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GMA may use special powers to address energy crisis 03/02/2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

GMA may use special powers to address energy crisis


Chances are high that President Arroyo would adopt the proposal of Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes to use special powers in addressing the worsening power shortage, especially in Mindanao, deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar yesterday said.

“Secretary Reyes has clearly explained his recommendation for emergency powers in Mindanao so that the President under the law can ask Congress to approve additional powers generation measures like modular generator sets,” he added.
The Palace official said he will not be surprised if the President does take on emergency powers because the energy crisis is worsening.
Olivar, however, maintained that the decision is still up to the Chief Executive..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

ALTERNATE URL: http://www.tribune.net.ph/headlines/20100302hed2.html

Erap to win again in Negros —local officials By Gerry Baldo and Charlie V. Manalo 03/02/2010

Erap to win again in Negros —local officials

By Gerry Baldo and Charlie V. Manalo

SILAY CITY, Negros Occidental — Danilo Dequiña voted for former President Joseph Estrada when he ran in 1998. He is going to vote for him again on May 10, 2010.

“Erap is the presidential candidate I will be voting for,” he said.

Dequiña, 48, was one of the hundreds who welcomed Estrada and his party in this sugar-rich province of Negros Occidental yesterday. He said it was Estrada who had poured in more government funds to the province than any other president he had known.

“It is only Erap who can help the poor,” Dequiña told the Tribune in a deep accented voice.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

ALTERNATE URL: http://www.tribune.net.ph/headlines/20100302hed4.html

Crop Damage from El Niño to Reach P5.2B, Says Peasant Group; Farmers Demand Relief and Rehabilitation March 2, 2010

Crop Damage from El Niño to Reach P5.2B, Says Peasant Group; Farmers Demand Relief and Rehabilitation

March 2, 2010

Manila – The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) estimated that damage to rice crops may reach to about 323,629 metric tons due to extreme drying out and non-irrigation, based on actual rainfed production on the first quarter of last year. 

Damage to crops

The group said that if damage to crops reach 100%, this would result to about 323,629 metric tons which were valued at P5.198-billion, that were rainfed on the first quarter of last year 2009, cultivated from 116,147 hectares from provinces highly vulnerable as accounted by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS).  The damage nationwide may also reach to 8.21% of the first quarter and 1.83% of the annual rice production.  This would also result to 210,359 metric tons of milled rice which is about 1.35% of the total rice utilized in 2008 and 1.91% of the production of the same year.

The Cagayan and Isabela provinces which are hardest-hit by extreme drought compose about 26% of the total damaged or 83,515 metric tons, which was valued at P1.3-billion or 24.93% of the national.

The group also considered the Dept. of Agriculture (DA) report of provinces “highly vulnerable” such as Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Cavite, Rizal, Occidental Mindoro, Palawan, Capiz , Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Zamboanga City, Sarangani and South Cotabato.  In addition, moderately vulnerable are provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Mt Province, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Romblon, Sorsogon, Aklan, Antique, Bohol, Samar, Zamboanga Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga Sur, Bukidnon, Davao Oriental, Davao Sur and Davao City.

“The said volume would be if there would be total damage to El Niño-affected areas.  But based on our own monitoring, some farms are dried up such as in 3rd and 4th district of Leyte where rice farms experience isolated soil cracks due to the dry spell, but farmers are grateful some rain showers occur at night,” said Danilo Ramos, KMP Secretary-General.
Disclaimer | What you are reading is either a press release/ statement or a manifesto. These materials do not go through our editorial process and do not reflect our policy or position.

“Also in Iloilo, there are some farmers who face hardships in watering their crops to survive the dry spell.  At present, Cagayan Valley as reported by Danggayan-CV, our regional chapter has been hardest hit by El Niño,” he said.

“We are also stressing that Cagayan Valley farmers, as well as from many regions have yet to cope up with the effects of typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng, thus, the effects of the dry spell have worsened the state of farmers.  We are calling for immediate relief and rehabilitation efforts from the government who has the capacity to implement,” said Ramos.

Immediate demands

KMP is calling for concrete demands such as (1) moratorium on payment of land rent of farms damaged (2) postponement of payment to debts from landlords, traders and Quedancor and cancellation of interests to those with damaged crops (3) financial compensation of P10,000 – P15,000 per hectare of damaged crops; (3) zero-interest credit line from Land Bank amounting to P10,000 to P15,000 per hectare; (4) moratorium on irrigation fees of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and cancellation of back-accounts or payments of farmers not benefitting from irrigation; (5) acquisition of motorized water-pumps, pipes and tubes, tractors, hand tractors, farm tools and carabaos to legitimate farmers’ organization and fuel subsidy for its operation, (6) seeds of traditional and indigenous varities of rice and corn, not hybrid and GMO; (7) relief package majorly composed of 1 sack of rice per farming househoulds, accompanied with grocery goods; (8) investigation and review on the management and operations of dams nationwide; (9) housing assistance especially to those ravaged by typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng.

“These are our immediate demands at present, and we know that the government is capable of giving them to the farmers.  Instead of giving them through local government units, we demand that they be given to legitimate farmers organizations to prevent corruption,” said Ramos.

“On the long-term, we are not gripping away from our call for genuine land reform, particularly free land distribution, end to liberalization of agriculture and nationalization of dams,” he added.

End liberalization, privatization

KMP has been opposing liberalization of agriculture prior the country’s entry to the World Trade Organization in 1995.  The group said, the inclusion of agriculture in the WTO has shattered the country’s capacity to produce its own supply of rice, by flooding the local market by imported rice.

“We oppose the gov’t plans to import more rice by using El Niño as excuse.  Damage may hit a maximum of 300,000 metric tons but it is even smaller than our annual end stock at 2.6 million metric tons on 2008,” said Ramos.

“Thus, there is no basis for increase imports, worse they would simply depress farmgate prices and compete with locally-produced rice, causing bankruptcy and indebtedness to farmers,” he added.

KMP said that a major factor in agriculture is non-irrigation where NIA reports that it has irrigated 46% or 1.4 million has. of the 3.1 million has.

“We could not even verify if the NIA reports are true as the highest irrigated rice lands was reported at 1 million has. every 4th quarter of the year,” said Ramos.

The group is also questioning the operation of Magat dam, now owned by SN Aboitiz, which was privatized in 2006 through the Electric Power Industry Reforms Act of 2001 (EPIRA). Magat dam was built in 1983 and funded by the World Bank (WB), United Nation’s Int’l Fund for Agriculural Dev’t (IFAD) and Asian Dev’t Bank (ADB), to irrigate 97,402 has. of the Cagayan river basin and to produce 360 megawatts of electricity through its hydro-electric power plant.  Prior to its privatization in 2006, it served as an ample source of irrigation to Cagayan Valley which made it the third (to Central Luzon and Western Visayas) rice granary of the country producing about 2 million metric tons or 12.37% of the country’s production.  However, Isabela came second to Nueva Ecija among provinces, producing 1 million metric tons or 6.33% of the country’s total of 2008.

“It is very disturbing that the privatization of Magat dam has destroyed Isabela and Cagayan Valley’s  reputation of being a rice granary.  Nueva Ecija which produces about 1.37 million metric tons probably sustained its crops as Pantabangan dam is serving as irrigation for the farms at its area.  This should be investigated as concretely the programs and policies of the Arroyo government have impaired our food production and wreaked havoc to the livelihoods of farmers,” said Ramos.

KMP said that Arroyo’s policies of liberalization and privatization are double whammy to farmers and agriculture.  Liberalization depresses farmgate prices during plentiful harvest as the gov’t have promoted massive importation such as rice and corn.  In addition, during drought, privatization has given TNCs to monopolize water resulting destruction to crops.

“These are major trends that should be reviewed and investigated to prevent further damage to agriculture and farmers’ livelihood,” said Ramos.


Press Release Reference:
Roy Morilla, Public Information Officer, KMP

(Reprinted from Bulatlat.com)

The 1986 restoration February 26th, 2010 LuisTeodoro.com

The 1986 restoration

[Manila, Philippines] If Filipinos were not massing in droves along Manila's Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in celebration of the 24th anniversary of EDSA 1 this year, it was because most of them had forgotten or never really knew what exactly was being commemorated. Some of those who do remember, however, don't see what the fuss is all about, and would go along with the self-serving assessment of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that EDSA 1 was "a failure."

If the attitude of the latter suits Marcos fine, the amnesia of the former is equally agreeable to some of the principal actors and beneficiaries of EDSA. They've been saying for years that People Power — the means through which the government of Ferdinand Marcos fell in 1986 in EDSA 1, and which in 2001 forced Joseph Estrada out of Malacanang in EDSA 2 — is better left to future generations to remember and appreciate.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, for example, proclaimed this year that People Power has been "divisive" and politicized — i.e., it has become a constant threat to sitting governments, particularly hers. Since demands for her resignation escalated in 2005, Mrs. Arroyo has downplayed EDSAs 1 and 2 in her government's scheme of things, marking both anniversaries as an afterthought and as something to get over with, like Monday's flag-raising ceremony.

Fidel V. Ramos, who as chief of the defunct Philippine Constabulary in 1986 withdrew his support for Ferdinand Marcos when he moved to arrest him for involvement in an alleged coup, has disparaged People Power for the image of political instability its exercise presents to the world and foreign investors.

As for Juan Ponce Enrile, who was implicated in the coup plot being hatched by the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) in 1986 and was forced to seek the people's protection together with Ramos, he's long written off EDSA 1 as an anomaly because it led to Corazon Aquino's, rather than to his, assuming the Presidency.

Enrile also credits the military for the overthrow of Marcos in 1986, and for Estrada's abandoning Malacanang in 2001– in the belief that what matters most is who has the guns rather than the numbers that democratic theory says should prevail in political disputes.

The bottom line for these three worthies is that, having benefitted from People Power, no one else should, henceforth — a view that's both self-serving as well as based on fears that what put them in power can remove them (or could have), and that People Power can go "too far" if encouraged.

One can appreciate their apprehension. Suppose People Power actually put someone in power other than a member of the handful of families that have been in power in this country since 1946? What if People Power actually changed something?

Filipinos aren't as enthusiastic or even as interested in People Power as many think they should be precisely because it didn't change much, whatever it changed is constantly under challenge, and it didn't go far enough.

It's customary to say today that what EDSA 1 was about was to remove Marcos. But the more perceptive knew even then that it wasn't Marcos who was really the country's problem. As putrid as his dictatorship and his clutch of military and civilian goons were, they were only a symptom of the centuries-old malaise of Philippine society. The dictatorship may have been a particularly brutal one as symptoms went, but symptom it was nevertheless — of, among others, a political system built on patronage, fraud, deceit and violence which allowed only the moneyed and unscrupulous access to power, while denying it to the majority. Martial law and the Marcos dictatorship merely stripped away the populist mask of a system that claimed to be democratic but wasn't.

Martial law was, among others, nevertheless a reaction to majority demands for social and economic change as well as a voice in governance — demands to make democracy a reality. When martial law was declared, the streets, factories and fields of the country were echoing with cries for land reform, a living wage, and industrialization. Implicit in those demands was the call for the democratization of power necessary for the realization of the social revolution that for centuries had eluded the legions of the poor.

When the Marcos regime was overthrown, it was inevitable that the many sectors that had resisted the dictatorship would see it as the prelude to that revolution — to the dismantling of the land tenancy system, to authentic industrialization, and to the widest possible participation in decision-making by the voiceless and disempowered.

It wasn't to be. The anti-Marcos wing of the elite that had control of People Power — the likes of Ramos and Enrile, for example, and Corazon Aquino herself — could not have countenanced such changes as giving up their lands and sharing power with the people from whom they claimed to derive their authority. Land reform has yet to be realized as a consequence. The rest of Asia may be industrializing; the Philippines isn't. And money, violence and fraud continue to rule Philippine elections, thus assuring the election of the husbands and wives, the sons and the daughters, etc., from the same families and dynasties that have monopolized political power in this country since 1946.

A revolution EDSA 1 wasn't, but a restoration — of the same land-based and comprador elite the country's colonizers had used to rule the country in colonial times, which itself had ruled in its own behalf since alleged independence, and of the same power brokers in Church and State. It also saw to it that the same social and economic system that limits opportunities and dooms millions to the ever harsher consequences — hunger, disease, misery and early deaths — of increasing poverty was intact when the dust had settled.

People Power a failure? Not from the standpoint of the Ramoses and Enriles. But certainly from that of the Filipino people themselves, who gave their names and even lives to it, and received little in return.

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Luis Teodoro)



Teodoro, Luis. "The 1986 Restoration." 25 February 2010. http://www.luisteodoro.com/the-1986-restoration/

Special powers again? FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 03/02/2010

Special powers again?

Ninez Cacho-Olivares

There is a call for Gloria Arroyo to declare a state of emergency and get from Congress special powers to resolve the power problem, which is now hitting Metro Manila, as residents are experiencing rotating brownouts.

It has often made me wonder how special powers granted to a president — no matter which president — can help that president — in this case, Gloria — resolve the power crisis, especially now that she has about three more months to the end of her term in Malacañang.

Just how does one solve the power crisis through special powers? It is not as if these powers are God-like, in the sense of an omnipotent God merely saying, “let there be light,” and there was — or so it is claimed in Genesis.
What these special powers do for a president — and this has been proved in at least two past presidencies — is to provide the Malacañang tenant and her cronies the opportunity to make money in the next three months — sort of a last two minutes money making deals.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

ALTERNATE URL: http://www.tribune.net.ph/commentary/20100302com2.html

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