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Oligarchs cause poverty DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 03/09/2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

Oligarchs cause poverty

Herman Tiu Laurel
The other spat that managed to outdo the “Whaa!” vs “Hear no Miriam” brouhaha in the Senate last week was the exchange between Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP) and Gina Lopez at a forum organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).

That event at a plush hotel, clearly organized to push the corporate mining agenda, was where Lopez, as a self-appointed representative of the anti-large scale mining sector, made her point that such an approach destroys the beauty of nature. Opposite to that was MVP’s counter-argument, which said that since areas where large scale mining will be conducted are not tourist spots anyway, the most important thing to keep in mind is that “Mining is not the enemy, (but) poverty is.”

MVP and those lining up behind his arguments are obviously selling the idea that giant corporate mining will solve poverty in the Philippines. But, in the hundred-year history of large scale mining in the Philippines, has poverty decreased?

John Moldero was OIC Governor of Benguet in the immediate post-Edsa I government. Son of an American haciendero married to a native, John grew up very close to the locals of the Mountain Province. As founder of the globally famous Hobbit House, a regular habitué to many expats and a feature in Western films, which put the country on the world tourism map, John is also known for his unique contribution to Philippine hospitality and entertainment.

In the 2004 elections, John joined the campaign for FPJ. Tragically, he didn’t get to finish it. While driving on his scooter down Commonwealth Avenue to organize political marchers toward a rally, he was sideswiped by a delivery van and expired just minutes after being brought to a small nearby hospital.

John often waxed nostalgic when the subject of the Mountain Province arose and whenever the topic shifted to the issue of large vs small scale mining, he would leave us with this narrative: “I grew up playing with the children of miners of the Mountain Province. There is a basic difference between the mining in Benguet and in Kalinga. The big mining companies of Benguet, such as the world-renowned Philex, employed thousands of miners and attracted foreign investors, leading Fortune magazine to report it as the “crown jewel” of the Mafioso’s holdings; but the miners remained as miners all their lives, as well as the generations of their children and grandchildren that followed. The difference in Kalinga is that mainly small mining took place there and the extraction of the rich lodes was gradual and sustainable, while mining families used much of their earnings for the education of their children. The second and third generations of Kalinga mining families are now doctors and lawyers, professionals produced by the small mining endeavors of these natives.”

Here lies the real argument against large-scale mining: Who benefits and how sustainable it really is.

Large scale miners promise to set up facilities, tailings ponds (really the size of giant lakes), and dams to contain poisonous and disastrous deluvial tailings for 20 years of mining operations. But what really begs to be asked is since they are expecting to exhaust the riches of those mines, taking all the wealth in a period short of a generation, what will be left for the people’s children and grandchildren?

All the benefits will simply accrue to a handful of foreign corporate interests, whereas the mining sites and communities will be left with only the ever present danger of a deluge of poisonous and utterly damaging flash floods of tailings that render hundreds, if not millions, of hectares (as in the Tampakan mines) uninhabitable for centuries.

So why are MVP and his cohorts (such as Peter Wallace) in such a hurry? Why are government mining officials so excited to pass laws and regulations that will allow this? Why should the nation accept a mere five, seven, or even 10 percent tax, plus some other short change, when such wealth should be 100 percent for the nation?

Besides that, we should ask: How bad can tailings disasters become? To date, there are 92 mine tailings disasters from all over the world significant enough to be listed on Internet sources. One of the worst is the Stava Valley disaster on July 19, 1985, an industrial catastrophe that cost 268 lives and 133 million euros in damage. Poisonous mud spread over 4.2 square kilometers, as aerial photos showed the horrendous extent of its permanent, irremediable damage.

The Foundation Stava 1985 was created in order to make sure that the innocent lives lost on that fateful day would not be in vain and that the world remembers the dangers and folly of gigantic scale mining.

The Philippines has its own Marcopper mine disaster in Boac, Marinduque, too, where 1.5 million cubic meters of toxic mine tailings spilled into five villages and buried Barangay Hinapula under six feet of muddy floodwaters, with residents poisoned with zinc and copper beyond tolerable limits.

Marcopper is estimated to have reaped a net profit of $7.3 billion from mining 30,000 tons of copper ore a day, but Marinduque still has a 71.9-percent poverty incidence and registered as the 14th poorest province in the country as of 2006.

While the corporate mining giant’s foreign mother companies have reaped billions, the country was left with thousands of hectares of poisoned lands that must rely on public resources (if any) to clean these up.
We do not have space enough to describe the horrors and economic injustice that large scale mining companies (that laugh all the way to their transnational banks) inflict on communities and nations while leaving a trail of disaster for the public to pick up in perpetuity.

So the problem is not poverty as poverty is not a cause but an effect — an effect of the greed, corrupting power, and avaricious machinations of oligarchs who want to devour and monopolize the wealth of nations.
(Tune in to 1098AM, dwAD, Sulo ng Pilipino/Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m.; watch Destiny Cable GNN’s HTL edition of Talk News TV, Saturdays, 8:15 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11:15 p.m., on “A Tribute to Horacio “Boy” Morales: A People’s Man;” visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)
(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120309com6.html

Clan’s 10B vs CJ’s P34M FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 03/09/2012

Clan’s 10B vs CJ’s P34M

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
That is what the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona is all about: For the Aquino-Cojuangco clan to get a P10-billion compensation package from the distribution of hacienda land to the workers from a Corona-less Supreme Court (SC) while demonizing Corona over a paltry P34 million in his bank deposits that moreover belongs to the corporation of his wife, Cristina.

When one thinks of the hundreds of millions, and even billions, pocketed by government officials, whether past or present, it is really ridiculous for Noynoy and is congressional allies to portray the CJ as corrupt for having in accounts under his name, some P30 million or so. These days, what’s P30 million, especially to an official who certainly comes from the elite class, having studied in Harvard and not under a scholarship either.

But that is really what this impeachment is all about: Getting rid of Corona for Noynoy and his kin to take hold of the P10-billion compensation package that the CJ is blocking..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120309com2.html

'Great weapon': Pentagon 'superbomb' Iran strike would outdo Israel

'Great weapon': Pentagon 'superbomb' Iran strike would outdo Israel

The US may use a 13,600-kilogram bunker-buster bomb that is currently being developed for a strike on countries like Iran. The “great weapon” is designed to knock out underground nuclear facilities and would supersede Israeli force if used in Iran.

“It has great capability now and we are continuing to make it better. It is part of our arsenal and it will be a potential if we need it in that kind of scenario,” said Lt. Gen. Carlisle at a US defense conference on Thursday.

The weapon, known as “the massive ordnance penetrator”, is capable of smashing through 65 meters of reinforced concrete before detonating its target..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/news/israel-weapons-missile-strike-177/

Syrian rebels dismiss UN dialogue (w/ Video)

Syrian rebels dismiss UN dialogue

A joint UN-Arab league envoy to Syria has called on both the opposition and government forces to halt fighting and push for political dialogue, a suggestion that has incited the ire of rebels in the city of Homs.

"We will do our best to call and push to the cessation of hostilities and end the bloodshed and violence. The Syrian people deserve better. It is a brave and ancient people who are trapped," said former UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan from neighboring Egypt on Thursday.

The envoy is due to arrive in Syria on Saturday, almost a year after the conflict began..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/news/opposition-syria-assad-annan-163/

Britons fund own Orwellian future? (w/ Video)

Britons fund own Orwellian future?

The British government is pushing through an anti-terror law that will enable it to monitor all private electronic communication, including social media. Ironically, people to be watched are set to pay for the privilege.

­Britain is already one of the most-watched societies in the world. With an estimated 2 million surveillance cameras, it has more CCTV per person than almost any other nation on Earth. Being in the UK means being watched non-stop.

And now the government is planning to cast its intrusive eye over online activity, phone calls and text messages, all under the guise of an anti-terror law. They will not only know which websites a person visits, they will even snoop on private Facebook messages..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/news/britain-cctv-constant-watch-173/

Kony 2012: Viral video for the misinformed?

Kony 2012: Viral video for the misinformed?

Kony 2012: The latest cause célèbre that has most likely taken your Facebook newsfeed by storm. But while few would criticize putting indicted Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony in prison, the motives of the latest viral video campaign are less clear.

­Go to the Invisible Children homepage, and the goal of Kony 2012 seems simple enough:

“KONY 2012 is a film and campaign by Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.”.... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/news/koni-viral-video-campaign-133/

Until the fat lady sings NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 03/09/2012

Until the fat lady sings

Armida Siguion-Reyna
The phrase derives from various origins, the most popular having to do with opera, from the days when sopranos were hefty, or, in politically incorrect language, fat. The show does not end until after the soprano’s aria of all arias and it looks like it’ll be some time before we hear it, in what’s turned into the Wagnerian impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Wagnerian, I leave you to google. If you can’t, then trust me, it’s the high drama now coming out of the woodwork.

Act I was all that pretty much happened in 2010, from when the newly-elected P-Noy refused to be inducted into office by the CJ he saw as his predecessor’s “midnight” and therefore, illegal, appointee, to all the way when 188 congressmen in December of 2011 agreed to impeach the man..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120309com4.html

CJ: ‘Noy sought me out for EO1’s OK by SC’ By Benjamin B. Pulta and Fernan J. Angeles 03/09/2012


CJ: ‘Noy sought me out for EO1’s OK by SC’

By Benjamin B. Pulta and Fernan J. Angeles 03/09/2012

Chief Justice Renato Corona is now on the offensive and Malacañang on the defensive, as yet another radio interview yesterday had the top magistrate disclosing that President Aquino personally sought an audience with him for the purpose of drumming up Corona and the other high court associate justices’ support for their ruling favoring Aquino’s first ever Executive Order, or EO1, known as the creation of the Truth Commission, so worded to single out crimes alleged to have been committed by former President Gloria Arroyo.

The CJ also bared the term sharing between him and Associate Justice Antonio Corona, offered by Aquino ally, Sen. Teofisto Guingona, an offer which could not have been made without the nod of Aquino.

Speaking in an interview with radio station DWIZ, Corona said the meeting between him and Aquino transpired in the home of one of the President’s sisters, Ballsy..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120309hed1.html

Senate to tap NBI to pin down source of bank leak By Angie M. Rosales 03/09/2012

Senate to tap NBI to pin down source of bank leak

By Angie M. Rosales 03/09/2012

The Senate plans to seek the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) help on the Senate’s ongoing probe into the alleged “leakage” of bank records of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona to clearly establish the culprit.

“I would like to invite the NBI to come in and investigate this because that’s not within the capacity of the Senate to determine, not even the committee (investigating this). We don’t have the facilities, the expertise, the manpower to look into this fully, although the NBI does. So let’s use the NBI,” Sen. Sergio Osmeña III told reporters in an interview yesterday.

Osmeña, chairman of the Senate banks, financial institutions and currencies tasked to investigate separate from the impeachment trial proceedings the circumstances as to how Corona’s records of his accounts in Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) said this is the recommendation that he intends to present to panel members when he calls for a meeting soon..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120309hed2.html

PR echoes hints about anti-CJ plot between DoJ chief, Carpio proxies 03/09/2012

PR echoes hints about anti-CJ plot between DoJ chief, Carpio proxies

An uncanny similarity plagued the reply of two of embattled Chief Justice Renato Corona’s critics yesterday when sought to comment on the magistrate’s high-profile media campaign before broadcast outfits to plead his case ahead of the defense panel’s turn to argue before the Senate impeach-ment court.

Speaking to reporters, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima who testified for the prosecution said Corona’s move to “go on a media hopping was conduct unbecoming of a Chief Justice.”

“As the head of the judiciary,” De Lima said Corona “should not be a politician.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120309hed6.html

Flak greets closure of RP embassies By Michaela P. del Callar, Fernan J. Angeles and PNA 03/09/2012

Flak greets closure of RP embassies

By Michaela P. del Callar, Fernan J. Angeles and PNA 03/09/2012

Consular services in Philippine diplomatic missions slated to close down beginning in July will continue until the last day of its operation, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.

Filipinos who wish to avail of passport, consular assistance and other services can still go to the embassies or consulates while these are still in operation.

The DFA will close the Philippine Embassies in Koror, Palau; Caracas, Venezuela; Dublin, Ireland; Stockholm, Sweden; Havana, Cuba; Bucharest, Romania and Helsinki, Finland, as well as the Consulates General in Barcelona, Spain, Frankfurt, Germany, and Saipan.

The first batch of posts will be closed in July and the rest in October after which the honorary consuls or nearby Philippine embassies of consulates will assume jurisdiction and will continue to provide the same services for Filipinos..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120309nat1.html

Fake mole leads to interception of human trafficking victim 03/09/2012

Fake mole leads to interception of human trafficking victim

Immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) intercepted a human trafficking victim who tried to leave the country by sticking an artificial mole to her face.

Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. said the woman was caught when she attempted to board a Philippine Airlines flight to Singapore.

He said the woman wore an artificial mole to make it appear that she and the woman in her passport who is her look-alike are one and the same..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120309met2.html

Former Lingayen vice-mayor, wife slain in ambush By Pat C. Santos 03/09/2012

Former Lingayen vice-mayor, wife slain in ambush

By Pat C. Santos 03/09/2012

A former vice-mayor of Lingayen, Pangasinan and his wife were shot dead by a lone gunman Wednesday night in Sampaloc, Manila.

The fatalities who were both declared dead on arrival from multiple gunshot wounds in their heads at the University of Santo Tomas Hospital were identified as Ramon Arcinue, 55, and his wife Zorahayda, 55, barangay chairman in Lingayen, Pangasinan.

Based on the investigation conducted by SPO2 Ed Cabal of the Manila Police District homicide section, the incident happened at around 10:50 p.m. when the two were ambushed in front of the apartment where their children were staying at 831 A. Maceda Street, Sampaloc, Manila..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120309met3.html

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