Tag Archives: Benigno Aquino III

[Statement] You miss the point, Mr. President, pork is essentially patronage, not only fund misuse -Kilusang #KonTRAPOrk

You miss the point, Mr. President, pork is essentially patronage, not only fund misuse

President Aquino’s televised address to the nation last night, October 30, 2013 on the issue of pork is a big disappointment.

P-Noy’s defense of the the Disbursement Acceleration Program ( DAP ) only shows that the President misses the essential point about the pork barrel issue – essential to transparent, accountable and honest governance. And that is – that pork, whether congressional or presidential- is a tool for patronage politics that breeds corruption and perpetuates elite dynasties in power.

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We have no dispute with the need for the Executive to have a level of discretionary funds for contingencies, emergencies and disaster relief. However, there should be clear parameters in the amounts and how they are going to be spent. This should make the use and the auditing that follows less vulnerable to manipulation.

To attribute the many-sided and enlightening public discussion on DAPas the handiwork of those guilty of pocketing hundreds of millions, even billions of pesos of congressional pork , is as misleading as if not more than the attempts of congressional thieves to confuse the issues and muddle accountabilities.

The call to bring to justice all those who misused PDAF and other pork has always accompanied the demand to abolish all pork. That has been resounding from Luneta to Edsa to Makati to the increasing number of local assemblies and protest marches throughout the country. What concerns all is that justice may be thwarted in the labyrinth of the judicial system and the horse-trading between Malacanang and Congress.

What we expected from P-Noy last night was a list of needed reforms in the public finance system of the country, beginning with the elimination of all pork What we got was a shrouded defense of pork.
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Press Statement of KILUSANG KONTRAPORK with FREEDOM FROM DEBT COALITION
In Response to Pres. Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III’s Address to Nation
(during the primetime telecast on October 30, 2013)

Follow and Like #KonTRAPOrk @https://www.facebook.com/KonTRAPOrk

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[From the web] Philippines: divided leadership and lacklustre performance -PAHRA

Philippines: divided leadership and lacklustre performance
By Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)[1]

Source: http://renatomabunga.wordpress.com/

I. General Overview

President Benigno Aquino III considered 2012 a year of continued resurgence of the economy bolstered with increased confidence in good governance. He took pride in the dramatic leaps the country has taken in the global competitive index of the World Economic Forum; the unprecedented attainment of investment-grade status from the most respected credit ratings agencies in the world; and the astounding 6.8 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2012.[2]

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Amidst this enthusiasm, cases of extra-judicial killings (EJK), enforced disappearances, torture, illegal arrests as well as other political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights violations increase halfway into the Aquino administration. What becomes alarming “is the growing number of threats and killings of rights defenders” as observed by the UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, and on extrajudicial killings, Christof Heyns.[3]

In 2012 alone, the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP) reported 43 cases of EJK involving 48 victims; 14 cases of Enforced Disappearance involving 17 victims; and, 39 cases of Torture involving 63 victims. There were 65 documented cases of arrest and detention by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines involving 133 individuals. The spate of arrests came after the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of National Defense (DND) announced its Php467 million bounty for some undisclosed list of 235 communist leaders.[4] This list would definitely be used to harass political activists and leaders of peoples’ organizations with or without legal charges and would constitute another institutionalized utter disregard of the right to due process.[5]

In an October 2012 interview with Radio New Zealand, President Aquino brushed aside criticism of his human rights records as simply “leftist propaganda”. He issued Administrative Order (AO) 35 in November “creating the inter-agency committee on extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other grave violations of the right to life, liberty and security of persons”. He promoted military officers charged with cases of human rights violations.[6] Brig. Gen Eduardo Añowas appointed chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP). He was among those charged in the abduction and disappearance of Jonas Burgos. Brig. Gen. Aurelio Baladad was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and before him Lt. Gen. Jorge Segovia who was assigned to head the Eastern Mindanao Command. Baladad and Segovia were among those charged in the illegal arrest and torture of the Morong 43.[7]

2012 also witnessed positive developments in policy reforms. The President signed into law Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, which is restrained for implementation by the Supreme Court following petitions of unconstitutionality by the Catholic Church; the Compensation for Martial Law Victims Act, early 2013, providing compensation, recognition and acceptance of the historical facts of grave human rights violation during Martial Law; the Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act 288 or the ARMM Human Rights Commission Charter of 2012, an independent regional national human rights institution vested with the powers and mandate of the national Commission on Human Rights within the autonomous region; Republic Act (RA) 101361 or the Kasambahay Law in January 2013, an act instituting polices for the protection and welfare of domestic helpers; the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012, an act defining and penalizing enforced or involuntary disappearance; and the Ratification of the Rome Statute.

Read full article @renatomabunga.wordpress.com

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[Event] #PORKTOBERFEST – A Street Party Protest Against the Pork Barrel System

#PORKTOBERFEST – A Street Party Protest Against the Pork Barrel System
October 25, 2013
7:00 pm
T.Morato, Quezon City

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Event poster by #Porktoberfest

So you go out on a payday Friday night. You check your payslip and you see your withholding tax – there goes part of your hard-earned money. You pay for parking with 12% EVAT. You buy food and drinks with friends and you pay your bill – with 12% EVAT. The next morning you read the papers, you see how the taxes you paid last night was misused by people you thought you could trust. Dammit.

On October 25, a Friday night, you probably will go out again. Pay for parking, pay for gas, and pay for your weekly dose of Friday night food and drinks – with all those you pay 12% EVAT. BUT YOU HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THE DECEIT AND THIEVERY. You want to tell your government that what you will be paying on the night of October 25 should be properly used and should not go to the pockets of those suckers. YOU WILL DO THIS AT THE #PORKTOBERFEST!

BE IN THE KNOW. BE AWARE. BECAUSE YOU OWE IT TO YOUR COUNTRY. Because you can have fun while you learn about your country’s issues and while you become part of the solution to your country’s problems.

WE DEMAND:

1) The ABOLITION of the Pork Barrel System.
2) A FULL ACCOUNTING of ALL pork barrel funds used.
3) An IMPARTIAL INVESTIGATION and the PROSECUTION OF ALL INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED in the misuse of pork barrel funds.

WE SUPPORT THE PASSING OF THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT.

There will be NO CENTRAL STAGE AND SPEECHES. Bars and restaurants in the area are invited to set up tables and chairs/ booths and kiosks and even small platforms/stages along the sidewalk of Morato to provide entertainment AGAINST THE PORK BARREL. Street performers/artists (flashmobs, singers, poetry readers, etc.) are also invited to perform along the street.

Express yourself on our Freedom Wall where you can write your protests against the pork barrel system!

Bring your noisemakers because at 12 midnight we will make noise that will echo throughout this country TO SHOW THIS GOVERNMENT THAT WE ARE THE BOSS AND WE WANT THE PORK BARREL SYSTEM SCRAPPED!!!

Show the government that you want cleaning up! WEAR WHITE! COME AND SHOW YOUR GOVERNMENT THAT YOU ARE THE BOSS!

#Porktoberfest #100DAYS #ScrapPork #tayoangboss #MillionPeopleMarch

https://www.facebook.com/events/484327198331700/

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[Statement] World Food Day Statement By National Food Coalition

World Food Day Statement
By National Food Coalition

On the occasion of World Food Day, 16 October 2013, the National Food Coalition renews
its call for the adoption of a comprehensive food policy by the Philippines. There is an
urgent need for a framework law on the right to adequate food to give expression to this
policy, and such a law should adopt a rights-based approach. The right to food is the right of
the people to have regular, permanent and unrestricted access, either directly or through
purchases, to quantitatively and qualitatively adequate and sufficient food, which
corresponds to their cultural traditions, and which ensure a physical and mental, individual
and collective, fulfilling and dignified life that is free of fear.

NFC

The framework law should ensure people’s participation, accountability of those who violate
it, non-discrimination on account of sex, age or any other basis, transparency or open access
to information, respect for human dignity, empowerment of the people, and respect for the
rule of law. It must develop indicators for determining levels of improvement in the
enjoyment of the right to adequate food, and it should provide for effective remedies in
cases of violations, including criminal, civil and administrative liabilities on the part of
violators.

We reiterate this call, at this crucial time, when public demand is growing for the abolition of
the pork barrel, which members of the Philippine Congress have been dispensing as if it
were their own money. This fund has been abused, and public outrage has grown over
reports of corruption arising from misuse of these funds. Any new form of pork that retains
the basic feature of being discretionary and lacking in transparency will just perpetuate
corruption that drains resources away from public services needed by the people.

The amounts from the pork barrel that have found their way to the pockets of unscrupulous
government officials and their cohorts are precious funds that could have been used to
provide for the people’s basic needs, to promote their fundamental human rights, and to
advance the cause of their human dignity. Rather than continue the pork barrel, the
Philippine Government should consider more worthwhile measures. These include a
comprehensive program to end hunger in the Philippines. The Government should provide
for the necessary financial and other support to realize zero-hunger in the Philippines.

Contact Persons:
Aurea Miclat-Teves, Convenor, NFC, 0918-991-1910;
Bombi Sunga, FLAG lawyer- 0917-854-2124

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[Off-the-shelf] Pork Barrel Primer By Pilipinong KonTRAPOrk

Pork Barrel Primer
Tanong-Sagot ukol sa Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) at katiwalian sa gobyerno

Pork Barrel Praymer

Ang praymer na “Tanong-Sagot ukol sa Pork Barrel” ay inilathala upang maging gabay sa mga magtatalakay ng naturang isyu sa batayang masa – sa manggagawa’t maralita sa lungsod at kanayunan.

Ito ay sinulat ni “Pilipinong KonTRAPOrk” para sa Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) at SANLAKAS. Ang nasabing mga organisasyon ay aktibong kasapi ng Kilusang KonTRAPOrk, isang kilusan laban sa trapong pulitika at katiwalian sa gobyerno. Maari siyang makontak sa pamamagitan ng email: pilipinongkontrapork@gmail.com.

Binubuo ito ng siyam (9) na seksyon, kung saan, bawat paksa ay sinimulan sa sumusunod na mga tanong:
Ano ang Pork Barrel?
Sino-sino ang may Pork Barrel?
Magkano ang Pork Barrel?
Saan Nagmumula ang Pork Barrel?
Ano ang Epekto ng Pork Barrel?
Totoo bang Nakikinabang ang Taumbayan sa Pork Barrel?
Ano ang Ugat ng Pork Barrel?
Ano ang Dapat Gawin sa Pork Barrel (at Pagbabadyet ng Gobyerno)?
Ano ang maari mong gawin para labanan ang “Pork Barrel”?
Naniniwala tayong ang pag-asa ng paglakas ng kilusan ng mamamayan laban sa katiwalian ay nakasalalay sa pagkilos ng naghihirap na seksyon ng populasyon, na siyang mayorya ng lipunang Pilipino.

Tumungo sa mga pabrika’t plantasyon, komunidad ng urban/rural poor, iskwelahan at simbahan. Mulatin, pakilusin at organisahin ang mamamayan para sa tunay na pagrereporma sa badyet ng gobyerno at sa paglaban sa bulok na pulitika ng mga trapo.

Read full primer @http://pork-barrel-primer.blogspot.com/

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[Featured Article] 28 killed in alleged political killings in Escalante under mayor’s term By Merck Maguddayao

28 killed in alleged political killings in Escalante under mayor’s term
By Merck Maguddayao

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They always left their gates open.

In this rural village of Libertad in Escalante City, Negros Occidental, the only forbidding entity for village chief Fernando and wife Teresita Damalerio were the neighborhood drunks who, after long drunken stupors would engage in shouting matches, chases, and fistfights. Being the elected peace maker, Fernando would step in to settle the tipsy men, most of the time within the gates of his home.

Other than those occasional fracases, the people of Libertad lived their life slowly by tending their own farm or construct projects in good old bayanihan (collective labor) fashion, unlike the atomized atmosphere of the Metro. That’s why in the peripheries of urbanizing Escalante, it is okay to leave the gates open.

But not until November 8, 2007. Elected a month earlier as barangay captain, Fernando, together with his son Ferjun and kagawad (village councilor) Neptali Narvasa, went to the Commission on Elections branch office in downtown Escalante to file his statement of campaign expenses. At nightfall, as they approached home, violence occurred, but not the type carried out by drunkards.

In an interview, Teresita Demalerio narrated in a mix of Cebuano and Filipino that six armed men emerged from a curve at the corner of their house.

“One person approached our gates, went straight to Fernando who was on his way home, aimed his gun at him while shouting ‘Hapa! Hapa!’ (lie down) My husband raised his two arms and tried to thresh the matter out with the gunman. A second man entered our gate,” Teresita narrated.

Moments later, Teresita witnessed the first gunshot. It felled her son, Ferjun.

April 20 mobilization against killings in Escalante. Photo from Merck Maguddayao

April 20 mobilization against killings in Escalante. Photo from Merck Maguddayao

“Ferjun went out of the gate with his arms raised and uttered ‘Unsa may problema?’ (What’s the problem?) but was unable to finish his question when he was shot on the chest,” she continued.

In a snap, Fernando shoved the gunman who was aiming at him, and ran for cover inside his compound to his house. He was shot on the waist but the wound was miraculously shallow as his belt seemed to have dissipated the impact of the bullet.

Teresita followed her husband and while on her way, she noticed one of the gunmen lying down on the ground, who most probably was accidentally shot by his comrades during their attack, according to her account. She noticed a grenade in the hands of the felled assailant, picked it up, ran inside the house through a backdoor, and handed it to Fernando, who threw the grenade at the three other assailants. They disappeared after the blast.

The couple survived the ordeal, but not their youngest son Ferjun, who was a fresh college graduate with a degree in customs administration. He was felled down by a seemingly emerging gang of vigilantes, who would kill 27 other men in a span of six years leading to the May 2013 elections, which included Teresita’s brother Sergio Villador, who was killed a few months later.

September 21, 2013 Mobilization against killings in Escalante. Photo from Merck Maguddayao

September 21, 2013 Mobilization against killings in Escalante. Photo from Merck Maguddayao

28 felled men in six years, under two consecutive terms of incumbent and newly-elected mayor of Escalante City, Melecio “Beboy” Yap. The common denominator of the killings is that 18 of the felled men, as well as their surviving immediate relatives, were supporters of former mayor Santiago “May-May” Barcelona, whose term expired in 2007 but ran and lost in 2010 and 2013. Ferjun, though not an active supporter of Barcelona—his parents are—was an unfortunate fatality who absorbed a cheap but fatal shot from a trigger-happy gunman. Nine other victims were para-military volunteers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, locally known as Cafgu, who were likewise killed in an organized manner.
Yap has continuously denied responsibility of the killings, repeatedly saying in local news reports that it is mere demolition job against him.

Such bloodbath last occurred in the City last September 20, 1985, when at least 20 farmer-activists were killed allegedly by state agents in a protest rally in commemoration of Martial Law in front of the town hall. It is forever immortalized in history as theEscalante Massacre. However, this seemingly second version of Escalante Massacre did not happen in a single event–the killings were organized and followed a pattern.

Activist Luke Espiritu of the socialist Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), who documented the killings and
assisted the victims’ families in filing criminal charges against Yap and his alleged henchmen, explained that this constituted “circumstantial evidence” to charge Yap for murder and frustrated
murder before the prosecutor’s office of Escalante.

“There is a pattern to the killings. Most victims were from the camp of Barcelona,” Espiritu said.

“The victims’ family will first receive a warning from an unknown source: Switch allegiance or death,” he continued. “And indeed, the victims followed this pattern of threat followed by actual execution.”

“You think those who killed my son were common village drunkards? They were armed, and most of them attacked in groups. The killing operations seemed to be organized,” he concluded.

From their end, Espiritu assisted four other families in filing multiple murder charges against Yap, retired Army Major Tupas, Angel Sinadjan, Santiago Rapiz, and several John Does.

As the killings escalated, some families of the murdered men and some survivors brought the issue to then Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary Jesse Robredo, who in 2011 created Task Force Escalante, an inter-government effort to investigate the killings and prevent possible killings. During this time, Yap was stripped of his police powers which he strongly opposed, claiming that the DILG’s measure was against his human rights. His allies from the pro-Maoist Bayan Muna even staged a rally in that year in support of Yap, branding Robredo’s order as a violation of Yap’s rights.

Task Force Escalante, though, withered away after Robredo’s untimely death in 2012 as current DILG secretary Mar Roxas seemed to have backpedalled in the investigation of the cases.

“We have sent follow-up letters to Secretary Roxas and even to PNoy (President Benigno Aquino III) but we have not received any action from the national government,” Teresita Damalerio lamented. “It was a far cry from Robredo’s response to our ordeal.”

Hopeless that their appeals for help fell on deaf ears, the victims’ families stumbled upon Bacolod-native Espiritu, who was busy in campaigning for PLM’s electoral bid in Negros Occidental.

“I think we were blessed to meet a man who took us seriously,” Teresita said.

News about the killings infuriated Espiritu as the number was alarming. But what made him angrier was the fact that the DILG and Malacanang seemed to have discontinued Task Force Escalante after the death of its initiator. Worse, he heard a common notion blaming the insurgent New People’s Army as the perpetrators of the killings.

“Many of these killings were dismissed as insurgency-related. Then case closed. This is an excuse not to undertake further investigation,” he lamented.

The new collaboration resulted in the formation of the local human rights formation Save Negros Movement (Save Negros), which held its first rally in front of Escalante City Hall last April 20 attended by at least 8,000 angry citizens of Escalante denouncing the purported atrocities of Yap and his men.

The gathered crowd called for the continuation of the pending investigation of the killings, the quick prosecution of Yap and the other suspects, and placing Escalante under the control of the
Commission on Elections.

“It seemed like People Power,” Espiritu recalled. “The people were angry, they seemed to want to barge in City Hall and take over the city.”

“They want Mayor Yap to answer the allegations, at the very least, air his side. But he didn’t, which made us angrier,” he said.

Despite this seemingly popular discontent against him, Yap won by a comfortable margin on 9,000 votes over Barcelona in the elections a month after the rally.

It seemed to have been a reaffirmation of the Escalante people’s trust to their mayor, but Damalerio begs to differ.

“We believe Barcelona’s machinery was severely weakened by the killings since 2007, so what do you expect? He became politically dead,” Damalerio explained.

Damalerio insists that his family’s support for Barcelona was because the mayor simply addressed their basic demands—agricultural infrastructure, healthcare, school buildings, and scholarship for
their children. This, she believes, was the reason for Barcelona’s erstwhile political success, having served for three terms from 1998 to 2007.

However, she and the victims, she asserts, have gone beyond being supporters of an ex-mayor. Currently the spokesperson of the Save Negros Movement and PLM-Escalante, she believes that the most viable way to end institutionalized violence in Escalante a movement independent from
traditional political rivals in their city.
Thus, she, along with more than a hundred relatives of EJK victims and some survivors, went beyond the human rights alliance Save Negros and joined PLM, as they believed that justice is served not in the courtroom, but through the direct empowerment of the Escalante masses. In a rally to commemorate the 1985 Escalante Massacre last September 21, the now PLM-Escalante chapter mobilized 300 of its members in front of the City Hall, calling for empowerment and direct democracy as the replacement of warlordist rule in the city. Still fearing for their lives, they braved the scorching weather and a possible rain of bullets.

“We still love Mayor May-May, and we are forever indebted to him,” Damalerio said, recalling her days as supporter of the former mayor. “But we victims have to unite as an independent force
in this city. The issue has gone beyond politics for our lives are at stake. The only way for us to move forward is to organize, no longer perceived as simply Barcelona supporters, but as an independent force of the oppressed.”

She still fears for her life and that of her husband and relatives, though.

“Heaven forbid, but when I return to Escalante, I might be a dead woman. Or maybe, one or two more will be killed.”

She concluded her story with these simple words: “Sending Yap to jail is not enough. Real justice is achieved by changing the system. Leave the masses alone to decide on their own fate, to decide on the fate of our beloved city, for we are the builders of this city.”

Six years may have passed since the death of Teresita Damalerio’s son and brother and the death of 27 others, but for the families of the victims of extra-judicial killings in Escalante, the fight has just begun. They continue to knock on the locked gate of justice while literally dodging bullets fired behind them.

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[Press Release] PAHRA: CHR Commissioners as defenders or violators of human rights?

Human rights group: CHR Commissioners as defenders or violators of human rights?

PAHRA in a presscon CHR Commissioners as defenders or violators of human rights

A human rights group demanded in a press conference on September 26,2013 that alleged acts and practices of corruption of the two Commissioners of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP) be investigated promptly and effectively by an independent committee.

pahra logo copy

The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), along with 20 other civil society organizations, in November 2012, has made an evaluation of the CHRP’s performance among others. In its report submitted to President Benigno Aquino III, it cited among others the CHRP’s fragmented leadership with below-par performance. CSO Assessment and Dialogue with CHR Nov & Dec 2012 for pax (2)

Recent actions of alleged human rights abuses committed by CHR Commissioners Norberto de la Cruz and Cecilia Raquel Quisumbing had surfaced from their former staff. Cited, among others, were using violence against a driver, ill-treatment of the staff and cases of corruption, such as turning CHRP drivers into family drivers and tolerating minimal presence in their job but collecting full salaries.

Ms. Regina Eugenio, a former staff of Commissioner Quisumbing, said she and her co-staff experienced ill-treatment from Commissioner Quisumbing. “Hindi na naming masikmura ang pagyurak sa aming dignidad at pagkatao,” (We could no longer stand the trampling on our dignity and humanity.) Ms Eugenio explained as the reason for their resignation. The said staff no longer wanted to be treated like “robots”. Ms. Eugenio and her co-staff’s resignations were stopped and were instead unjustly fired by Commissioner Quisumbing.

“Makakatanggap pa sila ng retirement pension mula sa gobyerno sa kabila ng kanilang paglabag sa karapatang pantao!” expressed by Mr. Nemesio Mendoza, former staff and driver of Commissioner Norberto de la Cruz.

“The present situation is unacceptable,” said Max de Mesa, Chairperson of PAHRA, “and must not be tolerated any further.”

After receiving un-substantive responses from the Commissioners themselves when the evaluation and these incidents have been discreetly but formally conveyed, PAHRA had written the President, who is the appointing authority for the Commissioners of the CHRP.

It must be called to mind that in two years time, Pres. Aquino has to appoint a new set of CHRP Commissioners.

PAHRA’s National Executive Committee (NEC), in its letter, has called on the President, as Chief Executive and Appointing Authority that to ensure the irreversible shift of his administration to a paradigm of human rights:

  • To designate an independent committee of inquiry regarding these incidents, as well as their causes, and to recommend measures and actions that would strengthen the CHR;
  • To take persuasive action on the two Commissioners so that they would take a leave of absence so as to obtain an environment of openness free of possible harassment and intimidation during the time of inquiry;
  • To certify as urgent the passage of the new Charter of the CHR with the added provisions on the selection process of the Commissioners and the Mechanism for Transparency and Accountability of the Commissioners and Directors;
  • To create a committee that would propose a process of selection for the next new members of the CHR similar to the selection of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

De Mesa emphasized that “this critique is not to destroy the CHRP but rather to strengthen it as a primary institution of women and men who are suppose to be guides and guardians of human rights.” “And ensuring the State’s obligations on human rights are fulfilled,” he concluded.

Other related documents:

letter to Pres. B. Aquino on CHR

LETTER ON ERODED INTEGRITY OF CHR

Press release
26 September 2013

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[Statement] Fund People’s Protection against Poverty and Inequality -KAMP

Fund People’s Protection against Poverty and Inequality

KAMP

President Benigno Aquino III’s pronouncement scrapping the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) could have been an affirmation of government’s subservience to people’s sovereignty, but the president chose to hoodwink the people and cheat on his own “matuwid na daan”.

He announced the abolition of the annual Php25 billion lump-sum appropriation and its removal from the discretion of lawmakers, but in the same breath offered it again as a multi-purpose fund for legislators. What makes this more suspicious is the president’s continued silence on his own and Vice-President Jejomar Binay’s discretionary funds of P450 billion and P200 million, respectively. Aside from the 7.8 % exclusionary GDP growth, this is another sign of PNoy’s misplaced priorities.

The Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP) denounces the president’s cheap tricks. People’s taxes are people’s funds and must be used for the benefit of the people.

Prioritize public spending on people’s protection against poverty and inequality

Official statistics show the country’s glaring poverty incidence and gross disparity in terms of access to resources and essential services. Measures should be implemented to ensure income and wealth redistribution, and protect the people already reeling from the financial crisis that threatens to get worse. PNoy should go beyond the confines of his current fragmented, temporary and palliative social assistance and institute a comprehensive and universal social protection program provisioning for a life of dignity for all. This includes:
Universal health care based on the primary health care principle that ensures the well-being of the citizenry and not limited interventions in times of illness;
Generation, not merely facilitation, of employment with living wages and of livelihoods protected against unfair competition and monopoly by big capitalists;
Guaranteed and quality education;
Living pension or subsidy for the elderly and the differently abled;
Socialized housing programs that guarantee adequate and humane shelter for all;
Access to and availability of basic services such as water, power and transportation.

Review budget laws and processes and ensure equitable sharing of national revenues

KAMP does not buy the line that only Senators and members of the House of Representatives know what development projects to propose and approve and how much of the people’s money should go to their favored districts and sectors. This lame excuse for patronage politics, in effect, continues to distort national economic planning and undermines development programs. Provided there are clear national priorities and responsive development plans, local development and resource allocations are best left to the local government units. This is based on the assumption that the pork barrel system is eliminated from the national down to the local level, and people’s participation is accepted as part of the political process.

Lump-sum funds or lawmaker-sponsored projects only foster increased reliance on favors from the president and the legislators. The question of ensuring that territorial and political subdivisions get equitable share of national revenues immediately calls for a review of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) formula and criteria to check if these are still relevant to the current needs of localities.

The pork barrel scandals involving public officials also point to the need to fix loopholes in budget laws and processes starting with the review and amendment of the Administrative Act of 1987. The national budget exercise has been corrupted to an extent that the “power of the purse” which used to be exercised by Congress to check and balance the president’s fiscal powers has been surrendered by legislators more concerned with getting a substantive slice of public funds.

Strengthen mechanisms for people’s participation; Pass FOI bill

PNoy administration’s bottom-up planning and budgeting approach is a welcome effort to encourage people’s involvement in determining projects responsive to their needs. The process, however, should be more inclusive of the wide range of civil society formations. Moreover, bottom-up planning and budgeting requires strong people’s movements and participation.

P-Noy’s statement on the PDAF seems to focus more on the Napoles P10 billion pork barrel scam by banning the NGOs from receiving public funds. Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg. What has scandalized the people to outrage are the extent and thoroughness of budget scams that have defrauded them of vital social services and protection, and the involvement of the executive and legislative officials, the bureaucracy, NGOs and even religious leaders. Implicated too is the judiciary by turning a blind eye to the scams. More than ever, the need to pass the Freedom of Information bill becomes more urgent, and tests the administration’s and legislators’ sincerity in addressing the web of corruption that has engulfed the entire political system.

Transparent and Thorough Investigation

All transactions related to the misuse and abuse of all discretionary funds, not just PDAF, must be investigated by the newly formed Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAAGCC). This includes appropriations and disbursements done under the administration of PNoy.

IAGCC’s investigation must not result only in punishing the guilty and in recovering stolen assets. The council’s work must also aid in strengthening laws and processes on the utilization of public funds and point out the accountability—the sins of commission and omission—of concerned public officials in the performance of their duties. The list of robbers in government includes all those who feign public interest for personal gain and disregard the people’s will. PNoy joined this list when he attempted to cheat the people out of their victory over corruption.

Let the Million People March to Luneta and Mendiola on Monday, 26 August 2013, be a reminder to the president and all public officials that this government exists to serve the interest of the people and not the other way around.

Fund Social Protection Against Poverty and Inequality!
Life of Dignity for All!

KAMP is a broad, multi-sectoral and inclusive network that is focused on pushing for universal and transformative social protection towards attaining social justice. It pushes for a five-point agenda: employment guarantee, universal health care services, adequate food, humane housing, and social insurance particularly universal pension for the elderly and differently-abled, and agricultural insurance.

[Statement] Labor group urges Napoles to bare all in open court -PM

Labor group urges Napoles to bare all in open court

pmLogo1

Perhaps everyone at this point in time, including politicians in Malacanang, want a share of a limelight from Janet Lim Napoles. So whether she is a real VIP or someone who finds Malacanang as the safest place to surrender had become the subject of wild speculations.

We heard the explanations of Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda on the circumstances behind the graceful end of the August hunt for Napoles. We would leave the Palace do the explaining on this matter.

What is important now is we finally have Napoles. But the people are really not after her body, despite her VIP treatment last night. What we are more interested is how she is going to tell her story about the whole pork barrel racket. Will she bare all? Or will she be just another Jocjoc Bolante, Garci or Lentang Bedol in the making?

Our challenge is for her to bare all and for Malacanang to ensure that she is not coached or censored under custody. People were already suspicious about her VIP surrender. Malacanang cannot afford another blunder if Napoles comes out in tight lips.

One way to erase this suspicion is to hold the Napoles trial in an open court, similar to how the impeachment trial of Renato Corona was conducted.

PRESS STATEMENT
Partido ng Manggagawa
29 August 2013
Contact Renato Magtubo @ 09178532905

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[Press Release] Workers ask Luneta marchers: Demand realignment of pork to social services -PM

Workers ask Luneta marchers: Demand realignment of pork to social services

pmLogo1

The workers group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) called on the people who will be joining tomorrow’s rally at Luneta to demand the realignment of the pork barrel to a fund for universal social services. The group also praised the organizers of the Luneta march in its determination to push through and demand the abolition of the pork barrel.

“Workers salute Luneta protest organizer Peachy Rallonza-Bretana for refusing to be placated by President Benigno Aquino III’s proposed pork barrel reform. We however ask them to also demand a new fund distribution system wherein social services will not be based on the discretion of politicians but will be accessible as a matter of right,” Renato Magtubo, PM chair explained.

PM is joining the rally in Luneta tomorrow that will call for the abolition of pork barrel and the prosecution of those involved in the scam. The group’s chapters in Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo and Iligan are also participating in similar activities in the provinces.

The labor group is advocating the realignment of the pork barrel into a fund for universal social protection. “The Priority Development Assistance Fund, the Presidential Social Fund and other incarnations of the pork barrel must be directly allotted to social services that will be accessible to all Filipinos and not be subject to discretion of political patrons. In this way, the evil of patronage and corruption is removed from the delivery of necessary social services such as Philhealth coverage, socialized housing, scholarships, farmers’ subsidies and public employment” explained Magtubo.

He added that “Only the politically naïve will swallow PNoy’s alibi that pork barrel is necessary to deliver social services to the grassroots. The pork barrel is a political not a development tool. On the part of the national government, the pork barrel is a carrot to buy the support of Congress. While on the part of solons, pork barrel is indispensable to sustain the dependency relations with ward leaders and ordinary voters.”

PM asserted that the reforms declared by the President about the congressional pork barrel are not enough. “At best the reforms may curb rampant corruption but PNoy’s insistence in maintaining the pork barrel means he is strengthening it as an instrument of patronage,” Magtubo averred.

Press Release
August 25, 2013

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[Press Release] Teachers join Luneta protest to leave legacy for children -TDC

TEACHERS JOIN LUNETA PROTEST TO LEAVE LEGACY FOR CHILDREN

logo TDC

Teachers under the banner of Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) call on their fellow educators to join the massive protest against the pork barrel system and the rampant corruption in government on Monday, August 26 at the Luneta Park in Mnaila. This despite the pronouncement made by President Aquino last Friday that he will soon abolish the PDAF.

“The pronouncement is just a ploy to weaken the growing unity and anger of the people against corruption in government. The crooks in the bureaucracy should be punished, regardless of their party affiliation, whether in Senate, HoR or the executive branch.” Benjo Basas the chairperson of the TDC said in a statement.

Teachers were enraged by the report that the JLN Corporation headed by the alleged pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim-Napoles paid less amount of taxes than the average public school teacher in the years 2009-20011.

“The people who keep the state operating thru their shares of taxes should be the recipients of the services from the government. Public funds should not be used for patronage politics and lavish lifestyle of the elected officials and their cohorts.” Basas explained. “Corruption-free governance would mean a better spending for basic social services like education, health, public transpiration, housing and environmental care among others.” He added.

The group called on the teachers and the people in general to remain vigilant and to denounce the corruption in all branches of the government at all levels.

“By marching on the streets on Monday, we could leave a legacy for our students and our own children that they will grow-up in a country free of corruption and thievery and would make them proud as Filipino people.” Basas ended.

The group’s central slogan is “Scrap the Pork, Jail the Crooks, Fund our Schools!” #
Reference: Benjo Basas, National Chairperson 0920-5740241/3853437

ADVISORY: Teachers’ Preparation for Rally

Tomorrow, Sunday starting 10:00AM, TDC members will prepare the materials needed for the rally on Monday- banners, placards, sound system, printed t-shirts and cultural presentation. Some leaders from Metro Manila are expected to come to their office to bring plain white t-shirts for printing.

White would be their color motif in solidarity with the protest movement in Luneta whose participants are expected to wear white shirts to symbolize purity and political neutrality. In Luneta, the group along with their respective families will share their “baon” for a symbolic picnic. However, TDC will bring their group banners for they will be joining the initial program of various groups in Liwasang Bonifacio at 9:00AM then they will march and join the “colorless” Luneta crowd before noon and will also join the march to Mendiola after the Luneta gathering.

Attached are the poster and the t-shirt design that will be used by the TDC in the protest.

Anti-PDAF tshirtTeachers Honest Taxpayers5 PINK white box

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[Statement] Hindi Magwawakas sa Basurahan! Dapat Mapakinabangan! Kailangang Maparusahan! -LMK

Hindi Magwawakas sa Basurahan! Dapat Mapakinabangan! Kailangang Maparusahan!

LMK

Mula sa simpleng hamon na post sa social media hanggang sa nabuong mga hinagpis ng mga mamamayan hanggang sa isang pagkilos laban sa pork barrel at buong sistematikong pagnanakaw, pangangamkam, pangungurakot sa loob ng pamahalaan na kinasangkutan ng mga Senador, Kongresista, mga Ahensya hanggang sa Ehekutibong sangay ng pamahalaan ay mas lalong nagpupumiglas ang sambayanan na iparamdam at ipamalas ang puot at galit nito. Isang malawakang pagkilos ang magaganap sa Agosto 26, 2013 sa buong Pilipinas at maging sa ibang bansa laban sa Pork Barrel system.

Biglaan namang nag-damage control ang Malakanyang sa pamamagitan ng pahayag ni PNoy sa harap ng mga manggagawang media na panahon na daw upang buwagin ang pork barrel. Subalit huli na ang lahat at hindi na nito mapapalamig ang init na dama ng mga mamamayan at mahihirap.  Layunin sana ng pahayag ay upang ipakita nanaman sa buong sambayanan na tapat ang Pamalahang Aquino sa “tuwid na daan” nito. Upang makabangon sa kainutilang wala pa ring naipasok sa loob ng kulungan buhat nang ito ay nanungkulan sa pangalan ng “tuwid na daan”. Dagdag pa ay, ang “tuwid na daan” laban sa kurapsyon kuno ay nakatuon lamang sa mga politico at pamilyang hayagang hindi pa rin bumaliktad at pumabor sa koalisyon umano ng reporma – banat lamang sa mga hindi pa lumipat ng Bangka.

Maliwanag naman na hindi tatanggalin at hindi wawasakin ni Pangulong Noynoy Aquino ang sistematikong kurapsyon at ang mismong pamamahagi ng pabor sa mga TONGresista at SenaTONGs. Ni ayaw nga nito tanggalin ang sarili nitong pork na trilyones ang halaga.

Ang malawakang kurapsyon at ang malawakang pagwawaldas ng salapi ng mamamayan habang may malawak na bilang ng mamamayan ang nagugutom hindi lang naghihirap, walang trabaho, yung karamihan hindi nakakita ng doctor at guro sa kanilang mga lugar at may prosyento pang tatanggap na lamang ng kahit anong bulnerableng hanap-buhay may makain lang ay sumasalamin sa patuloy na pagkanlong ng Pamahalaang Aquino sa eskimang pork barrel ay hindi ito totoo sa sinasabing pangakong bagong Pilipinas. Mas naging swabe at halos hindi nakikita ang pagnanakaw ng mga alagad ng dilaw na koalisyon dahil sa popularidad ni PNoy na utang naman ito sa malawak na alsang bayan (Peoples’ Power).

Kaya nararapat lamang na magparamdam ng galit ang mga mamamayan lalo na hindi uli magagamit at magpagamit sa mga political at self-claimed social figures mula sa burgisya at kapitalistang hanay. Harap-harapang pinag-nakawan si Juan, Maria, Timuay at Abdul.

Mas ikakabuti ang makulay na pagkilos subalit patas at pareho ang pag-unawa sa respeto at pagkakaisa para sa pagbabago.

Hindi sapat na nagpahayag si PNoy. Lalong hindi sapat na mabasura lang ang PDAF/Pork Barrel. Kailangang magamit sa tunay na esensya ang Intelligence Fund mula sa buwis ng mamamayan upang mahuli si JNapoles at gamitin ang pundo ng Department of Justice (mula uli sa kaban ng bayan) at iba pang mga sangay at ahensya na kumukuha ng pundo mula sa mamamayan. Kailangan may managot, maparusahan at upang mapakinabangan ng mamamayan!

Tanggalin at buwagin ang pork barrel system! Ibuhos sa serbisyong sosyal! Itatag ang mga development councils sa bayan, lunsod at kanayunan upang maseguro ang paglahok ng mga mamamayan sa pagbuo at pagbalangkas ng programa at serbisyong panlipunan at paggamit at pagseguro sa pundo ng bayan!

Lumahok sa Pagkilos laban sa Kurapsyon! Lumahok sa Pagkilos laban sa Tunay na Pagbuwag ng Pork Barrel System! Lumabas sa Agosto 26, 2013 at magparamdam!

Liga ng Makabagong Kabataan

Mindanao, Pilipinas

Agosto 24, 2013

lmkabataan@yahoo.com.ph

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[Statement] Pnoy’s announcement on PDAF falls short of justice for our people! -FDC

Pnoy’s announcement on PDAF falls short of justice for our people!
August 23, 2013

FDC

President Aquino’s announcement today abolishing the Philippine Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) falls short of the demands for justice emanating from the massive public outcry against the pork barrel.

P-Noy’s policy declaration is double-edge. While he abolishes the PDAF,he only decries the abuses in the pork barrel institution which includes less visible forms of pork. More importantly, he still accommodates every congressman and senator to propose and therefore, horse-trade, on specific projects for specific districts or sectoral constituencies. The door thus remains open to pork.

P-Noy also limits his line of attack to the results of the Special PDAF Audit for years 2007-2009 and what has come out from the Napoles scam. PDAF has existed since 1990. It continues into the first half of his term. Justice for our people demands that no one be spared. The investigation must encompass not only the term of his predecessors but his own as well. Let the chips fall where they should, whether they be rivals or allies of the President.

The stolen public money so far unearthed is of unbelievable magnitude. The impunity with which they have been dispensed and misused strongly suggest a very corrupt system of pork allocation which extends to the entire budget process itself, and an extensive involvement at the top levels of officialdom down to the local governments. Thus, the investigation must be carried out independently, objectively and fairly.
At this point, many members of Congress are already implicated in these monumental pork barrel scams. Possibly, there may be more. Congressional inverstigations therefore lack the necessary credibility to do the job. While the Commission on Audit and the Office of the Ombudsman are expected to conduct an independent, objective and fair investigation, there is value in setting up an independent citizen committee to parallel the effort.

The reckoning has to be thorough. Freedom from Debt Coalition ( FDC ) reiterates its earlier statement: The hundreds of billions of pesos that have gone into the Congressional pork barrel should put to shame a Government that has fallen so short of the necessary educational, health and housing services to our people and has been a failure in solving the scandalous poverty in our country.

Once these stolen money are accounted for, they should be added to the massive social debt the Philippine government has owed our people – the unfulfilled obligations to our people as a result of prioritizing debt payments over education, health, housing and other public services by a debt-dependent government.

While the investigations and the prosecutions are being done, radical political reforms to bring transparency and accountability and genuine citizen stakeholdership be brought to the system of governance. The enactment and faithful implementation of a Freedom of Information Law, Anti-Dynasty Law and measures to realize citizen participatory budgeting from the local up to the national levels have become more pressing than ever.

Source: fdc.ph

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[Press Release] CTUHR joins calls to abolish pork

CTUHR joins calls to abolish pork

CTUHR logo

Labor NGO, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, joins the heightening calls to abolish the pork barrel or the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) saying it is the “only solution” to the systemic corruption in government as exposed in the recent 10-billion-peso scam involving 28 legislators and the JLN group of companies headed by Janet Napoles.

“Abolishing pork, not renaming it nor subjecting it to so-called ‘transparent procedures’ like line-item budgeting, is the only solution to systemic corruption that plagues Congress and even the Executive. Law-makers must concentrate on making laws and the billions allocated to PDAF must be channeled to social services,” Daisy Arago, CTUHR executive director said.

The group also criticized President Aquino’s August 23-statement as “misleading” and “meant to pacify growing public dissent against institutionalized and legalized corruption.”

“While the President said it was time to abolish pork, he did not mean anything close to its abolition. The only thing new in his pronouncement was that NGOs and GOCCs will be prohibited from accessing the money but the budget for PDAF is still there, meaning pork barrel remains,” Arago averred.

The group explained that the 10-billion-peso scam of pork barrel funds reportedly channeled to bogus NGOs and to personal pockets of politicians is more than enough reason to put an end to a system that perpetuate corruption.

Arago described the recent pork barrel scam as “grossly insensitive and the height of greed among politicians who squander public money at the expense of the poor” especially since the reported beneficiaries of theses fake NGOs are poor farmers.

“Aside from better services to more Filipinos when PDAF is re-allocated to social services, eliminating pork barrel is also a step towards ending patronage and clientele politics,” Arago added.

“But despite growing public clamor and strong reason against pork barrel, the President is obstinately keeping the PDAF albeit with new ‘guidelines’. We wonder why this is so. Is it because the Office of the President itself stands to lose billions worth of discretionary fund when pork barrel is eliminated?” Arago asked.

The group vowed that they will be marching with millions of Filipinos to Luneta and Mendiola tomorrow, August 26, in a nationwide protest against pork barrel.

“We urge the President to heed the demands of his boss, the Filipino people, and be true to his campaign to end corruption. Abolish pork barrel, no less. And hold everyone involved in this billion-peso scam accountable to the law and the people.” Arago said.

For reference: Daisy Arago, CTUHR Executive Director, +63.411.0256

NEWS RELEASE
25 August 2013

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[Statement] A statement against the pork barrel scam- VCDG

A statement against the pork barrel scam
by Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, D.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro and Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG) Head Convenor
August 21, 2013

Bp Gerardo Alminaza cropped

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” – Luke 16:10

We, bishops and priests of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group, ask President Benigno Aquino III (PNOY), the Senators and Lower House Representatives to show to the Filipino people that they honor the martyrdom of Ninoy Aquino by taking steps in truly ending the culture of corruption and impunity in our country.

We join Luis Cardinal Tagle’s call for a thorough investigation, and appropriate punishment for the culprits of the Pork Barrel Scam. PNOY must go after the guilty lawmakers and other perpetrators, be they his allies or foes. Furthermore, we suggest the following: Take the budget for the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) amounting to P25.240 billion away from the hands of the Senators and Lower House Representatives. We also call on PNOY to give up his office’s corresponding “pork barrel” which the Commission on Audit identified as the Special Purpose Funds (P310.1 billion for 2014) and the Unprogrammed Funds (P139.9 billion for 2014), totaling P499 billion!

These funds must be entrusted to and managed by the sovereign people who are the REAL BOSS of our ELECTED SERVANTS. It is unfortunate that our elected servants can no longer be trusted with our people’s money; which we own. The pork barrel system is one of the ROOT CANCERS that breeds the other lethal diseases of corruption. It is not enough for the “Daang Matuwid” to run after corrupt people AFTER THE DASTARDLY DEED HAS BEEN DONE. IT is better to nip in the bud the ROOT of corruption. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

Moreover, everybody knows that whatever guidelines Congress and the Executive might craft regarding the pork barrel WILL NOT WORK; the system itself, which was copied from the U.S.A., has been scrapped by their federal government.

During the World Youth Day in July 2013, Pope Francis urged the Faithful to change a world where food is discarded while millions go hungry, where politics is more associated with corruption than service.

We therefore call on all concerned sectors of the Philippine society to study and propose appropriate mechanisms to RE-CLAIM OWNERSHIP of, and MANAGE the “pork barrel” funds. The people’s money should be spent for the benefit of the majority; especially for lifting the poor out of poverty, as enjoined by our beloved Pope Francis.

Programs for genuine agrarian reform, decent shelter for the informal settlers, free education for our youth, and health services for our people must be prioritized.

As we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Ninoy Aquino, may PNOY, the lawmakers and all of us prove that indeed, Ninoy was not martyred in vain; and that we are truly committed to a straight path by giving to the people, especially the poor, what is due to them.

As Christ lives,

BISHOP GERARDO ALMINAZA, D.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro/ Head Convenor of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG)
Tel. No. (033) 329-1625

VISAYAS CLERGY DISCERNMENT GROUP
E-Mail Address: visayasclergydiscernment@yahoo.com

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[Statement] Ibasura ang Pork Barrel! Pondo ng Bayan, Direktang Ilaan sa Serbisyo at Kabuhayan -KAMP

KAMP on Pork Barrel

Ibasura ang Pork Barrel!
Pondo ng Bayan, Direktang Ilaan sa Serbisyo at Kabuhayan

Kahindik-hindik para sa Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP) ang patuloy na pagkiling at pagtatanggol ng Pangulong Noynoy Aquino sa taunang alokasyon ng 25 bilyong pisong pondo ng bayan para sa Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) o mas kilala sa tawag na “pork barrel” sa kabila ng umaalingasaw na anomalyang kinasasangkutan dito ng maraming mga mambabatas, kasama na ang mga kaalyado ng kasalukuyang administrasyon.

Malaking insulto sa mamamayan na hindi malaman ni PNoy kung paano at saan ilalaan ang pondo sakaling tanggalin ito sa kamay ng mga nagpapasasang konggresista’t senador. Nakapagtatakang may nakikita pa siyang kabutihang naidulot ng PDAF samantalang malinaw na hanggang ngayon ay nananatiling tatlo sa bawat sampung Pilipino o 27.9 porsyento ng kabuoang populasyon ng kanyang mga “boss” ay naghihikahos at nadagdagan ng 600,000 ang dami ng mga nakaranas ng gutom mula Enero hanggang Marso 2013.

Nasaan ang pakinabang at sino ang nakikinabang sa buwis ng sambayanan? Kapos na kapos ang serbisyong nararapat para sa mamamayan. Sa halip na gamitin ang pondo para sa pangkalahatang proteksyong panlipunang magtitiyak ng wastong pamamahagi ng kita at kayamanan ng bansa tungo sa makataong pamumuhay para sa lahat, pilit na pinanatili ni PNoy ang kalakarang nakasalalay sa personal na pagpapasya ng iilan kung paano gagastahin ang kaban ng bayan.

Wala raw pondo para sa pangunahing karapatang pantao

Noong Marso 2013, ibinasura ni PNoy ang mungkahing batas, Magna Carta of the Poor, na magtataguyod ng limang pangunahing karapatang-pantao: wasto at sapat na pagkain, disente at abot-kayang pabahay, trabaho at kabuhayan, de-kalidad na edukasyon at serbisyong pangkalusugan. Ang dahilan: walang pondo at hindi nailagay sa dokumento ang katagang “progressive realization” o papa-unlad na pagsasakatuparan ng mga karapatang ito.

Ang taunang 25 bilyong pisong alokasyon sa PDAF ay katumbas ng pabahay para sa 62,500 pamilyang informal settler (P400,000 bawat isa). Halos 30 porsyento ng 92 milyong Pilipino ay informal settler. Tatlong taon nang naghihintay ang 104,000 pamilyang mahihirap na nakatira sa mga peligrosong lugar sa Metro Manila para sa katuparan ng P50 bilyong pabahay. Pautang pa ito ni PNoy samantalang ang PDAF ay libreng ipinamimigay!

Sa 25 bilyong piso, halos 14 milyong Pilipino na ang libreng maisasali sa programa ng PhilHealth gaano man kakapos ang serbisyong ibinibigay nito. Kahit paano’y maiibsan sana ang mahigit 50 porsyentong gastusin sa serbisyong pangkalusugan na direktang nanggagaling sa bulsa ng mamamamayan (Philippine National Health Accounts 2011).

Marami pang katumbas ang perang ito. Labas pa ito sa pondong nakalaan para sa mga programang nakatakda na sa ilalim ng mga ahensya ng pamahalaan at sa mismong pork barrel ng presidente.
Buwis, i-direkta sa Serbisyo, hindi sa bulsa ng sira-ulo
Tama si PNoy nang sabihin niya sa panayam ng mamamahayag na si Maki Pulido na kung sira-ulo ang magmamaneho ng kotse, pwedeng managasa. Pero alam na nga niyang sira-ulo, bakit bibigyan pa ng kotse? Unang-una, bakit ka mamimigay ng kotse na hindi naman sa iyo?

Malinaw na hindi buung-buong napapakinabangan ng mamamayang Pilipino ang PDAF. Panahon pa ng namayapang konggresistang si Romeo Candazo, ibinulaga na niya ang karumal-dumal na kalakaran sa paggasta sa pera ng mamamayan. May “kick-back” ang mga konggresista na umaabot sa mahigit kalahati ng presyo ng bawat proyektong pinopondohan ng pork barrel.

Tama at napapanahon na alisin na ang pork barrel. Tama at makatwiran na imbestigahan si Janet Lim-Napoles upang mapalutang ang mga senador at konggresistang kasabwat nito sa karumaldumal na krimen sa taumbayan. Ngunit, mas makakamit ang tunay na hustisya kung ang PDAF ay direktang pakikinabangan ng mga mamamayan.

Nararapat na ito ay ilaan sa proteksyon ng mamamayan laban sa lumalalang kahirapan at inekwalidad. Pondohan ang pagpapalawig sa serbisyong pangkalusugan, makataong programang pabahay lalo na sa mga maralita, paglikha ng trabaho, insurance para sa mga nawalan at hindi makakuha ng hanapbuhay, nakabubuhay na pension at suporta para sa mga matatanda at specially o differently abled, tiyak at de-kalidad na edukasyon para sa mga kabataan.

Alokasyon at Paggasta ng PDAF, walang Partisipasyon ang Mamamayan. Desisyon ng presidente ang alokasyon ng PDAF. Personal na diskresyon naman ng konggresista o senador kung paano gagastahin ang pondo.

Sa kalakhan, walang mahigpit na koordinasyon ang administrasyong Aquino sa mga civil society organizations kaya nakalusot ang mga pekeng NGO na naging kasabwat pa ng ilang mambabatas sa korupsyon sa pork barrel. Tama lang na maging mahigpit ang mga patakaran para sa mga grupong tumatanggap ng anumang tulong na gagamit ng mga pag-aari ng publiko.

Pagdating sa mga konsultasyon, kalimitang isinasali ng administrasyong PNoy ay mga kaalyadong organisasyon. Kung mapasama man ang mas malawak na pormasyon, puro mabilisang pagpupulong lang at madalas ay isinasantabi ang mga mungkahi ng mga ito sa kadahilanang walang “accreditation”. Suwertehin man na maimbita sa mga limitadong konsultasyon, wala pa ring saysay ang partisipasyon kung walang pagkilala ng mga ahensya ng pamahalaan.

Maraming paraan, hindi lang sa pamamagitan ng pork barrel, upang tiyaking ang buwis ng taumbayan ay direktang magsisilbi sa interes ng sambayanan. Ang mahalaga, paigtingin ng gobyerno ang mga mekanismo para sa malawak at makabuluhang partisipasyon ng mga mamamayan mula sa pagbubuo ng plano hanggang sa implementasyon at pagsubaybay dito. Ang kagyat na pagsasabatas ng Freedom of Information Bill ay isang kritikal na hakbang upang matiyak na sinusunod ng gobyerno ang mga prinsipyo ng accountability, transparency at partisipasyon ng publiko sa mga desisyon at gawain ng pamahalaan.

Honor ng mga Aquino: puro pagbabayad ng ilehitimong utang?

“Honor all debts” ang isang pamosong slogan ng ina ni PNoy, ang namayapang Presidente Cory Aquino. Dahil dito naisakripisyo ang serbisyong panlipunan para relihiyosong bayaran ang mga utang ng Pilipinas na karamihan ay hindi pinakinabangan. Nangutang pa ang gobyerno para bayaran ang mga ilehitimong utang na pinagpasasaan lang ng pamilyang Marcos at mga crony nito.

Ngayon, “honor all political debts” yata ang nasa likod ng katigasan ng sampalataya ni PNoy sa PDAF—isang paraan upang patuloy siyang suportahan ng mga pinagkaka-utangan niya ng kanyang tagumpay sa eleksyon at mapasunod o makontrol ang mga mambabatas. At kung ang batas na kaniyang sinusunod ay tulad ng Automatic Appropriations Law on Debt Servicing na awtomatikong nagtatakda ng budget sa pambayad-utang nang walang konsultasyon sa mamamayang pumapasan nito, delikado ang sambayanan.

Sa ganitong klaseng kalakaran, walang ibang natitirang sasandalan ang taumbayan kundi ang sarili niyang lakas at kapangyarihang singilin at sipain ang mga tila nagpapanggap na lingkod-bayan.

Sa ika-26 ng Agosto, aangkinin ng mamamayang Pilipino ang lakas at kapangyarihang ito: Isang milyong martsa sa Luneta at Mendiola. ###

Ibasura ang Pork Barrel!
Makataong Pamumuhay Para sa Lahat!

Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP)
Ika-21 ng Agosto 2013

Iboto ang iyong #HRPinduterosChoice para sa HR NETWORKS POST.

Ang botohan ay magsisimula ngayon hanggang sa 11:59 ng Nov 15, 2013.

Ikaw para kanino ka pipindot? Simple lang bumoto:
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ikampanya.
• Bisitahin ang post sa HRonlinePH.com (links sa bawat thumbnail) at pindutin ang button sa
poll sa ilalim ng bawat nominadong post.
• Most number of the combined likes sa FB at sa poll buttons ang magiging 3rd HR Pinduteros
Choice na kikilalanin sa 2013 HR week celebration.

Makiisa sa pagpapalaganap ng impormasyon hinggil sa karapatang pantao. Pindot na!

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pinduteros-choice-awards/

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[Featured image] #FREEOURDEFENDERS! Free all political prisoners! -TFDP

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#FREEOURDEFENDERS! Free all political prisoners!

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Government keeps denying the existence of political prisoners. We need to assert the truth! Join us in a call to #FREEOURDEFENDERS! Free all political prisoners!

In previous statement, PNoy’s spokesperson Lacierda declared that ‘We have no political prisoners.’ Then the Department of Justice (DOJ) failed to deliver Government’s commitment to look into the plight of all victims of political incarceration as a result of the hunger strike more than one year ago. There’s unconfirmed information that the existing mechanism for the release of alleged political offenders (PCBREP) is to be dissolved by the government. If this information is true then the Aquino Government has no intention to release political prisoners through executive action.

While the general public and even most advocates are not aware of the situation and continuing violation of political incarceration and criminalization of political offense, these violations are used to attack freedom of belief and even human rights defenders.

The #FREEOURDEFENDERS campaign refers to detained human rights defenders and defenders of peoples’ issues and struggles or Political Prisoners as we call them.

The public should be informed about cases like Juanito “Nitoy” Itaas, a long-held political prisoner and Cocoy Tulawie, detained human rights defender among many others. Both are working for the defense of peoples’ issues and human rights. Accused with trumped up criminal charges, they are among the more than 300 victims of political incarceration languishing in jails nationwide.

The #FREEOURDEFENDERS campaign demands that the PNoy Government must:
1. Free all political prisoners
2. Look into the plight of victims of political incarceration
3. Protect human rights defenders
4. Respect freedom of political belief, freedom of expression, opinion and association
5. Stop criminalization of political offense

They are jailed for our struggles… we must claim their freedom now!

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[From the web] Where does Daang matuwid lead our people -AMRSP

Where does Daang matuwid lead our people -AMRSP
Posted June 4, 2013 Source: AMRSP.org

amrsp

INTRODUCTION

In the past years we have experienced political instability brought about by massive corruption, economic turmoil, escalating social unrest and distrust under the Arroyo regime. Everyday the broadcast and the print media would highlight one of these problems. Until one day hope suddenly glimmered when the people put their trust in a man who embodied righteousness and advocated anti-corruption through his slogan – Matuwid na Daan (Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap).

The rise to the presidency of Noynoy Aquino brought so much hope. He made us believe that change is possible, that corruption could be curtailed, and that public service is, indeed, a public trust. In the first months of his reign, he relentlessly pursued those who were perceived to be guilty of corruption, and we were all aware of the drama that unfolded on national television when the former first family was stopped from running away from the wheels of justice. Days, months, three years have passed. We hold him to his promise of change. While it is true that there has been headway in the fight against corruption much more remains to be done. NO big fish has been convicted since 2010 and with the way the tentacles of the corrupt have stymied the judicial process, PNoy’s term might be over and the cases will still languish at the courts.

While we acknowledged the effort of some government institutions in carving out corruption, like the DPWH, DEPED, DOJ and others, we were saddened with the news of continuing corruption and abuse on the use of public funds by some congressmen and Senators (the much controversial MOOE fund distribution). These showed that still much needs to be done. We believe that Governance is not only a fight against corruption; it is the delivery of a better and far more humane life for those who have the least. It is the realization of Hope, it is a dream turned into reality. And yet today we still witness grinding poverty, agrarian unrest, violations of human rights, assaults on the integrity of creation, the trafficking of our women and children. So much needs to be done. Let not our Hope be shattered and our dreams turned into nightmares. We are now in the third year of PNoy’s term and it is time we ask ourselves so many questions: Akin to the question, “Which way Lord?”, we ask those in authority: Where is this government leading us?

Read full article @www.amrsp.org

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[Press Release] Suspension of pork must lead to its abolition -Akbayan

Suspension of pork must lead to its abolition

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Akbayan Partylist today said President Benigno Simeon Aquino’s decision to suspend the release of the pork barrel fund “must lead to its total and unconditional abolition.”

“We welcome President Aquino‘s decision to suspend the release of the pork barrel to lawmakers until the probe on the pork barrel scam is completed. This decision effectively abolishes the pork barrel since any effort to restore it will meet massive public opposition,” according to Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello.

“The decision also serve as a strong disincentive to many rascals who are entertaining running for Congress. We hope that suspension of the pork will not be a substitute for punishing those senators and congressmen who were Napoles‘ accomplices. They must go to jail,” Bello said.

However, Bello reminded the President that the suspension of the release of the pork barrel must lead to its complete phase-out.

“Suspension must lead to abolition. While the President has already categorically stated that he is not in favor of abolishing the pork barrel, we will not relent in persuading him to drop the pork. President Aquino must go further and scrap the PDAF completely,” Bello said.

Source: akbayan.org.ph

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[Press Release] Spate of Journalist Killings, Government Inaction Contributes to Erosion of Media Freedom -HRW

Philippines: Spate of Journalist Killings
Government Inaction Contributes to Erosion of Media Freedom

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(Manila, August 9, 2013) – Philippines President Benigno Aquino III should speak out against the recent killings of three journalists and ensure that the authorities expedite their investigation, Human Rights Watch said today. While the killers and motives are unknown, these and past unresolved attacks on journalists have a chilling effect on media freedom in the country.

“The latest killings and threats against journalists underscore the precarious state of media freedom in the Philippines and the need for the government to respond,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Unless the government brings people who attack journalists to justice, these killings are not going to stop.”

On July 30, 2013, unknown assailants shot and killed Richard Kho, 47, and Bonifacio Loreto Jr., 59, both columnists for the weekly tabloid Aksyon Ngayon, in Quezon City, Metro Manila. Two days later, on August 1, unidentified gunmen killed a freelance photojournalist, Mario Sy, 53, in the southern city of General Santos. Police have not made any arrests in the killings.

That same week, a broadcast journalist, Ces Drilon, received text messages threatening to “erase” her after her network, ABS-CBN, aired her report on the Maguindanao Massacre, in which 58 people, most of them journalists, were executed in 2009. While her news show reported on a bombing in Cagayan de Oro City she received a text message that read: “You’re next to explode.”

Although the number of extrajudicial killings has declined since 2010, when Aquino took office, certain groups, such as environmental and labor activists, and journalists, continue to be recurring targets of attack.

Journalism has long been a high-risk profession in the Philippines. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, some 73 journalists have been murdered in the Philippines since 1992; local media groups put the number considerably higher. The Philippines consistently ranks as among the “top 3” in the organization’s list of “deadliest countries” for journalists.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said that the three recent killings brought the number of journalists killed in the country under the Aquino administration to 18. Journalists, particularly outside the major cities, regularly report threats and harassment. The union said that most of the journalists killed had received death threats.

The Aquino administration has announced reforms to the criminal justice system that could result in more effective criminal investigations, but has not fully implemented them, Human Rights Watch said. For instance, Administration Order 35, issued by the Aquino administration in 2012, authorized the creation of a government “super body” to coordinate and expedite the actions of various criminal justice organs on specific high-priority cases. However, eight months later, that body is stalled at the stage of identifying appropriate cases to pursue.

Aquino began his term with a promise to promote and respect human rights, and pressed for the passage of several laws to improve human rights, but this has not translated into significant improvements on the ground. In particular there has been little progress in prosecuting human rights abusers. In his State of the Nation Address in July, which outlined the priorities of his administration’s final three years, Aquino did not mention human rights, raising concerns that less attention would be given to human rights issues.

“The Philippines has a reputation for having one of the freest media freedom environments in Asia, but that reputation disappears bit-by-bit with every killing of a journalist,” Kine said. “President Aquino needs to realize that this problem won’t go away on its own.”

To read Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2013 chapter on the Philippines, “Philippines: A Year of Pluses, Minuses on Rights,” please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/02/01/philippines-year-pluses-minuses-rights

To read the Human Rights Watch report “‘No Justice Just Adds to the Pain’: Killings, Disappearances, and Impunity in the Philippines,” please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2011/07/18/no-justice-just-adds-pain-0

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on the Philippines, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/asia/-philippines

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