PLM on P-Noy's decision on the hostage fiasco PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Friday, 15 October 2010 16:45

Classic Patronage Politics

 

The decision of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to clear DILG undersecretary Rico Puno and others from criminal and administrative charges over the botched hostage rescue operation on August 23 smacks of patronage politics.  P-Noy has put friendship and political alliance as his priority over all other things, including justice for the eight Chinese tourists who were killed in the incident and the integrity of the legal team in the Incident Investigation and Review Committee who spent gruelling weeks to come out with a credible report.


No wonder it took P-Noy several days to mull over the IIRC report.  He waited until his two-man committee composed of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Eduardo de Mesa had reviewed the report (twice!) to present his bland anti-climactic decision.


P-Noy almost cleared everyone, except of course the “little people” whose statuses in life do not warrant a delicate handling from the government. Talk about the class bias of the P-Noy administration! It turned out the ultimate victim was none other than the brother of Rolando Mendoza, the other policeman whom they tried to arrest during the height of the hostage crisis. SPO2 Gregorio Mendoza has gone on record to accuse Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim of trying to have him “salvaged.” Now, Lim has received a slap on the wrist from P-Noy but Mendoza will be charged with “serious disobedience, conspiracy to commit a crime, illegal possession of firearms, and serious illegal detention.”


Those that P-Noy ordered charged were mostly policemen whom he taunted with these words: "The message has to be sent... when you accept the perks and privileges of the office, the duties and responsibilities are equally accepted by you. You are responsible for your failure."

 

 

 

 

Last Updated on Friday, 15 October 2010 16:52
 
The Problem with CCT program PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Wednesday, 13 October 2010 13:09

Conditional cash transfer

is another debt burden on our people

 

The P21.9-billion conditional cash transfer (CCT) program of the Aquino government should be opposed by Congress and all concerned citizens not only because the program was at the expense of more vital social and economic services for the poor.

The CCT program, administered by Department of Social Welfare and Development secretary Dinky Soliman, was in fact a loan by the Aquino government to the Asian Development Bank to be repaid over a 20-year period. The ADB has loaned the Philippine government $400 million to implement the CCT, also otherwise known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program.

While the program aims to benefit many poor families, it is funded by debt that will burden future generations.  Our research shows that this is a high interest loan which charges near market interest rates.

We call on the government to renegotiate the loan with the ADB. President Aquino and Secretary Soliman should ask the ADB to provide the government with grant funding instead. We know that the ADB provides loans on concessional rates or even grants – as opposed to loans – to developing countries.

The ADB even admits in the loan document that the “key causes of poverty in the Philippines include high inequality and chronic under-investment in physical and human capital, especially health and education.” This means that the Philippines is lagging on millennium development goal (MDG) targets for universal primary education, maternal mortality, and access to reproductive health services.

International donor agencies are in mild panic over the prospect of countries not being able to achieve even the less than minimum MDGs.  This itself provides us an opportunity to negotiate conditions that benefit the country in the short and long run. If President Aquino has political capital in the eyes of the international community, he should use this to extract grants rather than loans.

We also that that the conditional cash transfers are short-term measures with short-term impacts. We need long-term solutions, which include the government’s doubling the national budget on health and education immediately.  The Philippines spends only around 6.4% on health as a percentage of total government expenditure, compared to our neighbor Thailand, which spends 11.3%, or China with 9.9%. (UNDP 2009)

A long-term measure is to provide universal health care and education. The problem with the poverty targeting instruments of the ADB and other international financial institutions is that it targets only the “poorest of the poor”, thus effectively excluding large sections of the poor considered as “low-income” and depriving them of their inalienable human right to  decent education and healthcare. Several countries in our region provide universal healthcare, such as Vietnam, which is already ahead in its MDG targets, Malaysia, Thailand, and two other countries with the largest populations in the world, India and China. So why not us?

Finally, we once again raise the need to repeal the automatic debt appropriation law. This is fundamental to increasing social investments and addressing structural inequalities that prevent the poor from accessing affordable and quality health care and education.

Sonny Melencio

Chairperson

Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM)


Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 October 2010 13:15
 
PLM statement on President Noynoy's 100 days in office PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Friday, 08 October 2010 10:04

Failure of Leadership Marks P-Noy’s 100 Days in Office

 

President Noynoy Aquino’s first 100 days in office accentuated the problem we will be facing under the six-year term of the new administration: an incompetent leadership that lacks political will to carry through changes in the government and in society at large.

 

1.  Noynoy has failed to act on the jueteng scandal and even continued to defend his friend – DILG undersecretary Rico Puno – despite the latter’s involvement not only in the jueteng payola, but also in the bungling of the hostage crisis on August 23. Even former Pampanga governor “Among Ed” Panlilio criticized Noynoy for keeping quiet on the jueteng scandal, and for lacking the political will to act on the issue.

 

2.  Noynoy has so far failed to act on the hostage-taking fiasco that ended in international embarrassment for the country. He puts the IIRC report, handed over by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima three weeks ago, in the backburner – thereby easing the pressure on his friend Puno and ally Mayor Alfredo Lim who were held accountable by the report to the hostage-taking bloodbath.

 

3.  Noynoy has refused to act even on the Hacienda Luisita issue. Despite the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council’s previous decision of scrapping the dubious stock option deal that has circumvented land reform in the Aquino-Cojuangco hacienda, Noynoy has adopted a “hands-off policy” on the issue.  In a family-owned hacienda where seven farm workers were massacred by the military during a strike in 2004, where the issues and the killings were left unresolved to this day, a hands-off policy is tantamount to gross negligence on the part of President Noynoy.

 

4.  Noynoy has so far failed to abide by his promise to “provide adequate housing and uphold every Filipino’s right to a decent home.”  His government’s handling of recent demolition of urban poor communities in North Triangle and other areas in Metro Manila showed neglect of the rights and welfare of the residents, and support to the business groups wanting to take over the land. The demolition at North Triangle was stopped temporarily only because the residents fought tooth and nail to keep the community.

 

5.  Noynoy has so far failed to uphold his promise of “investing in quality education” by keeping a hands-off policy on the Congress plan to cut the budget of state universities and colleges by P1.1 billion, and the student and faculty assistance by around P700 million, in 2011.

 

6.  Noynoy has failed to uphold his promise not to impose new taxes.  His government has been pushing for the implementation of value-added tax and 250-percent increase in toll fees on the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) which awaits implementation this year.  Not to mention the impending increase in MRT and LRT fares toward the end of this year.

 

7.  Noynoy has failed to carry out a clear policy on his government’s “poverty eradication” program.  The P21-billion conditional cash transfer program being touted by Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman as a poverty-eradication measure is in fact a high-interest loan from the Asian Development Bank which will burden the future generation. The loan will add to the already high burden of debt repayment which is now ranging at $6-7 billion annually.  Even Noynoy’s flaunting of $434-million grant from the United States government is mere peanuts compared to the yearly debt repayment the country has to chalk up to US multinational lenders. It is in fact designed to bribe Noynoy’s government from pursuing debt moratorium strategy.

 

There are still many more issues that showcase the failure of leadership of President Noynoy. His style of leadership or non-leadership, i.e., of not taking an active stance and passing on the buck to subalterns, has marked his approach to many pressing political and social issues.  The style is aimed at dodging accountability and protecting the interests of his friends, family and allies.

 

Noynoy’s government is clearly hampered by the type of individuals he keeps in his inner circle.  Noynoy has appointed in his cabinet the top brass of big industry (former CEO of big corporations, such as finance secretary Jose Purisima, DPWH secretary Singson, trade secretary Domingo and the likes).  In so doing, Noynoy has exposed his government as capitalistic and corporatists, i.e., a government dominated by the economic elites, clans and corporations.

 

Noynoy’s failure of leadership also showcased the failure of the Edsa system that supposedly supplanted the Marcos dictatorship in 1986.  Since then, four presidents have come and gone (Cory, FVR, Erap, Gloria), and we’re now back to another Aquino.  But the promises of Edsa have never materialized. It never will. For we’re still trapped in a socio-economic system where a small Philippine elite, political clans, and trapos hold sway over the entire population.

 

October 8, 2010

 

Last Updated on Friday, 08 October 2010 10:13
 
PLM on Reproductive Health Issue PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Friday, 08 October 2010 09:55

Partido Lakas ng Masa statement on the reproductive health issue

 

 

No to CBCP hypocrisy!

A modern RH program will save women’s lives!

 

We strongly oppose the campaign by the CBCP against the modernization and improvement of reproductive health in this country. We are especially critical of the CBCP’s scaremongering and murky tactics which are being paraded as ‘moral’ arguments. We simply present the following facts that demonstrate the urgent need for the introduction of a modern reproductive health program that meets international best standards and practice.

 

According to the World Health Organization (2010), the Philippines recorded one of the highest number of maternal deaths in the region – some 2100 women died in 2008 due to pregnancy and childbirth related causes, compared to our neighbors in Thailand with some 470 maternal deaths, Malaysia with 170 maternal deaths, South Korea with 81 maternal deaths and Singapore with 3 maternal deaths.

 

We also have one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the region, at 94 for every 100,000 live births, compared to a rate of 56 in Vietnam, 48 in Thailand, 31 in Malaysia, 18 in South Korea and 9 in Singapore. In other words a woman living in the Philippines is ten times at the risk of dying giving birth compared to a woman living in Singapore.

 

These maternal deaths and high maternal mortality rates are related to the high total fertility rates in the country, ie. the number of children born per woman during her reproductive years. We have the highest total fertility rate in the region – the number of children born per woman is around 3 to 4. Almost one-third of these are unwanted pregnancies. The Philippines fertility rate is higher than world averages (which are around 2 children per woman) and much higher than the rates for our neighbours in Singapore and Hongkong which are at 1 to 2 children per woman. Our total fertility rates are even higher than our much poorer neighbours in Cambodia and Laos, which are around 3 children per woman.

 

Pregnant women still die from four major causes: hemorrhage, infections, hypertensive disorders, and unsafe abortion. And although most of these deaths are preventable, the CBCP bishops should be informed that giving birth is still a dangerous business in our country and that a modern RH system is urgently needed.

 

Child mortality is closely linked to the health and welfare of the mothers. Poor children in this country die at three times the rate of the children of the rich, according to latest UN data. Under-five mortality rates are 66 child deaths to every 1000 live births amongst the poor, compared to 21 child deaths to every 1000 births amongst the rich.

 

Therefore we fully support all measures that move towards the introduction of a modern reproductive health system, which includes the latest modern contraceptive methods such as birth control pills and condoms, to be made free and accessible to poor women and which gives women and mothers a range of choices and educates them about these choices and saves poor mothers and children’s lives in the process.

 

We also believe that the provision of safe and scientific abortion methods are an essential component of a modern reproductive health system. Safe abortion needs to be provided as a choice to women, ranging from cases of pregnancy which are life threatening to the mother, pregnancies resulting from rape and unwanted pregnancies. We believe that  a rational and sober discussion is necessary on the introduction of safe abortion methods drawing from worlds best-practice standards, led by informed and trained medical practitioners, based on scientific medical data.

 

We believe that the above data demonstrates that we have strong moral grounds for our position – saving women’s lives.

 

Support a woman’s right to choose!

No to CBCP hypocrisy and scaremongering!

For modern contraception and RH program now!

 

 

 

 
Hostage Killings PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Monday, 30 August 2010 11:41

PLM calls for an independent inquiry

Partido Lakas ng Masa commiserates with the families of the eight Chinese nationals killed in the tour bus hijacking in Manila on Monday, August 23. The blunders of the Philippine police and officials in the hijacking crisis, which led to the deaths of the eight tourists, are indefensible from many aspects.

  • Why do the authorities order the arrest of the hijacker’s brother, a blunder seen on TV by millions of people, including the hijacker himself, during the crucial period of negotiations?  This only escalated the tension and enraged the hostage-taker.
  • Why was the Philippine SWAT team untrained and unprepared to handle the emergency, and had no necessary equipment even to smash the glass windows? If they have the equipment, why were they not able to use it?
  • Where were President Noynoy and other top government officials during the crucial period of the negotiations?  Why didn’t they put themselves on the line to ensure the decisive and quick resolution of the crisis which had already become an international political issue?

These are just a few questions that not only the Hong Kong residents are mulling over, but so are many Filipinos who are also indignant at the reckless manner in which the authorities have handled the life-and-death crisis of the Chinese tourists.  We are compassionate people who have time and again demonstrated our sense of decency, responsibility and duty toward our fellow human beings.  But, unfortunately, the Filipino people’s values are not emblematic anymore of the state institutions in this country – from government institutions to its law enforcement agencies.

On the contrary, the experience of ordinary people is the systematic violation of their rights by these institutions that have acquired a reputation for being corrupt, inefficient, anti-people and inhumane with respect to the treatment of ordinary citizens. Members of the law enforcement agencies, for example, are known to break the very laws that they are meant to enforce. Instead of protecting the rights and even the lives of the masa, they wantonly violate these rights as exposed in recent TV footages of demolition or urban poor houses and the torture of a petty criminal at the hands of the police in Manila.

We share the indignation of the Hong Kong residents and we assure them that we will always be in solidarity with them to rid both our societies of inept, corrupt, vile and criminally-inclined institutions and elite forces who do not value people’s rights.  We support the solidarity activities on this issue by our brave OFWs in Hong Kong who are also bearing the brunt of the anger and frustrations felt by the people of Hong Kong.  As usual, it is the poor who suffer from the ineptitude of the government.  We also agree with the position of the Hong Kong media that the occasion should not be used to curtail the rights of the media in the Philippines, local or foreign, to expose the ineptitude of the Philippine authorities on this issue.

Finally, we call for an independent inquiry, with participation of independent experts and security analysts who will be able to more competently draw out the necessary actions and lessons of this unfortunate event compared to our very own authorities.

Sonny Melencio

Chair, Partido Lakas ng Masa

August 28, 2010

 

 
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Page 82 of 84

A new party is born. A party for our times.

A party of Change! A party of Socialism!


“Pare-pareho lamang silang trapo!
Mangungurakot na naman yan!
Bobolahin na naman nila tayo!”


Sounds really familiar. We have heard this expression from people of all walks of life time and again. An automatic response, when one is asked about a certain politician or politicians in general.

For decades, generations of politicians from the same clan and some new ones have been deceiving the masses. Every election for them has been an opportunity to make more promises. And after every election, all these remain just that – promises.

Read more...

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