Aquino’s final approval on the extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) confirms his pro-landlord stance, and that he has no genuine interest in pursuing genuine land reform in favor of landless farmers.
Peasant groups Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) condemned President Aquino for certifying the bill as urgent, insisting that the program did not lead to genuine land distribution and in fact, it increased the number of leasehold farmers nationwide.
Landless farmers mostly from Southern Tagalog island provinces say that they have been involved in CARP-related disputes in pushing for an end to the program.
KMP Chairman Rafael Mariano says that Aquino’s certification as urgent of House Bill (HB) 4296 is the landlord President’s belated attempt to push for the bill’s implementation for his fellow landlords in Congress.
HB 4296 looks to extend CARP for another two years by allowing the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to issue notices of coverage (NOC) up to June 30, 2016.
Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Fernando Hicap though says that continuing CARP will be a “grand disservice and betrayal to landless Filipino farmers who are demanding for a new and genuine agrarian [reform],”
For the past 26 years, CARP allowed the concentration of vast areas of lands to big landowners and as a result, deprived millions of farmers of lands of their own to till.
“CARP as amended by CARPER law was a total failure in emancipating landless peasants from the bondage of the soil they till.” Hicap added.
It is apparent that CARP, along with other pro-foreign and pro-landlord policies upheld by the previous and current administrations has resulted to the continuing underdevelopment of local agriculture and impoverishment of farmers.
It also raises to question DAR’s motives for the anti-farmer policy, and if it does in fact, have a pro-landlord agenda.
DAR Secretary Gil Delos Reyes says that he supported CARP’s extension because it would be impossible to issue NOCs even on privately held lands.
It is well worth noting though that Delos Reyes is an appointee and ally of President Aquino, and the positive praises heard about him on the news generally come from Aquino’s supporters and cronies in government, media and academia.
The die is cast.
The more the pork scam drags on, the more its money trail leads to the centers of power.
From President Aquino, the collateral damage has spilled over to his inner sanctum led by Budget czar Butch Abad.
Abad, who wields the enviable power of the purse, is believed to be the hidden hand pulling the strings behind the pork barrel drama.
The self-confessed architect of the infamous Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) inexplicably made himself scarce since the scam hogged headlines over the past months.
While his peers turned themselves into Pnoy’s own bunch of apologists, the former solon from typhoon-battered Batanes Island kept himself away from public view – and scrutiny.
His silence on the controversy is not only deafening, but also intriguing.
Finally, he turned gutsy last week, apparently bugged by insinuations that he’s the “pork king” alluded to by reports quoting sources close to Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged pork barrel queen.
“These fresh allegations that I tutored Napoles in designing the PDAF scam are simply not true,” Abad said. He has been used to being called names since he served the Aquino administration starting in 2010.
But ‘‘pork king?” Certainly not, he said, describing it as the “most ridiculous” he ever heard. “It would in fact be funny if it weren’t such a blatant lie.”
Inescapably with Aquino and Abad in the eye of the pork scam, dyed-in-the-wool political allies House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Senate President Franklin Drilon can’t be far behind and turn deaf and blind to mounting calls for them to call it quits.
By: Al Labita
The looming scenario looks dreadful.
Should President Aquino’s push to create a Moro state fizzle out, history would be unkind to him.
At the rate criticisms are heaped on his substate-for-peace deal with the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Aquino may likely end up on self-imposed exile in Malaysia, his chief backer in peace talks with the rebel group.
Since the deal was inked last month, it has drawn a barrage of flaks, likening it to a sellout of part of Philippine territory, apparently Aquino’s way to put an end to decades of a bloody secessionist movement in the resource-rich region, the country’s second largest island next to Luzon.
Questions on constitutionality are hounding the envisioned Bangsamoro (Islamic state). These center on the time-honored Constitutional ban on the creation of a state within a state, a provision Aquino appears to have glossed over in pushing the proposed law
What legal experts find revolting, however, are certain provisions virtually diminishing the government’s sovereign powers, relegating some of them to Bangsamoro.
Specifically, they refer to the creation of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).Composed of government and MILF representatives, the BTC would work on amending the 1985 Philippine Constitution, the basic law of the land.
“This is beyond ridiculous,” said Senator Miriam Santiago in a press statement. .“Say again?! Wh a – a – a – t?!”
Santiago, widely regarded as a Constitutional expert, is the first senator to call the so-called peace pact unconstitutional.Overall, she described the Malaysia-backed PH-MILF deal as an attempt to redefine the country’s sovereignty.
Like other legal experts, she questioned the provision in the agreement providing that the powers reserved to the central government will depend upon further negotiation with the MILF.
“Thus, the agreement diminishes the sovereignty of the Philippine government by listing what are the powers that the central government can retain,” the former regional trial court judge said.
In gist, the agreement not only reduces the sovereignty of the central government, but also provides that in the future, such sovereign powers as have been reserved may be further increased,provided the Bangsamoro agrees.
“It will therefore be the Bangsamoro which will determine what should be the remaining sovereign powers of the central government,” Santiago, a member of the International Court of Justice, said.
Bangsamoro, planned to be a new region with wider political and economic powers, will replace the graft-ridden Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Santiago, chairperson of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, hinted that she will not support the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law which, if passed in Congress, will be subject to a plebiscite for approval or disapproval by the public.
“While I am chair, it will be extremely difficult to convince me, as a student of constitutional law, that the Bangsamoro Agreement respects the Philippine Constitution,” Santiago said.
Some groups are poised to question soon the deal before the Supreme Court, despiteassurance by the government and MILF that the proposed Bangsamoro law would comply with the Constitution without the need to amend it.
But on closer look, the PH-MILF pact contained provisions similar to those of the earlier scuttled Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD).
That deal was supposed to be inked between the government of then President Arroyo and the MILF, but in October 2008, the Supreme Court struck it down as unconstitutional because it sought to establish a state within a sovereign state.
Under the MOA-AD, the existing five-province ARMM would have been expanded by more than 700 additional villages, subject to a plebiscite.
The proposed new entity then, to be called the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity, would have had its own police and military force and its own judicial system, among others.
“Both the MOA-AD and the Bangsamoro Agreement appear to facilitate thesecession of the Bangsamoro from our country, in a manner similar to the secession of Kosovo and Crimea,” Santiago warned.
Although the Constitution provides that natural resources belong to the state, in the Bangsamoro territory, only Bangsamoro will have exclusive jurisdiction over them.
Similarly, the pact’s annex on power sharing gives Bangsamoro “exclusive powers,” defined as powers or matters over which authority and jurisdiction pertain to the Bangsamoro government.
The accord also provides that only the Bangsamoro shall be under a ministerial form of government, while the rest of the country will operate under a presidential form of government.
Pundits say that in allowing itself as signatory to the deal with the MILF, Malacanang may have infringed upon the powers of the legislative branch.
As it appears, the agreement should not have identified the executive as the “Philippine government.”
The reality is that only one of the three branches of government – the executive branch, consisting of the Office of the President acting through a peace panel of negotiators – represented the government in talks with the MILF.
It may also be argued that the executive branch alone does not represent the Philippine Government, a fact that the MILF may have just shrugged off to speed up the signing of the accord for its own sake alone.
Simply put, the executive branch, in negotiating the agreement with the rebel group, had no power to bind the two other branches – legislative and judicial — to the controversial deal.
By all accounts, the executive “misrepresented” itself as the government, an error in judgment on Aquino’s part for which he will pay a costly political price – the likelihood of ending up in exile in neighboring Malaysia.
IS THERE trouble brewing in Malacañang? With two camps running the Palace—the so-called Balay and Samar groups headed by Sec. Mar Roxas and Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa, respectively—the answer is a resounding YES.
It’s an odd marriage forged in 2010 during the election campaigns, a partnership that was immediately strained with the loss of Mar Roxas to Jejomar Binay in the race for Vice President. From then on the two camps barely managed to co-exist, engaging in minor scrapes and arguments every now and then on the handling of issues of national import. But that was before the PDAF scandal got out of the bag which put the whole administration in its biggest quandary.
The fragile relationship between the two camps have reportedly reached critical mass anew with President Aquino’s “I am no thief” speech, which aired on primetime television recently. Apparently, the idea of giving the speech was a unilateral decision made by the Roxas camp—a call made by the Liberal Party. This means Ochoa and company were against the speech which put PNoy on a defensive stance on the PDAF issue.
In hindsight, PNoy’s speech appeared to have had very little positive impact on the public perception that PNoy and company are equally liable in the PDAF scandal. If the intention was to disconnect PNoy from the PDAF fiasco and reinforce his “matuwid” image, the speech backfired. “Why deny involvement in the PDAF scam if you are not involved in it the first place?” Ochoa’s camp must have argued.
As it is, the PDAF scandal will involve lawmakers in both the opposition and administration camps. The present ploy of limiting the scandal to a handful of lawmakers is simply a means to buy the PNoy administration some time to figure a way out of the fiasco.
If there is a way out.
With the Senate Blue Ribbon failing to get a piece of testimony from Janet Lim-Napoles, it is clear that the PDAF scandal will be a long-drawn drama. It will take years before charges are filed against the guilty parties and even longer before the guilty are brought behind bars. PNoy and company do not care if the whole investigation process takes forever. Right now, they just need to survive until 2016.
- CHRONOLOGY OF THE RIFT: Pacquito Ochoa VS. Mar Roxas (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- Trouble at the top (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Palace urged to adopt ‘orphaned’ pork scholars (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- PDAF defeat prompts Aquino to fly back to Manila (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- LP eyes new budget scheme vice PDAF (manilastandardtoday.com)
- President to discuss pork issue Wednesday night (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Why I Voted No to the Pork-laden 2014 Budget (mindanews.com)
- Philhealth, BSP got P29-b of PNoy’s special ‘pork’ (manilastandardtoday.com)
- What Is PNoy Up To? (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- Snake Pit (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
by Francis De Guzman
DID you know that seven out of ten Filipinos did not benefit from the ranging controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)?
This congressional pork barrel, per the most recent survey released by the Social Weather Station (SWS) and published by the newspaper Business World (BW), used what is called the ‘face-to-face’ interview and got the views straight from a total of 1,200 Filipino adults nationwide.
This was taken following the heat wave from the fall out of the pork barrel, a direct consequence from the series of exposures made by whistle blowers who later on, became direct witnesses on the biggest scam of the year, perpetuated by Janette Lim-Napoles, et al.
A large number of Filipinos (67%) believe their respective communities never benefited from said PDAF-funded projects, while only 32% thought the opposite. The SWS survey, conducted between the periods 20-23 September, further revealed that Congressional representatives did not gain financially from said pork barrel fund. Here, you see that only 32 percent said funds, could have possibly been pocketed.
Likewise, respondents who thought that “a lot” of funds had been put to waste because of corruption, recorded the highest percentage in Metro Manila alone (where a strong middle class and civil society groups, led recent protest actions via people’s marches against the pork barrel scam) registering at 72 percent. This was closely followed by Luzon, which registered 61 percent, Mindanao at 57 percent and the Visayas, 54 percent.
Lately though, no less than President Aquino himself led the call on media ( at the annual Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines), to be “more discerning” as he was quoted by a major daily, that the issues (pork barrel scam, etc.) specifically those “involving the public interest, may become more complicated in the days ahead.” This folks, is for all of us to be ever watchful, since the issue of corruption in our beloved country has indeed reached the very summit of destruction. We can only hope that the Chief Executive of the land would be enlightened to the realities of the times, and thus act with wisdom and truth.
The nation is also closely watching the events of the barangay elections, which has not been spared of political corruption in the grassroots level, where violence, plus the sin of covetousness and an envious spirit, has been prevailing for quite a number of years now. This is but the tip of the iceberg. Today, a growing number barangays, particularly in Metro Manila, have been corrupted and contaminated –from the top –the barangay chairmen down to the barangay councilors (one can count with his fingers the small number of the few upright ones).
It has become the “training ground” for future corrupt politicians, who would later on aspire for bigger government positions and the larger portion of the slice of the pie of corruption, and whereby “little political dynasties” become the name of the game. Indeed, when will the seemingly endless cycle of evil ever come to an end? God’s Judgment Call is nearer than you think. Take note of this folks, the most recent survey per media reportage, this time conducted by Pulse Asia (PA), revealed that a majority of Filipinos (77 percent) “believed that at least half of the budget of lawmakers for projects went to corruption.” What else is new?
KAURI ACADEMY (NZ) OPENS NEW PATHWAYS FOR PHL STUDENT COMPETENCIES
GOOD news for all healthcare student, graduates as well as young healthcare professionals!
Kauri Academy, the first Filipino-owned education center in Auckland, New Zealand (NZ) opens its New Healthcare Program via courses intended for gaining qualifications to join the healthcare sector as Diversional Therapist, or in managerial position in healthcare setting.
Said healthcare course involve a two-step process, namely: first year is Diversional Therapy Course, and second-year is Healthcare Team Management Course. “Following compilation of the first program, the student gains the National Certificate in Health Disability and Aged Support (Level 3) and the National Certificate in Diversional Therapy (Level 4). This will qualify said graduate to enter as a Diversional Therapist in NZ healthcare institutions. Said course is included in the list of skilled occupations and would qualify for points under the “Skilled Migrant Residence Visa Category of Immigration New Zealand.”
And since the student acquires a qualification after the first year, he/she has the option of not continuing to the second year course if one is able to be a Diversional Therapist. If students are not able to function as a healthcare worker, or as a Diversional Therapist, the student can be proceed by completing the second-year course in order to gain the National Certificate in Health, Disability and Aged Support (Team Management) (Level 5) which qualifies graduates to supervise or manage support workers in a health, disability, or home and community setting.
While studying, students are also eligible for securing part-time earning since classes are only for 2 1/2 days per week, giving them a more flexibility time-frame. After completing second-year program, students are then eligible for a one-year “open-work permit” under the Graduate Job Search Visa scheme. Overall, students can stay in NZ for three-years, the first two-years as a student with part-time earning permit, and the additional one-year, under an “open-work permit.”
Kauri Academy owned by PNTC Colleges in the Philippines, has designed a comprehensive program for Filipinos who seek career path as Diversional Therapists, whether they are in a community, residential-home or aged care facility atmosphere. It is a profession that involves the organization, design, coordination and implementation of people-centered leisure-based activity program. Free info/data is available at Kauri Academy, PNTC College, 5/F, Intramuros Corporate Plaza, Recoletos St, Intramuros, Manila, contact Marie at (632) 536-4916 / 0922-826-8441, Email: email@example.com
QUOTABLE QUOTES: “Amid the disharmony of voices, journalists must be able to separate the important from the frivolous, the spin from the facts the malicious lies from the simple truth.” – (President Benigno ‘Nonoy’ Aquino -Speech at the Annual Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP)
WORD OF TRUTH: “But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord, He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and deliver them: He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.” – (Psalm 37:39-40 KJV)
(For comments and suggestions, kindly e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Pinoys think pork barrel misuse continues under Aquino (rappler.com)
- Artists bAnd together over pork barrel issue (manilastandardtoday.com)
- 45% of Filipinos want pork junked – Pulse Asia (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Want to get rid of pork? Kick ‘pigs’ out of govt (manilastandardtoday.com)
- ‘Pork’ causes big drop in PNoy’s rating (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Senators try to downplay website hacking to protest pork barrel (technology.inquirer.net)
- [Statement] Pork Barrel Regime a bane to Filipino workers -NAGKAISA (hronlineph.com)
- 1 in 2 Filipinos in Metro Manila want ‘pork’ abolished, says survey (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- 77% of Filipinos believe pork barrel lost to corruption – Pulse Asia survey (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Teens against pork (opinion.inquirer.net)
By Al Labita
NOT A FEW are alarmed over the danger signs of a creeping political upheaval threatening to cut short President Aquino’s six-year-term in office.
For one, the “anti-pork “protest movement—the so-called “Million People March”—has snowballed, setting the stage for what could be a prelude to another “people power.”
From Aparri to Jolo, more and more are joining the crusade, the biggest challenge so far to the 53-year-old bachelor president, now in his third year as president of a country known for ousting a leader linked to corruption.
For those in the business sector, they are wary that the current political brouhaha over the pork scam may deteriorate to an Edsa-type revolt.
Though the economy is doing well, history shows that it usually turns ugly whenever the going gets rough in the political scene. #OpinYon #business
read cont | http://bit.ly/15SBve7
- Where do we go from here? (opinion.inquirer.net)
- Bishop Iñiguez: More rallies, media exposés to end pork barrel system (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- The Anti-Pork Barrel Movement’s Protest in Makati City (ireport.cnn.com)
- Fox Guarding the Chicken Coop (ericpgranada.wordpress.com)
- Thousands gather in Manila to protest pork barrel funds (channelnewsasia.com)
- Signs of a maturing democracy (rappler.com)
- WORM’S EYEVIEW: How about a quiet revolution? (mindanews.com)
- What’s next for the ‘porkbusters’? (opinion.inquirer.net)
- Aquino slammed before father’s monument (rappler.com)