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ADB and Epira DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 05/04/2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

ADB and Epira

DIE HARD III
Herman Tiu Laurel
05/04/2012
A lot of hype and drumbeating for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) meet is in the air this week, but we must remember that this is still a financial institution set up by the Western powers to control and exploit the direction of economic development in Asia even if it is delegated for the US’ surrogate in the region — Japan.

Highlighting the ADB’s exploitative role is the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira), passed under duress from the Western multilateral financial institutions, i.e., the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB) and the ADB — which all made the passage of the power privatization law a condition for the release of loans. The ADB released the second tranche of its Power Sector Restructuring loan of $400 million upon the signing of the Epira — a law that is now causing the sucking sound we hear on the Philippines’ financial and economic resources, transferring massive wealth to foreign financial predators and local comprador oligarchs.

Nations and governments do not need these multilateral financial agencies if they want truly sovereign, independent and progressive growth. Although China is now a prominent and powerful member of the ADB, it didn’t rely on the lending institution to build up the foundations of its economy and national development.

When Mao Zedong established the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the ADB still hadn’t been born. Yet even at that time, China was able to extend Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans to its ideologically-kindred countries the world over.

The ADB was only established in 1966 as an extension of the IMF-WB network. These multilateral financial agencies can be helpful to a nation only when that nation clearly knows what financial commitments are really in its interests and is capable of obtaining the just and beneficial terms, where privatization of public utilities, which is never beneficial to any nation and its people, is not included.

The Epira was a historic debacle for the Philippines, making the country the economic basket case of Asia. It destroyed productive industries; dashed employment generation hopes; and spread the kind of poverty that was recently highlighted in CNN’s reportage on “pagpag,” where people were seen eating and even selling food from garbage bins of fast food restaurants and hotels.

From the “leftover” debt the power privatization program has placed on the shoulders of the Filipino people, we can already see how much has been siphoned out thanks to the Epira: The power sector debt of P1 trillion still has to be paid to Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and creditors after more than a decade.
The profits carted away by the IPPs are humongous. Mirant, which sold off its Philippine IPP operations five years after it started in 2001, is estimated to have carted out $10 billion in profits. Then, in the IPP’s transfer to Marubeni and Tepco, the global banks and investment houses earned a huge sum again in securitizing and financing the deal. Now, after five years, the same thing is to be repeated.

An alternative to the IMF-WB-ADB that developing nations may look forward to is the recently announced banking concept that was a fruit of the last meeting of the quintet of emerging world and regional economic powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). The Brics bank, a brainchild of the new alliance in its New Delhi meet, naturally elicited knee-jerk reactions from the IMF-WB.

WB Chief Robert Zoellick, for one, dismissed the idea perfunctorily as difficult to implement, unnecessary, and rivaling Western-dominated banks, only to reverse himself three days later, probably realizing the futility of his condescending attitude.

The Brics bank will be a reality a few years from today, and it will signal the end of Western and Japanese domination of the global financial and credit system. It will allow an alternative for developing nations to run to for development assistance without the usual onerous terms.

Some quarters make a big deal of the ADB being located in the Philippines. These quarters claim that the country benefits economically from the expenditures of the lender in the country. And in the case of the ADB’s conference here in Manila, the spending for its 4,000 participants is being touted as a great boon.

The fact is, no matter where the ADB is located, it would still do the same thing — extend exploitative instead of genuinely developmental credit to developing countries.

The kind of economics these “ADB-philes” pursue is the same type we saw during the IMF meeting in the Philippines in 1976 that caused a mushrooming of hotels that subsequently should have boosted tourism but never did in the 40 years that followed — because hotels are a wrong infrastructure for a developing nation like ours.

Truly, there is no durable and long-term benefit from such evanescent “junket” economics. Genuine development requires us to first be sovereign to build national “hard industries,” which have all been junked today.

ADB Chief Haruhiko Kuroda announced a $12-billion Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), or money created out of thin air, to be lent out to “Asia’s Poorest;” but in exchange for what? Invariably, it will be in exchange for one form of economic subservience of the debtor countries: Privatization; opening up of markets; opening up to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), large scale mining, etc.

With SDRs created out of thin air, they will have nations turn over their physical, material, tangible, and operational assets to foreign corporations. Ultimately, as we have seen in this country, the chances are that loan recipient countries will become poorer and poorer, salvageable only if militantly pro-people and nationalist governments take over — as we are learning from Latin America these days, where privatized state assets, such as Spain’s Repsol Oil in Argentina and Red Electrica Plc. in Bolivia, are being restored through nationalization, allowing people to recover just living standards.

(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 “Tampakan anti-large scale mining updates;” visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives).
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120504com5.html

Expensive freedom EDITORIAL 05/04/2012

Expensive freedom

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
05/04/2012
The Philippines made an advance in the Freedom House press freedom index, getting a grade of 42 from 46 last year with an improved ranking. The lower the number is made, the faster the Palace spin doctors come up quickly, grabbing at it, saying the country has been ranked the highest among “its neighbors.”

As Palace spins go, the lies get bigger.

For starters, the claim is false since Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea were all way ahead in the rankings.
India, Mongolia and East Timor also all got better grades than the Philippines in the Freedom House ranking..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120504com1.html

Shut up already FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 05/04/2012

Shut up already

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
05/04/2012
Drop all that confrontational talk with China already, because the more this Noynoy administration talks tough and brings in the United States in the picture despite the US already making it clear that it will not take sides in the China sea issue, the more the shoal standoff deteriorates.

But there went the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), as well as the Defense department, still talking tough, which is ridiculous, because this country is no match to China.

The Philippine government said it has asked the US to supply its Armed Forces with patrol boats and aircraft as well as radar systems amid an escalating territorial dispute with China..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120504com2.html

Alleged US Army doc: re-education camps and psy-op missions aimed at activists

Alleged US Army doc: re-education camps and psy-op missions aimed at activists


An American military document just uncovered appears to detail an US Army plan that calls for detaining “political activists” at re-education camps staffed by military-hired “PSYOP officers” in both America and abroad.

The website Infowars.com has unearthed the smoking gun, a copy of a United States military manual entitled FM 3-39.40 Internment and Resettlement Operations, which appears to offer Defense Department insiders instructions on dealing with the imprisonment of anyone considered an enemy to the American way of life and how to go about indoctrination them with an “appreciation of US policies and actions” through psychological warfare.

The PDF made available is dated February 2010 but has only now been leaked online. A copy of the document has been uploaded to the website PublicIntelligence.net for viewing, and additionally a version appears to be hosted on the US Military’s Doctrine and Training Publications page at armypubs.us.army.mil.... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/psyop-activists-internment-resettlement-526/

Americans renounced their citizenship in record numbers in 2011

Americans renounced their citizenship in record numbers in 2011

 If you think residing in America is taxing, just talk to one of the many expatriates who is contributing to a shocking statistic recently discovered: across the globe, people are renouncing their US citizenship in record numbers.

At least 1,788 Americans officially threw away their US citizenship in 2011, exceeding the totals from 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined. The Internal Revenue Service has been keeping a tally of US citizens driven to renouncing that title since only 1998, but last year’s number has officially raised the bar when it comes to calling America quits. What’s more, experts say, is that more and more Americans will soon be saying 'sayonara' to Uncle Sam if the federal government keeps up its trend of heavily taxing US citizens abroad.

Out of the 34 countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States is the only nation that taxes its citizens no matter where they reside on Earth. As long as a person maintains citizen status, they are expected to send the United States government pennies on every dollar earned no matter where they live, under current law..... MORE
SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/us-citizenship-tax-denounce-521/

Unfair share: 'Content industry behind Megaupload case'



Unfair share: 'Content industry behind Megaupload case'


US prosecutors are after Kim Dotcom, creator of the file-sharing website Megaupload, because the content industry lobby is doing its dirty work using the government’s hands, Eric Goldman, Associate Professor of Law told RT.

­Kim Dotcom, a German national who is currently under house arrest in New Zealand, faces extradition to the US, where he is accused of money laundering, racketeering and copyright infringement.

Professor Goldman, director of High Tech Law Institute at the Santa Clara University School of Law, argues that the shutdown of Megaupload was simply a gift to the lobbyists of the entertainment industry that has not adapted to new realities..... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/news/megaupload-american-content-industry-555/

Torture charges filed vs Arroyo, military, police officials

Torture charges filed vs Arroyo, military, police officials


“We know that our enemies are human rights violators who respect no one but it is important to file the case if only to show that the government is violating its own laws.” – Morong 43
By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com
MANILA – In an unprecedented move, eight health workers filed criminal charges against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for human rights violations under the principle of command responsibility.

The eight were among the 43 health workers, collectively known as the Morong 43, who were arrested on February 6, 2010 by combined elements of military and police. They were branded as members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives. Most the Morong 43 were released after ten months, when President Benigno Cojuangco Aquino III was compelled to order the withdrawal of the charges due to overwhelming international and local pressure.

Besides Arroyo, Gen. Victor Ibrado, former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Gen. Delfin Bangit, former commanding general of the Philippine Army and Lt. Gen. Jorge Segovia, Col. Aurelio Baladad, Col. Cristobal Zaragosa, Maj. Manuel Tabion, then officers of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, P/Supt. Marion Balonglong of the Rizal Provincial Police Office, and several others were also charged for violations of the Anti-Torture Act of 2009, Republic Act 7438 (Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained or under Custodial Investigation), and robbery.

“This will not be easy but it must be done,” Jane Beltran Balleta, one of the Morong 43, said in her speech immediately after the filing of the complaint. “We know that our enemies are human rights violators who respect no one but it is important to file the case if only to show that the government is violating its own laws.”

Other complainants are doctors Alexis Montes and Merry Mia-Clamor, government nurse Gary Liberal, midwife Theresa Quinawayan and community health workers Reynaldo Macabenta, Mercy Castro and Samson Castillo..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/05/04/torture-charges-filed-vs-arroyo-military-police-officials/

RP asks US for planes, boats, radar systems vs China 05/04/2012

SAYS ALL THESE BEFIT RP, A ‘MAJOR’ AMERICAN ALLY

RP asks US for planes, boats, radar systems vs China

05/04/2012
Despite the US government already stressing that it will not be taking sides in the Philippine conflict with China on the Scarborough Shoal, the country’s foreign secretary said the Aquino government has asked the United States to supply the Armed Forces of the Philippines with patrol boats and aircraft as well as radar systems in the face of an escalating territorial dispute with China.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario has asked the United States to intensify its military and defense assistance to Manila to a level befitting a major Asian ally and lift a 2008 cap imposed on military aid to turn the Philippines into a vanguard of regional stability amid territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

While praising the robust defense treaty alliance between the US and the Philippines, Del Rosario complained during a speech in Washington that American military assistance has decreased and that US officials have not lifted a congressional hold on a portion of defense aid to Manila despite an improvement in human rights conditions in the country under President Aquino..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120504hea1.html

Noy flayed on press freedom claim 05/04/2012

Noy flayed on press freedom claim

05/04/2012
As President Aquino was patting himself in the back and claiming that the Philippine media are freest under his presidency, a report from Reporters without Borders yesterday scored the Aquino government, saying that private militias are among the predators who kill journalists.

“Made up of thugs in the pay of corrupt politicians, paramilitary groups and contract hit men paid a few thousand dollars per killing, private militias continue to threaten and kill journalists. Authorities have shown themselves powerless in the face of these groups.

“Moreover, official corruption as well as links between some politicians and organized-crime networks often allow private militias to escape justice.

“Some efforts have been made to halt the cycle of impunity. The most noteworthy example concerns the case of the massacre of 36 journalists on Nov. 23 2009 in Maguindanao province by the Ampatuan family’s militia.

“But in a climate dominated by bureaucratic ineptitude and lack of political will, legal proceedings against those responsible for the biggest mass-killing of journalists ever committed began more than two years ago and are still dragging on, without a single conviction..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120504hea3.html

Noy slammed for vanity walls to hide poor amid ADB event By Michaela P. del Callar 05/04/2012

Noy slammed for vanity walls to hide poor amid ADB event

By Michaela P. del Callar 05/04/2012

What was done during the dark days of martial law when walls were built to hide impoverished communities whenever an international event was held in the country is back and a prominent human rights group yesterday scored the Philippine government for hiding shanties from thousands of delegates attending an Asian Development Bank (ADB) annual meeting in Manila this week.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said Philippine officials should instead “work to bring the voices of the poor to the bank” instead of setting up temporary walls to block them from view.

“Poor families trying to make ends meet should be at the center of the ADB’s meetings, not hidden behind a fence,” said Jessica Evans, senior International Financial Institution advocate at Human Rights Watch..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120504hea2.html

Just compensation for Luisita to be set by DAR, LBP, RTC By Benjamin B. Pulta 05/04/2012

Just compensation for Luisita to be set by DAR, LBP, RTC

By Benjamin B. Pulta 05/04/2012

The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday released the full text of its April 24, 2012 ruling placing Hacienda Luisita, the vast sugar estate in Tarlac owned by the family of President Aquino under the government’s agrarian reform program.

In its ruling, the high court through Senior Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco warned that the ruling of the majority of the magistrates to set 1989 as the reckoning point for determining actual just compensation due to the hacienda’s owners should not be used by parties to delay the incidental proceedings still to be taken up by the regional trial court (RTC) acting as a special adjudication court (SAC).

Giving in to the demands of the hacienda to set 2006 as the reckoning point for compensation for hacienda, the court explained ,would expose farmer workers to more hardships in terms of higher amortization, among other things..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120504nat3.html

http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120504nat1.html

Sotto slams DFA blunder over Panamanian rapist

By Angie M. Rosales 05/04/2012

Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) would be probed by the Senate for issuing two conflicting certifications on the diplomatic immunity of a Panamanian national accused of raping a 19-year-old Filipina in Makati City recently, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said.

Sotto, who was sought out by the victim and her lawyers, raised a howl over the matter allegedly involving a certain Erick Bairnals Shocks, a technical officer of the Panama Maritime Authority.

The senator, who urged President Aquino to order an investigation into the issue, is poised to deliver a privilege speech on Monday, when Congress resumes sessions, and move for the conduct of an inquiry..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120504nat1.html

Penalize airlines for delayed, canceled flights — Ejercito By Charlie V. Manalo 05/04/2012

Penalize airlines for delayed, canceled flights — Ejercito

By Charlie V. Manalo 05/04/2012

San Juan City Rep. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito yesterday said there is a need to put an end to the “double standard” that airlines practice wherein passengers are penalized for their late check-ins while airlines go scot-free for being late.

As member of the majority of the House committee on transportation, Ejercito said airlines must also be held accountable for their miscalculations.

“Their rule of canceling tickets of late passengers is inconsiderate, especially that they charge a hefty sum for rebooking,” Ejercito said.

“Kung may surcharges na binabayaran ang mga pasahero, dapat may penalty din ang mga airline owners pag sila ang late o nag-cancel ng flight, ano man ang sirkumstansya nito,” he added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120504met1.html

Caloocan keeps close watch on mad cow disease 05/04/2012

Caloocan keeps close watch on mad cow disease

05/04/2012
Caloocan City Mayor Enrico “Recom” Echiverri has tasked the city veterinary office to keep close watch on peddlers of beef in all local markets for the possible entry of meat that is contaminated with mad cow disease.

Echiverri made the move following the reported cases of mad cow disease from countries such as United States, Canada, France and the rest of the European Union.

According to the National Meat Inspection Service and Department of Health, one out of every 100 kilos of beef imported from these countries may be contaminated..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120504met2.html

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