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2012 budget is anti-farmer, for counterinsurgency – farmers’ group

Saturday, August 6, 2011

2012 budget is anti-farmer, for counterinsurgency – farmers’ group

“The DAR is mandated to implement land reform, but now under this Pamana program, it is being tasked to be yet another agency carrying out counter-insurgency campaigns. Yet again we insist that farmers in the provinces want land, not bullets.” –Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas

There’s money for dole-out schemes, but no funds for genuine economic reform programs?

The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) criticized the Aquino administration’s 2012 budget proposal after it was revealed that the governments wanted a 59 percent increase in its dole out scheme called the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) or the Pantawid Pampamilyang Pilipino (PPP) Program. From P23 billion (US$534,883,720) , the government proposed to raise the dole-out program’s budget to P34 billion (US$790,697,674). Malacañang spokespersons have said the executive is aiming to increase CCT recipients from three million to five million people by the year 2015.

UMA secretary-general Rodel Mesa said the government should prioritize the implementation of genuine economic reforms instead of bolstering a scheme that fosters a mendicant mentality among the Filipino poor. According to Mesa, it is apparent that President Aquino has no intention of improving the economic welfare of Filipinos.

“The CCT scheme is not designed to improve people’s worsening economic condition; it aims to maintain a state of life wherein the poor remain poor, but increasingly dependent on alms, on dole-outs from a government with deliberately twisted priorities,” he said.

Mesa said instead of fattening the budgets of non-productive schemes like the CCT program, the Aquino government should increase budgets for social services and improve infrastructure for public housing, education, and health.

Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura secretary-general Rodel Mesa said the government should utilize its funds to implement genuine and concrete economic reforms instead of bolstering a scheme that fosters a mendicant mentality among the Filipino poor. (Photo by Ina Alleco R. Silverio / bulatlat.com)
“Filipinos need steady employment and living wages, not dole-outs, he said.”Dole out measures will not answer the problem of the ballooning poverty and hunger. Aquino lied through his teeth when he said that the rate of hunger incidence fell by one million from the previous three to four million in the last year. This is impossible given how the quality of life has deteriorated further because of the relentless oil price hikes, high electricity rates and the refusal of the president to heed and support calls for an across-the-board wage and salary increase for workers and employees. On the other hand, Aquino failed to mention the growing labor force of 1.2 million and the 829, 900 increase in under employment as revealed by institutions like Ibon Foundation,”he said.

Mesa said the Aquino government continues to ignore its responsibility to provide long term solutions to the country’s chronic economic woes.

“No economic turn-around is possible unless there’s genuine land reform. The policies of deregulation, liberalization and privatization also stand in the way of national industrialization which will provide secure employment and higher wages. The CCT scheme is nothing but band-aid solution, and its the worst kind of charity because it comes from a government that can undoubtedly provide more if only it had the political will to do so,” he said.

Counter-insurgency fund in the Agrarian Reform Department

In the meantime, another farmers group is protesting against the inclusion of a counter-insurgency fund in the allocations for the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) decried the insertion of P17.623 million (US$409,837) for a counter-insurgency program in the DAR’s proposed P17.9 billion budget for next year..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/08/04/2012-budget-is-anti-farmer-for-counterinsurgency-%E2%80%93-farmers-group/

CARP deserves a zero budget – farmers’ group

CARP deserves a zero budget – farmers’ group

“While landlords receive hefty payments, massive landlessness persists in the countryside. Millions of farmers are displaced due to massive land grabbing and land use conversion. Rural poverty and hunger is on the rise.” Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano

MANILA — Given the Department of Agrarian Reform’s poor performance in land acquisition and distribution, peasant groups questioned the huge allocation for DAR in the proposed 2012 national budget.
DAR will get P17.9-billion ($419.74 million) or 9.82 percent increase from this year’s budget. At least P10.3 billion ($241.53 million) of the proposed budget is allotted for the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) and its extension law.

In its 2010 report, DAR reported its Land Acquisition and Distribution (LAD) accomplishment from 1972 to December 2010 to have already reached 6,617, 296 hectares. Since CARPer’s enactment in 2008, DAR said 154,007 hectares were distributed. But only 292,753 hectares were acquired through compulsory acquisition or only 6.9 percent of the target under LAD, underscoring the worsening circumvention of land distribution.

“A big chunk of DAR’s budget for CARPer will go to landlord compensation” Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano said. “DAR, through the LAD provision of CARP and its extension law, has conveniently became a milking cow of big landlords and maintaining monopoly over large landholdings.”

(bulatlat file photo / bulatlat.com)
Mariano branded the fund allocation for CARP in the 2012 DAR budget as “wastage of public funds.”

Funds for landlords

According to the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department of the House of Representatives, since CARP implementation in 1988, the total allotment released for the implementation of CARP had reached P207 billion ($4.85 billion) and 94.7 percent of this amount was already utilized as of December 2010. Of the total allotment, 55.4 percent went to DAR and 31.7 percent was released to the Land Bank of the Philippines.

“Where did these funds go? Obviously not to farmer-beneficiaries who are in dire need of support services from the government,” Mariano said..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/08/05/carp-deserves-a-zero-budget-%E2%80%93-farmers%E2%80%99-group/

Aquino 2012 budget proposal lacks transparency

Aquino 2012 budget proposal lacks transparency
“This is just the tip of the iceberg and there are still numerous items that have to be questioned because they are a goldmine for the unscrupulous and the corrupt.” – Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño
Deliberations on the 2012 national budget started yesterday at the House of Representatives and progressive lawmakers have come out with scalpels to dissect it.

Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño said that the Benigno Aquino III government’s fiscal proposal for the year 2012 amounting to P1.816 trillion ($42.232 billion) is no different from its predecessors: Casiño said it is full of ” vague, lump-sum allocations.”

Casiño said the Aquino government and its executive was engaging in double-speak.

“In Aquino’s budget message last July 26, the President said lump-sum budgeting delays the implementation of programs and projects, especially critical ones. He also said this kind of budgeting masks the lack of master plans in core undertakings, the weak planning capacities and poor monitoring and evaluation systems in the bureaucracy. It also came from him that lump-sum budgeting encourages political intervention given the lack of firm criteria or priorities, allowing anomalies in the use of public funds—such as the Fertilizer Fund Scam—to flourish,’” Casiño said.... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/08/02/aquino-2012-budget-proposal-lacks-transparency/

Palparan’s bodyguard linked to abduction of UP students

Palparan’s bodyguard linked to abduction of UP students

 “One of the alleged but still unnamed perpetrators had the gall and temerity to go to the hearing and display himself, intimidating and eyeing Ramos all throughout the hearing. He was openly thumbing his nose, as it were, at the whole justice system.” – Edre Olalia, lawyer
MANILA – A close-in security of retired Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. has been identified by one of the witnesses as one of those who abducted University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño and farmer Manuel Merino.

In a supplemental affidavit submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ) panel, August 3, Wilfredo Ramos said the man who was wearing a blue shirt and shades and seated immediately at the back of Palparan during the last hearing on July 19 was part of the team that took Cadapan, Empeño and Merino from their house in San Miguel, Hagonoy, Bulacan on June 26, 2006.

During the third hearing of the preliminary investigation on the criminal charges filed against Palparan and other military officials, Provost Marshal General Col. Herbert Yambing admitted to the DOJ panel that the man being referred to by Ramos is a member of the Philippine Army and is assigned to provide security for Palparan during court hearings. Yambing, however, said he does not know the name of the soldier. A photograph of the soldier is attached to the supplemental affidavit.

Asked what unit is providing security for Palparan, Yambing responded it is the AFP’s Headquarters Service Group..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/08/04/palparan%E2%80%99s-bodyguard-linked-to-abduction-of-up-students/

No fair probe coming EDITORIAL Click to enlarge 08/06/2011

No fair probe coming

Click to enlarge
Resigned Sen. Migz Zubiri showed that rare display of delicadeza. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima did not. Neither did Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes, both of whom lawyered for the former opposition candidates.

De Lima is notoriously lacking in delicadeza, having been the election lawyer of poll protestant and incoming senator, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, as well as being today’s Justice chief, who moreover, is to hold an inquiry into election fraud over which she is to supervise.

But from Brillantes’ — who is head of the Comelec also involved in the poll fraud probe — and De Lima’s comments shortly after Zubiri announced his resignation from the Senate in a privilege speech, how can they even convince the public that the poll fraud probe is going to be fair, when they have already prejudged the case?

What was that De Lima said after the resignation speech? She said Zubiri is not in the clear yet, insisting that cheating charges against the resigned senator by his closest rival, Koko, will still have to be included in the joint investigation of the Department of Justice and the Comelec on fraud anomalies that hounded the 2004 and 2007 polls..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110806com1.html

Ulterior motives FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 08/06/2011

Ulterior motives

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
One wonders just how much is all this “overzealousness” of Noynoy and his allies over the poll fraud probes to pin down their targets and persecuting them through trial and conviction by publicity.

Many of today’s “persecutors” were yesterday’s persecutors of former President Erap Estrada, as they were then the allies and protectors of Gloria Arroyo.

Like the Arroyos today, Erap and his family were being subjected to the most vile trial and conviction by publicity by the evil civil society and opposition politicians that succeeded not only in ousting him from his duly elected constitutional presidential seat through a coup d’etat but that that these elite mobsters ensured his trial and conviction in a politically partisan court.

If there would be a reopening of his case under an impartial court, it will definitely be found that there was no strong evidence for the court to convict him of plunder on two counts: The donation of some P200 million said to be proceeds of jueteng (which is not public funds amyway), but deposited in a foundation that carried his name, which foundation is a separate and distinct entity from Estrada. Besides which, that P200 million in deposit was never touched as it stayed with the duly registered foundation that was not even run by Erap..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110806com2.html

West Bank murder smashed the lie of ‘honor killings’ FEATURE 08/06/2011

West Bank murder smashed the lie of ‘honor killings’


SURIF — Aya’s remains were found bound, decomposed at the bottom of a well more than a year after she vanished without a trace, leaving her family beside themselves with worry.

The university student’s disappearance in April 2010 left her relatives increasingly ostracized in their southern West Bank village, an area known for its deeply conservative traditions and morals.

Neighbors assumed the worst — that their daughter had run away with a lover.

But the mystery was solved in May when police found her bones several miles from the family home in Surif, northwest of the city of Hebron — and triggered an unprecedented public outcry..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110806com3.html

Noy, MILF chief hold ‘secret talks’ By Michaela P. del Callar 08/06/2011

Noy, MILF chief hold ‘secret talks’

By Michaela P. del Callar 08/06/2011

President Aquino sneaked out of the country Thursday night to hold a secret meeting with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Al Haj Murad.

They met in Japan, as pre-arranged. The meeting, it was claimed by Malacañang, had both Aquino and Murad agreeing to accelerate the ongoing negotiations in a bid to conclude a final peace agreement that had eluded the government and rebel group for years.

Government and MILF officials described the two-hour meeting at the Ana Crown Hotel in the Tokyo suburb of Narita as “very cordial, frank and intimate.” Aquino and Murad, they said, discussed some possible approaches that the two negotiating parties can take to bring about a peaceful settlement to the Mindanao conflict.

“Both agreed that the implementation of any agreement should happen within the current administration. Both agreed to fast track the negotiations,” said government Chief Peace Negotiator Marvic Leonen, who was among several government officials who accompanied Aquino in Japan. He said it was Aquino who had initiated the meeting as an offshoot of a previous round of talks with the MILF in Kuala Lumpur..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110806hed1.html

Erap, Anwar push harsher penalty for poll fraud operators 08/06/2011

Erap, Anwar push harsher penalty for poll fraud operators

Former President Joseph Estrada has renewed his call for Congress to pass a law making electoral fraud, especially on the scale of the “Garci” scandal, a heinous crime.

“There must be a certainty of punishment to the election cheaters,” he stressed.

Visiting Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, during a forum at Club Filipino, yesterday supported Estrada’s call even as he said the pieces of evidence on the alleged 2004 and 2007 poll maneuverings are overwhelming.

Estrada, however, said he believes resigned Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri is innocent amid allegations that he benefitted from poll fraud..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110806hed3.html

Gov’t travel ban to Iraq stays, says DFA By Michaela P. del Callar 08/06/2011

Gov’t travel ban to Iraq stays, says DFA

By Michaela P. del Callar 08/06/2011

Government travel ban to Iraq will stay even as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has removed a stamp in Philippine passports, which says that it can not be used for travel to the conflict-stricken state.

The discontinuation of the practice of placing this stamp on Philippine passports “is not tantamount to allowing the travel to Iraq for employment purposes,” the DFA explained in a statement.

“There are countries in which deployment bans have been imposed such as Nigeria, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Jordan, and the Philippine passports are not made to reflect these,” it said.

The “Not Valid for Travel to Iraq” stamp can be found on the limitations page of previously issued Philippine passports..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110806nat1.html

Lanao Norte execs, folk air complaints vs Hanjin Co. 08/06/2011

Lanao Norte execs, folk air complaints vs Hanjin Co.

Lanao del Norte provincial government leaders, including residents, aired their complaints against Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Co. for insensitivity and incompetence by disregarding to maintain the roads its built in the province that cause flooding and landslides.

The complainants, led by former Lanao del Norte Gov. and Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo, said Hanjin Construction Co. built three road projects in the province namely, Iligan to Lanao del Norte, Quicker Road, and MIRIDP (Metro Iligan Infrastructure Development Project).

The projects were funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with Lanao del Norte provincial government as its counterpart.

The problem stemmed when the roads built by Hanjin began to crack, stones manifested, and when rains had fallen it caused landslides and even flooding as it had no canal and waterways where water flown instead it ran down to the residents houses..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110806nat4.html

Lawmakers push add’l P6,000 for monthly pay of gov’t employees By Charlie V. Manalo 08/06/2011

Lawmakers push add’l P6,000 for monthly pay of gov’t employees

By Charlie V. Manalo 08/06/2011

Lawmakers are pushing a P6,000 additional monthly pay for the country’s 1.4 million government workers, saying their salaries have become unrealistic due to inflation and other economic difficulties.

“The current minimum pay reflects the dismal state of public sector workers. Especially affected are the frontline service workers who live in abject poverty,” Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano said.

Mariano and other lawmakers filed House Bill 3746 providing for a P6,000-increase in the minimum pay of government employees.

Mariano said the bill seeks to alleviate the living conditions of ordinary Filipinos and provide for a decent and humane standard of living and improved quality of life. It also aims to promote social justice for the economic well-being of all members of the community..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110806met2.html

MMDA to launch intensive cleanup of esteros on Monday 08/06/2011

MMDA to launch intensive cleanup of esteros on Monday

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will launch on Monday (Aug. 8) the August Estero Blitz at the Tripa de Gallina and Estero de Sta. Clara which traverse the cities of Makati, Pasay and Manila.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino will personally lead the intensive cleanup starting at 6 a.m.

The August Estero Blitz aims to clean at least two esteros daily for one month. It was conceptualized following the successful “480 Minutes” clean-up operations on the eight identified flood-prone areas in Metro Manila which took place last July 24..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110806met5.html

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