carrying contingency funds had no basis in law.

“While the authorized travel expenses amounted to some P2.3 million, the alleged ‘contingency fund’ amounted to P6.9 million. Thus, the contingency fund carried by De la Paz could not possibly be placed in the category of ‘incidental expenses,’” the report said.

It said his claim was also contrary to law because contingency funds should not be given in advance.

The report likewise defended the committee’s jurisdiction over the case and the contempt citation for De la Paz.

It said the majority needed to issue the arrest warrant referred only to a majority of all the members present, and not of the whole committee.

PNP probe

The PNP is expected to release the results of its own investigation on Monday.

On Friday, Verzosa faced the media but still shed little light on the questioned release of the travel fund for the PNP delegation to Russia.

Verzosa stood pat on his testimony before the Senate committee on foreign relations that he had no hand in the release of any cash advance for the PNP delegation.

He said he had also limited the authority of Senior Supt. Tomas Rentoy III, budget division chief of the PNP Directorate for Comptrollership, while Camp Crame continued its inquiry into the latter’s alleged transaction with De la Paz in withdrawing the P6.9 million from the PNP coffers.

“[Rentoy] is under investigation by the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management,” Verzosa said. “The penal actions [and] administrative actions against him will be put up and recommended upon termination of investigation.”

Rentoy is still on active duty but “we’ve advised him not to undertake disbursements,” Verzosa said. With a report from Tarra Quismundo

========

My Take:

Maybe Jun Lozada can help shed light as to the whereabout of General De la Paz.

Danny Arao’s 12 rules for (funny) sign-making

October 25, 2008

Yes, funny signs is back with a vengeance!

A former student of mine, Bianca Consunji, emailed a few months ago 38 pictures of funny signs. Some of them have been used in previous posts, and there are a few that have been circulated in e-groups.

For this installment, allow me to present what I would call the 12 cardinal rules for sign-making (read: “funny sign-unmaking”).

Our first sign makes me re-read and deconstruct the message several times. Is there something profound about the latent content and the intended message?

bc-entrance

Rule 1: If you want a person to enter, make sure he or she knows where to go.

Ever heard of “conditional” entrance?

bc-enter

Rule 2: It’s okay to impose conditions, but be careful with your syntax. What happens, for example, to a hopelessly obedient but seriously “wet” person who needs to go to the bathroom?

This is another conditional entrance, where you should leave your worries (and your slippers) behind!

bc-slipper

Rule 3: Be prepared for excuses that erring customers might use (e.g., “Sorry, my slippers can’t understand your English!”)

Once you’ve made your melodramatic (and problematic) entrance, you should know the “followed-to-be” rules!

bc-isla

Rule 4: Don’t let the Secretary of Justice make a sign for you!

Despite your headache over the horrendous grammar (especially of some government officials), you should always be on your toes and not fall for catchy slogans (and I’m not just referring to government claims of progress!).

bc-fallen

Rule 5: Be wary of what the people should watch out for! Is it the potentially falling, or the already fallen?

There are also signs that are very, very hard to “digest.”

bc-attention

Rule 6: When it comes to bad grammar, don’t expect people to just “grin and bear it.” Or, in this particular case, “bite the bullet.”

Care to buy a pair of pants with jagged edges?

bc-jagging

Rule 7: If you’re selling, know your spelling! A pair of pants, incidentally, can be “jagged” if they’re unevenly cut.

But enough of the seriousness. Let’s go back to “recklessness.” Can you buy a shirt that matches your “taste?”

bc-shirt

Rule 8: Use the adjective “sweet” mainly for things that are edible (sweet lover is obviously an exception, do you agree?). Otherwise your customers will become sour and bitter!

Aside from that, they might feel miserable. But if it’s any consolation…

bc-misery

Rule 9: Unless you’re a government official, don’t convince people that misery is an acceptable reality.

Yes, don’t be in a state of denial. Keep away from people who ask you to smile despite the abject poverty our country is facing. Fight for your space! Avoid swerving! In other words…

bc-distance

Rule 10: The correct spelling of a word is not necessarily its pronunciation.

Indeed, these signs are very much unwanted. The one below, however, is a bit peculiar because the “wanted” is the one that’s unwanted. Huh?

bc-wanted

Rule 11: In writing signs (funny or otherwise), be sure to use the present or future tense. What’s the point, after all, of living in the past? (If you “want” somebody, go for it!)

What’s the best way to end this installment of funny signs? An ungrammatical one, of course (and in Filipino at that!).

bc-bawal

Rule 12: Even if you know your grammar, try not to let the people get away with what’s prohibited.

I promise to provide more funny signs in the next few days. At this time, we have Bianca to thank for this installment. All the best (and worst funny signs)! (RisingSun)

(Photos) The 4th Impechment Vs Philippine President Gloria Arroyo

October 24, 2008

Filing of the 4th Impeachment Complaint

against Pres. Macapagal-Arroyo

Batasan

The fourth impeachment complaint against Pres. Macapagal-Arroyo was filed at 7:40 am today, Oct. 13,  and was received by Dr. Ricardo Roque, OIC of the House Secretary General fffice.

Posted here are the Summary of the Impeachment Complaint against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the Final 97-page complaint that House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino and Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza endorsed.

The complaint, including annexes is more than 1000 pages.

<!– @page { size: 21cm 29.7cm; margin: 2cm } P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm } –>

NEWS RELEASE
October 14, 2008

Anakpawis on the impeachment case: “Let it be on official record, but more importantly on the collective memory of our people.”

THE ANAKPAWIS party list knew that the case is more than just a numbers game.

“It may not prosper as a formal proceeding, but it has been put on official record. Moreover, it will be etched in the collective memory of our people. War crimes have always been paid for after the war is long over,” Anakpawis secretary-general Cherry Clemente said.

The complaint’s main causes of actions against Macapagal-Arroyo include human rights violations, graft, bribery and betrayal of public trust.

Anakpawis was specifically cited in the following cases:

Extrajudicial killing of Agnes Abelon and her 5 year old son Amante Abelon, Jr. and the Frustrated Killing of Amante Abelon, Sr.

Amante Abelon, Sr. and his wife are active members of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP or Farmers’ Movement in the Philippines) and the progressive party-list organization Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) in Zambales, an area within the jurisdiction of the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army then under the command of General Jovito Palparan.

Extrajudicial killing of Diosdado Fortuna

Diosdado Fortuna or “Ka Fort” was the chairperson of PAMANTIK-KMU, the regional formation of trade unions based in Southern Tagalog; and the chairperson of Anakpawis Party-list in the same region.

Attacks on Progressive Party-List Organizations

Since 2001, one hundred and twenty-eight (128) members and leaders of Bayan Muna have been summarily killed. Since 2004, thirty-two (32) Anakpawis, two (2) Suara, and one (1) Gabriela party list members and leaders were killed. A still undetermined but considerable number have survived assassination attempts, while fourteen (14) party list members and leaders have forcibly disappeared.

Proclamation No. 1017

On February 25, 2006, Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran was arrested in Del Monte City, Bulacan by an armed team of PNP-Criminal and Investigation Group (CIDG) operatives led by a certain Police Chief Inspector Rino Corpuz. The arrest was made without a warrant of arrest in violation of his constitutional rights, and while the Congress was in regular session in contravention of his parliamentary immunity. He was later charged with inciting to sedition and rebellion and was held under custody of the PNP for more than a year.

Bribery

In the morning of 5 October 2007, the day the impeachment complaint of Robert Pulido was filed, respondent, through her agent, Atty. Francis Ver, approached and offered former Rep. Crispin Beltran of the ANAKPAWIS party list, bribe money in the amount of One Million Pesos (P 1,000,000) for the puspose of endorsing a yet to be filed impeachment complaint. The endorsement of Rep. Beltran would supposedly add “legitimacy” to the Pulido complaint. ###

BAYAN MUNA

Arkibong Bayan

October 13, 2008

New CPAs of 2008 (P)

October 23, 2008

Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008
1720 PABLO, ALLAN OBISPO
1721 PACIS, KATRINA GUIMMAYEN
1722 PACLAR, CHRIS PAULO TEGA
1723 PACULBA, MARIE KRISTIANSEN ALMUETE
1724 PADIERNOS, EVITA DELA CRUZ
1725 PADILLA, JAIME JR FABRO
1726 PADILLA, RHEA ANN ABERIN
1727 PADILLA, RICHIE JACKSON TAGUINOD
1728 PADILLA, SHARON PONCE
1729 PADIO, PHOEBE SEGUNDO
1730 PADRE, KATRINA MAY ROXAS
1731 PADRE, SARAH GRACE GREGORIO
1732 PADRE, WILLIAM JR TELAN
1733 PAGARAN, JOCELYN LADRA
1734 PAGAYANAN, RENZ JAMORALIN
1735 PAGUILA, FLORENCE MANDAWE
1736 PAGUITAL, JOY REIHANNAH ULANGKAYA
1737 PAGULAYAN, LORENA CANO
1738 PAHILANGA, EFRYLL JEREZ
1739 PAHUTAN, MYRON OBNIAS
1740 PAINANDOS, EDMOND REBOLDAD
1741 PAJINAG, EDUARDO GAEILO JR FALLER
1742 PALABRICA, ROSHELA AIRA SAMBAJON
1743 PALAD, NIKKI ROSE FLORES
1744 PALADIN, DIANNE FAITH PINDOG
1745 PALALON, CRISTITA SAYCON
1746 PALAMEÑA, JORAM SEBALLE
1747 PALERMO, JOANA LUNASCO
1748 PALIT, KATHERINE POTICAR
1749 PALMA, MIA CORAZON PASCUAL
1750 PAMALOY, AISA HERICO
Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008 Page: 37 of 50
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008

Seq. No. N a m e

1751 PAMPLONA, FRANCIS MILLAPRE
1752 PANALIGAN, MARELIZA HERNANDEZ
1753 PANCHO, MARY EBITHA CAMPAÑANO
1754 PANDATO, KATHRINA MICHELLE ODEVILAS
1755 PANELO, JOEL CASTRONUEVO
1756 PANGADER, ABDUL NAJIB PANGCATAN
1757 PANGAN, AIREEN FRANCIS
1758 PANGAN, JAY-AR BUAN
1759 PANGAN, ROCHELLE NUNAG
1760 PANGANIBAN, JENIFER BADAYOS
1761 PANGANIBAN, MARIA ANIKA QUINIA
1762 PANGANIBAN, MICHELLE ELVIN MADRINICO
1763 PANGCOGA, FATIMA ALIAH GURO
1764 PANGILINAN, JUDY ORIEL
1765 PANIO, MARITES CARESOSA
1766 PANOPIO, ANTHONY
1767 PANOPIO, EZRA LITA
1768 PANOY, RON JOSEPH BATILO
1769 PANUGAN, GRETCHEN DRAGON
1770 PAPASIN, ROXANNE MARIE PULUMBARIT
1771 PARAFINA, MELANIE ALEJANDRO
1772 PARAGAS, BEVERLY DELA CRUZ
1773 PARAJES, ROSLYN ASIDO
1774 PARANA, ANA MARIE RIO
1775 PARANTAR, IRES GLADYS SIBUCAO
1776 PARAS, KRISTINA LAMBANICIO
1777 PARCIA, EDMEL PALACPAC
1778 PARCIA, LEANDRO OLAYTA
1779 PARIN, RHEVIE MAE ABELEDA
1780 PARTOSA, RHEA DEBBIELOU ADA
1781 PARUNGAO, ZENY ROSE CUARESMA
1782 PASCUA, DARICE ANDREA LUCERO
1783 PASCUAL, ALIANA MARIE TUBIO
1784 PASCUAL, HANNAH ROSELLE GUMSAT
1785 PASCUAL, VENUS SAET
1786 PASION, KARLO JOSEPH CALANO
1787 PASTERA, PHOEBE LOU BAIS
1788 PASTOR, CECEL ESPERANZA OMEGA
1789 PASTRANA, ALDRIN IVAN CASTAÑEDA
1790 PATACSIL, GEORGE DESCALZO
1791 PATACSIL, LUCELLE ESTIGOY
1792 PATAG, ARVIN MACULANGAN
1793 PATANGAN, CLARENCE BADIANG
1794 PAULE, ROSE ANN SANTOS
1795 PAWINGI, JASMIN TORRES
1796 PAY, CARISSA MAY MAGALLANES
1797 PAYUMO, MELY JANE AGPOON
1798 PE BENITO, DAVID SHELDON CABALLES
1799 PEBOJOT, JOED DAGA-ANG
1800 PEDERI, JOMARIE ARANCES
Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008 Page: 38 of 50
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008

Seq. No. N a m e

1801 PEDREGOSA, MARY SOLIDARIOS
1802 PEDRO, KRISHA ANGELI SAJOR
1803 PEDRO, MILAGROS SAVADOR
1804 PEDROSA, CATHERINE PO
1805 PEJE, MARY JOY BALAIS
1806 PELAGIO, IVY CHRISTINE MAYE ESPAÑOL
1807 PELAYO, GILBERT RESPONSO
1808 PELINGON, KRISTINE EDINNE CAMPOSANO
1809 PELINGON, MARY JOYCE BUHAT
1810 PELLICER, EDWIN MAPINDAN
1811 PENEZA, GIL FRANCIS REYES
1812 PENSOTES, RENIE VALEZA
1813 PEPITO, AUBREY MILLADO
1814 PEPITO, RACHEL POGOY
1815 PEPITO, RICHARD PEREZ
1816 PERADILLA, DAHLIA PEREZ
1817 PERALTA, ERICCA DAVID
1818 PERALTA, KEVIN RALF CENTENO
1819 PERALTA, LOVELIZA MAGSILANG
1820 PERDIGUEZ, VINCENT CALIMOT
1821 PERETE, MARINELLE LUNA
1822 PEREYRA, ERICKA IGLOPAS
1823 PEREZ, CARLA THERESA RATIO
1824 PEROCHO, RYAN BESERIL
1825 PEROCILLO, MADELEIN BLANCO
1826 PESTILLOS, RAIZA MIRA BALMORI
1827 PETILOS, KRISTINE ALMONTERO
1828 PETTEN, EVELYN ANDOGAN
1829 PEÑA, JUAN CARLOS CATAMPATAN
1830 PEÑARROYO, MA KRISTINA PASTRANA
1831 PEÑAVERDE, LEIZEL DE ROXAS
1832 PICARDAL, ALLAN JAY TANGALIN
1833 PIGAO, LEEZA MILCAHSARAI GUNAY
1834 PILANGA, ROANNA MARIE IBAÑEZ
1835 PILARIZA, CRONIN ASEJO
1836 PILI, JOIE ANNE TIONG
1837 PILI, SHIRLEY GALLENO
1838 PIMENTEL, JOEL MARBELLA
1839 PINAT, MARICAR LAGAZO
1840 PINEDA, LORIANNE MARIE TALABUCON
1841 PINEDA, MARY ANN DELA TORRE
1842 PINEDA, RICA BALTAZAR
1843 PINES, JESU CHRISTIE MATU-OD
1844 PINGOL, JEFFERSON MIRANDA
1845 PINLAC, CHARMAINE MANGANTI
1846 PINLAC, RODOLFO JR MAURICIO
1847 PINLAC, RUTH MACARANAS
1848 PINPIN, ANGEL OTHNIELA MARTINEZ
1849 PITERO, ADRIAN MANZA
1850 PIZAÑA, MARK JOSEPH POLINAR
Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008 Page: 39 of 50
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008

Seq. No. N a m e

1851 PLATA, JIMWELL CASAS
1852 PLATON, SUZETTE LIRIO
1853 PLAZA, FLORA MIÑOZA
1854 POBLETE, AINY ZARAH VERAR
1855 POBLETE, JENNYROSE MACABAYAN
1856 POCERAN, BABY JEAN RAYTON
1857 POJOL, MARK ANTHONY VELASCO
1858 POLICARPIO, MA JOANNA CARMELA DELA CRUZ
1859 POLINAS, KATHERINE VILLACORTES
1860 POLINTAN, JANN NATALIE CRUZ
1861 POLIQUIT, ANELEN REFUERZO
1862 POLOG, YUSOPH II DATU-RAMOS
1863 PONTILA, FRANCIS LUIS CHIN
1864 PORRAS, DEVZON UY
1865 PORTUGALISA, CHRIS GECIL ALICAWAY
1866 POYOS, MARIA LUZETTE JAVELLANA
1867 PRADO, CHARMONIFE MONSERATE
1868 PREJAN, RICHARD
1869 PRENDOL, RONALD JEFFREY VASQUEZ
1870 PRESTO, NINA JOAN FAITH SUNICO
1871 PREZA, CHRISTEL EVERT NOLASCO
1872 PRIANES, MARY ANN PRIEL
1873 PROVIDO, MA LINDA ABERIN
1874 PUATU, RONALYN VENTURINA
1875 PUDAY, JINKEE FAITH CUDIAM
1876 PUGUON, DOROTHY JANE GOLTIAO
1877 PULAY, JASON CLINT SAD-ANG
1878 PULIDO, BABY JEAN TANZA
1879 PULIDO, FRANZ GERARD CLAMOR
1880 PULOHANAN, MARK JERSON RODRIGUEZ
1881 PUNSALAN, MA DOLORES JIMENEZ
1882 PURI, GLADYS ARRA SUAREZ
1883 PURIFICACION, MARVIN GARCIA
1884 PURISIMA, MICHAEL DIATA

Financial meltdown and the madness of imperialism

October 23, 2008

Written by Raymond Lotta
Tuesday, 14 October 2008

“The past 10 days will be remembered as the time the US government discarded a half-century of rules to save American financial capitalism from collapse.”

David Wessel, economics editor, Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2008

“Be greedy when others are fearful.”

Warren Buffet, leading investment capitalist, quoted by The Economist, April 5, 2008

[To the possessor of money capital] “the process of production appears merely as an unavoidable intermediate link, as a necessary evil for the sake of money-making. All nations with a capitalist mode of production are therefore seized periodically by a feverish attempt to make money without the intervention of the process of production.”

Karl Marx, Capital, Volume II, “The Circuit of Money Capital”

The US economy is experiencing the most wrenching financial turmoil since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Global markets have been reeling — as massive loans have turned bad, speculative bubbles have popped, and giant financial institutions have tottered.

Financial turbulence originating in the US has slowly expanded and worsened. There is now a global credit crisis. Banks and financial institutions are weighed down by huge losses caused by “non-performing loans.” Lending channels are choked up, as lenders are being called to pay back their loans, to clean up their balance sheets, and fearful that they are “throwing good money after bad” and won’t be paid back. There is real danger of a breakdown of the financial system. The new president of the International Monetary Fund has stated that the current turmoil poses the greatest financial crisis since the 1930s.[1]

The US has been at the center of what is now a global financial storm. Bear Stearns, one of the largest and oldest investment banks in the US, collapsed in mid-March. The Federal Reserve Bank — which regulates and lubricates the US banking system, and which also plays a special role in the world capitalist economy — has stepped in on an unprecedented scale.

The Federal Reserve took responsibility for $30 billion of basically worthless assets held by Bear Stearns. This paved the way for another financial titan, JP Morgan Chase, to take over the firm. In addition, the Federal Reserve has injected huge amounts of funds into the financial system to ward off additional bank failures and to restore international confidence in the US economy and to prevent the financial crisis from becoming a total financial breakdown.

Fortune magazine in its April 14 issue analyzes the stakes this way:

“The fear — a justifiable one — is that if one big financial firm fails, it will lead to cascading failures throughout the world. Big firms are so interlinked with one another and with other market players that the failure of one large counterparty, as they’re called, can drag down counterparties all over the globe. And if the counterparties fail, it could down the counterparties’ counterparties, and so on.” [2]

PART I. A FIRST CUT: UNFOLDING OF THE CRISIS

The financial tornado gathered force in the spring of 2007, starting in the housing sector. The housing boom of the last few years was a boom in mortgage finance. Lenders, and these were not neighborhood finance companies or street-corner usurers but big corporate financial giants, were seeking to make big profits from their ability to tap into foreign capital flooding into the US over the last decade. The Federal Reserve accommodated and encouraged this by keeping interest rates low.

A. Subprime Lending

Enter the world of subprime lending. Subprime loans are loans made to borrowers who would not qualify for a prime mortgage — because they might have “bad credit histories,” etc. And these loans were aggressively marketed, pushed on people through all kinds of deceitful means, with Black and Latino households disproportionately targeted and victimized (see Revolution, “Subprime Mortgage Crisis,” April 13, 2008).

The originators of these subprime loans, along with various financial middle-men, then “securitized” these loans. This means they combined these loans into larger groups of loans, turned them into complex financial products, and then sold them on financial markets. They sought to maximize fees and to “transfer risk” by quickly selling off these loans to other banks and institutional investors (like mutual and pension funds, university endowments, etc.).

But as housing prices turned down and as interest rates went up, homeowners (or those who thought they were homeowners) found themselves strapped with adjustable mortgages requiring larger payments. And many could not afford payments. This triggered a wave of defaults. Investors and institutions that had purchased these mortgage securities (loans that had been grouped into bonds returning interest) found themselves with billions of dollars of near worthless assets. The financial insurers of these loans, yet another layer of “financial middle-men,” could not cover the risks and damage.

B. Global Financial Shocks

In the summer of 2007, fears of big financial losses caused stock market indexes around the world to plummet, including those in the rapidly growing regions of the Third World.

A financial contagion was taking hold.

Over a trillion dollars of funds from around the globe — with much of this from Asia and oil-exporting countries — were invested in the US subprime market. The collapse in the value of mortgage and credit instruments originating in the US weakened the financial balance sheets of banks and other overseas holders of these investments and set off tremors. For instance, in Great Britain, there was a run on the Northern Rock bank; a German bank required a bailout; and a leading French bank was hit hard.

At the same time, financial institutions in the US and elsewhere holding securities of crumbling or dubious value sought to strengthen their overall financial positions. They not only had to “write down,” that is, greatly reduce the value of the bad (“nonperforming”) loans they held. They also had to sell off “healthier” holdings in other parts of the world (investments unrelated to the subprime activities) in order to meet immediate financial commitments. And these sell-offs have had their own destabilizing global repercussions. This was especially the case last year in the stock markets of the Third World.

C. New Dangers and New Risks

By March 2008, the prices of stock of the big Wall Street players involved in this investment activity, firms like Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, had fallen by some 40 percent. And since the onset of the credit crisis, financial institutions in the US have “written down” more than $230 billion in mortgage loans and other assets.[3]

The Federal Reserve has moved to head off financial panic and to stimulate growth. But these moves have aroused new fears in the still unsettled world financial markets. Why?

There are concerns about the Federal Reserve’s and US Treasury’s ability to absorb what might amount to be hundreds of billions of dollars in bad investments. There are concerns about the ability of the Federal Reserve to pump huge amounts of funds into the US financial system to keep it afloat. There are concerns that short-term and ad hoc efforts to slash interest rates and bail out financial firms may stoke inflation and further weaken the dollar.

This dimension of the crisis, the fragility of the dollar, looms large. It has everything to do with empire. The international role of the dollar — as the world’s leading currency for settling transactions, clearing debts, and holding foreign exchange reserves — is a linchpin of US global supremacy. It is also a linchpin of the whole current global economic order.

But the dollar has been battered in international currency markets. In the last few months, it has sunk to new lows against the euro (the currency used in most of Western Europe), against the Japanese yen, and against the Swiss franc.

Now the dollar has declined considerably in value relative to other major currencies since 2000. But this has been cushioned, managed, and kept functional by the ability of the US economy to attract huge amounts of foreign exchange and foreign capital into financial markets, especially to finance US Treasury debt.

And one of the “disaster scenarios” most worrisome to US imperialist policy makers is the danger of a global run on the dollar: private investors and central banks of other countries unloading their dollar holdings for stronger currencies.

D. A Reflection: Transparency and Anarchy

In early April, on the eve of a gathering of the world’s finance ministers and treasury officials, the International Monetary Fund issued a report on the financial damage caused by the collapse of the housing and credit markets. It warned that financial institutions worldwide might face losses approaching $1 trillion over the next two years. [4] This calculation is far above what had been previously estimated. And according to some financial analysts, even this is a gross understatement.

The free market is extolled by bourgeois ideologues for its “transparency.” This is the idea that markets, prices, and interest rates convey all necessary information: about supply, efficiency, choice, and reward.

But one of the distinguishing features of this crisis is the incredible and pervasive lack of knowledge among lenders, borrowers, traders, and insurers about the quality and backing of what they borrow from others… and even of what they lend to others! Things are obscured, covered up, and very opaque.

  • There is the anarchy of capitalism, as giant agglomerations of capital battle others for market share and profits, and pursue competitive strategies that have unforeseen effects on the larger system.
  • There is the emergence of a newer banking system operating parallel to the older commercial banks. These are the so-called hedge funds, private equity firms, and investment banks. They move huge amounts of capital in and out of financial markets to take advantage of momentary and slight changes in bond prices, interest rates, and currency exchange rates. They borrow against assets that have a shadow existence, far removed from the actual production of value. They have led in creating new financial instruments, in which all kinds of loans of varying risk are bundled together into interest-yielding bonds and the like. And this newer banking system operates in a more unregulated environment than do the commercial banks.
  • This is a highly competitive, turbo-charged financial world, where huge blocks of capital seek quick gains at the expense of others. In this setting, speculation, fraud, and deception become part of survival strategies. One example of this in the unfolding of the financial crisis: financial agencies that rate the risk of things like mortgage-backed securities earn higher fees for providing favorable ratings on these new “financial products.” So they lied and deceived investors about real risk. This led to mis-pricing and to baseless expectations of return on investments.

E. A Reflection: A House … Is Not Always a House

As we descend from the skyscrapers of finance to ground level, the human toll comes into clearer view. At the start of 2008, nearly 1.3 million homes in the US were in some phase of foreclosure. That works out to more than one in every 100 US households. According to Moody’s Economy.com: “not since the Depression has a larger share of Americans owed more on their homes than they are worth.” [5]

Think about it. Something as basic and essential as shelter is commodified. A house becomes an investment; its purchase underwritten by tradable financial instruments; and the lure of homeownership then engulfed by the devastating trade winds of the market. And what happens? People’s savings are wiped out. Their creditworthiness is damaged if not destroyed. And many face the prospect of homelessness.

The problem is not that people don’t need houses. Nor is it that society doesn’t have the resources or knowledge to build houses. The problem is that capital stands as a barrier to meeting human need.

PART II: A SECOND CUT: DEEPER CAUSES AND IMPLICATIONS

Where all this financial turmoil might lead cannot be predicted. A gigantic, speculative credit bubble has burst. Problems in US lending markets and the US banking system have brought on an economic slowdown in the US This in turn is triggering a global slowdown. Consumer goods exporters of Asia that have relied heavily on trade with the US are especially vulnerable. And so too are countries in Eastern Europe that have borrowed heavily to finance growth.

Here is one tiny snapshot of the fallout and pain from the financial crisis. The US housing slump has led to the loss of some 100,000 construction jobs, many that had been filled by undocumented immigrants. That has dramatically slowed the growth of money sent back home by these workers. After nearly quadrupling to $24 billion in 2006 from $6.6 billion in 2000, these earnings sent home grew only 3 percent in 2007, the slowest rate of growth in 20 years. [6] Families in Mexico have come to depend on these remittances for food and clothing and other basic essentials.

The buildup and collapse of this latest speculative bubble, and intensifying financial fragility that could lead to massive breakdown, are in fact outward expressions of deeper processes and transformations at work in the world capitalist economy.

We need to take a step back.

A. Globalization and Financialization

For the last 15 years, world capitalist expansion has pivoted on a particular international dynamic and structure. This has involved heightened financialization and parasitism in the advanced capitalist countries — with the United States at the epicenter of this process; and the fuller integration of low-cost, export-producing countries of the Third World into the world capitalist market — with China at the epicenter of this process.

The turning point in this process was the collapse of the social-imperialist Soviet Union in 1990-91. With the implosion of the Soviet bloc, the main geopolitical obstacle to US imperialist freedom of action was removed. At the same time, and very much in connection with this, imperialist globalization accelerated. (This is analyzed in considerable depth in Notes on Political Economy: Our Analysis of the 1980s, Issues of Methodology, and the Current World Situation, 2000, RCP Publications.)

Over the last 15 years, a globally integrated cheap-labor manufacturing economy, with huge labor reserves from China, India, and other parts of the Third World, along with labor from the former Soviet bloc, has been forged. The globalization of production has had enormous effects on world accumulation: raising profitability for imperialist capital, acting to compress wages, and lowering inflationary pressures. The integration of cheap-labor manufacturing into world production is now so deep that in the US, fully half of imports (mostly consumer goods) come from the Third World.

A revealing statistic: a University of California study looked into who gains when an iPod manufactured by national firms in China is sold in America for $299. Only $4 stays in China with the firms that assemble the devices, while $160 goes to American companies that design, transport, and retail iPods. [7]

When we speak of capitalist accumulation, we are referring to the competitive production of surplus value (the source of profit) based on the exploitation of wage labor; and the investment and reinvestment of profit on an expanding, cost-cheapening, and technologically more productive basis.

When we speak of “financialization,” we are referring to three particular features of the larger structure of capitalist accumulation in this period of imperialist globalization: a) the growing political and economic power of the financial layers of the capitalist class; b) the vast expansion of financial activities and of financial services, like organizing and financing corporate takeovers, insuring investments against risk, creating new financial instruments, etc.—activities in which profit-making involves the siphoning, centralization, and reinvestment of surplus value through financial channels; and c) the increasing separation of finance from production.

This process of financialization has gone the furthest in the United States, and it is a major factor in US imperialism’s ability to preserve and extend its dominance in international financial markets. [8]

Financialization is also a means through which wealth, and effective control over productive forces, is centralized by the imperialist countries — even as production has grown more geographically dispersed and increasingly carried out within subcontractural networks in the Third World.

Financialization involves efforts to squeeze out more “value” from already created value. One measure of this is that in 2006, the daily volume of trading in foreign exchange markets and in derivatives (financial instruments) added up to $11.4 trillion — which almost equals the annual value of global merchandise exports that year. In terms of the shifts in the structure of the US economy, the financial sector’s share of total corporate profits has risen from 8 percent in 1950 to 31 percent last year. [9]

B. Financialization and Production

As far removed as finance may be from processes of production, and as elaborate and multi-layered as its operations have become, finance cannot break free of the sphere of production. Even as it objectively seeks to do so — and even as the disjuncture between the two spheres (production and finance) grows — it is the underlying conditions and profitability of production that set the overall conditions for the accumulation of capital.

Imperialism is a worldwide system of production and exchange. It is the structure of social production —it is the global production of surplus value based on exploitation of people — that is at the foundation of this whole system. And in relation to the production of surplus value, “financialization” is both parasitic and functional. It is parasitic in the sense that financialization drains value from production.

But financialization is functional to the workings of global capitalism in the sense that it facilitates the gathering of money capital into ever-larger agglomerations of capital and finds new profit-yielding channels in which to rapidly invest it … and just as quickly to withdraw it! Global capital faces all kinds of financial uncertainties and risks on its competitive global playing field as it moves through different channels, or circuits, of production. And the “risk-management” techniques provided by the global financial system are actually vital to the accumulation of capital, to the success of “risk-taking,” in the turbo-charged globalized economy. [10] That’s why, for example, money jumps into Thai real estate markets one day, and pulls out and goes into ethanol production in Brazil the nex t…  and then back to mortgage securities.

And there is something else: the inflows and outflows of short-term and speculative capital also act as a perverse means of imposing discipline on and restructuring capitals — a major manufacturing firm can be starved of credit or threatened with a leveraged buyout. And this kind of “financial discipline” has been imposed on whole countries in the Third World—aided, abetted, and orchestrated by the US-dominated International Monetary Fund.

All this is part of the reason that financial instability is a constant feature of capitalism in its more globalized and financialized forms of existence.

Financialization and the globalization of production have been tightly bound up with each other. It can be put this way: there is a relationship between sweatshop labor in Guangdong province in China, the recycling of China’s export earnings into the US Treasury and US financial markets, and the credit-financed expansion in the US of the last decade. Or, to put it more graphically, there is a link between the agony of superexploited labor in the bowels of the new industrial zones of the Third World, the feverish search for high and quick returns at the top of the financial pyramids, and the chaos of the housing markets with people losing their homes in the US.

This is an extreme concentration of the nature of world capitalism. This world is highly bound together by production, trade, and finance. The requirements of life (consumer goods) and the requirements of production (machines and raw materials, etc.) are socially produced, that is, they involve the collective and interconnected efforts of wage-laborers in factories, warehouses, and so forth. But this wealth, the technology and means of producing it, and knowledge itself—all this is privately controlled and deployed by a small capitalist class.

C. Barriers, Contradictions, and Shifting Tectonic Plates

What we are witnessing now is that a particular dynamic of growth, marked by intensified financialization, is generating new contradictions and new barriers to sustained accumulation.

The level of debt to economic output in the US is at an all-time high. The financing of the trade and government deficits of US imperialism (that is, providing credit for purchases of imports and having investors buy Treasury debt) depends on a steady and growing inflow of capital from abroad. But the weakening of the dollar and the emergence of competitor currencies, like the euro, increasingly threatens these mechanisms. And very crucial to this has been the process where dollars earned by countries like China through trade with the US, are then recycled back into the US economy through purchase of Treasury bonds and other investments.

In the US, the financial sector is seriously strained and is a flashpoint of heightened global financial instability, if not breakdown, leading to a major economic slump.

Here we come to a basic point of this analysis: A financial crisis has broken out because of the severe imbalances built up between the financial system — and its expectations of future profits — and the accumulation of capital, that is, the structures and actual production of profit based on exploitation of wage-labor.

The imperialist state is intervening to head off further damage and to discipline and restructure the financial system. But the very complexity of the “financial packages” created during the speculative boom — with their bundled-up loans and long strings of finance — are producing new challenges for policy-makers. As one Yale economist put it, perhaps unintentionally echoing a phrase from Marx: “like the sorcerer’s apprentice, we have created things we do not understand and cannot easily control.”11

This explosive uncertainty is developing against a larger international canvas. Major shifts are taking place in the world capitalist economy. The European market recently eclipsed the US market in size. China’s growing demand for raw materials to fuel its export economy is making it a new player in the scramble for resources and control over them. And China’s increasing importance as a supplier of capital to the US is giving it new leverage. Russia is reemerging as a world imperialist player, owing in part to its vast energy reserves and rising oil and gas prices.

At the same time, and at this very moment of financial crisis, US imperialism’s freedom of maneuver is severely hobbled — and this includes its ability to stimulate the economy through fiscal and monetary policy. The United States has never run such large current account deficits and no single country’s deficit has ever bulked as large relative to the global economy.

D. The Military Fix

Which brings us to one of the “dirty little secrets” of the financial crisis: the military needs and the military costs of empire…and “greater empire.”

There is a brute fact of imperialist accumulation. The whole imperialist system rests on the domination of vast swaths of the globe through savage force, with the US military colossus playing a special role. The US military helps “create the conditions” for US domination, pro-US client regimes in the Third World, and conditions for investment by US corporations.

In the Bush era, US imperialism has been attempting to parlay its military might into a new world order. This involves a restructuring of global political and production relations that will enable it to resolve or mitigate some of the problems and tensions it faces — and to lock in its global supremacy over rivals and potential rivals for decades to come.

The US share of world production has declined to about 20 percent, down from 30 percent forty years ago. But US imperialism is compensating for this by pressing its military advantage as sole imperialist “superpower” (since the collapse of the Soviet Union).

In a recent study, Chalmers Johnson has calculated that defense-related spending for fiscal 2008 will exceed $1 trillion for the first time in history. Leaving out the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, defense spending has doubled since the mid-1990s. [12]

Militarization is also embedded in the US economy. It is a key structural component of growth, scientific research, and technological prowess of US imperialism. And because of its sheer size, it also plays a role in the attempts of the US imperialist state to “manage” and stimulate the economy.

But the recent wave of militarization has put enormous financial strains on US imperialism. It has produced huge deficits that cannot be sustained without the inflow of capital into the US And the wars for “greater empire” are incurring astronomically greater costs than military and government planners had anticipated. Not least because of the setbacks and difficulties US imperialism has encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is a sharp contradiction for US imperialism — because in many ways it is staking the future of empire on these wars; but these wars have become more costly to wage. And it is the height of hypocrisy for Democrats to now blame the Iraq war for financial crisis — as they consistently voted for war-spending authorizations, to the tune of $500 billion.

PART III: CONCLUSION

This is a financial crisis of historic proportions. And like many other events in the world, this crisis points to the fundamental irrationality and cruelty of the system. It also shows the vulnerability of imperialism to sharp turns that could open up new possibilities for revolutionary advance.

But things unfold in complex, unpredictable, and historically conditioned ways. And as serious and potentially destabilizing as this crisis may become, it is also possible that US imperialism could turn this crisis to its advantage.

We live in an age of “endless war” and environmental devastation. We live in an ever-more globalized capitalist system that thrives on the toil and agony of the great bulk of humanity but that cannot escape the anarchy that lies at its very foundations.

There is necessity and freedom for the imperialists. And so too for the people.


Footnotes

[1] Quoted in Steven R. Weisman, “Financial Regulators Suggest Tighter Controls,” The New York Times, April 12, 2008.

[2] Allan Sloan, “On the Brink of Disaster,” Fortune, April 14, 2008, p. 82. A useful discussion of derivatives, hedge funds, and the like is found in “The Predators’ Ball Resumes: Financial Mania and Systemic Risk,” Interview with Damon Silvers, Multinational Monitor, May-June 2007.

[3] S. Tully, “What’s Wrong With Wall St. and How to Fix It,” Fortune, April 14, 2008, p. 72; Reed Abelson and Louise Story, “G.E. Earnings Drop, Raising Broader Fears,” The New York Times, April 12, 2008.

[4] Sean Farrell, “Financial turmoil could cost $1trn, warns IMF as global growth comes under threat,” Independent.co.uk, April 9, 2008.

[5] Data from RealityTrac.com, January 29, 2008; Moody’s Economy.com, Feb. 21, 2008.

[6] The New York Times, Jan. 24, 2008.

[7] Cited in Charlemagne, “Winners and losers,” The Economist, March 1, 2008, p. 56.

[8] Among informative studies of financialization, neoliberalism, and dollar hegemony are David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (London: Oxford, 2005); Andrew Glyn, Capitalism Unleashed (London: Oxford, 2006); Kevin Phillips, American Theocracy (New York: Viking, 2006); Ramaa Vasudevan, “Finance, Imperialism, and the Hegemony of the Dollar,” Monthly Review, April 2008; and C.P. Chandrasekhar, “Continuity or Change? Finance Capital in Developing Countries a Decade after the Asian Crisis,” Economic and Political Weekly, Dec. 15, 2007.

[9] See Chandrasekhar, “Continuity or Change,” pp. 37-38; The New York Times, Dec. 11, 2007.

[10] On financialization as a means to contain financial disorder and to impose neoliberal discipline, see Christopher Rude, “The Role of Financial Discipline in Imperial Strategy,” in Leo Panitch and Colin Leys, eds., Socialist Register 2005: The Empire Reloaded (London: Merlin Press, 2004). [back]

[11] David Dapice, “Bad Spell on Wall Street,” Policyinnovations.org, January 24, 2008. [back]

12. Chalmers Johnson, “Why the US has really gone broke,” mondediplo.com (English edition), February 5, 2008.

[This articles was also published (on April 18, 2008) on countercurrents.org. Raymond Lotta is author of the books, America in Decline and Maoist Economics and the Road to Revolutionary Communism.]

Censored news stories highlighted by academic research group

October 23, 2008

Written by Peter Phillips
Friday, 10 October 2008
var sburl5849 = window.location.href; var sbtitle5849 = document.title;var sbtitle5849=encodeURIComponent(“Censored news stories highlighted by academic research group”); var sburl5849=decodeURI(“http://zumel.com/index.php?option=com_content&amp;task=view&amp;id=542&#8243;); sburl5849=sburl5849.replace(/amp;/g, “”);sburl5849=encodeURIComponent(sburl5849);Media Accountability Day, Oct. 1, is the annual release of the news stories that were not covered by the corporate-mainstream media in the US. The list, just announced by Project Censored at Sonoma State University in California, includes the twenty-five most important uncovered news stories of the year selected by over 200 academics.

Stories about the Iraq occupation lead the list. Unreported in the US corporate media is how over one million Iraqis have met violent deaths resulting from the 2003 US led invasion. According to a study conducted by the British polling group Opinion Research Business the human toll exceeded 900,000 as of August 2007. In addition, a United Nations Refugee Agency study found that five million Iraqis had been displaced by violence in their country.

Also ignored by mainstream media was the report of how three hundred Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans came forward in March of 2008 to recount the brutal impact of the ongoing occupations. The Winter Soldier hearings in Silver Spring, Maryland, organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War, presented multiple testimonies by veterans who witnessed or participated in atrocities against Iraqis or Afghans.

Independent media reported that the United States Federal Reserve shipped $12 billion in US currency to Iraq at the beginning of the war of which at least $9 billion went missing, but this story never saw the light of day in the US mainstream.

Additionally, many anti-war activists will be surprised to learn that President Bush has signed two executive orders that would allow the US Treasury Department to seize the property of any person perceived to, directly or indirectly, pose a threat to US operations in the Middle East.

Also not reported in the US news is how the leaders of Canada, the US, and Mexico have been secretly meeting to expand the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) to form a militarized tri-national Homeland Security force and how more than 23,000 representatives of US private industry are working with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to collect information on fellow Americans.

Coverage of how massive new US-backed military funding threatens peace and democracy in Latin America and that Nato officials are considering a first strike nuclear option was also missing from the corporate press.

Unreported news also includes the stories that the Justice Department believes it is legal for the president to secretly ignore previous executive orders anytime he wants, and the FDA is complicit in allowing drug companies to make false, unsubstantiated, and misleading advertising claims.

Censored news stories also included why the No Child Left Behind program is a huge success for corporate profits, but have had little positive impact on public education. Children in juvenile detention centers in the US face conditions that involve sexual and physical abuse, and even death. And radioactive materials from nuclear weapons production sites are being dumped into public landfills, and being used as recycled metals.

Untold news includes Care announcing last year that it was turning down $45 million in food aid from the United States government because the procedures the US demands for handling the food actually increases starvation instead of relieving it.

Rounding out the Project Censored list is the news that the guest worker program in the United States victimizes immigrant workers and creates a new form of indentured servitude and that twenty-seven million slaves exist in the world today.

Censorship is a harsh term, but the shocking fact is that the corporate-mainstream media in the US was so busy entertaining us that these and many other important news stories became lost in a news system run amuck.

[Censored 2009 was released Oct. 1, 2008 by Seven Stories Press. Daily independent news and a full on-line review of the most censored stories are available at: www.projectcensored.org.]

New CPAs of 2008 (O)

October 22, 2008

Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008
1670 OAMIL, RINA JEAN RAZA
1671 OBERIO, MARK RAMOS
1672 OBESO, EDDIE JR TE
1673 OBILLO, JAYSON LAMPA
1674 OBINA, MARK JOEL CABANGON
1675 OCAMPO, IVY MALATE
1676 OCAMPO-TAN, NICOLE AIMEE COYIUTO
1677 OCHOTORENA, GEOFER ROSALES
1678 OCLARIT, NECEL JONE CATUBIG
1679 OCO, ARDEN JEROME PATAWARAN
1680 OCOT, JENUS ADOLFO
1681 OCUPE, RAYMUND LIGAN
1682 ODULIO, ROSETTE SICAT
1683 ODULIO, ROWENA JEAN POMEDA
1684 OFICIAR, GENEVIEVE MARIANO
1685 OFTANA, MIA HELEN GRACE AGUCOY
1686 OGOC, KASHMIR FREULAND LORENZO
1687 OJENDRAS, ROGELYN GASCO
1688 OLAYON, SHEILA LORRAINE CABALAN
1689 OLAYTA, CHER PINCARO
1690 OLBAN, JUDILYN SINANO
1691 OLEGARIO, BRIAN MANALO
1692 OLGADO, MARICRIS MUYOT
1693 OLITA, MA THERESA FE DURIAS
1694 OLOROSISIMO, NOVELYN ACABA
1695 OLOWAN, MAUREEN ALIBCAG
1696 OMILLO, IRENE CASTAÑARES
1697 OMPOC, MARICEL NACUA
1698 ONDOY, GLAIZA SUGABO
1699 ONG, LESLEY ANNE GONZALES
1700 ONG ABRANTES, RAYMUND CHRISTIAN SAYCO
Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008 Page: 36 of 50
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008

Seq. No. N a m e

1701 OPONDA, APRILLE GUILARAN
1702 OR, ROSALIN LIM
1703 ORALLO, ABIGAIL NARAG
1704 ORALLO, JOANA MARIE CAYAT
1705 ORBON, MARIELLE DIAZ
1706 ORIARTE, MA CRISELDA RAMIREZ
1707 ORIBELLO, JEFFREY LABADOR
1708 ORILLA, JULIE MAR SANICO
1709 ORLINO, JACQUELINE PAMPOLINO
1710 ORPIA, ARMAN ARGAYOSA
1711 ORPIA, REBECCA OPEÑANO
1712 ORPILLA, MARVILYN LAOENG
1713 ORTEGA, ARNEL BOTE
1714 ORTIGUERRA, MARIA LINDA DIUCO
1715 ORTIZ, BERNADETTE CABABAN
1716 ORTIZ, MARICRIS RUDICA
1717 OSOL, JOYCEL COSTILLAS
1718 OSUNA, KRISTEL DORADO
1719 OYOG, MERRY GEN BETONIO

DOJ CHIEF ON BRAVO INTERVIEW ‘ABS-CBN violated broadcast code’ Network: ‘It was a legitimate story’

October 22, 2008

By Tetch Torres
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 19:11:00 10/22/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez is considering a complaint against broadcast network ABS-CBN for airing on television an interview with wanted Moro rebel commander Abdullah Macapaar, alias Commander Bravo.

Gonzalez accused the network of violating provisions of the Broadcast of the Philippines, particularly Sections 2 and 4, which state that “criminals shall not be glorified” and that “crime should always be condemned.”

However, reacting to the justice chief’s charges, the network, in a statement from news and current affairs head Maria Ressa, said the interview with Macapaar was “a legitimate story, and our interview with him aired October 20 and 21 adhere to ethical standards of journalism.”

Gonzalez said he might file the complaint against ABS-CBN before the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP, Association of Broadcaster of the Philippines).

He also accused ABS-CBN reporter Jorge Cariño of asking “loaded” questions and claimed that it was not enough for the network to get the side of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“The interview created an impact that he [Macapaar] is greater than life with his followers cheering at his back,” Gonzalez said.

He also claimed the interview terrorized people by the impression that MILF might launch attacks.

Gonzalez said ABS-CBN should have coordinated with authorities to help catch Macapaar instead of allegedly allowing itself to be used for the Moro rebel leaders’ propaganda.

However, Ressa said it was ABS-CBN’s “responsibility as journalists to report on people and events that affect public interest.”

She also stressed that “the public has the right to know” about Macapaar, who “is one of the country’s most wanted men, a key figure in the collapse of the peace process in Mindanao.”

Ressa pointed out that ABS-CBN has been covering Macapaar “for many years now — even during peacetime. We will continue to report on what he says and does with the same zeal and professionalism that we would use when covering his arrest — if and when that happens.”

==========

My Take:

Now, now.

Is the DOJ chief aware that Commander Bravo is not yet being tried and found guilty by a legitimate court?  If so, then he can never call Bravo  criminal at this point of time.

But if he would insist, then we might as well call the DOJ chief an anti-press freedom advocate.

Just thinking…

BFAD CONFIRMS Melamine in 2 more ‘Lotte’ products

October 22, 2008

22 other food brands safe

By Dona Pazzibugan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 15:22:00 10/22/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Two more biscuit products of the popular Japanese brand Lotte have been found to contain the industrial chemical melamine, the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) announced Wednesday.

Lotte B+W Koala Biscuit and Lotte Chocolate Snack Koala Biscuit tested positive for melamine, which has been blamed for killing at least four babies and sickening some 54,000 others who drank tainted infant formula in China.

Last week, BFAD said Lotte Strawberry Snack Koala Biscuit tested positive for melamine contamination.

BFAD on Wednesday also declared 22 milk-related products free of melamine, namely:

Angels First Love Barquillos Fresh Milk Wafer Sticks
Barbecue Candy (MM)
Darrys Milk Choco Candy
Golden Fuji Crisp Tomato Flavor Cracker
Golden Fuji Vegetable Flavor Cracker
Houshuang Winter Mint Candy (MM)
KZ Gundam Long Candy
Lipton Milk Tea (Original Flavour) — product of Indonesia
Lipton Milk Tea (Vanilla Flavour) — product of Indonesia
Nice Choice Pineapple Cake
OO Chocolate Bean Candy
Sandwich Biscuits (green wrapper, in Chinese characters)
Sandwich Biscuits (purple wrapper, in Chinese characters)
Sandwich Biscuits (yellow wrapper, in Chinese characters)
Sour Lollipop 2 in 1 (Strawberry, Orange, Pineapple)
Sweet Dart 8.8 Butter Bali Candy
The New Zoland Company Omilk Bonbon Yogurt Milk Soft Drops (grape flavour)
W.L. Sweet Dart Pines Milk Candy
W.L. Sweet Dart Royal Orange Candy
W.L. Yaahoo Cheese Biscuit
Zhongshan Meihua Galletas De Chocola Te Butter with Filling Cake
Zhongshan Meihua Good Taste Sweet-Smelling and Crisp Biscuits (Nutrition Health Foods)

Three other China-made milk products were earlier found to contain high levels of melamine and were banned from the market: Jolly Cow Slender High Calcium Low Fat Milk (1 liter), Greenfood Yili Fresh Milk and Mengniu Drink.

With the latest results, BFAD has so far cleared 166 dairy products for sale.

Statements: Another Cordillera son missing

October 22, 2008

By TEODORO B. BAGUILAT, JR.
GOVERNOR, PROVINCE OF IFUGAO

Yet another son of the Cordillera, another activist for our rights, has disappeared.

I do not know James Balao personally, but I know his kind. There are only a few of us who have the courage to devote one’s life to pursuing difficult causes. Yet he craves no praise or gratification. Just a desire that the coming generations of Cordillerans will live in a region of genuine peace, sustainable development and self-determination.

Thus, I join all those who have manifested their indignation over his disappearance. I condemn forces of political intolerance and brute force who have sought to silence Balao’s crusades with an act of terror.

For whatever ideology, political belief or religious persuasion that propels our actions, the value of non-violence and human rights must be upheld.

True, we live in a world of conflict, a war of attrition. But Cordillerans have for centuries resolved their conflicts respecting the rule of traditional law and human rights. The casualties of our wars were slain in acts of honor, not with treachery. The battles waged by our forefathers were for freedom, not for fascism.

These were the things James fought for. Despite the fears and the solitude, he struggled. We owe him this much to pray and demand that he be returned to the family and community he so loved. #

New CPAs of 2008 (N)

October 22, 2008

Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008
1623 NABAYRA, MARIA ANGELICA DELOS SANTOS
1624 NABUNA, HANSEL JOEY EBRADO
1625 NACARIO, MARK BUBAN
1626 NACIONAL, SHERLINE BALLESTEROS
1627 NACORDA, MICHELLE MELENDRES
1628 NADALA, KENNETH LUBANG
1629 NADAYAG, LIEZL AGUSTIN
1630 NAHOY, MADELYN AGINAO
1631 NALAZA, FAITH LUSTRO
1632 NAMUCO, JUSTO JESUS SALOSA
1633 NAPALA, JENNIFFER RYNN PUERTULLANO
1634 NAPAY, LENNY NAVAS
1635 NAPI, JAMES STEPHEN DE LEON
1636 NAPUTO, FRANCIS GIDEON GRAZA
1637 NARAG, RONNIE DULDULAO
1638 NARCE, KATHY LOSANTAS
1639 NARIO, JAY AR HELERA
1640 NAVAJA, JAMES PAUL TAGARAO
1641 NAVAJA, JOHNAS BAGUIO
1642 NAVARES, MARY LOUIE DELFIN
1643 NAVARRA, CHRISTINE MAE PASCUAL
1644 NAVARRO, BRIAN CHRISTOPHER MANES
1645 NAVARRO, KRISCEL SHEEN CUERPO
1646 NAVARRO, NOVA LYN GALIT
1647 NAVARRO, PAULO SALABSABIN
1648 NEBRIDA, ARLYNN PAULA PAGCALIWAGAN
1649 NEBRIJA, CHARI VILLE NOROÑA
1650 NEPOMUCENO, J RUSSEL ELA
Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008 Page: 35 of 50
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008

Seq. No. N a m e

1651 NEPOMUCENO, MARK ANTHONY MORALES
1652 NGO, JO ANN DELOS SANTOS
1653 NGO, MOONYEEN SO
1654 NICASIO, MICHELLE ANNE PURA
1655 NICDAO, CAMILLE DELA CRLUZ
1656 NICOLAS, KRISTINE ANNE MARIE CARPIO
1657 NICOLAS, MARICOR DIONISIO
1658 NIEVA, JOY LATAG
1659 NIEVA, MARIA KRISTINE BULAN
1660 NILLAMA, MAE GRACE JUNE CASIÑO
1661 NILO, JOHN ALDRIN PADILLA
1662 NOBLE, ALEXIS JOSEPH REMATE
1663 NOCHE, MELVIN GUTIERREZ
1664 NOLEAL, CHRISTINE BOTOR
1665 NOLLEDO, EUGENE VENTURA
1666 NOMBREFIA, VIVIAN GUERRA
1667 NOPIA, VIRGINIA THERESA HILAB
1668 NOROMBABA, ROSELYN LOBINA
1669 NUEVA, DAVITH PECHARDO

Women’s Front: We fight hunger, we fight poverty! We assert our survival!

October 22, 2008

By INNABUYOG-GABRIELA

The government says you live with P46 a day or P16,810 in a year (US358). This is the poverty threshold in the Cordillera according to the National Statistics Coordinating Board (NSCB). This is half the poverty threshold, which is US$2 a day as prescribed by the World Bank and International Labor Organization.

Rural and urban poor women say this is not even enough for one person’s square meals. On the other hand, the government also says, the daily family living wage in the Cordillera is P834 (US$17.7) and 20% of this is allocated for food.

Women say, with their current income of P50-250 (US$1-5.3) a day, 80-100% of their family income is spent on food. Oftentimes, the income is not even enough to buy the family’s food of rice and viand.

The current level of poverty in the Cordillera region and in the country gives women an added burden of stretching the measly resources of their families.

According to indigenous peasant women in Conner, Apayao, what used to be food for the family is now brought to market in order to get additional cash for the family. Before, it was easy to share rice, vegetables, fruits and other food products to neighbors and relatives. With the economic crisis now, women find it hard to share any food item.

What little produce that the family may spare, are sold to buy other food needs. The produce is not even enough for the family with production getting costlier, the attack of pests, irrigation problems and change in climate pattern. What used to be part of the meal like meat, fish and milk for the children, are reduced if not stricken out from the list. This situation is echoed by other women in other parts of the region, in the interior villages, in town and urban centers.

The face of hunger and poverty in the Cordillera may not have reached starvation levels but obviously, families are forced to adjust in the volume and quality of food for their families. Women say what cannot be absent in their kitchen is rice thus all means to provide and seek is done by them and their husbands. This usually means separation of family members as one parent, even women, go to other places for wage labor or overseas as domestic workers.

All remedies to ensure food for the family are sought by women — vending, wage labor, loans and availing of small government livelihood projects which hardly help in alleviating the rural women’s economic conditions. Indeed this situation creates the vulnerability of women to deception, patronage and even to engagement in anti-social activities, like prostitution.

Today, we observe the 13th year of the World Rural Women’s Day and the 29th year of World Food Day. As rural indigenous women, we no longer enjoy abundance of food in our farms and kitchens. As toiling women in town and urban centers, we do not have just wages and secured livelihood to feed our children with the right volume and quality of food.

Families living under the poverty threshold in the Cordillera increased to 28.8% as compared to 25.8% in 2003 (NSCB). Cordillera provinces except for Benguet are part of the top 20 poorest provinces in the country. Apayao and Abra top the poverty incidence of 57.5% and 50% respectively.

The real poverty situation among rural and urban poor women is more downright than these government indicators.

Hunger and poverty is worsened by the inflation rate of 11.4%, the highest in the last 14 years. Rice price rose by 60%, other food commodities followed suit, aggravated by the non-stop oil price hikes of more than P20 per liter.

Hunger and poverty is also worsened by the continuing militarization of the countrysides and the government’s national mineral liberalization program that offered more than 60% of the Cordillera land to foreign mining corporations.

Hunger and poverty has been acknowledged by the Department of Education as the cause for the increased drop-outs among children. The malnutrition rate remains high among rural children in the region despite government’s Food-for- School Program.

National governments and international economic institutions speak about solving the global hunger and poverty problem targeting to reduce global poverty by one half in 2015 through the Millennium Development Plan. It is alarming that 1.4 billion people or almost a quarter of the world’s population, live below the international poverty line, or earning below US$1.25 a day (World Bank). Each year, 5.6 million children aged 5 years and below die as a result of malnutrition. The hunger and poverty situation is aggravated by the soaring of food prices which became particularly steep in the 1st months of 2008(report of the UNSR on Food). Overall, the price of food commodities rose by 83% over the last 36 months.

However, the current global food crisis should not be used by the GMA government as its excuse for the country’s food and economic crisis. It only shows the vulnerability of the Philippine economy being export-oriented and import dependent and driven by neo-liberal globalization. While the GMA government has earmarked P366 billion for it’s Anti-poverty Program which is distributed to National Social Welfare program amounting to P45 billion, the Noah’s Ark Framework amounting to P316 billion and Hunger Mitigation Program amounting to P5 billion, the results of these programs have yet to be seen in the quality of life of poor indigenous women and their communities.

The indigenous peasant women’s organizations in the Cordillera and Innabuyog join rural women and the peasant organizations in the country and the whole world in their actions to decry the hunger and poverty situation and assert their food sovereignty. At the international level, Innabuyog links with the efforts of the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS), Pesticide Action Network-Asia Pacific (PAN-AP), the Don’t Globalize Hunger campaign of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), Asia Peasant Coalition and the Asia Rural Women’s Coalition.

Innabuyog asserts that food can only be secured with a healthy economic condition where the government has the political will to address the age-old problem of land reform, enable the development of national industries that truly develops national economy, support for domestic food production, respect for indigenous peoples’ rights to their ancestral lands and of their resources and get rid of liberalization policies which kill the development of agriculture and domestic food production.

As we assert our survival and the survival of future generations, we will not allow ourselves to be defeated by dole-outs, state terrorism and never will we bow down to the capitalist greed on our land and food resources. We will continue to assert our right to our land , and defend our food resources and harvest. #

From Under This Hat: It has been 32 days

October 22, 2008

By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO

It has been 32 days now since James M. Balao fell victim of enforced diasappearance.

Last Friday in a rally organized by colleagues, family and friends a mabtad was re-echoed. It is fetad against enforced disappearances.

One speaker in the rally from central Bontoc who found it in her heart to pitch in her much valued help, seemed scared to be among angry militant organizations and their red banners. Apparently her rage at the violent abduction and more so that it can only be an enforced disappearance made her speak strongly against the act and the enforcers.

She made it clear that she was no member of any of the organizations in the rally but nevertheless she called on her townmates and fellow Cordillerans to cooperate, help find and surface James for it is the right thing to do.

She believed this abduction could not be done by a Cordilleran (“saan tayo nga aramid dayta”), she expressed this taboo was respected by the people of these mountains. She illustrated this as she narrated a community mobilization in Bontoc she had participated in to express her vehement condemnation of what was done to James.

She said, there was one time when the New People’s Army had captured seven soldiers of the Philippine military in the Mt. Province, the elders of the community with her among them called a mabtad to bring these soldiers back safe and alive.

For a few emotionally tensed and fired-up days, they negotiated, stood vigil through the night and pleaded for their release. The “prisoners of war” were safely handed over to them. They even had to make sure the military command will not maltreat them or count them as casualties when the community handed them over to the local command.

The people’s concern and value for life was very high and clearly expressed in this community action. The people together, in the face of a vengeful military and the NPA revolutionaries, showed no fear just the overwhelming concern for the lives and safety of the prisoners.

She strongly pleaded publicly to those who took James to surface him. And, as other speakers also expressed “for the abductors to find courage in themselves to surface him and if he had committed any crime together let us deal with it in the proper and legal process.”

  • * * * * *

Milestones: My family, colleagues and I would like to express through this column our deepest sympathies to the family of the late Bishop Richard Abellon Sr. who passed away October 16.

The grandfather, father, mentor, Bishop and my, along with others, refuge when my young son and I were abducted by the military some sixteen years ago. May his lifework be an inspiration to all of us whose lives he has, in one way or many other ways, touched. To his children and grand children, his good service and life experience is the weight of the Cordillera on our shoulders that we can generously share among others to continue guiding us thru strife and peace. #

Economics and Society 101: Keynesian and Marxist perspectives on the US crisis

October 22, 2008

By ARTHUR BOQUIREN

The United States economic crisis of 2008 illustrates that while the US prescribes laissez faire or free trade, the US actually implement a corrupted or bastardized version of Keynesian economics in its homeland. Adam Smith originally formally prescribed laissez faire or free market economics in his book, The Wealth of Nations.

However, throwing aside the flowery words or capitalist niceties, it is not through laissez faire but through arms that the US and many capitalist countries accumulated the wealth that they enjoy today. Colonialism and neo-colonialism are actually monopolies or oligopolies on trade and economies of colonies and semi-colonies. In the colonies and semi-colonies, the economies dominated by monopolies and oligopolies are misrepresented by capitalism as free markets.

Monopolies refer to markets dominated by a single firm or entity while oligopolies refer to markets dominated by a few. The single firm or the few firms are actually a firm or firms of the colonizers enjoying privileges from the elite of developed countries. On the other hand, free markets are supposedly economies in which no firm exercise effective monopoly or influence on prices. In economic parlance, all economic agents in a free market are supposedly “price-takers.”

Leading analysts believe that today’s US economic crisis will become a difficulty, worse than the US great depression of the 1930s. In the 1930s, real US gross national product (GDP) at their 2000 values went from $865.2 billion in 1929 to $790.7 billion in 1930, to US$739.9 billion in 1931, to US$643.7 billion in 1932, and to US$635.5 billion in 1933.

As a US government response, US President Hoover created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to boost economic activity by lending money in 1932. In 1935, US President Roosevelt created the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation to buy $3 billion in bad mortgages from the banks. Many believe the actions were instrumental in arresting the downward slide of the US GDP such that GDP in 2000 value increased to US$704.2 billion in 1934, and US$766.9 billion in 1935.

GDP increased to their 1929 value only in 1936. Thus, it can be said that in spite of the US government bailouts in 1932 and 1933, the crisis took at least seven years to be arrested (here we are not even talking of GDP per capita). We can infer therefore that even if the US$700 bailout really materialize, US recovery from today’s crisis may take seven years because the current US crisis is described as a crisis worse than the Great Depression.

The dominant paradigm in today’s theoretical economics has been the New Classical perspective also known as the “rational expectations” economics. However, what is implemented during times of crises is a corrupted version of Keynesian economics. John Maynard Keynes, in his 1930 book, prescribed that state action to promote economic growth can range from the use of fiscal policy, organization of investment, and policies that alter the distribution of income.

The original Keynesian prescriptions has been bastardized or corrupted: modern economists twisted the teachings of Keynes on state action into something limited only to the use of fiscal and monetary policies. In short, government actions are only limited to policies involving government spending and interest rates and do not cover the organization of investments or improving the distribution of incomes which are also Keynesian prescriptions.

Many of the early Keynesians were even mistaken as communists. T he early Keynesians were not communists, of course, as they were staunch defenders of private property. Keynesians believe that private business is inherently not stable because business outlook can be affected by self-fulfilling prophecies. For example, if private businesses have a bleak outlook on the future, the future can actually be bleak as businessmen become afraid to invest. For Keynesians, governments must lead and wake up the “animal spirit” among investors so economic activity can be propped up. For the early Keynesians, the government can organize and lead private business but business must remain private.

On the other hand, a Marxist perspective to the crisis holds that the US crisis emerged because of the inherent nature of capitalism to overproduce or oversupply. Competition leads capitalism to a situation where goods and services are way beyond that can be absorbed by the market. Marxists hold that crises in capitalism are systemic and recurring because of the concentration of wealth and production in the hands of a few. For Marxists, crises of capitalism are actually crises of overproduction even if the immediate origin can be self-fulfilling prophecies. Further, the root of crises is politico-economic rather than purely economic.

Meanwhile, although the country’s financial system may be insulated from the crisis because only less than 1% of the banking system has been exposed to the crisis (but the US crisis can also escalate and its effect on the Philippines can likewise escalate), the country will be significantly by the crisis as more than 23% of Philippine exports are marketed to the US and a significant client of call centers are US firms. Further, a large part of overseas contract workers are employed in the US. This being the case, the expectation is that the Philippines will be hardly hit by the crisis even if Philippine economic growth will be at 3.9% for 2008 (expected earlier at 6%) and 3.4% for 2009 (expected earlier at 6.2%). The economic growth rates, however, will not mean that millions of people will not be hard up. Millions of people in the country will continue to suffer from extreme poverty.

The author maintains a blog at http://www.geocities.com/arturoboquiren and can be contacted through artboquiren2040@yahoo.com and +63927-536-8431. #

New CPAs of 2008 (M)

October 22, 2008

Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008
1389 MAAMBONG, JENNEFFIR ANNE SUN
1390 MABANTA, RONALD BARUEL
1391 MABAO, SHERLYN ARCADIO
1392 MABELIN, MAY ANN ALVIZO
1393 MABOLO, ELIZABETH ANNE CATIENZA
1394 MABULAC, EULALIO III PACANAN
1395 MACADANGDANG, JEANY VILLAMOR
1396 MACAHIG, NOEL ANGELO SARMIENTO
1397 MACAIRAN, KYBEE ISMAEL MIGUEL BALANQUIT
1398 MACALALAD, FLORIDEL MANALO
1399 MACALINGA, VENUS ONA
1400 MACALINTAL, DANILO JR TANIG
Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008 Page: 30 of 50
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008

Seq. No. N a m e

1401 MACANILAO, SHIELA ANNE MEDINA
1402 MACAPAGAL, THERESE CAY VASQUEZ
1403 MACARAT, RAMIR BALIBREA
1404 MACARIO, LOVELY MELCHITA CORRALES
1405 MACASAET, MARIA GAY VILLANUEVA
1406 MACATANGAY, DEXTER SALAMATIN
1407 MACATI-OG, MERALONA PEREZ
1408 MACATO, JENNIFER KO
1409 MACATUMPAG, CORAZON LAGUITAN
1410 MACHATE, MARC LENNON CAYABYAB
1411 MACHON, CAREEN ALEA LABONGRAY
1412 MACOTE, JOHN REI FERNANDO
1413 MACROHON, JENIELYN ACEBUQUE
1414 MACROHON, STEPHANIE TRICIA SANCHEZ
1415 MACUHA, JENNELYN UMALI
1416 MADDAWIN, IVY JOY MADRIAGA
1417 MADDIUL, SITTIMAZUIN HJ MOHAMMAD NUR
1418 MADELO, MEPILUZ VEGA
1419 MADERADA, MA NOVE YABUT
1420 MADLANGBAYAN, MHAY TENORIO
1421 MADRIAGA, JOSE MARIA HONORATO BRINGAS
1422 MADRIDEO, ALDRIN RAMOS
1423 MADRIGAL, JENNIFER BROÑOLA
1424 MADRILEJO, CHRISTINE GEL CLACIO
1425 MADRONERO, MARY JEAN MACASINAG
1426 MADRONIO, RUBY JOAN VILLAR
1427 MAGADAN, JOYCE APRIL BORJA
1428 MAGALE, ARBIE MAE ROJAS
1429 MAGALGALIT, DYNNA ROSS DONGALEN
1430 MAGALONA, JASON SANTOS
1431 MAGAMPON, MA JENICE SOMBON
1432 MAGAT, LESLIE ANNE ROM
1433 MAGLASANG, MICHELLE ALTARES
1434 MAGLINAO, JENNEVIEVE JANE RECONALLA
1435 MAGNO, CHRISTINE CALUGAY
1436 MAGNO, DAVID ALEJO
1437 MAGNO, JENALYN GRACE LAGMAN
1438 MAGOS, KAREN MONTEBON
1439 MAGPANTAY, JULIUS ESTEVEZ
1440 MAGPANTAY, ROXANNE HERNANDEZ
1441 MAGSALIN, CHEZCA ALBERT PARAISO
1442 MAGSINO, JOVIE TIDON
1443 MAGSINO, MARLON CAPULOY
1444 MAGSUMBOL, ALEXIS CARLO GUERRERO
1445 MAICO, ANTONIO JR VALIDA
1446 MAJOMOT, ANALIZA BANANAL
1447 MAKALINGGAN, SARAH MAE EGAGAMAO
1448 MALACA, ANGELO EGANA
1449 MALANG, ANN PAULETTE SURLA
1450 MALASIQUE, JOYCE ROSE FRANCISCO
Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008 Page: 31 of 50
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008

Seq. No. N a m e

1451 MALAYLAY, KATHERINE LA ARNIE BUERA
1452 MALCO, DENNIS MANTAL
1453 MALECDAN, NOREEN SOLANG
1454 MALIHAN, MAY MARIFLOR BABISTA
1455 MALLA, JAYSON BECTA
1456 MALLARI, DERICK TURLA
1457 MALLARI, JEFFREY FLORES
1458 MALLARI, LEA ANDREA ARELLANO
1459 MALLARI, MA KATHLEEN OCAMPO
1460 MALONG, CAMILO JR DAJAY
1461 MALONZO, GLAIZA DIZON
1462 MALONZO, LEAN CUATRIZ
1463 MALTO, GLAIZA PE BENITO
1464 MAMADES, RHEZA MAE GENTEROLA
1465 MAMAED, LOVELY GRACE VELASCO
1466 MAMONONG, CHRISTIAN SANTOS
1467 MANA-AY, ROSELYN PUEBLO
1468 MANACHO, MARJE MENORCA
1469 MANAIG, JOMEL NAVARRO
1470 MANALANG, MARY ANN DAYRIT
1471 MANALANG, ROSVE BALUYUT
1472 MANALASTAS, MARK ANTHONY CANIMO
1473 MANALASTAS, RAY MICHAEL SUBA
1474 MANALILI, JOHN ARIS MEDINA
1475 MANALON, ALMA YARA
1476 MANALOTO, ERIC NUIZ
1477 MANANGAN, JAMILAH PUNZAL
1478 MANARANG, KAREN TIQUI
1479 MANAYAO, REYMARIE FERNANDEZ
1480 MANCE, CARL JOHN FERNANDEZ
1481 MANDAP, WILSON YABUT
1482 MANDING, JONALYN CABANSAG
1483 MANECLANG, JOEL PANTIG
1484 MANGOLINCHAO, FE EGUE
1485 MANGSAT, JOSE FABRICANTE
1486 MANGUBAT, RICO REY GREGORIO
1487 MANIABLE, JOHN RAYMOND ABAN
1488 MANICAP, JOYCE MARIE MARTINEZ
1489 MANINANG, KATHRINE MAE SANTOS
1490 MANINGAS, HASADIAH BAUTISTA
1491 MANLUPIG, ETHEL MAE SOLIVA
1492 MANLUSOC, NYZEL ANN MANALANG
1493 MANOBA, ANGELITA LU
1494 MANUEL, GREGORY ALEC ESPINA
1495 MANUEL, MARY GRACE ONG
1496 MANUEL, RICHSHYLL TABOSO
1497 MANUEL, THEODORE AMAGA
1498 MANUNTAG, MARK JOSEPH BANGAYAN
1499 MANZANARES, BENIE BUSCADO
1500 MANZANO, RHEALYN RAMONES
Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008 Page: 32 of 50
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008

Seq. No. N a m e

1501 MAPADA, RODOLFO JR CABALLERO
1502 MAPANAO, JAN ABRIL CACATIAN
1503 MAPILI, GLENN CAÑADA
1504 MAPUTI, DONNA KRIS ZAMORA
1505 MARABABOL, JEREMEH CANDELADA
1506 MARABILLO, ZIFF CALVIN RIGOR
1507 MARANAN, JILLIAN CANDICE SANCHEZ
1508 MARBIDA, ARNEL MADEJA
1509 MARDO, FRANCIS ANDREI ROGACION
1510 MARIANO, ROSE ANN RACHO
1511 MARIAZETA, JOANNE CLARE MADRIÑAN
1512 MARIBBAY, VISITACION PAGULAYAN
1513 MARIÑAS, KAREN BERNARDO
1514 MARQUESES, ANTHONY LUMBERIO
1515 MARQUEZ, RUBY JEAN BAUTISTA
1516 MARSANGCA, AMERA NIZRAN MACKNO
1517 MARTE, ELIZABETH BACALTOS
1518 MARTIN, ERICA DELOS SANTOS
1519 MARTIN, KEYSEE JARATA
1520 MARTIN, MARVILOU CHERRY PERALTA
1521 MARTINEZ, JZELLE BUMAGAT
1522 MARTINEZ, MA NONABELLE RAMOS
1523 MARTINEZ, PAOLO ANTONIO ABELLO
1524 MARTINEZ, VINCENT DIOCAMPO
1525 MARZAN, DIOSDADO FONACIER
1526 MASAOAY, PRINCESS BANAAG
1527 MASONGSONG, JULIUS CORNEJO
1528 MATA, ANN CLARIS DAYRIT
1529 MATELA, DENISE XANDERA RICARTE
1530 MATEO, MICHELLE IGNACIO
1531 MATI, RODOLFO III BULLAN
1532 MATIAS, CRISTEL JOY PANO
1533 MATIBAG, MARIA HAZEL ALDOVINO
1534 MATIENZO, JONATHAN PAPANGO
1535 MATILDO, MARY JEAN PANGANURON
1536 MATUGUINAS, HONEYLET RAYPAN
1537 MAYO, RONAWYN DE LEON
1538 MAYUGA, RONNA BOBADILLA
1539 MAZO, JENNY FE CURITANA
1540 MAÑAGO, MARK RAIMUN BAHILLO
1541 MAÑALAC, ROCEL RAMOS
1542 MAÑAUL, MARY CLAIRE DE LUNA
1543 MEDES, JANICE BATACAN
1544 MEDILLO, SHEILA MARIE RICALDO
1545 MEDINA, FRIENDSIS REYES
1546 MEDINA, MELISSA HO
1547 MEDINA, PETE RANDY ESGUERRA
1548 MEJIA, CARMINA EGIPTO
1549 MEJICO, ROSE ANNE SALAZAR
1550 MELO, KRISTINE GRACE BACANI
Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008 Page: 33 of 50
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008

Seq. No. N a m e

1551 MELOCOTON, RAMON MIGUEL SIAN
1552 MEMBROT, MELANIE MARQUEZ
1553 MENDIOLA, LOVELY ANN MAGNO
1554 MENDIOLA, MICHAEL DELA CRUZ
1555 MENDOZA, CAMILLE CASANDRA MAGSUMBOL
1556 MENDOZA, CLYDE ERICSON BALDOVINO
1557 MENDOZA, JAY LOREÑO
1558 MENDOZA, JENNIFER ARAÑEZ
1559 MENDOZA, JOYCE ANN GARADO
1560 MENDOZA, MARJOLYN ZAMORA
1561 MENDOZA, MARQUIUS DE GUZMAN
1562 MENDOZA, RAFAEL LABATA
1563 MENDOZA, RANDY SABIDO
1564 MENDOZA, RICHARD ANTHONY MORENO
1565 MENDOZA, ROSE ANDREA SAHAGUN
1566 MENESES, JUAN SALVADOR MARTIN
1567 MENESES, MARK GIL PANGANIBAN
1568 MERAPTAN, RICHARD CORDOVA
1569 MERCADAL, KERSTELLEY NAHINE
1570 MERCADER, ELVIN NAVARRO
1571 MERCADER, FRANCIS GERARD DE CASTRO
1572 MERCADO, JONATHAN CARL ACULA
1573 MERCADO, MARK ANTHONY LUNAR
1574 MERCADO, OPALYN ABRASALDO
1575 MERCULIO, KARL MARC NAPILA
1576 MERCULLO, QUINLENE LEGARDA
1577 MERQUITA, MARLEY ESPAÑOL
1578 MICIANO, GERALD JILES MADRIGAL
1579 MIEDES, MARIA DANISSA JEAN CABITE
1580 MIER, MARIA JENELY LOVITOS
1581 MIGUEL, MARY ROSE ALOVERA
1582 MIGULLAS, LADY LIGHT MARIMON
1583 MIJARES, JOANNE BONDAD
1584 MILA, KRISTINE GAIL BAWA
1585 MILLA, MELODY CERAFICA
1586 MILO, DOROTHY JANE DONDRIANO
1587 MINAS, ANNIELITA PUNO
1588 MINGI, DEBIE ROJO
1589 MINGOA, DARRA RIPA
1590 MIRALPEZ, MARILYN LOSANDI
1591 MIRANDA, RYAN KENNETH VERGARA
1592 MISON, HEIDEE JOI MELENDEZ
1593 MITRA, FAYE ROSE QUESADA
1594 MITRA, JOY VALENCIANO
1595 MOJICA, DON DON TUAZON
1596 MOJICA, JOSEL ANN AGNIS
1597 MOJICA, MIA CHRISTINE DE CHAVEZ
1598 MOJICA, RETCHEL VALENCIA
1599 MONES, CATHERINE PASCUA
1600 MONIS, MARIA CRISTINA ABULENCIA
Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008 Page: 34 of 50
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008

Seq. No. N a m e

1601 MONTEROYO, EMELYN MINGOY
1602 MONTESA, ANA GRACIA WAJE
1603 MONTOYA, RONAH MAY MANLUBATAN
1604 MORALES, MARIA REINALEZA BUMOLO
1605 MORALES, MARY JOY SANDOVAL
1606 MORALES, MARY ROSELLE PADOLINA
1607 MORALES, RAY ANNALYN VIÑAS
1608 MORALES, REIL NIÑO
1609 MORTABA, MOHAMMAD AHMEEN SAID
1610 MOULIC, JEANETTE LUMAGUE
1611 MOY, JAYSON EIMAR
1612 MUA, NASRUDIN MAMA
1613 MUJERES, GERLIE VITERBO
1614 MULI, JOHANNA MARIE MERCADO
1615 MUNDA, MICHAEL PHILIP PETALLANA
1616 MUNDIGUING, ETHYL LYNE CARBONEL
1617 MUNLAWIN, AIZEL SILVA
1618 MUNSAYAC, RENELYN CANLAS
1619 MUSICO, ZAINAH ABIS
1620 MUTIA, ANTONIO JR QUILICOT
1621 MUTIA, IRNIL JOSEPH ORBITA
1622 MUYALDE, JENNY CO

(NorDis Editorial) The officers and Cruella De Vil

October 22, 2008

On the national front pages this passed week was a high ranking military officer stopped from departing at a Russian international airport in possession of P6.9 million in cold cash. Did that money come from the Philippines?

An ordinary Filipino is not allowed to bring more than P3,000 out of the country. Even if the inspector for humanitarian reasons would allow P4,000, but not P6.9 million, in the present Philippine economic situation. That is gross, obscene and inhuman, especially that one is a government official – unexplained wealth, or on a world tour? Is it not everyone equal in the face of the law?

Also on the national papers, the government has urged companies in critical mining areas to put up “civilian auxiliary groups” to further strengthen security forces and “take legitimate steps to protect their claims.

Equally in the application and implementation of the law, are indigenous peoples communities in their own traditional form of a company also equally entitled to put up their own “civilian auxiliary groups” and “take legitimate steps to protect their ancestral domain claims?”

“On top of such initiative, the Armed Forces of the Philippines is likewise studying the creation of an investment defense force (IDF) to address security concerns on a wider scope, where mining activities are conducted,” said defense Secretary Gilbert C. Teodoro, Jr. Among the initial areas identified for IDF is Cordillera, especially the Abra area.

In the prospective mine areas in the Cordillera, communities feel and talk of the growing presence and violence of government military forces. In Abra, some two weeks ago, it is the second time this year the military bombed Tubtuba and Beew. People from the area have not complained or told of harrassment or gross infringement on rights to their farms, forest, their village, private properties and their lives perpetuated by anyone or even by what the government call ‘rebel forces.’

Complaints and community outrage was only expressed when mining and logging companies and government military troops came to their home. During martial law and then again now their villages are bombed, restricted and occupied by military troops.

Most people ordinarily know and respect the uniform – police or armed forces – as created to protect them and to maintain the peace. With that news in the national papers are widespread experience of real people like the Burgos, Cadapan, Empeño, the Manalo brothers and Balao families and people of Tubo, Abra.

Piling up are documentations on officers getting away with peoples’ taxes, murder, rape, enforced disappearance, bombing, torture, land grabbing, even extra-judicial killings.

The uniform can very well be the face of Cruela deVil or the Demon himself. Beautiful or handsome with pit dark intentions.#

World church gathering to strengthen IP partnership

October 22, 2008

BAGUIO CITY — World churches will gather in an international conference on social and ecclesiastical visions of indigenous peoples at the Club John Hay here on October 21 to 26.

Sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC), a worldwide fellowship of non-Roman Catholic Churches whose headquarters is based in Geneva, Switzerland, the gathering will share and draw the experiences, spirituality and visions of indigenous peoples worldwide.

Thirty theologians from indigenous peoples in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Australia are expected in the conference, said Rev. Rex Reyes, National Council of Churches of the Philippines (NCCP) secretary-general in an interview.

This consultation will highlight the major issues affecting the indigenous peoples all over the world and appreciate how indigenous peoples confront these issues. The Consultation will also listen to a Philippine Panel who will deliver presentations on three specific issues of indigenous peoples in the Philippines: a) Stewardship and natural resources, b) Identity and social justice, and c) Community, church and the world.

“The project endeavors to challenge and enrich the traditional understanding of unity, mission, evangelical and spirituality,” added Reyes.

The indigenous peoples have rich experiences from which the churches can learn, which include among others, broad dimension of social justice, the exercise of self-determination, despite efforts to subsume them into the colonial-inspired state systems, and their concept of stewardship in protecting the land and environment for future generations, Reyes explained.

Church commitment

Reyes added the activity is a response to encourage the WCC and its constituency to be informed by the theological and spiritual resources of the indigenous peoples.

WCC was able to observe the situation of indigenous peoples worldwide where they are excluded by the mainstream society. As such, the IPs, due to their distinctness are discriminated and “excluded” by mainstream society where they live and manifested by discriminations, like in the absence of social services to them.

Their distinctness however had continuously made them adopt a vision of community peace and a safe earth, the NCCP document explained.

Cordillera, Philippines

Reyes said he activity is important in the country, particularly on the Cordillera, as the Filipino indigenous peoples have a powerful projection of politically and socio-culturally.

Approximately one-tenth of the total population nationwide, the indigenous peoples have in-depth spirituality and experiences.

“On one hand, they (IPs) live in isolated areas where access to basic services and opportunities for economic growth is lacking and on the other hand, natural resources abound in these areas making the indigenous peoples vulnerable to development aggression,” the NCCP document stated.

Reyes added that the Cordillera experiences as stewards of the land are very rich. He cited the Kalingas and Bontoks opposition of the World Bank-funded Chico dam that could have submerged thousands of hectares of rice lands and villages; the Tingguians opposition of the Cellophil Resources Company that would destroy hectares of forest lands in the tri-boundaries of Abra, Mountain Province and Kalinga; and the Ibalois struggle against the open pit mining in Itogon, Benguet.

NCCP added, “The struggle of the indigenous peoples in the Philippines for self-determination and the preservation of natural resources continue along with their struggle against the onslaught of foreign investments, mining, and confrontation with the state forces.”

Partners

Although, initially the indigenous peoples were seen as targets of conversion and the means by which churches manifested their charity work, churches in recent times have begun to stand alongside indigenous peoples in their struggles, the NCCP document added, which has revived its indigenous peoples program to support them in their journey towards a just and lasting peace.

Stories of their resistance to marginalization and development aggression, engagement with international bodies like the United Nations, and their partnerships elsewhere in their march towards a free and fair society will hopefully inspire similar story telling from other parts of the world, added the NCCP document.

Reyes said the activity would further deepen and expand the social and ecclesiastical vision of the ecumenical community vis-à-vis the sinned against and the excluded.

As part of the activity, the participants are also scheduled to visit mining and vegetable areas in Benguet, Reyes shared.

The NCCP and Regional Ecumenical Council in the Cordillera (Reccord) co-sponsor the activity. # Arthur L. Allad-iw(NorDis)

New CPAs of 2008 (L)

October 22, 2008

<< Back

Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008

1257 LA VALLE, OLINAD GOMEZ
1258 LA VICTORIA, SHELMAR KITCH TURA
1259 LABAN, REYNALDO BANGKILE
1260 LABINDAO, IRIS BASID
1261 LABISTE, MIRZA LEA ANTONIO
1262 LABITAD, AILAINE AGAWIN
1263 LACANDOLA, MARITES YAO
1264 LACEA, MARIA JANETH LUAYON
1265 LACON, EULA ZARINA CASTILLO
1266 LACWASAN, EILLEN AMON
1267 LAGAZO, CARLO EZEKIEL ANTONIO
1268 LAGRADA, JIMMY ESPINOSA
1269 LAGROSAS, SHERYL CHRISTINE VALDEZ
1270 LAGTO, ERIKA WEE
1271 LAGUINDAM, NOEMIE ESCANDOR
1272 LALA, PRINCE BUENAVENTE
1273 LALOG, LYCHED ANN CONTRERAS
1274 LAMAC, RODWIL LAMBOLOTO
1275 LAMBINO, MELODY POCLAN
1276 LAMBONAO, CHERYL MATAFLORIDA
1277 LAMERA, BENNIE ARANETA
1278 LAMOJER, JULIE ANNE PANTINOS
1279 LANDICHO, FLORAVEL SUMAYLO
1280 LANDICHO, GENELYN NAVARRO
1281 LANDICHO, WILLIAM BALA
1282 LANGCAON, CHERRY TARRANCO
1283 LANIP, HERBERT MENDOZA
1284 LANOY, JUVIELYN SALUBRE
1285 LANUZA, DARREN KARLO CAJIGAL
1286 LAO, SHARLEEN DYANE PEÑALOZA
1287 LAOAGAN, MA NYMPHA MONTOYA
1288 LAPUZ, JUDITH ANNE PEÑARANDA
1289 LARGA, RODELITO II CELLE
1290 LAROCO, ARACELI SISON
1291 LAROYA, MARK ROLAND TROFEO
1292 LASALA, ANGELO SESBREÑO
1293 LASTIMOSO, JAY ASTER LACATAN
1294 LAVADIA, DIANNE ARIANE CEDRO
1295 LAVITORIA, GERRY LYN CASERIA
1296 LAXAMANA, JAYNE KARLA SANTIANO
1297 LAYLAY, CHRISTIAN GABRIEL
1298 LAYNO, IVAN GENE PUNSALAN
1299 LAYSON, ANDRO BACULI
1300 LAZAGA, ELLERY JANE FLORES
Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008 Page: 28 of 50
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008

Seq. No. N a m e

1301 LAZO, JOSE MARI AVERIA
1302 LEABRES, RONALD SARILI
1303 LEBRIA, LILIANNE DANO
1304 LEE, JENNIFER CHAN
1305 LEE, MARY JAMES GARCIA
1306 LEGADA, HARLEY JULAGTING
1307 LEGASPI, FRITZ GERALD ROXAS
1308 LEGASPI, JOVY LYNN ROBOSA
1309 LEGASPI, JULIUS OCAMPO
1310 LEGASPI, LADY ANN MONROID
1311 LEGASPI, PROPAULO MENDIOLA
1312 LENON, RICHELLOU JAMAICA ORTEGA
1313 LEONA, KATHERINE CASTILLO
1314 LERIO, DAVID JR TA-ASAN
1315 LETADA, MA CASSANDRA GUETA
1316 LEYNES, CHRISTINE JOY OCAMPO
1317 LI, DICKSON YU
1318 LIBAN, SHERRYL AGRAAN
1319 LIBERTINO, CAROL CULBENGAN
1320 LICAROS, RALPH MICHAEL HERNANDEZ
1321 LICAYAN, JOVER AUGUIS
1322 LICHENGYAO, PAMELA PO
1323 LICUP, MAE ANNE DOLOIRAS
1324 LIGLIGEN, DEBBY AKILIT
1325 LIM, AILEEN
1326 LIM, CHRISTIAN LOUIE USTARES
1327 LIM, GERALD GAZZINGAN
1328 LIM, GRETCHEL NGOTIANHE
1329 LIM, JAN MICHAEL SOLIMAN
1330 LIM, JAYSON PEDROSA
1331 LIM, JOAN HERNANDEZ
1332 LIM, MA ELIZA ALCANTARA
1333 LIM, RHEYNAND ESCUDERO
1334 LIM, SHEILA MARIE LUNASIN
1335 LIM BOK, JENNIFER JEANNE SIA
1336 LINATOC, RICHARD ESCAMILLAS
1337 LINGAN, BERENICE ANGELIQUE SY
1338 LIONG, ERNEST VINCENT BAYLON
1339 LIONG, NOEMI ESPERANZA
1340 LIONG, STACY LYN YANG
1341 LIRIO, APRIL ILAGAN
1342 LIRIO, CHRISTOPHER TATEL
1343 LISING, JHEZSANA FAYE ANNE BANAAG
1344 LIWANAG, CARLOS DE GUZMAN
1345 LIWANAG, ROSE ANN PASCUA
1346 LIYAO, JABELLE PALACIO
1347 LIZA, SHEANE MARIE BABA
1348 LLANERA, RONNEL NIDEA
1349 LLANETA, JOANNE BARRAZA
1350 LOGATOC, MARY JANE JUSTINIANO
Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008 Page: 29 of 50
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008

Seq. No. N a m e

1351 LOJA, MARY JOY DIAMANTE
1352 LOMEDA, SUZETTE CORTEZ
1353 LOMIBAO, MARY GRACE DIESTRO
1354 LOMUGDANG, DAISY TABUÑAR
1355 LOPERA, JOSEPH GARY ANTHONY LORAYES
1356 LOPEZ, ADA ANGELA PASCUAL
1357 LOPEZ, AIMEE KRISTEL RIVERA
1358 LOPEZ, ALFRED BERMUDEZ
1359 LOPEZ, JANSON RALPH RALLOS
1360 LOPEZ, KIMMY ALEGRE
1361 LOPEZ, MISCHELLE ALFONSO
1362 LORCA, MARIA CATHERINE DIALA
1363 LORENZO, CATHERINE GAYLE INFANTE
1364 LORENZO, JUDY ANN CAPIRAL
1365 LORENZO, TRACIE MAE RIVERA
1366 LOSA, GENE PATRICK LUGTU
1367 LOSANTAS, MARIA PAMELA VERAR
1368 LOYOLA, EMERSON DAYDAY
1369 LOYOLA, MELANIE BAUTISTA
1370 LOZANO, MIKHAEL OPELAC
1371 LU, DAVIE VINCENT DOMINGO
1372 LU, QUENIELYN LAUSA
1373 LUALHATI, JOY ASHLIY PUNZALAN
1374 LUAREZ, MICHAEL PASCUA
1375 LUBO, NALDY SIMBULAN
1376 LUBON, CLIFF KIRL FLORES
1377 LUCAS, MARJORIE TAMPE
1378 LUCENA, DOMINGO II PONTANIEL
1379 LUCENA, FIDEN ALONZO
1380 LUGTU, KRISTEL MAGLALANG
1381 LUISON, LEONARDO SOTO
1382 LUMAGUE, CITADEL BUELO
1383 LUMANCAS, ARON ALAAN
1384 LUMBAO, IRIS NICOR
1385 LUMBAO, LINO JR TOMAGAN
1386 LUPO, TRISHA JANE BETITA
1387 LUY, ALLAN CAGAS
1388 LUZON, DESTREZA CASIA

Hybrid rice hit, farmers air complaints

October 22, 2008

TABUK CITY — A farmer’s group here Wednesday criticized the government’s Food Security Program that heavily endorses the planting of hybrid rice, saying it did not consider the real situation on the ground.


HYBRID AND INBRED RICE ON THE RAMP. Rice took center stage at the Kalinga rice summit that coincided with the World Food Day rites. Photo by Lyn V. Ramo/NORDIS

Timpuyog dagiti Mannalon ti Kalinga (Kalinga farmers’ forum) Secretary-general Gerry Bulaat said the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) rice program which heavily encourages the planting and propagation of hybrid rice varieties failed to see the actual conditions of farms in the country.

Bulaat said this top-down planning strategy results from government planners favoring big business interests, instead of looking into the sorry plight of farmers, especially the small tiller-owners.

Criticizing the food security program packaged as FIELDS, Bulaat said the government keeps on promoting the production of hybrid seeds that do not easily acculturate with local conditions.

“Local farmers do not patronize hybrid seeds because it requires certain amount of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, a definite climate and weather conditions, enough irrigation and a planting technology that is still alien to most rice producers,” Bulaat told Nordis.

High technology farming, he said, is not applicable to farms in the countryside. He added most farmers in Kalinga do not appreciate the technology behind the cultivation of hybrids and are comfortable with the application of fertilizers and other input they are used to.

The production of seeds and other inputs is heavily left for big business to manipulate, he said. He added, although government has been spending millions on seed production, the technology heavily relies on imported commercial inputs.

Bulaat also mentioned local groups and families who control the production and sale of hybrid seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. “They take the profit from the labor of farmers,” he said.

Bulaat added, the rice productivity program is prone to graft and corruption, like any other government program. He said the fertilizer and seed subsidy intended for poor farmers did not reach most Kalinga farmers.

During the forum at the city gym here Wednesday, where some 1,500 farmers gathered for the rice information caravan and World Food Day rites, complaints on availing the fertilizer subsidy confronted Department of Agriculture (DA) officials.

National Rice Coordinator Frisco Malabanan said the government subsidizes the hybrid rice seeds at P1,500 per bag, while the inbred gets P1,200 per bag. The farmer, however, has to be in the list of farmers to be provided by the concerned local government unit.

For the fertilizer subsidy, DA handles two discount coupons worth P250 each, while the LGUs are supposed to take care of four coupons per farmer. Malabanan admitted some lapses in implementing the subsidy scheme in the local level.

A woman farmer who spoke before the forum said only those who are favored received discount coupons.

Another irrigation association officer said accredited fertilizer dealers charge P100 more on the discounted fertilizers because they still have to wait long before the government could pay them.

Kalinga is considered the rice granary of the Cordillera. It has more than 32,000 hectares of the region’s 90,000 has. irrigated rice lands. It is also a pilot province of PhilRice technology that has contributed largely to its rice production, according to government sources.

DA Cordillera Director Cesar Rodriguez said Kalinga’s rice production continue to increase citing the naturally fertile farms and the use of organic fertilizers, the continuing partnership with state universities to improve technology and the irrigations system as among the factors.

Bureau of Agricultural Statistics estimated that of the 191,000 metric tons (MT) rice produced in the region in January to June this year, Kalinga produced some 95,000 MT, or 49% of the region’s total rice production. In the same period last year the province had 87,000 MT. # Lyn V. Ramo (NorDis)

Kalinga farmers prefer inbred to hybrid rice

October 22, 2008

TABUK CITY, Kalinga — Despite government intervention to promote hybrid rice in the country, most Kalinga farmers plant inbred rice varieties, aside from the traditional rice they now export to the USA.

Without mentioning figures, a rice farmer here said most prefer to plant the inbred rice because of the high volume of inputs and attention required by the hybrid seed varieties.

“A hectare of hybrid rice requires at least eight cavans of fertilizers while the inbred needs only six for the same land area,” our informant who opted for anonymity said.

A bag of fertilizer costs P1,800 to P1,900, according to agriculture technical officials. Hybrid seeds range from P3,500 to P4,000 per 20-kilo bag, while inbreds costs only around P1,200 or even lesser. Traditional rice growers, however, maintain their own seed banks.

Grace, in her 30’s, a farmer from Pasil town, said she tried planting hybrid rice varieties but reverted to inbreds after she lost a fortune when a typhoon did not spare her rice paddies. She said, hybrid rice stalks tend to bend at the slightest wind, unlike the inbreds and the traditional rice that proved to be sturdier.

“Diay apitek a 150 cavans ket nagbalin a 20 laeng kalpasan a nabagyo daytoy,” (I expected 150 cavans but only got 20 after a typhoon hit the crops) Grace said. She said the hybrids are so sensitive to climatic changes, unlike the inbreds.

Tabuk City now boasts of being the hybrid capital of the Cordillera, but its farmers find woes with the newest seed technology.

Assistant Provincial Agriculturist Juliana B. Aclam said there are farmers who have tested the hybrid but plant inbred rice.  She confirmed reports that Kalinga farmers prefer the inbred to hybrid rice.

Top-down planning

“Kasla baby a maaywanan dagiti hybrid,” (Hybrids are like babies that need care) Gerry Bulaat, secretary-general of the Timpuyog ti Mannalon ti Kalinga (TMK) told Nordis in a separate interview.

Bulaat said the government did not consider the local situation in its planning resulting in wrong priorities.

Jessie Fernandez, Philrice supervising science specialist, based in Isabela said inbred rice yields an average of 120 cavans per hectare, while the hybrids could bring out 150 per hectare.

Both Philrice and private seed companies produce hybrid seeds.  Inbred rice was first introduced in the 70’s by the Masagana 99 program of then Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos. Philrice first developed these seeds to produce hybrid. Later, private companies followed suit, according to Fernandez.

DA Sec. Arthur Yap, in press release, stressed that while DA recognizes the potentials of hybrids at increasing farmers’ income, it also emphasizes on the extensive use of certified high-yielding varieties or inbreds, which are responsive to irrigated, rain-fed and upland rice ecosystems; unique or sub-optimal rice environs; specific seasons and climatic conditions; and commercial markets.

Cost of seed, production

Farmers, however, could not produce their own seeds because of decreasing production.  This is reportedly due to degeneration of the seed variety, that farmers have to buy seeds.

“Pinadas mi nga inmula manen diay bin-i ket saan a bumagas a kas idi damo daytoy nga imula, uray isu met laeng ti ikabil nga abono,” (We tried replanting the seeds and found out these do not yield as much as when these are first planted, even if we applied the same amount of fertilizers) said Ricardo Sad-ang, 52, of Tinglayan town.

Alyansa dagiti Pesante iti Taeng Kordilyera’s (Apit Tako) Fernando Bagyan once said in an earlier interview, these are terminator seeds. These could not produce their own seeds for later propagation, thus, compelling farmers to procure their planting materials from seed-producing companies like Syngenta, Monsanto, Asian Hybrid, Bio-seed and the like.

Sad-ang has been planting his two-hectare rice land to hybrid varieties. He said he had tried different types of hybrid seed varieties, but still get only around 90 cavans per hectare.

Philrice has reportedly produced Mestizo varieties M1, M3 and M7.  Private seed companies produce other hybrid varieties.

According to Aclam, many inbred varieties are cultivated in Kalinga. “Farmers have asserted for the certified inbred seeds. Their experience have taught them,” she told Nordis.

Unoy remains a favorite

Meanwhile, the traditional unoy is still being cultivated in most Kalinga towns.  Aclam said only the lower Tabuk barangays and the town of Rizal do not produce unoy rice.

Upper Tabuk, Tanudan, Balbalan, Upper Pinukpuk. Pasil and Tinglayan produce unoy.

Unoy rice varieties prefer the upland conditions, according to Aclam, noting that the taste and yield differ when these are planted in the lowland farms.

A negligible portion of unoy is now being exported to Montana, USA.

According to Apit Tako Spokesperson Virgie Dammay, unoy is now being produced in commercial quantities, with the provincial government trying too hard to meet the export quota for organically produced rice.

“This export program led farmers to devote more rice lands to the production of unoy. Even traditional vegetable swidden farms are now being planted to unoy,” said Mila Lingbawan of Innabuyog-Gabriela. She said, unoy was originally a paddy rice.

With more and more farmers encouraged to produce unoy for commercial purposes, TMK fears environmental degradation.

“It commands a higher price, farmers tend to produce it for sale amid food shortage and hunger,” said Bulaat.

Rice took center stage here Wednesday as the agriculture department gathered more than a thousand rice farmers, seed producers, local government officials and agriculture employees.

The rice info caravan featured a one-day stakeholders’ forum at the city gym.

Neither Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo nor Yap came to the dismay of the contingent. The duo was invited as main guests.

The forum focused on Arroyo’s center piece agriculture program FIELDS as government agencies focused on improving its organic fertilizer program; restoring irrigation systems, extension services; loans; dryers and post-harvest facilities;  and production and promotion of hybrid seeds. # Lyn V. Ramo(NorDis)

Rights violations continue despite CHR — Coun. Cariño

October 22, 2008

BAGUIO CITY — Joining advocates on their call to surface Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) founding member James Balao, a city councilor here noted that present human rights violations have not changed from records of past administrations.

Councilor Richard Cariño pointed out that despite the existence of the constitutionally-created Commission on Human Rights (CHR), human rights violations continue as the incidents (HRVs) have not declined.

In a show of their condemnation to enforced disappearances, Cariño and members of the city council passed a resolution that condemns enforced disappearances, regardless of who the victims are.

“Our position against enforced disappearances is institutionalized under such resolution,” he said in an interview, after his talk in the gathering at the People’s Park here Friday, October 17, where participants urged the GMA administration and its security troops to surface Balao.

Balao was abducted by suspected elements of the intelligence units of the military and police on September 17 in Lower Tomay, La Trinidad, a few meters away from the PNP regional office of Camp Dangwa, the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance said.

Remembering abduction

Carino is reminded him of his clients known as Baguio 14 because of the abduction of Balao.

In 1988, 14 peasant leaders from Nueva Ecija were having a meeting at the Legarda Road here when they were abducted by military.

Together with human rights advocates, they went searching military camps but failed to locate the 14 peasants.

They learned afterwards that the 14 were at the Camp Allen, a military camp, in front the city hall.

Since the military were holding them without legal basis, they (military) under the leadership of a certain Major Garcia of the Philippine Army turned over the 14 to the Baguio City jail but after they were charged of subversion and illegal possession of firearms by their captors, said Cariño, who was an active member of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) during that period.

The cases filed against the then known Baguio 14 were dismissed, after six years that they had been jailed.

Meanwhile, elders from Bontoc, Mountain Province joined the gathering at the People’s Park.

Petra Macliing urged the people to unite and join the search for missing Balao. Her call is a support for CPA’s Mabtad Kaigorotan or campaign to search James Balao.

A veteran against the Chico dam project and anti-mining in their home village of Mainit, Macliing famous line for the military is to turn their gun into productive plow where they can produce food for the people.

Evelyn Miranda of the Am-Amung di Ifontok (Gathering of the Ifontok tribe) pointed out among the participants that the case of Balao is a case of a resident abducted in his own land.

She condemned the military for the abduction and urged residents to search for Balao as “he is our own blood.” The mother of James Balao has ascendants from Bontoc, pointed Miranda, who is also a council member of the Cordillera Elders Assembly, an alliance of elders groups from various tribes of the Cordillera.

Today is already the 30th day since James was abducted, CHRA said. # Arthur L. Allad-iw(NorDis)

New CPAs of 2008 (K)

October 22, 2008

Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008
1247 KABIGTING, MARICEL PANGILINAN
1248 KALALO, EMMYR JOSEPH CULTURA
1249 KAMSAWEN, ANN MALOGDOS
1250 KARIÑGAL, ENRICO JR DE LA CRUZ
Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008 Page: 27 of 50
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008

Seq. No. N a m e

1251 KENG, ANNE MARGARET SY
1252 KIMAYONG, ROMEO JR GUINANOY
1253 KING, MARIA DALISAY REYES
1254 KING, RAPHAEL DERAYUNAN
1255 KO, WINNY VELOSO
1256 KOON, LEVIN LIM

Human rights group sneers at TF 211

October 22, 2008

BAGUIO CITY — The Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) sneered at the sincerity of the government efforts in investigating cases of extra-judicial killings under Task Force 211, a task force against political violence.

According to Jude Baggo, CHRA secretary general, the creation of this task force is just a scheme of the government to whitewash results of the investigations on extra-judicial killings and to make Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo seem to be doing something about human rights violations in the country.

“The fact that there are still killings all over the country and cases of enforced disappearances like that of James Balao, only shows how inutile the state is in prosecuting and putting the perpetrators to justice,” said Baggo.

TF 211 was formed November of 2007 through Administrative Order No. 211. Its mandate is to investigate political violence with focus on killings of militants, media practitioners and members of the trade unions.

At present, the task force is handling 251 cases with 12 resolved cases and 12 dismissals due to lack of sufficient evidence.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Under-secretary Ricardo Blancaflor, head of TF 211, said in a forum here Monday, cases of extra-judicial killings decreased 82-84% since the formation of the task force.

“The decrease is due to higher level of awareness of the people on the situation and the influence and pressure from all sectors,” said Blancaflor.

Blancaflor also cleared the involvement of the military in the killings saying that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) should be the one investigated.

“More likely the killings are done by CPP-NPA and blamed on the military or police forces,” said Blancaflor referring to the alleged killings in Mindanao due to communist purges.

Human rights advocates attribute human rights violations to state forces since these are mandated to protect the citizens. Killings by other forces than those in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) or the Philippine National Police (PNP) fall under the category of criminal offense such as murder or kidnapping, according to the CHRA and its umbrella organization, Karapatan.

“Although we still welcome the creation of TF 211, we continue to challenge the administration to genuinely investigate the cases especially those cases involving high military officials like Gen. Jovito Palparan,” ended Baggo. # Cye Reyes (NorDis)

Similarities noted in the enforced disappearance of Jonas and James

October 22, 2008

BAGUIO CITY — A forum at the University of the Philippines Baguio Tuesday gathered the family and supporters of two missing JB’s, who took turns telling of harrowing experience searching for their abducted kin.


A THOUSAND CRANES FOR A WISH. Arturo Balao and Editha Burgos add their origami crane to complete the 1,000 cranes to carry the wish for the surface of James and Jonas. Photo by Cye Reyes/NORDIS

In the said forum, the participants and the families talked on similarities in the two cases of enforced disappearance and how they could join forces to end human rights violations.

The Jonas rice

Jonas Burgos’ decision to take up agriculture in the Benguet State University (BSU) in La Trinidad, Benguet was influenced by his family’s decision to go into farming as a way of leading a simple life. Jonas helped the family manage a 12-hectare farm in Bulacan.

According to Editha Burgos, Jonas’ mother, he really loves to be among the farmers. “He makes it a point to help other farmers and expects nothing in return,” said Burgos adding he used to come home with farmers’ produce in exchange for a day’s work.

Burgos proudly said Jonas as an agriculturist developed a rice variety that withstands the strongest of typhoons. It is still being propagated to get more seeds for dispersal to other farmers.

“This is how dedicated Jonas is in terms of sacrifice for the sake of others,” said Burgos.

Jonas is a member of the Alyansa ng Magsasaka sa Bulacan (AMB), an affiliate of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), tagged by the military as an “enemy of the state.”

Jonas was abducted April 28, 2007 while having lunch in Quezon City. Burgos recalled they were able to talk to Jonas the day after the abduction but he was sounding drugged or drunk and was talking non-sense.

According to a fact sheet about Jonas’ abduction, witnesses surfaced after the Burgos family had a press conference two days after the abduction. They recounted Jonas was forcibly taken by four to eight plain-clothed men who forced him into a waiting Toyota Revo. One of the abductors reportedly identified himself as a police officer.

Later the vehicle was reportedly seen at a military camp in Bulacan.

In Burgos’ account, the witnesses also said that while Jonas was being dragged, he kept on shouting, “Aktibista lang po ako,” (I am just an activist).

The other missing JB

James Balao’s activism started when he was still at the University of the Philippines Baguio, where he was the editor-in-chief of the student publication Outcrop. He then wrote several articles criticizing the Marcos dictatorship.

He is one of the founding members of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) in 1984 and worked in its Research and Education Commission, extending his services and expertise in the Cordillera provinces.

CPA, the local chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), is also tagged by the military as an “enemy of the state.”

James was abducted September 17.

According to the October 13 press release of CPA, witnesses came out after they had seen a public announcement on James’ disappearance in a local paper and a tarpaulin along Bokawkan Road.

According to witness’ accounts, at around 8:00 A.M. of September 17 in Lower Tomay, La Trinidad, five unidentified men swooped on James and forcibly took him and put him in what looks like a Mitsubishi Adventure or a Toyota Revo.

While James was cuffed he cried “Saludsuden yo man dagitoy nu ania ti basol ko” (Please ask them what wrong have I done). One of the abductors then shouted at the witnesses, “Pulis kami! Huwag kayong maki-alam! Drug pusher ito” (We are the police! Do not interfere! He is a drug pusher!) and clamped his neck to silence him.

James was subjected to a heavy surveillance since April until his abduction. One of the vehicles on his list of suveillance cars was seen parked at the premises of the Intelligence Security Unit at Navy Base here.

A thousand cranes for a wish

According to a Japanese belief, a thousand folded paper cranes makes a wish come true.

The Balao family and Editha Burgos with the help of friends made a thousand origami cranes and placed them on a giant crane made out from bamboo, in the said forum, with one wish — for James and Jonas to be surfaced alive and well.

“Ang hirap maghanap kung hindi mo alam saan hahanapin,” (It is hard to look for someone when you do not know where to look) lamented Burgos. “We just want our loved ones to be unconditionally surfaced,” she added.

“I can imagine the torture James Balao’s family is undergoing right now, not knowing the whereabouts and condition of their loved one,” said Burgos as she vowed to be one with the Balao family in condemning the abduction of James and in saying that the military is behind all enforced disappearances.

“Mas madaling maghanap kung may kasama ka,” (It is easier to do the search with supporters) said Burgos adding she could not have been strong enough to handle his son’s disappearance without the help and support of others.

Jonilyn Balao-Strugar, the youngest sibling of missing activist James Balao, said the enforced disappearance of her brother has heavily affected the whole Balao clan.

“We have already stopped counting the days. We cannot even look at the calendar anymore,” Strugar said. “So much has been said and done already but my brother is still missing,” she said adding there is still a lot of push needed to find her brother.

She also said if Jonas has been gone missing for more than a year already, she fears it could happen to her brother.

Winston Balao, another sibling of James, said “We can only imagine the stories of the witnesses we have talked to on how our brother was brutally taken by unidentified men.” He also said it is painful to think why people like James and Jonas who help other people are the ones targeted by our own government and subjected to unthinkable torture.

The Burgos case was denied a writ of habeas corpus and was granted a partial writ of amparo.

Writ if amparo

Meanwhile, the Balao case has just filed for a writ of amparo October 9. The first hearing set by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Benigno Galacgac 16th of October was postponed when the judge was hospitalized and the executive judge who is supposed to take over in case of emergencies like this, also reportedly called in sick.

In her experience, Burgos said the hearings for a writ of amparo dragged a very long time. She has expressed hope that it will not be for the Balao family and prays they get a better legal chance in their search for James.

Burgos is one of the signatories of the impeachment case against Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo filed Monday in congress. # Cye Reyes (Nordis)

Ilocos court drops rebellion charges vs peace consultant

October 22, 2008

CANDON CITY — The Ilocos Sur provincial prosecutor’s office  dismissed rebellion charges against National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Peace Consultant Elizabeth Prinsipe as an end result of the preliminary investigation ordered by the court in July.

The three-page resolution signed by Fiscal Redentor Cardenas stated “the participation of the accused Elizabeth Prinsipe was not actual but only presumed. Under the basic tenets of criminal law, any doubt should always be interpreted in favor of the innocence of the accused.”

As an end result of the preliminary investigation ordered by Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 23 Judge Gabino Balbin Jr., the provincial prosecutors office found no probable cause of the crime rebellion. It was resolved that her name be dropped from the rebellion charge in Criminal Case No. 1260 in Candon City, Ilocos Sur RTC Branch 23 and that her case be dismissed.

Principe, through her lawyers in the Public Interest Law Center (PILC) and the Cordillera Indigenous People’s Legal Center (Dinteg) submitted her counter-affidavit August 5, after the court gave her 15 days to submit her statement.

‘Never set foot in Ilocos Sur’

Principe stated in her counter-affidavit she worked as a paramedic in Cagayan Valley until she was arrested in November 28, 2007 by virtue of the case filed in Branch 23 RTC Candon City, Ilocos Sur. She noted the evidence against her was based on hearsay particularly of those witnesses Gaspar Bagsingit, CIC Orlando Maguinsay and SSgt. Victoriano Jallorina who accused her of being a high- ranking officer of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

Principe denied such accusations and claimed she never set foot in Ilocos Sur except during her arraignment in January this year, where she was secretly transferred by the PNP on the night of January 22, although during the time of the attack of the house of Jallorina, she was in Cagayan Valley.

Her counter-affidavit concluded nobody was able to prove that she was part or participated in the pursuit of rebellion against the government or any of its instrumentality.

‘Ka Memay’

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Ilocos Sur however, countered the statement of Prinsipe questioning her profession as a paramedic.

“She had no reason as to why she was in the place of the camps of the rebels and she never gave any reason why she had to render medical services and educate people in the said places as she was never employed by the Government,” the CIDG counter to the counter-affidavit said.

The CIDG also claimed Prinsipe was a member of the CPP-NPA-NDFP and that her nom-de-guerre is Ka Memay. The statement also accused Leo Velasco, Prinsipe’s missing husband, as the CPP-NPA’s highest organ cadre.

Based on the allegations and counter allegations, the resolution noted it went over the pieces of evidence to determine its probable cause. Statements of Maguinsay, Basingit and Jallorina were reviewed to which the resolution stated that it was “presumed” and not “actual” evidence.  Such became the basis of the dismissal of the rebellion charge against Prinsipe.

Prinsipe, 58, a peace process consultant of the NDFP and a paramedic in profession, was abducted last year by military intelligence personnel while on her way to a medical check-up. The military and police also implicated her in the Manila Peninsula stand off last November 2007 and alleged her of multiple charges in Cagayan Valley and Ilocos Region where she was implicated in the strafing of the house of Jallorina in 1991.

Hope for release

Lorena Santos, daughter of Elizabeth Prinsipe and Leo Velasco and currently the spokesperson of Free Elizabeth Principe and Surface Leo Velasco Task Force welcome the decision of the provincial prosecutor’s office.

“I am deeply relieved to know that my mother’s rebellion case in Candon is finally dismissed,” Santos said in a text message.

Santos said this dismissal is a first step for her mother’s release. “This gives my family hope that my mother will be set free and so as other political prisoners,” she said in a text message.

Prinsipe and her lawyers from PILC and Dinteg is set to attend a hearing on October 22 at Candon City. # Rod Tajon(NorDis)

New CPAs of 2008 (J)

October 21, 2008

Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008
1206 JABINES, TWILIGHT JEDIDIAH ROA
1207 JACOB, ALEXIS JR RASCO
1208 JAEN, ALVIN REY DOCEJO
1209 JALECO, CARMELA ANNE ALGAS
1210 JALOP, GLACELY LAURINO
1211 JAMODIONG, ELLEN AÑASCO
1212 JANABAJAL, EARL RAUL GONZALES
1213 JANGAD, NOWYN-HOPE ABRIOL
1214 JAO, JENNIFER VILLACATER
1215 JARAMILLO, CLARICE CARPIO
1216 JARAPAN, RYALPH VINCENT HERNANDEZ
1217 JARMONA, JULIE MAE MONGAYA
1218 JAVIER, CARLITA URBANO
1219 JAVIER, DULCE ANN SISON
1220 JAVIER, JONATHAN BIGAY
1221 JAVIER, RACHEL REYES
1222 JIMENA, FRANCO ALLAN PERALTA
1223 JOCOY, KIMBERLYNN SOCO
1224 JOMUAD, MICHAEL BECBEC
1225 JORBINA, JEANELLE DELGADO
1226 JORDA, MIGUEL QUINTAO
1227 JOSE, CINDY GRACE MANUEL
1228 JOSE, FORTUNE ERNEST SIBAYAN
1229 JOSE, MERGIELOU RABAL
1230 JOSE, SHEILA SAULOG
1231 JOVE, ROBINSON GEPILA
1232 JOVELLANOS, MARIA IVY BERNARDINO
1233 JOVEN, FRANCIS ANGELO DIZON
1234 JOVENES, JEANNIE ROSE GANI
1235 JUAN, ANNE CAROLINE MEJORADA
1236 JUAN, CECILIA BARRIAS
1237 JUAN, JUDITH OCAMPO
1238 JUAÑO, RONNIE JR ESTRELLA
1239 JUCO, KAYE MARIE SORIO
1240 JUELAR, MA JENELYN COGUIMBAL
1241 JULIA, JANE KATHLEEN HERNANDEZ
1242 JULIAN, JAMIE LORRAINE MOSO
1243 JUNI, NOEL SULTAN
1244 JUNIO, CHRISTINE PASCUA
1245 JUNIO, RACHELLE ANN ESTRADA
1246 JUNSAY, GEEZELLE VILLAVERDE

Welgang bukid sa Calabarzon ikakasa

October 21, 2008

Ilang-Ilang Quijano

MAGWEWELGA ang mga magsasaka sa iba’t ibang asyenda at plantasyon sa Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, at Quezon mula Oktubre 12 hanggang 21 laban sa “kagutuman, militarisasyon, at globalisasyon.”

Ipinanawagan din ng mga magsasaka ang pagbabasura sa CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program) at pagsasabatas ng House Bill 3059 o GARB (Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill).

Patuloy na nakokonsentra ang lupa sa kamay ng iilan sa kabila ng 20 taon implementasyon ng CARP, ayon kay Imelda Lacandazo, tagapagsalita ng Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan o Kasama-TK.

Pito sa 10 magsasaka ang walang sariling lupa, ayon sa pananaliksik ng grupo.

“Halimbawa, sa Batangas na lamang, kontrolado ng 91 panginoong maylupa ang 71,813 ektarya ng lupain. Sa Quezon, pag-aari ng 211 panginoong maylupa ang 561,626 ektarya ng lupain,” ani Lacandazo.

Binatikos din ng Kasama-TK ang kriminalisasyon sa lehitimong paglaban ng mga magsasaka para sa kanilang mga karapatan sa lupa. Pinakahuli ang pagsampa ng kasong arson at conspiracy to commit rebellion sa 27 lider-aktibista sa Timog Katagalugan, kabilang ang mula sa progresibong mga grupong magsasaka.

“Hinaharas at tinatakot ng militar ang mga magsasaka, lalo na sa mga lugar na may laban sa lupa,” dagdag ni Lacandazo.

Ayon sa grupo, nananatiling mahirap ang mga magsasaka dahil sa “atrasadong sistema sa agrikultura na nakadepende sa mga import at nakatuon sa mga export.”

Sa Oktubre 12, itatayo ang rehiyunal na kampo ng mga magsasaka sa Crossing sa Calamba, Laguna.

Ikakasa rin ang mga welgang bukid sa Bacoor at Silang sa Cavite; Balayan, Alaminos (Hacienda Fule), Canlubang (Hacienda Yulo), Calatagan, Nasugbu, at Lemery sa Batangas; Tanay, Morong, at Montalban sa Rizal; Gumaca, Candelaria, Catanauan, at Infanta sa Quezon.(PinoyWeekly)

2 mamamahayag sa Davao binabantaan

October 21, 2008

BINABANTAAN ang dalawang mamamahayag sa Davao na nagsiwalat ng katiwalian sa lokal na gobyerno, ulat ng NUJP (National Union of Journalists of the Philippines).

Isang linggo matapos isiwalat ni Erin Lumosbog, anchor ng “Radyo Ronda”, isang programa ng RPN-9-dxKT ang umano’y tangkang pangingikil ng P1.2 Milyon ng anim na konsehal sa isang negosyante para bigyan ng permit sa quarrying, nakatanggap siya ng death threats sa text.

Nang ibatikos din ni James Pala ng “Radyo Rapido” ang nasabing mga konsehal, nakatanggap din siya ng tatlong death threats, ayon sa NUJP.

Umano’y inimbitahan ng mga mamamahayag ang mga konsehal na ibigay ang kanilang panig sa istorya pero tumanggi ang mga ito.

“Ipinapakita ng panghaharas sa dalawang mamamahayag ng Davao ang kultura ng karahasan at korupsiyon, at ang kawalang respeto sa balanse at matapat na mamamahayag, na mamamayagpag sa corridors of power ng bansa,” ayon sa NUJP.

Pinapurihan ng grupo sina Lumosbog at Pala para sa kanilang paninindigan sa kabila ng mga pagbabanta.(PinoyWeekly)

New CPAs of 2008 (I)

October 21, 2008

Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008
1171 IBARDALOZA, GINA BERNARDO
1172 IBASCO, DAREL DECENA
1173 IBAÑES, LLOYD ARISTOTELLE DOMINGO
1174 IBAÑEZ, JUDITH DOLAUTA
1175 IBRAHIM, AZNIA AZINETH MILLENDEZ
1176 IBRAHIM, QUR’ATUAYNE BASMAN
1177 ICARANUM, RAYLI JOHN VILLASANA
1178 ICBAN, JERGEN MENDOZA
1179 IFURUNG, ANGELINE STA CRUZ
1180 IGLESIAS, ROEL JOSEPH MAYO
1181 IGNACIO, CATHERINE DALMACIO
1182 IGNACIO, MELISSA PADILLA
1183 IGTANLOC, SHERYLL GORGONIO
1184 ILAGAN, ADRIANO ARIAS
1185 ILAO, LOIVELLE PATRICK CELLO
1186 ILIGAN, LOUIE MARK DUMAS
1187 IMBAT, CLAUDE MARK APIADO
1188 IMBAT, WINEFREDA FALLORIN
1189 IMLAT, RHEA RITA MOMLA
1190 IMMOTNA, MYLEEN GAYAMAN
1191 IMPERIAL, CHRISTINE LEGASPI
1192 IMPERIAL, KRISTEL CONTANTE
1193 IMPERIAL, MARIA FE FAITH ESCALONA
1194 INFANTADO, JESILEE PAGUIA
1195 INFANTADO, MA CRISTINA TIOPENGCO
1196 INFANTADO, ROY HERNANDEZ
1197 INGAT, EMILYN PIDAMATO
1198 INOCENCIO, CHRISTINE ERIKA MALDO
1199 INOCENO, JANET ROXAS
1200 ISIO, RHOSEL ATIENZA
Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008 Page: 26 of 50
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008

Seq. No. N a m e

1201 ISLA, ARTHUR LUCERO
1202 ISLA, ROLANDO JR ASIS
1203 ISLA, SHARLYN GRACE NG
1204 ISSAKA, MARIANE JAY VELASQUEZ
1205 IT-IT, SHEREE MAE BENDANILLO

Bilanggong pulitikal nadismaya sa pagpapalaya kay Teehankee

October 21, 2008

MULA sa Camp Crame Custodial Center, inihayag ng bilanggong pulitikal na si Elizabeth Principe ang pagkadismaya sa pagbigay ng executive clemency ni Pangulong Arroyo kay Claudio Teehankee Jr.

“Baligtad talaga ang gobyerno. Ang mga taong inialay ang kanilang buhay sa masa, nabubulok sa piitan habang ang mayayamang kriminal ay pinalalaya,” (This is an upside down government. Those people who offer their lives to the masses are suffering to rot in jail yet the wealthy criminals can walk as free men) ani Principe, konsultant ng NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines).

Hinatulan ng habambuhay na pagkakabilanggo dahil sa pagpatay ng 16-anyos na si Maureen Hultman, nakalaya si Teehankee ngayong linggo matapos lamang ang 14 taon sa National Bilibid Prison.

Hinamon naman ni Donato Continente, tagapagsalita ng Selda (Society of Ex-Detainees against Detention and for Amnesty), si Arroyo na palayain din ang 225 bilanggong pulitikal.

Binilanggo sa ilalim ng gobyernong Arroyo ang 198 sa mga ito.

Siningil din ni Continente si Arroyo sa kabiguan nitong palayain ang mga bilanggong pulitikal sa ilalim ng Second Oslo joint statement na pinirmahan ng gobyerno at ng NDFP noong Abril 3, 2004.

Ayon sa Karapatan, sa 31 bilanggong pulitikal na inaprubahan para palayain, pito lamang ang pinakawalan ng gobyerno sa bisa ng usapang pangkapayapaan sa NDFP.(PinoyWeekly)

Mula US hanggang RP: Krisis sa balikat ng bayan

October 21, 2008

Ilang-Ilang D. Quijano

KAHIT ipinasa ng Kongreso ng US ang $700 Bilyong piyansa para sa nagbagsakang higanteng mga bangko at institusyong pampinansiya sa US, naniniwala ang mga eksperto sa ekonomiya na magtatagal ang pandaigdigang krisis pang-ekonomiya. Isinalba, pansamantala, ang mga “haligi ng kapitalismo.” Pero pinangangambahang magdurusa – sa kagyat at pangmatagalan – ang mga mamamayan hindi lamang ng US kundi ng mundo, kabilang ng Pilipinas.

Pinuri ni Pang. Arroyo ang bailout o Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 na pinirmahan ni US Pres. George W. Bush noong Oktubre 3. Aniya’y unang hakbang ito sa “mahabang daan” patungo sa pagnormalisa ng mga merkadong pinansiyal. Inudyok niya ang mga mamamayan na “manatili sa landas” habang inaasikaso ng kanyang administrasyon ang mga hakbang para mapangalagaan ang ekonomiya ng bansa.

Pero hindi nagiging matapat ang administrasyong Arroyo sa mga epekto sa mga mamamayan ng tinataguriang “pinakamatinding krisis ng sistemang kapitalismo” sa loob ng 80 taon. Ang inilatag ding mga plano ng kanyang pangkat pang-ekonomiya ay hindi batayang mga repormang pang-ekonomiya, kundi “mala-Bush” na mga solusyong ikalulugi ng mga mamamayan para sa ganansiya ng mga dati nang nakikinabang sa sistema.

Nawala ‘na parang bula’

Positibo si Sek. Margarito Teves ng DoF (Department of Finance) na makatutulong ang bailout para maiwasan ang pandaigdigang resesyon na pinangangambahan maging ng IMF (International Monetary Fund). Ayon sa IMF, may 25 porsiyentong tsansa na bumaba sa tatlong porsiyento ang tantos ng paglago (growth rate) ng pandaigdigang ekonomiya sa 2008 at 2009 o katumbas ng resesyon.

Gayunpaman, ayon kay Paul Quintos, ekonomista at executive director ng Eiler (Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research), pumasok man sa pandaigdigang resesyon o hindi, tiyak ang “pagbagal ng produksiyon, paglaki ng disempleyo, pagtumal ng pamilihan, at pagtindi ng kahirapan ng mga mamamayan.”

Dulot ang pagkabangkarote ng tatlo sa limang pinakamalaking bangko sa pamumuhunan – Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, at Merrill Lynch – ng pagputok ng artipisyal na bula sa real estate. Para lumobo ang halaga ng pag-aaring pampinansiya ng US at makapag-engganyo ng pagkonsumo, nag-alok ang malalaking bangko ng US ng mababang interes sa mga pautang sa pabahay. Inengganyong mangutang maging ang maliliit lamang ang kita batay sa pinalobong halaga ng isinanglang mga bahay nila (tinatawag na subprime mortgages). Pero nakapako naman ang sahod kaya’t nabigong makapagbayad ang karamihan simula noong 2006.

Unti-unting nalugi ang mga bangko at institusyong pampinansiya di lamang sa US kundi sa buong daigdig na sumugal sa di-kontroladong ispekulasyon. Noong Setyembre 30, naganap sa 30 bansa ang pinakamatarik na pagbagsak ng stock market sa kasaysayan. Sa tantiya ng IMF, aabot sa US$ 945-B ang halaga ng pagkalugi at pagbagsak ng halaga ng mga pag-aari sa US (asset write-downs). Sa iba pang pagtantiya, ayon kay Quintos, maaaring umabot sa $30 Trilyon ang kabuuang halagang “mawawala nang parang bula” sa buong daigdig dahil sa yumanig na krisis.

Malawakang tanggalan

Pagyayabang noong una ni Nestor Espenilla, deputy governor ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, di-gaanong apektado sa krisis ang lokal na merkadong pinansiyal. Umano’y isang porsiyento lamang ng buong sistema ng pagbabangko sa Pilipinas ang US$ 386 Milyon na exposure sa Lehman Brothers ng pitong bangko at kaya ng mga itong tumindig sa sariling mga paa.

Pero sa press briefing sa Malakanyang kamakailan, sinabi ni Sek. Ralph Recto ng National Economic Development Authority na magiging mas matumal kaysa inaasahan ang buong takbo ng ekonomiya. Mula sa growth target sa GDP na 5.5 hanggang 6.4 porsiyento ngayong taon, naging 4.4 hanggang 4.9 porsiyento na lamang. Ibig sabihin, mas malalim at malawak ang mga epekto sa lokal na ekonomiya ng pandaigdigang krisis pampinansiya kaysa nais aminin ng administrasyong Arroyo.

Noong Agosto 2007 nang unang pumutok ang krisis sa subprime ng US, nawala ang P2-T na halaga-sa-papel ng sapi sa Philippine Stock Exchange, ayon kay Quintos. Sinabi rin niyang bumaba nang 12.3 porsiyento ang lakas ng piso laban sa dolyar ngayong taon at posibleng sumadsad muli sa P50 kada dolyar.

Higit pa sa negatibong epekto sa stock exchange at exchange rate ang inaasahang pagtumal sa pagpasok sa bansa ng dayuhang kapital at pagliit ng merkado para sa iniluluwas na mga produkto at serbisyo sa US. Paliwanag ni Quintos, “pinakamalalang maaapektuhan ng krisis ang mga bansang atrasado [gaya ng Pilipinas] na mahigpit na nakatali sa neokolonyal na relasyong pangkalakalan sa US.”

May 16 porsiyento ng kabuuang eksport ng Pilipinas ang napupunta sa US habang 70 porsiyento ang di-direktang napupunta dito sa pamamagitan ng ibang mga bansang Asya kung saan binubuo (ina-assemble) ang mga kasangkapan bago i-eksport din sa US, ayon sa datos ng Ibon Foundation. Dahil sa mas mahigpit na pagkokonsumo doon, inaasahang liliit ang US$ 9.4-B na direktang kinita mula sa mga eksport sa US noong 2007.

Inaasahan ding tutumal ang mga dayuhang pamumuhunan mula sa US sa pagmamanupaktura, BPO (Business Process Outsourcing), at serbisyong pampinansiya. May 20 porsiyento ito ng kabuuang FDI (foreign direct investment). Mula sa mga merkado sa US ang halos 90 porsiyento ng kita ng BPO na nakasentro sa mga call center.

Ipinagmamalaki pa naman ng administrasyong Arroyo na numero unong tagalikha ng trabaho ang mga Export Processing Zones at BPO. Pero pagsasara ng maliliit na negosyo at malawakang tanggalan ang nakaamba sa mga ito at iba pang apektadong industriya. Mula Hulyo 2007 (hudyat ng krisis sa subprime sa US) hanggang Hulyo 2008 na lamang, 125,000 manggagawa sa pagmamanupaktura ang tinanggal sa trabaho—inaasahang tataas ang bilang nila. Inaasahang apektado rin ang mga ahente ng call center na karamiha’y nasa National Capital Region.

Maging ang pagluwas ng mga OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker), inaasahang babagal. Sa buong mundo, ayon sa International Labor Organization, tinatayang limang milyong manggagawa ang mawawalan ng trabaho dahil sa pagtumal ng pandaigdigang ekonomiya. Noong nakaraang buwan, 159,000 manggagawa ang natanggal sa trabaho sa US—na ngayo’y makikipag-agawan pa ng oportunidad sa mga OFW at iba pang migrante doon.

“Malilimitahan ang bilang ng mga Pilipinong makakahanap ng trabaho sa ibang bansa, ” ani Quintos. Mangangahulugan umano ito ng mas kaunting remitans at mas matamlay ding konsumo sa Pilipinas dahil sa laki ng papel ng remitans sa lokal na ekonomiya.

Solusyon nga ba?

Umaasa ang administrasyong Bush na sasapat ang mahigit US$ 1.3-T inilaan nito para maisalba ang ekonomiya ng US mula sa pagkabangkarote ng malalaking institusyong pampinansiya. Bukod sa US$700-B bailout, naglagak ito ng US$ 29-B para bilhin ang Bear Stearns, US$ 200-B para isalba ang dalawang pinakamalaking nagpapautang sa pabahay na Freddie Mac at Fannie Mae, US$ 85-B para bilhin ang mayoryang kontrol ng papalubog na American Investment Group, at US$ 180-B para pasiglahin ang merkadong pinansiyal.

Umaani ng batikos ang administrasyong Bush dahil sa halip na parusahan ang “kasakiman” (greed) ng mga ispekulador, ginamit pa ang buwis ng mga mamamamayan para sagipin ang mga ito. Gaya ng kung paano, ayon sa Bayan (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan), ginamit ni Pangulong Arroyo ang VAT (Value-Added Tax) para pagtakpan ang palpak na mga polisyang pang-ekonomiya na nagdulot ng piskal na krisis noon. Ngayon, dagdag-buwis at iba pang pampasigla sa ekonomiya (fiscal stimulus) pa rin ang panukala ng administrasyong Arroyo para manatiling nakalutang ang ekonomiya ng bansa sa gitna ng pandaigdigang krisis pampinansiya.

Nanawagan si Teves sa Kongreso na ipasa ng Kongreso ang P1.4-T pambansang badyet na may nakalaang P147.5-B para sa imprastruktura. Ayon kay Recto, “Ang mantra ng Neda ay infra, infra, infra para mapaunlad ang growth rate ng ekonomiya.”

Gayunpaman, nasa depensiba ang gobyernong Arroyo sa paggastos ng pondo para sa imprastruktura na kilalang napupunta lamang sa korupsiyon. Kaya napilitan si House Espiker Prospero Nograles kamakailan na ihayag na hindi gagamitin ang pondo ng mga pulitiko para sa 2010 halalan, kasabay ng pagtatayo ng komite na magmomonitor nito. Tinitingnan naman ni Quintos na “pansamantala” ang epekto ng ganitong pampasigla sa ekonomiya.

Tinutulak din ng DoF ang mga panukalang batas para sa rasyunalisasyon ng insentibo sa buwis ng mga kompanya (fiscal incentives) at buwis sa sigarilyo at alkohol (sin taxes). Inaasahang kikita ng P10-B ang gobyerno sa una, at P12-B hanggang P25-B sa huli. Para pa rin sa dagdag-kita, agresibo nang ibinebenta ng gobyerno ang Petron Corp. at Philippine National Oil Corp. sa minimithing halagang P41-B.

Pero ayon kay Quintos, pabibilisin lamang nito ang pribatisasyon ng pinakamahahalagang asset ng gobyerno na ikadurusa rin ng mga mamamayan sa anyo ng mas mataas na presyo ng langis. Ibig sabihin din ng desididong tutok ng administrasyong Arroyo na pataasin ang kita ng gobyerno, malayong alisin nito ang VAT.

Repormang kailangan

Ngunit ayon sa Ibon Foundation, mas lalong nagiging makabuluhan ang panawagan at paglaban ng mga mamamayan para sa kagyat na lunas mula sa hagupit ng pandaigdigang krisis pampinansiya. Kabilang dito ang pag-alis sa VAT at P125 dagdag-na-sahod ng mga manggagawa.

Lalo pa at inaasahan umanong lumipat ang ispekulatibong kapital sa pangangalakal ng mga komoditi (commodities futures trading) gaya ng langis, mineral, at produktong pang-agrikultura na magtutulak pataas ng presyo ng pagkain at enerhiya. Ngayon pa lamang, dalawang-katlo (2/3) ng populasyon ng mundo ang dumaranas ng double-digit inflation at nasasadlak lalo sa kahirapan. Sa Pilipinas, 2.3 milyon ang nadaragdag sa mahihirap tuwing tataas nang 10 porsiyento ang presyo ng pagkain, ayon sa Asian Development Bank.

Sa halip na sa imprastruktura, bayad-utang, at sa militar mapunta ang kalakhan ng pambansang badyet sa susunod na taon, inirekomenda rin ng Ibon Foundation na ilagak ito sa kritikal na mga serbisyong sosyal na nakakatanggap lamang ng maliit na porsiyento gaya ng kalusugan (2.5 porsiyento), edukasyon (14.5 porsiyento), at pabahay (0.4 porsiyento).

Sinabi naman ni Quintos na ang pangmatagalang mga solusyon sa krisis ay ang “pagbasura sa mga patakarang neo-liberal,” “pagpapatupad ng tunay na repormang agraryo,” at “komprehensibong pambansang industriyalisasyon” na magpoprotekta sa Pilipinas mula sa mga kombulsyon sa sistemang kapitalista na pinaghaharian ng US.

Hanggang mailugar ang mga ito, babalikatin ng mga Pilipino, kasama ng iba pang mamamayan ng mundo, ang krisis ng kapitalismo na nagpapatuloy at tumitindi.(PinoyWeekly)

Imposibleng paratang sa kilusang paggawa

October 21, 2008

Ilang-Ilang D. Quijano

Atty. Remigio Saladero, batikang labor lawyer na kinasuhan ng arson at conspiracy to commit rebellion

HALOS 700 kaso ang hinahawakan ngayon ng Pro-Labor Legal Assistance Center o Place, opisina ng beteranong labor lawyer na si Atty. Remigio Saladero Jr. Para matugunan ang pangangailangan ng mga kliyenteng manggagawa, araw-araw dumadalo ang 50-anyos na abogado sa mga pagdinig sa korte at gabi-gabing gumagawa ng pleadings. Laking gulat na lamang niya nang biglang mapabilang sa 27 na akusado sa umano’y pambobomba ng NPA (New People’s Army) sa isang cell site ng Globe Telecom sa Lemery, Batangas noong Agosto 2.

Ayon sa testigong si Arvin Leviste, nagpakilalang Deep Penetration Agent ng Philippine Air Force, kabilang si Saladero sa mga nagbantay sa labas ng bakod ng cell site habang nagtatanim ng dinamita at nagsasaboy ng gasolina ang kanyang mga kasamahan. Sinalaysay ni Leviste ang pinagbatayan ng kasong arson at conspiracy to commit rebellion na isinampa sa Batangas City ng Globe Telecom noong Agosto 12.

Nagkakaisa ang progresibong mga grupo sa Timog Katagalugan na ang mga lider ay dinadawit sa nasabing akto ng rebelyon, bahagi ang kaso ng panghaharas ng gobyernong Arroyo sa mga aktibista sa ilalim ng programang kontra-insurhensiyang Oplan Bantay Laya. (Basahin ang balita rito)

Kung NPA ako…

“Kung NPA ako, dapat kumander ako at hindi simpleng tagabantay,” ani Saladero. Gradweyt ng abogasya sa San Beda College noong 1983, ika-17 siya sa mga pumasa sa bar exams sa sumunod na taon. Nagtapos din siya ng master’s degree sa Industrial Relations at Public Administration sa University of the Philippines Diliman. Miyembro rin siya ng Free Legal Assistance Group o FLAG mula noong 1990.

Noong nakabase pa siya sa Rizal, humawak si Saladero ng maraming kaso ng mga sibilyan, karamiha’y magsasaka, na pinagsususpetsiyahan ng militar na NPA. Kabilang dito ang lider-Dumagat na si Nicanor de los Santos, na binaril noong 2001 ng pinaghihinalaang mga miyembro ng Task Force Panther ng 2nd Infantry Division ng PA (Philippine Army). Ayon kay Saladero, ang pagtatanggol niya sa mga biktima ng mga paglabag sa karapatang pantao marahil ang dahilan kung bakit nagsimula siyang pag-initan ng militar. Bilang dating tagapangulo ng Bayan Muna-Rizal, aktibo rin ang abogado sa mga kilos-protesta na bitbit ang iba’t ibang isyu ng mga mamamayan.

Mula 1992 hanggang 1997, nagturo si Saladero ng Political Science, Business Law, at Labor Law sa Dominican College of San Juan at Lyceum College of Law. Kabilang siya sa mga nagtatag noong 2007 ng National Union of People’s Lawyers, pambansang alyansa ng progresibong mga abogado. Kasalukuyang legal consultant siya ng KMU (Kilusang Mayo Uno), militanteng sentro ng paggawa. Regular din siyang nagsusulat sa Pinoy Weekly ng kolum na pinamagatang “Husgahan Natin,” hinggil sa mga isyung legal sa paggawa.

Bukod sa marami niyang mga komitment, may sakit na diabetes at hypertension si Saladero. Umiinom siya ng anim na klase ng gamot araw-araw. Kabilang ito sa mga dahilan, aniya, kung bakit “imposibleng” maging kasapi siya sa pangkat ng NPA na nagpasabog sa cell site ng Globe Telecom.

Simula 2006, tiniktikan at hinaharas na ng pinaghihinalaang mga ahente ng militar si Saladero at iba pang abogado ng Place, ayon sa Center for Trade Union and Human Rights o CTUHR. Oktubre ng taong iyon, inamin ni Pfc. Rommel Felipe Santiago, nahuli ng pulisya matapos habulin ang mga unyonista ng Food Terminal Inc. sa Taguig City, na nagkokondukta sila ng surveillance sa Place. Noong Oktubre 2007, napansin ng mga istap ng Place na may di-kilalang kalalakihan na nagkokondukta ng 24 oras na pagbabantay sa opisina. Ito ay matapos hawakan ng law office ang kasong isinampa ng KMU sa Korte Suprema laban sa Human Security Act. Tumagal ang paniniktik nang ilang buwan.

Atake at paninira

Ayon kay Saladero, nakababahala ang lumalalang panliligalig ng Estado sa kilusang paggawa: “Pati abogado ng manggagawa hinaharas na. Para siguro wala nang magtanggol sa mga manggagawa at humina ang kilusang paggawa sa bansa. Kaliwa’t kanan pa naman ngayon ang mga atake at paninira rito.”

Noong Oktubre 7 bandang alas-tres ng umaga, isang di-nakilalang kalalakihan ang nagtangkang akyatin ang bakod ng Balai Obrero, opisina ng KMU sa Narra St., Project 3, Quezon City. Ayon sa isang saksi, may hawak itong kutsilyo. Nang sitahin ay bumaba ito at sumakay sa isang traysikel na lulan ang tatlo pa niyang kasamahan.

“Kung sila ay magnanakaw lamang, alam dapat nila na kami ay isang people’s organization na laging naghahanap ng rekurso…Marahil ang totoong motibo ay tiktikan kami, mag-iwan ng surveillance equipment, o magtanim ng ebidensiya na kami ay rebelde gaya ng iniimbento ng gobyernong Arroyo,” sabi ni Joselito Ustarez, executive vice-president ng KMU.

Naunang natuklasan ng KMU na inilista sila bilang “rebeldeng grupo” sa isang libro na inindorso ng Department of Education para sa mga estudyante ng hayskul. Sa pahina 27 ng librong Filipino I: Wika at Panitikan sa Makabagong Henerasyon, isinama ang KMU sa listahan ng mga rebeldeng grupo gaya ng Moro Islamic Liberation Front at NPA. Itinakdang aralin sa mga estudyante na magsaliksik hinggil sa mga “prinsipyong kanilang pinaniniwalaan” at magbigay ng mga paraan para makumbinsi silang “mapabalik sa pamahalaan.”

Binansagan ding “destabilisador” at “terorista” ang 30 opisyal ng Anita’s Home Bakehop Workers Union ng manedsment ng nagsusuplay ng tinapay para sa McDonald’s sa rehiyon ng Visayas. Iniulat pa ng mga manggagawa na binibisita sila ng mga pulis ng Mobolo, Cebu City habang sila ay nasa night shift para alamin ang kanilang mga aktibidad at kumbinsihin na huwag sumali sa unyon.

Samantala, ang mga unyonista ng International Wiring System sa Special Export Processing Zone ng Hacienda Luisita, diumano’y binibisita sa bahay, iniinteroga, at tinatakot ng mga miyembro ng 71st Infantry Batallion ng Northern Luzon Command at 7th Infantry Division ng PA. Pinadadalo ng militar ang mga manggagawa sa mga porum kung saan hinihikayat silang huwag makibahagi sa paggigiit ng mga hiling sa Collective Bargaining Agreement. Inaakusahan ding binibigyan ng unyon ng pondo ang Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA.

Kailangang organisado

Sa tugon ng gobyerno sa Petition to Review the Generalized System of Preferences Program Status na inihain ng International Labor Rights Fund, may binitiwang kontrobersiyal na mga salita si Arturo Brion, dating kalihim ng Department of Labor and Employment at ngayo’y Associate Justice ng Korte Suprema. “Ang kasalukuyang giyera laban sa mga rebeldeng komunista ay inilulunsad sa maraming mga prente. Sa kilusang paggawa ang pinakaprominente rito dahil naka-ugat ang kilusang komunista sa kilusang paggawa,” aniya.

Kinukumpirma nito na “sistematiko” ang tangka ng Estado na durugin ang militanteng kilusang paggawa sa pamamagitan ng malisyosong pag-uugnay nito sa kilusang komunista, ayon sa CTUHR.

Para kay Ustarez, nanganganib ang trabaho at buhay ng kanilang mga miyembro dahil maaaring gamitin ng manedsment ng iba’t ibang mga kompanya ang “rebelde” o “teroristang” bansag sa KMU para iharas at sibakin sila. Tangka rin umano itong pahinain ang lehitimong mga laban ng grupo para sa tunay na interes ng mga mangagawa gaya ng pagsasabatas sa P125 dagdag-na sahod at pagtatayo ng mga unyon.

Iginigiit ng KMU na ngayon higit kailanman, kailangan ng mga manggagawang Pilipino ang malakas at militanteng kilusang paggawa. May pitong porsiyento lamang (o 2.4 milyon ng 33.5 milyong manggagawa) ng buong puwersang paggawa ang organisado. Malayung-malayo pa ang minimum na sahod sa kinakailangan ng pamilyang Pilipino para mabuhay—34 porsiyento lamang ito ng Family Living Wage, ayon sa National Wages and Productivity Commission.

“Masamang pangitain ang mga pangyayari,” sabi ni Saladero. Gayunpaman, nangako siyang patuloy na ipagtatanggol ang karapatan ng mga manggagawa na ipinagkaloob ng batas pero niyuyurak naman mismo ng Estado.(PinoyWeekly)

New CPAs of 2008 (H)

October 21, 2008

Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008
1149 HABANA, KIRCHY CLEDERA
1150 HABEL, MARK ANTHONY BABAS
Roll of Successful Examinees in the
C.P.A. LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Held in OCTOBER 2008 Page: 25 of 50
Released on OCTOBER 20, 2008

Seq. No. N a m e

1151 HADUCA, JERALD CLACIO
1152 HAJIM, AL-ZHOHEIR HASSAN
1153 HERMOGENES, ANGELA BALIAR
1154 HERNANDEZ, CYPRES MAE ARANAS
1155 HERNANDEZ, JOEL ALVAREZ
1156 HERNANDEZ, KENT MORRIS ALCOS
1157 HERNANDEZ, LENNIE MERCADO
1158 HERNANDEZ, MELVIN ESTERON
1159 HERNANDEZ, ROXANNE AMOR BARZA
1160 HERNANDEZ, VERNICE LEE BUENA
1161 HIDALGO, CARLA MAE GUANZON
1162 HINALAO, KENN ALICANTE
1163 HINALOC, IRENE MANIBOG
1164 HINAMPAS, ISABEL PEROS
1165 HIPOLITO, SARAH BAGSIC
1166 HOLGADO, HERRAND EDORA
1167 HONCULADA, JAN ALBERT UGSOD
1168 HONOFRE, ROSELLE ADANO
1169 HONOR, JAN HANSELL LAGAO
1170 HORDISTA, CHERRY MAE CEBALLOS

Dambuhalang kompanya ng mina, mas tuso na ngayon

October 21, 2008

Kenneth Roland A. Guda

Operasyon ng pagmimina sa Rapu-rapu, Albay

ABALANG abala si Mike Defensor ngayon.

Sa kabila ng nakakahiyang pagkatalo niya sa eleksiyong pagkasendor noong 2007, hindi tumigil ang pakikipag-ugnayan niya sa pamahalaang Arroyo. Hindi pa lumipas ang isang taong ban sa kanya na humawak ng posisyon sa gobyerno, naging abala siya sa tangkang pagharang sa testimonya ni Jun Lozada sa Senado noong Pebrero 2008. Nitong Hunyo, agad siyang itinalaga bilang pinuno ng task force para sa pagbubukas ng Terminal 3 ng Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Pagkatapos, naging abala rin siya sa pangangasiwa sa implementasyon ng proyektong Northrail.

Kamakailan, napapadalas ang bisita ni Defensor sa Zambales. Dalawang kompanyang nagsasagawa ng pagmimina ang pinamumunuan ng dating sekretaryo ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR): Chairman si Defensor ng NiHAO Mineral Resources Inc. at direktor naman ng Geograce Resources Philippines.

Pareho itong naaprubahang magsagawa ng ekplorasyon sa Zambales – matapos iutos ni Zambales Gov. Amor Deloso ang kanselasyon ng “regulatory approvals” sa lahat ng pagmimina roon. Kasosyo ni Defensor sa dalawang proyektong ito ang kompanyang Jiangxi Rare Earth and Rare Metals Tungsten Group ng Tsina sa halagang US$150 Milyon. Si Arroyo pa mismo ang nangasiwa sa lagdaan ng dalawang kampo sa Chengdu, probinsiya ng Sichuan sa Tsina.

Dahil malaking banta ito sa kanyang komunidad, sinaliksik ni Nelson Mallari, lider-Aeta ng PROJECT Zambales, isang probinsiyal na alyansa kontra sa mapanirang pagmimina, kung anong klaseng mga kompanya ang NiHAO at Geograce. Ikinagulat niya ang kanyang napag-alaman.

“Kamangha-mangha kung paano naka-akses sa napakalalaking lupain sa maiksing panahon ang mga kompanyang ito na walang track record sa industriya ng pagmimina!” buladas ni Mallari.

Ito kasi ang napag-alaman ni Mallari: noong unang kuwarto ng 2008, umabot sa P17.18-M ang ikinalugi ng Geograce sa mga negosyo nito. Wala namang rekord ang NiHAO ng anumang proyektong pagmimina bago ang nalagdaang mga kasunduan nito ngayong taon.

Naintindihan lamang niya kung bakit ito nangyari nang malaman niyang pinamumunuan ang dalawang kompanya ni Defensor. Kasosyo rin daw dito ni Defensor ang ilang kamag-anak ng matataas na opisyal ng gobyerno.

Labag sa Saligang Batas

Noong Hunyo, nabalitang nakipagtambalan ang Geograce sa kompanyang Brazilian na Vale do Rio Doce, ang pangalawang pinakamalaking kompanya ng pagmimina sa mundo. Pinayagan silang magsagawa ng eksplorasyon para sa copper at gold sa isla ng Masbate.

Sa kabuuan, ayon sa Kalikasan – People’s Network for the Environment, aabot sa 240,000 ektarya ang inaareglo ng Geograce na eksklusibong mapagminahan ng nickel, gold, copper at chromite, sa buong Pilipinas.

Noong Agosto, dinepensahan ng Malakanyang ang pag-apruba sa pagmimina ng mga kompanyang pinamumunuan ng dating miyembro ng gabinete. “Hindi ba dapat tingnan natin ang kabilang bahagi ng larawan? Negatibong pagtingin iyan (pagtingin ng Kalikasan) na nagbubukas ng ispekulasyon na pinaboran si Defensor. Pero pribadong pamumuhunan ito, at pag-aari man ito ni Mike Defensor o ni Jesus Dureza, dapat tanggapin ito,” ayon kay Jesus Dureza, tagapagsalita ng Pangulo.

Ang hindi nabanggit ni Dureza, maaaring labag sa Saligang Batas ang proyektong pagmiminang ito. Samantalang lokal na kompanya diumano ang NiHAO at Geograce, masasabing dayuhang proyekto na rin ang isasagawa nito sa Zambales matapos makipagkasundo sa Tsinong kompanyang Jiangxi. Sa mga proyektong ito, kinakailangan ng isang Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) na inaprubahan ng Pangulo.

Sa suri ng Kalikasan, lumalabas na lantarang ginagamit na umano ng malalaking dayuhang korporasyon ng mina ang lokal at mas maliliit na kompanya para makapagmina sa Pilipinas. Ayon sa grupo, kabilang sa malalaking kompanya ng mina na gumagamit ng maliliit, pati ­­small-scalle mining companies, para maiwasan ang kasunduang FTAA ang: Platinum Group of Metals Corp. (PGMC); Citinickel Mines and Development Corp.; Sibuyan Nickel Properties Development Corporations (SNPDC); A3 UNA; Mindoro Resources Ltd.; at marami pang iba.

Ayon kay Rene Pineda ng Concerned Citizens Against Pollution (Cocap), marami sa mga kompanyang ito ang pag-aari ng mga dayuhan. Binigay niyang halimbawa ang MBMI Resources Inc., isang kompanyang Canadian at nag-oopereyt sa likod ng maraming kompanyang Pilipino, kabilang ang ilang small-scale mines sa Palawan.

“Kinumpirma ng aming pananaliksik na major stakeholder nga ng small-scale mining permits tulad ng sa Narra Nickel Mining & Development Inc., Patricia Louise Mining & Development Corp., Sara Marie Mining Inc., at Madridejos Mining Corporation, ang MBMI Presources Inc.,” paliwanag ni Pineda.

Ang masama pa, matagal na umanong isinumbong ito sa DENR, pero hindi pa rin ito iniimbestigahan ng ahensiya.

Inilulusot sa maliliit na proyekto

Marami sa mga mayor na proyektong pagmimina sa bansa – iyong itinuring ni Pangulong Arroyo bilang priority projects – ay nakaranas ng matinding paglaban ng taumbayang apektado ng kanilang mga proyekto.

Halimbawa na nito ang pagmimina sa Rapu-rapu, Albay ng Lafayette Mining Corp., kompanyang Australyano, na nagdeklara ng pagkabangkarote noong Disyembre 2007 matapos ang matinding pagtutol ng taumbayang Albayano. Napuwersa ang Lafayette na ibenta ang pagmimina nito sa Rapu-rapu sa mga kompanyang Koreano at Malaysian nitong Abril 2008.

Isa pang halimbawa ang suspensiyon sa pagmimina ng OceanaGold ng New Zealand, sa Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya noong Abril 2008, matapos kuwestiyunin ni Nueva Vizcaya Gov. Luisa Cuaresma ang hindi pagbayad ng kompanya ng lokal na mga buwis.

Kahit ang pagmimina ng Swiss na kompanyang Xstrata sa Tampakan, South Cotabato, ay nakatanggap ng matinding pagtutol. Sa pagkakataong ito, mga rebeldeng NPA (New People’s Army) naman ang nag-atake. Ayon sa NPA, pinarusahan umano nila ang kompanya dahil sa pang-aagaw nito ng lupa sa mga magsasaka at katutubo, gayundin ang banta ng pagkasira ng kalikasan.

Sa totoo lang, sa lagay na ito’y maluwag na ang gobyernong Arroyo sa mga dayuhang kompanya ng mina. Sa bilang ng Kalikasan noong Enero 2008, aabot na sa 294 kasunduan sa pagmimina ang inaprubahan ng Pangulo, kabilang ang dalawang FTAA, 262 Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA), mas maliit na kasunduan kumpara sa FTAA), at 30 Exploration Permits (EP).

Aabot na sa 600,000 ektarya ng Pilipinas ang pinagmiminahan ng dayuhang mga korporasyong ito at ng mga kasabuwat nilang lokal na kompanya.

Pero dahil marahil sa matitinding pagtutol sa mga komunidad, napuwersa ang mga kompanyang ito na gumawa ng paraan para mas madulas na makapagsamantala ng mga yamang-lupa ng Pilipinas. Kabilang na nga rito ang paggamit sa small-scale mining na dating ginagawa ng maliliit na kompanya at ordinaryong minero na walang malalaking kagamitang pangmina.

Inamin ng DENR

Inamin maging ng Marine and Geosciences Bureau ng DENR na dumarami ang inaaprubahang small-scale mining permits sa bansa. Imbes na pambansang gobyerno kasi ang mag-aapruba, mga lokal na pamahalaan lamang ang kailangang sumang-ayon sa proyekto. Sa tala ng MGB, noong 2004 ay may 70 small-scale mining permits lamang. Pero nitong 2007, umabot na sa 173.

“Sa mga nakaraang taon, small-scale mining ang paraan ng mga dayuhan at lokal na junior mining companies para mapabilis ang pagpasok ng kanilang mga operasyon sa mga komunidad,” ayon sa Kalikasan. “Mayorya sa mga komunidad ay nagugulat sa mabilis na pagproseso ng mga aplikasyon. Nakakapagprotesta lang sila kapag nandiyan na ang kompanya ng mina o nasa operasyon na.”

“Lumalabas na dummy o prente lamang ang mga korporasyong (tulad ng kay Defensor) ng mga dayuhang kompanya,” sabi ni Clemente Bautista ng Kalikasan.

Pero lumalaban pa rin ang mga komunidad. Lantad na sa mga lider ng komunidad tulad ni Mallari ang pakikipagsabuwatan umano ni Defensor at ng gobyerno sa pagsasamantala ng dayuhang mga kompanya sa yamang-lupa ng bansa. Sa ngayon, iniikot umano nila ang mga komunidad na apektado ng mga proyekto ni Defensor.

Abalang-abala na rin sila sa paglaban.(PinoyWeekly)

Kuwentong Halaw*: Pinoy deportees sa Sabah

October 21, 2008

Soliman A. Santos

Moro ang karamihan sa mga pinadeport na Pinoy sa Sabah (Soliman A. Santos)

Moro ang karamihan sa mga pinadeport na Pinoy sa Sabah (Soliman A. Santos)

PATULOY pa rin ang mala-impiyernong nararanasan ng di-dokumentadong mga migranteng Pilipino sa gitna ng crackdown na isinasagawa ng gobyerno ng Malaysia. Sa kabila ito ng pagkakaroon ng RP-Malaysia Working Group on Migrant Workers na itinatag noon pang 2005 para pangalagaan ang karapatan ng mga migranteng ito.

Ito ang natuklasan ng Migrante International sa isinagawa nilang Fact Finding Mission kasama ng Gabriela Women’s Party, EnGendeRights at Association for the Rights of Children in Southeast Asia noong Oktubre 2 hanggang Oktubre 5.

Ayon kay Connie Bragas-Regalado, tagapangulo ng Migrante, “palabas” lamang ang itinayong grupo ng mga gobyerno ng Pilipinas at Malaysia dahil sa patuloy na pagpapabaya ng mga awtoridad sa kalagayan ng mga halaw o mga deportee.

Kasaysayan ng pagtaboy

Noong Agosto 2002, umabot sa 8,838 Pilipino ang dumating mula sa Sabah. Isang linggo bago ang malawakang deportasyon, nireyd ng pulis-Malaysia ang 300 kabahayan ng mahihirap na Pilipino sa Kampong Karansangan. Dinala ang di-dokumentadong mga Pilipino sa kulungan. Walang sapat na pagkain at tubig, natutulog sila nang walang sapin sa malamig na semento.

Sumunod na naglunsad ng crackdown ang gobyerno ng Malaysia noong 2005. Pagkatapos ng ilang buwang pang-aaresto, napuno ng halos 30,000 di-dokumentadong migrante ang mga kulungan sa Sabah.

Nabalita sa buong mundo ang malupit na pagtrato ng mga awtoridad ng Malaysia sa di-dokumentadong mga migrante. Nagpahayag ng pagkondena ang internasyunal na mga kinatawan tulad ng United Nations High Commission on Refugees, UN Commission on Human Rights, Amnesty International, International Committee of the Red Cross, at iba pa. Binatikos ng mga ito ang gobyerno ng Pilipinas dahil sa pagpapabaya at kabiguang solusyonan ang malawakang pangingibang-bayan ng mga Pilipino sa Mindanao.

Para mapahupa ang internasyunal na pagngangalit, itinayo ng mga gobyerno ng Pilipinas at Malaysia ang RP-Malaysia Working Group on Migrant Workers noong 2005. Pero kahit pa rito sa Pilipinas isinagawa noong Hulyo ngayong taon ang ikalimang pulong ng working group, hindi nito napigilan ang mga pang-aabuso sa mga Pilipinong migrante.

Noong Agosto, muling inianunsiyo ng gobyerno ng Malaysia ang crackdown sa mga di-dokumentadong migrante. Sa tala ng Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) sa Zamboanga City, mayroon nang 35,000 halaw galing sa Sabah sa unang walong buwan ng taong ito. Inaasahang aabot ito sa mahigit 200,000 sa katapusan ng taon.

Buhay-bilanggo

Sa panayam sa mga halaw sa Bahay-Silungan, ang pansamantalang tirahan ng mga deportee sa Zamboanga City, nakapagtala ng iba’t ibang kaso ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao ang ang mga delegado ng FFM. Naganap ang mga ito mula sa pag-aresto sa Sabah, sa pagbilanggo sa kanila, hanggang sa pagdadala sa kanila sa piyer para tuluyang pabalikin sa Pilipinas.

Halimbawa na lamang ang pag-aresto kay Saidah Amautara, 57, kasama ng kanyang tatlong anak. Ayon kay Saidah, nireyd ng mga opsiyal ng imigrasyon ng Malaysia ang kanilang bahay noong 2006. Hinuli sila at isinakay sa isang trak kasama ang tinatayang 100 pang nadakip at dinala sa kulungan sa Prasi, Kota Kinabalu. Samantala’y naiwan ang kanyang asawa at tatlo pang anak.

Sa kulungan, tinatayang 500 silang ibilanggo doon na pawang mga babae at mga bata. Hiwalay na nakakulong ang mga lalaki.

Bagama’t pinakakain sila tatlong beses isang araw, ayon kay Saidah, parang pagkain ng pusa ang ibinibigay sa kanila. Nirarasyunan din lang sila ng kaunting tubig para sa kanilang inumin. Himutok niya, wala man lamang opisyal ng emabahada ng Pilipinas na bumisita sa kanila habang sila’y nakakulong.

Inabot sila ng isang buwan sa Prasi bago inilipat sa Sandakan at tuluyang pauwiin sa Pilipinas. Isang linggo rin silang nanatili sa kulungan sa Sandakan. Ayon kay Saidah, binibigyan sila doon ng 15 minuto para maligo, kumain at gawin ang iba pang personal na ritwal. Kapag sumobra sa oras, sinisipa sila o tinatadyakan ng bantay sa bilangguan. At minsan, nakatanggap nito si Saidah.

Natutulog din sila sa semento nang walang kahit anong sapin. Sa isang pagkakataon, may nakita pa si Saidah ng isang babaing nagsisilang ng sanggol sa loob ng kulungan. Walang doktor na tumitingin sa kanilang kalusugan.

Pagdating nila sa piyer ng Zamboanga, dumating ang mga opisyal ng pamahalaan. Inanunsiyo nila na bibigyan nila ng pasaporte ang sinumang gustong bumalik sa Sabah. Bibigyan naman ng libreng sakay pauwi sa kanilang bahay ang sinumang nais manatili sa Pilipinas.

Pagpapabaya sa Bahay Silungan

Mula sa piyer, dinala sila sa Bahay Silungan kung nasaan ang One Stop Processing Center (OSPC) na pinatatakbo ng Department of Foreign Affairs. Pinakain sila doon. Ininterbyu at tinanong kung gusto pa nilang bumalik sa Sabah. Kung hindi, bibigyan sila ng pamasahe pauwi.

Gustong bumalik ni Saidah sa Sabah dahil nandoon pa ang kanyang asawa at tatlong anak. Agad niyang inihanda ang mga kailangang dokumento. Sa OSPC, nagbayad siya ng P200 para sa kanyang birth certificate, P150 para sa NBI clearance, P100 para sa passport ID, at P30 para sa sertipikasyon mula sa Office of Muslim Affairs. Buong akala niya, libre ang mga iyon batay sa inianunsiyo ng mga opisyal ng pamahalaan.

Dahil naubusan ng pambayad sa mga dokumento ng dalawa pa niyang anak, napilitan siyang bumalik na lamang sa kanyang tahanan. Wala rin palang libreng pamasahe. Naglakad siya pauwi mula sa Bahay Silungan.

Sa kasalukuyan, walang pinagkakakitaan ang pamilya ni Saidah maliban sa kaunting kinikita ng mga anak na nagtitinda ng supot sa palengke. Hindi rin regular ang pagpapadala ng pera ng kanyang asawa mula sa Sabah. Naibenta na ang kanilang bahay at ilang kagamitan sa Sabah. Hindi naman makapagtrabaho ang dalawa niyang anak na babaing na-deport ngayong taon dahil naninibago pa ang mga ito sa bago nilang tinitirhan. (Tingnan ang kaugnay na istorya)

Inutil na kasunduan?

Ayon kay Regalado, inutil ang kasunduang pinirmahan ng mga gobyerno ng Malaysia at Pilipinas. Nilikha lamang umano ang RP-Malaysia Working Group on Migrant Workers para mapahupa ang galit ng mga tao. Sa aktuwal, wala itong nagawa para protektahan ang mga migrante habang sila’y dinadakip o nasa kulungan sa Sabah. Natuklasan ng FFM na ni walang dokumentasyon ang DSWD ng mga paglabag sa mga karapatang pantao ng deportees.

“Ang totoo, ginagamit pa nga ng gobyernong Arroyo ang working group para patuloy na ipatupad ang programa sa labor export. Isipin na lang na ang unang itinatanong ng mga opisyal ng pamahalaan ay kung babalik ba ang mga deportee sa Sabah para muling magtrabaho,” ani Regalado.

Hindi rin umano sinisiguro ng gobyerno na may uuwian at trabahong naghihintay sa kanila. “Tandaan natin na ang kalakhan ng mga lumilikas papunta sa Sabah ay nagmula sa Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao kung saan nagpapatuloy ang giyera,” sabi ng lider-migrante.

Ihahapag ng Migrante International sa Kongreso ang resulta ng FFM para agarang aksiyunan ng pamahalaan ang kalagayan ng mga halaw. Magsasampa rin ang grupo ng reklamo kay United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrant Workers Jorge Bustamante na darating sa bansa ngayong buwan, gayundin sa UN Human Rights Council sa Geneva, Switzerland.

Dadalhin din ng Migrante ang mga kaso sa International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR), isang pagtitipon ng mga migrante at bakwit na gaganapin sa Maynila sa Oktubre 28 hanggang 30. Ito ang pantapat na porum ng mga migrante bilang protesta sa sa Global Forum on Migration and Development na pangangasiwaan ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas.

*Salitang Tausug para sa deportee. Literal na nangangahulugang itinaboy o itinapon.


Kapag pinarurusahan maging ang paglalaro

MAGKASAMANG nagtatrabaho sa Yusup Kare-Kare House sa Sabah, Malaysia ang magkapatid na Nuhrin, 18, at Nurhida, 16.

Noong Agosto 21, habang may nagkakapeng mga pulis sa pinapasukang karinderya nina Nurin at Nurhida, nagwalis ang isang kasama nila sa trabaho. Sinita siya ng mga pulis. Kinabukasan, bandang 3:30 ng madaling araw, bumalik ang mga pulis at ininteroga ang mga Pilipinong nagtatrabaho sa naturang karinderya. Hinanapan sila ng pass. Walang naipakita sina Nurin at Nurhida dahil naiwan nila ito sa bahay. Dahil dito, isinama sila ng mga pulis sa Balay-KK, isang bilangguan.

Kinabukasan, dinala naman sila Gumamera, ang kulungan ng mga Pilipinong ide-deport pabalik sa Pilipinas.

Ayon sa magkapatid, ikinulong sila sa isang selda na parang isang malaking bahay. Tinatayang 190 silang kabataan na nakakulong sa seldang iyon na binabantayan ng dalawang pulis. Siksikan silang nahihiga sa gabi nang walang sapin. Dalawang beses silang pinapakain ng isda at kanin – isa tuwing alas-dose ng tanghali at isa tuwing alas-sais ng gabi. Ayon sa magkapatid, kakarampot ang ibinibigay sa kanila at kadalasa’y parang panis at nilalangaw pa. Nirarasyunan naman sila ng dalawang balde ng inuming tubig sa bawat araw. Tubig-ulan ang kanilang ginagamit na panligo at panglaba.

Mahigpit ang mga bantay sa kanilang selda. Pinarurusahan ang sinumang di sumunod sa mga alituntunin. Nang mahuli si Nurin ng guwardiya na naglalaro ng baseball, pinag-pumping siya ng 20 beses.

Noong Setyembre 9, dinala sila sa Sandakan kasama ng iba pang halaw o deportees. Dalawampu’t isa silang babae, 44 naman ang lalaki. May posas ang mga lalaki dahil baka tumakas umano ang mga ito habang nasa byahe. Mula sa Sandakan, isinakay na sila sa isang ferry papunta ng Bongao, Tawi-Tawi. Ibinaba ang mga halaw na taga-roon at dinala ang mga natira sa Zamboanga City. Pagdating sa Zamboanga, dinala sila sa DSWD center. Ininterbyu sila at kinuhaan ng litrato, saka pinauwi sa kani-kanilang bahay.

Sa kasalukuyan, umuupa sila ng bahay kasama ng kanilang ina na isang halaw din. Wala silang makuhang trabaho sa Zamboanga. Ang dalawa nilang nakababatang kapatid na lalaki ay nagtitinda ng plastik sa piyer at palenke para sila may makain. Ang kanilang ama ay naiwan sa Sabah at nagtatrabaho sa konstruksiyon.

Soliman A. Santos


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