Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Red purge victims’ kin find partial closure

Red purge victims’ kin find partial closure
Exhumed from unmarked grave in Cebu
By Luz Rimban
Last updated 04:21am (Mla time) 09/27/2006
Published on Page A1 of the September 27, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

CONSOLACION Aniasco Niduelan somehow knew she would find her sister in Cebu. Several times in the past 20 years, Aling Cion, as she is called, saved whatever she could from her pay as a street sweeper and bought passage to Cebu. She would get off at the pier. But with no idea where to look, she simply wandered around the waterfront for hours, scanning faces in the crowd and hoping one of them would be that of her younger sister, Luz Aniasco Laguna.

Luz and her husband, Herculano Laguna, had been labor organizers in Davao in the early 1980s. They went to Manila for a visit in 1984, telling relatives they were on their way to new jobs in Mandaue, Cebu. Aling Cion’s last contact with the couple was when she saw them off at Manila’s North Harbor as they prepared to board the vessel with their then 3-year-old son, Herlo.

Aling Cion, now 61, has since been searching for the Laguna family. Her search finally came to an end earlier this month when she witnessed the exhumation of what were believed to be the remains of Luz and Herculano Laguna. Their unmarked graves were some 50 meters from each other in the mountains of Barangay Bonbon in Cebu City. Apparently, they were victims of the purge within the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in 1985.

When the couple were taken and killed, no arrangements were made for their son Herlo, who was left in the care of their laundrywoman. Although he grew up with an impoverished squatter family in Mandaue, Herlo earned athletic scholarships and was about to graduate with a degree in education when he was shot to death in a fraternity war last year. He met his end just like his parents -- the object of a senseless and irrational rage.

Luz and Herculano Laguna were among thousands of cadres and members of the underground movement suspected of being “deep penetration agents” (DPAs) of the military. In a series of purges in the 1980s, the suspected DPAs were arrested and detained. Many were tortured, a practice supposedly forbidden in the communist movement. Hundreds, if not thousands, were executed.

The CPP, which is waging a “people’s war,” Asia’s longest communist insurgency, later admitted the purges were grievous mistakes and vowed never again to commit them. But by then, many had died and the children left behind, a number of them, forgotten.

Trade union cadres

Those who knew them say the Laguna couple belonged to a group of 13 trade union cadres who in 1984 had been transferred to Cebu from Mindanao, which was then in the throes of an anti-DPA campaign called Kampanyang Ahos. (Ahos is Cebuano for garlic, which in Philippine folklore is a potent weapon in warding off aswang [witch or viscera sucker]).

Suspicion fell on the 13 who were then executed around the same time. The remains of only five of the 13 have so far been exhumed and recovered. “I pity them. They were only fighting for change in our society,” said a tearful Aling Cion who, with her sister Lita Longanilla, spent a week in a campsite in Bonbon, waiting as forensic experts carefully retrieved every shard of bone from the unmarked graves.

Forensic anthropologist Jerome Bailen presided over the exhumation, making sure his team recovered every bit of detail needed to reconstruct what he called a “forensic narrative” that would reveal how the Laguna couple died.

“We have to individualize what we are doing. These are not mass graves exhumed like kamote (sweet potato) diggings, and laid down on anything helter-skelter. We need all the information to build up a case,” said Bailen, a professor at the University of the Philippines.

Healing and justice

The exhumation was organized by the Peace Advocates for Truth, Healing and Justice (PATH), itself composed mainly of former members of the communist movement who were arrested and tortured during the purges.

PATH chair Gil Navarro said his group’s work was different from the exhumations being done by the military, which has its own agenda.

PATH’s main objective is to “look for and identify the remains of those executed in the purges and return them to relatives still searching up to now,” Navarro said. Through informants, PATH locates the sites where purge victims are believed to be buried—a complicated, risky and tedious task.

Come clean

PATH wants the CPP to once and for all come clean on what happened, reveal exactly how many people were arrested and killed, and help in exhuming and retrieving the remains. But such a demand would not be easy to meet.

As far as the Left is concerned, the purges are a thing of the past, errors for which the CPP has already apologized and atoned for.

“What I know is that for the most part, the purges were declared to be errors because torture was used. Torture is prohibited in the movement. So what happened is that there were victims who were actually innocent,” said Representative Satur Ocampo, former spokesperson of the National Democratic Front and now Bayan Muna party-list representative.


Ocampo added that the CPP Politburo resolved in the late 1980s to reach out to the victims and their families, apologize and offer compensation. Ocampo, however, could not say for certain exactly how many victims were covered by this act of contrition.
It is difficult to account for everyone who died when the CPP cleansed its ranks of suspected spies. For one, many were known only by assumed names or aliases.

In other cases, said human rights advocate Ramon Casiple, the executioners themselves became victims as paranoia spread and suspicion implicated even those who were doing the purging.

More than anything else, the use of torture was the major error during the purge. Ocampo, himself heavily tortured by the military in the 1970s, knows that information obtained through torture is unreliable. Yet the CPP used it to extract information from suspected spies.

“The logic of self-implication and the pressure to implicate others were the reasons so many were arrested and investigated during the purge. It was done to ease the pain of torture and many innocent comrades were implicated,” Ocampo said.

Polka dot blouse

More than 20 years later, the signs of torture were still evident on the remains of Luz Aniasco Laguna. Aling Cion fainted at the sight: Hands tied behind Luz’s back, ankle and wrist bones bound with blue nylon rope, a strip of denim cloth positioned somewhere near her mouth and neck and, worse, an 18-kilo boulder over her cracked skull.

Aling Cion said she recognized her sister Luz: She knew so well the polka dot blouse that covered Luz’s remains. That blouse, now faded, had a gash apparently made by a bladed weapon over her left breast. Aling Cion’s physical description of Luz also matched what the forensic experts were able to reconstruct.

But it was a different story altogether for what were believed to be the remains of Herculano, known to friends as Lando or Lani. Bailen and company had no physical description of him or any photos available, making the process of reconstruction and verification more difficult.


For now, Aling Cion has no choice but to wait as Bailen’s team finishes its analysis before scheduling a proper wake and burial for her sister and brother-in-law.
Despite the pain, however, Aling Cion took home with her one piece of good news from Cebu. Although Luz, Herculano and Herlo are gone, their line continues with 10-month-old Aaron Heaven, the boy Herlo sired before he was shot in March 2005. Aling Cion can only hope that Aaron Heaven will be spared the tragic fate that befell his father and grandparents.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Dedbol na ang Cha Cha!

Kasalukuyang nagsasarzuela, nag-ooral arguments sa Supreme Court (SC) ang magkabilang panig, ang kontra at pumapabor sa People's Initiatives (PI-tungo sa Cha Cha) na nauna ng “kinatay” ng Comelec.

Wala na itong pag-asa, sayang ang daang milyong pisong nagastos sa mga soundsbites na propaganda ng palasyo't Sigaw ng bayan para sa PI! Bistado na ng tao ang tunay na pakay ng Cha Cha! Pitong buwan na lamang, gahol na sa panahon at lahat ng pampulitikang galaw ay nasa 2007 election. Alam ng Malakanyang na tapos na ang boxing, tapos na ang kwento, tapos na ang maliligayang araw ng Cha Cha. Alam rin ng Malakanyang na mananatili ang sistemang presidential at tuloy na tuloy na't dapat paghandaan na ang estratehiya't taktika sa 2007 election.

Lalo lamang makukumpirmang isang tuta, isang bayaran ng Malakanyang, ni Ate Glo ang SC kung papabor, kung kakatigan nito ang PI. Kaya't kung gusto pa nitong manatiling impartial, independent, may respeto at kredibilidad, kailangan nitong ibasura ang PI. Mas malaki ang pinsala, kaguluhang maidudulot ng pagpabor nito sa PI, kumpara, kaysa sa pagbabasura nito ng PI.

Kung garapalang papabor ang SC sa PI (Constitutionl crisis), ang maaring senaryo, una; baka sumambulat ang pagdadalamhati ng taumbayan, specially ang paggitnang pwersa at hindi maisasaisang- tabi ang posibilidad na maulit ang pipol power. Pangalawa, baka tuluyan na ngang magsipag-aklas, ma-challenge ang ating Kasundaluhan, sa tulad ng nangyari sa Thailand, isang KUDETA ang ilunsad upang isalba at ibangon ang Konstitusyon.

Kawawa naman ang Sigaw ng Bayan, ULAP at Liga ng mga Lokal na Ehekutibo, matapos paasahing mananatili sa poder (No-El), matapos suhulan at paamuyin ng TUYO, pinangbala sa kanyon, hindi man lang inagapayan at sinaklolohan ng Malakanyang. Hindi oposisyon ang umupak sa ULAP, bagkus ang mga galamay ni Ate Glo mismo sa partido, ang KAMPI ang nagkanulo't trumaydor sa Sigaw ng Bayan at ULAP. Parang lumalabas na hindi pala seryosong-seryoso ang KAMPI sa planong Cha CHa. Parang inuto't pinaniwalang LANGIT, PARAISO ang sistema ng Parliamentaryo. Ang tanong ngayon, matapos maibasura ang PI, mananatili pabang maka-GMA, maka-apekto't magbago kaya ang suporta ng dalawang grupong ito kay Ate Glo?

Kung matatandaan, sinabi na nating babalandra't ibabasura sa SC, sa country ang Cha Cha, anumang paraan ito, ma-CON As o PI. Alam ng country na parang kidlat na minanipula, pineke, dinuktor at sinuhulang (noodles, bigas, kaunting barya) ng Sigaw ng Bayan-ULAP ang mahigit 7 milyong mamamayan upang pumirma at maisumite sa tamang deadline ito sa Comelec.

Maliwanag pa sa sikat ng araw na hindi taumbayan, hindi PIPOL at lalong hindi kagustuhan ni Mang Juan ang Cha Cha at Pipol Inisyatib, ito'y kagagawan, pasimuno ito ng mga pulitiko at palasyo, meaning PALACE INITIATIVE o Pipol Inisyatib ito ni Gloria (PIG)!

Malinaw rin sa mata ng Korte Suprema na isa itong iligal na ehersisyo sa kadahilanang io-overhaul, rerebisahin nito, hindi ammendments ang Constitution. Nilabag nito ang naunan ng desisyon ng SC (Santiago vs Comelec), wala itong batas (enabling law) at may kapareho ng desisyong hindi pinahintulutan, hindi kinilala at itinapon na ito sa kangkungan. Dead on arrival (DOA) na ang PI at nanganganib katayin din Con Ashole sa Tongreso.

Mas kapani-paniwala ng mahigit isang libong beses na kasakiman sa kapangyarihan, magtagal sa pwesto, lumagpas hanggang 2010 at tuluyan ng burahin sa kasaysayan ng 'Pinas ang dayaan, ang bastusan, ang lokohan, ang linlangan, pangungurakot at katiwalian, krimen sa country ni Ate Glo at kanyang mga alipores.

Sa kabilang banda, maniubrahan at Power Play (sa loob ng Lakas) rin ito sa pagitan ng mga galamay ni Tainga't Kilay, Tabako at ang lumalakas na partidong KAMPI ni Ate Glo. Hindi maitatago ang existence ng dalawang paksyon na drafts ng revised Constitution; ang House Resolution No. 1230 na inauthored ni Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. at Cagayan de Oro Rep. Constantino Jaraula, at ang HR 1285 inauthored ni Surigao del Sur Tong. Prospero Pichay Jr.

Political survival para kay Ate Glo ang pakay ng cha cha, hindi economic and political reform, hindi rin ito survival ng mamamayang Pilipino o pipol sa tulad ng ipinopropaganda ng Malakanyang. Konsolidasyon ito ng mga dambuhala pulitikong elitista't oligarkiya at pwersa. Iwas Thaksin ito. Iwas pusoy ito sa rehas, sa seldang naghihintay kay Ate Glo.

Layunin nitong durugin, tirisin, i-all out war, i-marginalized ang political opposition sa 2007 at 2010. Hangad ng disenyong ito ang hadlangan at all cost ang posibleng landslide victory ng opposition sa 2007 election at makontrol muli ang Tongreso.

Patay na ang Cha Cha, ibinasura na siya ng mamamayang Pilipino!

Doy Cinco / IPD
September 26, 2006

Friday, September 22, 2006

"Ibalik ang Demokrasya at Rule of Law" sa Thailand - Ate Glo

Kamakailan lamang, lakas loob na nananawagang si Ate Glo na ibalik na ang civilian rule at demokrasya sa Thailand sa lalong madaling panahon. Ito'y dahil sa matagumpay na KUDETANG nagdulot ng pagpapatalsik at pagkaka-alis sa kapangyarihan ang matalik at modelong prime minister ni Ate Glo na si Prime Minister na si Thaksin Shinawatra. Upang masigurong 'di na makakabangon si Thaksin, pansamtalang binuwag, kinatay, inalis ang Konstitusyon at ipinailalim sa Batas Militar ang Thailand.

Kaya lang, walang sinumang TANGA, gagong lider ng mundo at lokal na Kilusang Demokratiko (civil society) sa Thailand at 'Pinas ang nagsabing ibalik sa kapangyarihan, ibalik sa poder si Thaksin!

Milya-milya ang LAYO, ang pagkakaiba ng Martial Law ni Marcos nuong 1970s at ang “state of emergency/power” (464, CPR, 1017,EO 5) ni Ate Glo sa bersyong Martial Law na ipinatupad sa kasalukuyan ng mga Heneral-Army at suportado ng Haring Bhumibol ng Thailand.

Nung ideklara ang Martial Law sa atin, malawakang crack down ng mga militante't aktibista, ang daming pinatay-sinalvage, pinaghuhuling mga oposisyon at ang daming missing (pinadukut) at teknolohiyang TORTURE. Halos napuno ng mga political prisoner ang ABC (Aguinaldo, Bonifacio at Crame). Pinasara't kinumpiska ang broadcast, print media at kinontrol ang malalaking empresang hawak ng Elite opposition (Lopez atbapa) at kaaway sa politika ni Marcos. GANYAN BA ANG NANGYARI SA THAILAND?

Sa panahon ni Marcos, pinasara ang Kongreso't Senado at ipinatupad ang unicameral na lehislaturang rubber stamp na Batasang Pambansa. Pinakagarapal sa panahon ni Ate Glo, binastos ang political at demokratikong institusyon, hindi lang ang Tongreso ang ginago, pati Hustisya, Comelec, 2004 election at higit sa lahat hindi ginalang ang sagradong Karapatang Pantao ng mamamayan.

Nung nakaraang taon, ipinagbawal at pinasista ang malayang pamamahayag at pagtipun- tipon, ipinagbawal ang rally, demonstrasyon, kaliwa't kanan ang patayan, pati CEDULA ginamit at may defacto Martial Law na pinairal. Magna cum laude sa pangungurakot ang gubyernong Arroyo sa Asia. Dahil sa pag-amin "am sorry" at "hello garci", luminaw sa country na iligal at ilehitimo ang nakalukluk na tao sa Malakanyang, ang Pangulong Arroyo. Kung ito ang "rule of law at demokrasya" , 'wag na 'toy.

Sa Pilipinas, pinagtawanan ang "strong republic" dahil sa totoo lang super WEAK at aabot na sa FAILED republic ang Pilipinas. Halos paralisado at hindi umaandar ang gubyerno. Tanging PAGSASALBA sa abang (survival instinct) pangulo, tulad ng Pipol Inisyatib (PIG), No-El at Cha Cha ang pangunahing tuon ng atensyon at gawain ng mga alipores sa loob ng estado. Dahil sa multo, takot at kapraningang matulad kay Erap at Thaksin, pork barrel at PERA-PERA na lamang ang naging labanan at nagsisilbing batayan upang mapanatili't magtagal sa kapangyarihan si Ate Glo.

Kung matatandaan July 2005, sa tindi ng presyur ng taumbayan, muntikanang nagbitiw sa pwesto si Ate Glo at kung di lamang sa mga padrino't pang-uuto ni Tabako't Tainga, iba na sana ang may hawak na TRONO sa Malakanyang. Dalawang beses itong inimpeach at kasalukuyang isinusuka siya ng mamamayang Pinoy. Kung baga, wala pa sa kalingkingan ni Ate Glo ang bigat ng kasalanang iginawad ng mamamayang Thailand kay Thaksin kung ikukumpara sa sarili nitong krimeng kakaharapin sa 'Pinas.

Sa Thailand, sa kabila ng maraming tangke't sundalo sa lansangan, walang putuk, walang dugo, walang timbugan, hindi ito lantay na "MILITARY ADVENTURISM" sa tulad na mga ikinukokak na akusasyon ng pamunuan ng AFP at ilang "moralista at puristang" mga aktibista sa 'Pinas. Tulad sa Pilipinas, weak-mahina rin ang pampulitika at demokratikong institution sa Thailand, kaya naman punong-nuno ng pag-aalsang militar-KUDETA ang kanilang pampulitikang kasaysayan.

Ang KONTEKSTO ang nagtulak kung bakit malaki ang nagiging papel ng Kasundaluhan sa Thailand. Ika nga, bukud sa Hari, ang ARMY ang huling baraha, gumuguhit, tumataya upang ipagtanggol ang mamamayan at konstitusyon. Kung sa THailand, "ang mga Heneral ay may bayag, ang mga Heneral sa Pilipinas, may BAYAD."

Ang Peole's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) at Campaign for Popular Democracy, mga broad coalition ng mga progresibong kilusang nanguna sa malakihang kilos protesta para sa pagpatalsik sa dating Prime Minister Thaksin nuong unang quarto ng taon ay "walang sinasabing kontra o pabor sa KUDETA," nagmamatyag at mukhang hindi apektado (walang casualty ng damputan at dukutan) ng kamay na bakal na ipinatutupad ng militar.

At ayon sa ulat ng mga reporter ng ABS-CBN na nagtungo sa Bangkok kamakailan lang, "naging mainit pa nga ang pagtanggap ng mamamayang THAI sa mga sundalo at balik na sa normal ang sitwasyon". Ayon sa pinuno ng Administrative Reform Council na si Army commander in chief Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratklinsa, sinabi nitong magiging acting prime minister muna siya sa loob ng dalawang linggo hanggang sa makahanap ng isang pinuno "na magtataguyod at magbabalik ng demokrasya." Magkakaroon eleksyon sa Oktubre 2007 at ayon sa Heneral, "matapos ang dalawang Linggo, ganap siyang magbibitiw sa tungkulin." Tignan natin ang susunod na kabanata.

Kung mayroon mang paghihigpit sa Martial Law, panigurong nakatuon ito sa mga pwersa't galamay ng pinatalsik na Prime Minister Thaksin lalo na sa mga lugar na kung saan lubhang malalakas ang pwersa nito (balwarteng Kanayunan).

Kung nagwagi ang "walk in the park" ng mga tropa ni Gen Danny Lim, kasama ang mga aktibistang Junior Officers, ilang bahagi ng Kilusang Demokratiko at naibagsak ang rehimen ni Ate Glo nuong Pebrero 2006, may kahalintulad na Transitional Revolutionary Government (TRG) ang itatayo upang puksain ang walang dudang tangkang destabilization at counter revolutionaries (GMA forces)ng mga kaaway ng bayan. Batay kay Ka Dodong Nemenzo,lider ng Laban ng Masa, "upang maitayo, mai-overhaul at mapalakas ang bagong Gubyernong Bayan, mga 1 - 3 taon itatagal ng TRG," nauna nga lang ang Thailand.

Nung kasagsagan ang bantang KUDETA sa Pilipinas (huling linggo ng Pebrero), may tatlong oras na nag-debate at hindi magkasundo ang mga Heneral, kung itutuloy at susuporta sa grupo ni Gen Danny Lim at Magdalo. Nauwi sa twaran, kung magkano ang presyo't katapat na 20, 30, 50 milyon piso ang labanan kada Heneral. Ang isa pang nakakatawa, isang Heneral (Senga?) ang tumawag pa sa US State Department upang humingi ng abiso't protocol at ng hindi nagustuhan ng US ang planong Kudeta, nagsimulang gumalaw, mag-alburuto na si Gen Esperon.

Sa Thailand, wala ni isang bansang makapangyarihan ang naka-alam at binigyan ng abiso o tinimbrihan. Pawang mga independent at internal ang naging pagdedesisyon at pagpaplano. Wala silang utang na loob sa kung sinong makapangyarihang bansa, wala silang pinaalamanang US at European Country sa plano. Ang bukud tanging hindi pwedeng lagpasan, dedmahin at abisuhan ay walang iba kundi ang HARI ng Thailand.

Sapagkat may basbas mula sa Kaharian, sa ayaw man natin o sa gusto, may malaking popular support ang Martial Law sa Thailand. Totoong pinuntirya ang broadcast media upang 'di makapasok, 'di makapag-impluwensya at makapag-destabilized ang mga tapat at alipores ni Thaksin na sa tantya ng marami ay may balak manabotahe't magsagawa ng counter KUDETA laban sa kasalukuyang popular na interim government.

Anong klaseng demokrasya at rule of law ang nais n'yo? Demokrasyang dapat naisali, bida kayo (sa Kudeta), demokrasyang dapat kayo ang namuno't nakapwesto, demokrasyang dapat ipina-alam at itinimbri sa grupo't kabalahibo ninyo? Demokrasyang may hugis na "diktadurya ng Proletarydo"? naman..naman..naman.

Demokrasyang maka-Kaliwa, elitist-burgis-dorobo, demokrasyang hinanap ng mga Griego (Greeks) may dalawang libong taon na ang nakalipas, demokrasyang kahulugan depende sa kung sino ang iyong kausap, demokrasyang hanggang ngayon patuloy na pinagtatalunan kung ano ang kahulugan, klase ba ng demokrasyang sinalaula ni Ate Glo o demokrasyang may maraming sangkap at tradisyong niluluto sa kasalukuyan sa Thailand?

Doy Cinco / IPD
September 22, 2006

Thursday, September 21, 2006

US condemns Thais COUP, make BUSH more democratic than King Bhumibol?

The US government just announced today that it condemns the coup in Thailand and that it calls for the “return of democracy” as quickly as possible. King Bhumibol sees it otherwise. The king endorsed today the bloodless military coup that ousted Thaksin. The king also agrees with Gen. Sonthi’s plan to restore civilian rule within a year. Do these announcements make Bush more “democratic” than King Bhumibol?

To date, no foreign government who denounced the coup demands the return of Thaksin.

Many bright minds were trained to think that anything that goes beyond “democratic means” is political adventurism. It won’t be surprising to hear assertions that Gen. Sonthi’s coup d’etat is well beyond “democratic options” or “democratic processes”.

Let’s call a spade a spade. The recent Thai coup went beyond so-called “civilian rule”, which reads as-- neoliberal bourgeois rule. If there is “elite democracy”, there are also “elite democratic processes”.

I understand that political adventurism constitute two things. First, is that political adventurism stems from lack of principle that owes to the absence of representation from one’s constituency. Second, political adventurism seeks the transfer of political strength or power to a class or social constituency by a political force that is basically disconnected from such a constituency.

Through his strong cultural sway, King Bhumibol legitimized the coup in behalf of the “people”. The scrapping of the 1997 Constitution served elite political factions as well. Gen. Sonthi and his followers, acting as a political force with coercive capabilities, represent the elite factions disenfranchised by Thaksin.

From a bourgeois elite viewpoint, Gen Sonthi’s power grab is definitely not political adventurism. Thailand ’s deepening crisis of bourgeois elite democracy can no longer be resolved by Constitutional means because the Constitution itself served as a barrier for the elite’s survival. The crisis is threatening the state itself.

The power grab was meant to save Thai bourgeois elite democracy. The US and the rest of Western powers should in fact be thankful of the coup. More than a year of Thai martial rule can plunge the Thai economy into recession. It will only be a matter of months when things will normalize and the financial markets will open up for foreign capital to wallow in.

The Philippine case paints a different landscape. When patriotic and progressive officers and rank-and-file of the army and police forces take the side not only of the people but also of the masses, when in both words and deeds they launch coordinated direct actions founded on progressive wisdom to dismantle elite rule and establish a new order in favor of the masses—what they demonstrate then is not political adventurism, but revolutionary fervor.

Doy Cinco /IPD
Sept 21, 2006

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Thais see king's hand in coup that ousted an arrogant leader

First posted 06:22pm (Mla time) Sept 20, 2006
Associated Press

BANGKOK, Thailand -- For many in Thailand, it was a clash between two men: an arrogant prime minister and a humble king who always wins.

Thailand's revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej has yet to utter a word about the dramatic overnight coup that ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. But speaking out is not the style of the 78-year-old monarch, who despite age and frailty has shown that he remains the most powerful man in the country.

On the books, the bloodless coup was a military affair led by army chief General Sondhi Boonyaratkalin, who said the overthrow was needed to resolve a protracted political crisis and restore "harmony among the people." The new regime put Thailand under martial law and declared a provisional authority loyal to the monarch.

It remains unclear exactly what role the king played in removing Thaksin. The palace claims it was not involved in the events, but many Thai people, along with political and monarchy experts, see it as another example of the constitutional monarch's behind-the-scenes power, which he has exercised sparingly but effectively in his six-decade reign.

"If the king didn't give a nod, this never would have been possible," said Sulak Siwalak, a prominent social critic and author of books on the role of the monarchy in Thailand.

"Thaksin failed to realize that the king has been on the throne for 60 years and he's no fool. The man is old and Thaksin thought he could play around with him -- and it was a dangerous game," said Sulak. "He felt he could belittle the king, and that's something the king cannot stand."

There was no one event that led to Thaksin's ouster, but a series of missteps that prompted many to accuse the prime minister of challenging the king's authority -- an unpardonable act in Thailand.

Thaksin defied months of street protests and demands for him to resign amid allegations of corruption, election violations and a worsening Muslim insurgency in the south.

Chief among Thaksin's flaws, in the eyes of the palace and many Thais, was his personality.

The tycoon-turned-politician proved to be ambitious, conservative and strong-willed, refusing to correct himself when his policies backfired -- particularly in the case of a strong-armed military approach to violence in the south, where more than 1,700 people have died over the past two years.

Critics call him self-centered and arrogant. He was also accused of stifling what was once one of Asia's freest media and of allowing his business and political cronies to reap enormous gains from corrupt policies.

Some say the palace was infuriated by Thaksin's apparent attempt to steal the spotlight during the king's lavish June celebrations for his 60 years on the throne by breaching protocol by greeting visiting royals ahead of the Thai monarchy.
The king could be described as Thaksin's opposite.

"(The king) clearly cares for his subjects. He is a simple person. He is genuine, and genuinely selfless. He doesn't indulge himself in a lot of his wealth," said Paul Handley, author of a controversial new biography, "The King Never Smiles," which portrays the king as a major player in Thai political developments over the last few decades.

Handley said the king is also "stubborn and hardheaded and doesn't really accept critiques of his own view of how the country should develop."

Although a constitutional monarch with limited powers, the king is held in reverence by almost all Thais because of his lifelong dedication to helping the country's have-nots.

Regarded as semi-divine by some, the king spent decades mingling with common folk in backwater villages where he seeded hundreds of development projects. He believes that Thais and their leaders should adhere to Buddhist principles -- that people should live simply, not strive for excesses and not flaunt their wealth.

The king rarely enters the political sphere, but when he does, everyone listens and obeys -- something Thaksin found increasingly difficult to do.

"Thaksin showed a certain lack of regard for the king and the palace's desires. And he showed a lot of independence which the palace saw disfavorably," Handley said.

In April, the king made a rare television appearance, prodding Thailand's top courts to intervene to resolve a political deadlock: the kingdom has had a caretaker government and no working legislature since April 2 elections, which were boycotted by the opposition.

The nation's top judges annulled the vote, paving the way for new polls later this year. But Thaksin angered many by refusing to bow out.

"The anti-Thaksin forces in the top levels of government -- and perhaps in the palace -- realized that Thaksin could still be prime minister after the new election and there was no way out, and they were fed up," Handley said.

Sagot ni Bobby sa mga Kasama, Esperon at sa Melo Commission

I am trying to figure out the reason why AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon submitted my book, To Suffer thy Comrades to the Melo Commission as evidence. Along with Rocamora's and Jalandoni's book, it supposedly "supported the military contention that it was the CPP-NPA that were behind the (political) killings" over the past five years. My book was published in 2001, and it chronicled the CPP's internal violence in the 1980s, under which I myself suffered. It cannot possibly cover events after it was launched, unless I am gifted with prescience.

But obviously the logic has to do with establishing a pattern, i.e. the CPP-NPA demonstrated the capacity for brutality before, it is not impossible to imagine that they can still do it now. Perhaps. But then, we really need to give credit (or debit) where it is due. One has killed before, it doesn't necessarily follow that he did it again thereafter. It only remains in the possible, even probable. And for one to be sure, what we need is a credible probe.

Furthermore, the problem with all this is that we have a case where the pot and the pan are both calling each other black and greasy. The AFP and the CPP-NPA hold dismal human rights records, thus when one squeaks about violations, the other can easily squawk: "Look who's talking!" There is a credibility problem here. Do we choose between the lesser killer?

As the polarization and antagonism between both parties continue, along with the body count, we at PATH affirm all the more our neutrality; faithful only to universal human rights ideals and partial only to truth and justice. We continue to call for an independent investigation, one that would look into both State and non-State perpetrated violations. The UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and other international authorities should play a role.

When the pot and the pan paint each other black, it's time for the kusinero to step in and scrub them both clean.


Thai COUP, Military Adventurism o Kabayanihan?

Na-overthrow na rin sa wakas ang kinamumuhian, unpopular Prime Minister ng Thailand na si Thaksin. Kung matatandaan, malaki, malawak (broad) at matitinding kilos protesta para sa pagppatalsik kay Thaksin. Pinamunuan ito ng People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) at Campaign for Popular Democracy . Hindi nagkakalayo, magkahalintulad ang isyu at konteksto ng Thailand at Pilipinas. Legitimacy, panlilinlang, panggagarapal, pag-aabuso sa pwesto't kapangyarihan at laaganap na katiwalian at pangungurakot.

Presidential ang sistema ng paggugubyerno at Kristiano ang Pilipinas, habang Parliamentaryo't Budismo ang umiiral sa bansang Thailand. Nananatiling may monarkiya (kahariang) ang Thailand. Relatibong mas maunlad ang ekonomya at political maturity ng Thailand kung ikukumpara sa Pilipinas. May makulay, maunlad at mayaman ang sibilisasyon (emperyo), kultura ng Thailand at samantalang “maiksi, bastardo't nasalaula” ang kasayasayan at tradisyon ng Pilipinas.

Magkaparehong nasalaula ang demokratikong institusyon sa Pilipinas at Thailand. Halos lahat na ng pamamaraan, legal at extra legal (rally, demo, impeachment, withdrawal of support o aklasang militar) ay magkaparehong pinagdaanan ng Thailand at Pilipinas.

Kaya lang, kung tumagal ng kulang-kulang isang taon ang pakikibka para sa demokrasya, para sa pagpapatalsik kay Thaksin, mahagit isang taon na at mukhang aabot pa sa 2010 ang pakikibaka at pagpapatalsik sa ilihitimong pangulong Arroyo sa Pilipinas.

Kung mataas ang kredibilidd, solido at neutral ang Thai Army sa Thailand, sa Pilipinas, nasalaula, watak-watak, kasabwat sa katiwalian at panggagahasa sa 2004 election. Kung halos solido at watak-wawak ang pagkakaisa ng Kilusang Demokratiko sa Thailand, paksyon-paksyon, pinagdududahan, kanya-kanyang agenda ang oposisyon at kilusang demokratiko't Kaliwa sa Pilipinas.

Ano ngayon ang masasabi ng mga promotor ng Cha Cha na Malakanyang, Tongreso't Sigaw ng Bayan na kung saan ang modelo ng Thailand ang siyang tinitingala. Ang aral dito, kapag napuno na ang SALOP, anumang klaseng sistema ng politika, relihiyon, lahi at ekonomya, anuman pamamaraan ng pakikibka; elektoral man o insureksyon, impeachment man o KUDETA, basta't kaulayaw ang taumbayan at interest ng mamamayan ang magpapasya ay lehitimo, makatwiran at makatarungan.

Ang lesson dito, kapag pinigil-hinarang mo ang daluyan, kapag sinupalpalan-tinakpan mo ang pressure at binusalan mo ang country, kapag ika'y nanlinlang at nang-api sa mamamayan, parang tubig ito; "hahanap at hahanap ito ng isang LEVEL upang malusutan, makawala, makalaya at makaginhawa."

Sa kabila ng matinding kondemnasyon ni Bush ng US at Kanluraning bansa ang isinagawang KUDETA ng Thai Army, kabalintunaan (kuntento, normal lang, wala lang, masasaya, imune na sila sa KUDETA noh!) at positibo naman ang reaksyon at pakirandam ng mamamayan Thais.

Ayon sa mga Thais, "hindi isang power grab ang inilunsad ng military, bagkus ito'y pagtatanggol ng political institution, pagkakaisa at para sa mamamayan Thais. Itinayo ang isang transition para pansamantalang mangasiwa sa gwaing paggugubyerno, ang Administrative Reform Council na walang dudang pamumunuan ni Army General SonthiPanghuli.

Kung pansamantala't ipapasa agad ng Kasundaluhan sa mamamayang kapangyarihan ng Thai, walang dudang isa itong KABAYANIHAN at hindi adbenturismo!

Doy Cinco / IPD
September 20, 2006

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

on Violence Against Movements, Movements Against Violence

Forum Organized by the Institute for Popular Democracy and the University of the Philippines College of Social Sciences Student Council
12 September 2006, 1-5 pm, UP Recto Hall

Presentation by Miriam Coronel Ferrer
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of the
Philippines; Co-convener, Sulong CARHRIHL

For centuries, national security options of states straddled between two approaches: one based on power, the other based on peace. The first option, power, may be better said as "power over" or the principle of domination over the groups posing a challenge to the state – its policies, actions, and more fundamentally, its nature. "Power over," at the minimum, aims to neutralize, and at the maximum exterminate, eliminate, subjugate contending forces in the name of the state and its desired attributes - sovereignty, stability, survival. At a glance, this approach seems to be the only logical option for a weak state, whose very weakness forces it to make a show of being strong.

The second approach is peace - that is, to seek peace, peace as a precondition to and/or an outcome of security. This approach is founded on the core values of tolerance, pluralism, and dialogue, the exact opposite of the values in the first approach: intolerance, inclusivity, brute force and monologue. It involves state- building through much needed reforms. Its guiding principle is "do no (more) harm" to the situation as it is.

Collective impact measures

What we have been witnessing in the last years is an internal security approach founded on the state's attempt to dominate and subjugate critical socio-political forces (first option). Its guiding principle is precisely to "do harm".

It incorporates the usual military operations against communist guerillas operating in the countryside. Such an approach relies heavily on the Philippine army whose marching orders are to clear, hold and consolidate (the latter now entailing the participation of state welfare agencies in what effectively is a lopsided application of a "comprehensive approach").

Reports of de facto curfews, arbitrary searches, harassment, imposition of the cedula, mopping up operations, notably in Nueva Ecija, but also elsewhere reflect that the classic counter-insurgency approach of draining the fish of its water continues. To suffocate the fish, the water is contained, drained or rendered unable to resist military pressure.

These methods have been referred to as "collective impact measures." As we have seen, this type of measures intends to hurt the populace in order to render them submissive, not really to finish them off. A local resident who gets killed in the process is, well, seen as collateral damage to the intent.

Collective impact measures also function as "collective punishment". Residents are scolded, chided, threatened for acts deemed sympathetic to the enemy. Read the accounts of the general assemblies recently held in Central Luzon by the military under General Jovito Palparan. Residents are beseeched and courted, entertained with songs and sexy dancers in exchange for their sympathies. They are urged to speak out despite the asymmetry in the situation: unarmed, poor farmers facing fully armed lieutenants, colonels and generals. And when they do speak out, and complain of abuses of government soldiers, they are reprimanded, accused of already being "influenced" if not themselves NPAs. They become the brunt of displaced
aggression, the easy target of traumatized soldiers faced with elusive "enemies."

The unprecedented high number of killings of political activists associated with national democratic organizations (as well as other left-wing groups such as the KPD) in compressed time is part of this "collective punishment" frame. The extrajudicial killings we have seen share the same features of rural community-based counter- guerilla warfare: indiscriminate or dismissive of the distinction between combatants and non-combatants, and clouded by "hate language" and demonization of the enemy. A slight difference is that the killings are somewhat disguised, they are not done by men in military uniform, and are individual or tandem acts, whereas the usual counter-insurgency is marked by troops descending in communities (although their name plates may be covered, and their truck plates missing) who seek security and cover in numbers.

The killings' desired impact is the same: fear, paralysis, scuttling of the organizational network, albeit not just in the local but the national sense. The goal is to break the political infrastructure of the movement whose good showing in the past election (under the party list system) and corresponding access to pork barrel funds and a public platform, were, from the point of view of the anti-communist state, alarming. National politics is after all the bigger pond where the fish swim. But here the instructions are straight to the point: kill the fish.

In this power-based approach manifested in collective punitive measures, victory is easy to measure. One is through body count: how many dead and wounded? Another is through weapons count: how many weapons seized? And finally, how many communities, organizations, people neutralized? (We can discuss later how the same tendency is shown by the armed left.)

As we should all know by now, collective impact measures create more problems due to the social tensions and resentment they generate in the communities, and the affected public. They erode the fabric of society, confuse its norms, polarize, and desensitize. They provide fodder to counter-violence, and diminish faith in the system and peaceful change. They are sure-fire formulas for greater violence. They are our own "low-tech" version of weapons of mass destruction which nonetheless
leads to the same MAD-ness, or "mutually assured destruction." The victory they
lay claim too is short-term, flaky, and one-sided.

Multi-Layered Contexts

Let us not lose sight of the multi-layered contexts of this intensified state violence against a certain social force, its various apparatuses, but ultimately, violence or assault on the citizen at large.

One context is the short term: GMA's political survival. I will not belabor this point since it is already fairly well-established and well-reasoned out.

The long and short of this context is the legitimacy question raised against the GMA administration. Here the national democratic left has played a major role, whether in the attempts at setting off an impeachment process (through its party list members in Congress pushing for it, not once, but twice), or in military coup-cum-street protests that will force GMA to step down (through its waltzing with the malcontents in the military, in a queasy utilitarian alliance between the left and the right). The natdem left has also put blocks (lodging cases in the Supreme Court, protest rallies) to moves to strengthen emergency powers or insulate the presidency from the checks powers in the hands of Congress and the citizens.

It is to the GMA presidency's interest to weaken the multiple machineries of the national democratic left through both judicial (arrest warrants, and actual arrests, e.g., of Crispin Beltran) and extra-judicial means, as well as of all those lined up against her (why stop at one when you can cast a wider net?). At the same time, it is to GMA's interest to feed the loyalty of key state players crucial to her political survival, notably, the military (give them their war, medals, promotions, a free hand), the police (give them their balato), the members of Congress (give them their pork). It is in her interest to join the "coalition of the willing" and the US-led global fight against terrorism in order to get the backing and material support of US President Bush. In this regard, the GMA administration actively lobbied for the inclusion of the CPP-NPA in the list of terrorist organizations of the US and European bodies – even though the CPP-NPA does not as a rule employ terrorist methods like bombings.

But beyond the GMA presidency is the state of affairs of the Philippine state - the more important, larger context. This is a question that will transcend GMA (even if she stays up to 2010), and is related to but distorted by the partisan peddling of charter change. I am referring to the specter of not just a weak state but a disintegrating, failing state, one where governance (led by whomever) increasingly becomes unstable and short-sighted, and reforms impossible. The prospects of a failed state result from the features of the post-Marcos state that we have inherited, worse off in its fracturedness and the frankensteins that were born out of the Marcos period, -- and how our political elites have selfishly played their games in this situation. It is the bigger context where the wanton use of state violence by both civilian and political leaders, and the military's privileged role in national security and national politics have become even more ominous.

What is a failed state? Rotberg describes it as one marked by enduring violence, though not necessarily always of high level of intensity. It is tense, deeply conflicted, dangerous and contested bitterly by warring factions, with varieties of civil unrest and two or more insurgencies, different degrees of communal discontent and other forms of dissent directed against it and at groups within it. Parts of the territory, notably the peripheral regions, are not under its control. There is
high level of physical insecurity among citizens, thus they are armed or they
join rebel groups. The society endures a high level of criminal violence, and delivery of socio-economic goods is limited. Its institutions are flawed; its infrastructure, deteriorating or destroyed.

The more recent line from Palparan, said over one ANC program last week, is almost a tacit recognition of our situation as a failing state. Because only in such a state can his explanation for the killings make sense. According to Palparan, the killings are perpetuated by people taking vengeance on the NPA for the latter's abuses. Queried if these people include soldiers, he replied in the positive, saying such soldiers are probably taking revenge for the death of other soldiers. If the state were a viable state, the military with a chain of command, the President the chief executive and implementer of the laws of the land – can this kind of anarchy, can this lame excuse be palpable?

Anti-communism and anti-terrorism

The ideological foundation of and justification for the state's excessive use of violence remains, oddly anachronistic enough, anti-communism. The language of anti-terrorism adds a new more contemporary twist, and locates our domestic wars in the context of the post-9/11 world order.

The language of anti-communism remains effective, given a general antipathy to communism, and an increasing alienation of the citizenry to national politics. To those who have fallen for this anti-communist "rhetorical hysteria" (defined by Wole Soyinka, first African to win the Nobel prize for literature, as the one-dimensional approach to all faces of reality, however varied or internally contradictory) , the killings are not a case of "slaughter of innocents" given that these people are somehow allied with the CPP-NPA. They don't think much about the fact that slaughter remains slaughter; that the basic principle of respect for human life and human dignity is for everyone, including the enemy number one of the state, and yes, including terrorists; that there are rules even in war that must be followed, notably distinction between those who carry arms and those who do not.

Meanwhile, businessmen and professionals may be morally aghast at the unabated killings of alleged communists, but are not motivated enough to put pressure to stop it, until somehow, it starts hurting their economic interests, or their immediate environment. The middle class will continue to fight for their own means of survival regardless of the course of Philippine politics.

However, class analysis alone cannot explain part of the lingering potency of anti-communism. Part of the effectiveness of the language of anti-communism and resultant alienation is also due to the CPP-NPA-NDF themselves - their excesses (revolutionary taxation of rich and poor, infliction of punishments) , own pandering of violence and machismo, their inclusivity and dogmatic framing of Philippine society and politics, and their counter-monologue to the state's anti-communist mantra. The purges, the CPP-NPA-NDF hopefully recognizes by now, cannot be simply forgotten without full retribution and honest accounting before former and present comrades and the greater public.

The ghosts of murdered comrades will haunt the party forever. And though not particularly convincing to explain away the recent spate of political killings among those who study their politics, and revolting for the disrespect shown the dead lying in mass graves, the purges of the 80s and 90s will remain scraps (war material) to poke around with, in the AFP and police forces' psywar ops.

In all, taken in the context of an untransformed state and reform-resistant state elites, the language of anti-communism coupled with anti-terrorism is actually anti-left (because the communists do not alone make up the Philippine left), and even more broadly, anti anti-status quo. Thus while we have our differences with the communist left, and as human rights advocates, oppose terrorist methods, we cannot tolerate the rhetorical hysteria of anti-communism/ terrorism. We cannot be
unconcerned with the killings of branded communists/terroris ts, because the label
easily includes all of us unhappy with the status quo, and exercising our rights to express our beliefs.

Ways Out

I have long been asking myself this rhetorical but really incisive question: what is the central political question of today? During the martial law regime and even during EDSA 2, the answer seemed simple enough: Marcos, in the case of the former, and Erap, in the case of the latter. Today, fortunately and unfortunately, we have to find the answers beyond Garci, Gloria and the two Gonzaleses in government.

The political killings is a problem with GMA - her leadership, her policy
preferences, her questionable legitimacy based on her ascent to power (EDSA 2 and dubious elections) - but is also a problem that transcends her. Thus, removing GMA can be one short-term solution, but is not enough for the long haul. And neither is the long-haul solution contingent on removing her.

We must resolve how to deal with armed challenges faced by the state: resolution through conquest of power by a dominant force using force, or through sustainable, inclusive peace through peaceful means. The state has been pursuing the former, it's time to put more stake in the latter. But it will only do this if we achieve critical mass in forcing the state to take this direction.

We must work for a sustainable change founded on human rights and dignity - or a peace process alongside pursuit of specific reforms. There are key critical areas where state reforms are needed and where we should spread out and simultaneously intervene: reform of our electoral institutions and processes; reform of the security sector (cleansing and professionalization of the military and police); enhancing governance processes (depoliticization and upgrading of the bureaucracy),
strengthening of local governments leading to greater autonomy; and putting more resources in the educational system so that education is provided for all, and it is the kind of education where the values of human rights and peace are at the core.

Correspondingly, we cannot accept counter-violence as the better nor best way to fight state violence.

Our society is festering in a culture of violence -- violence that begets violence, that dehumanizes the victims and the perpetuators, reduces all fora to monologues, and elevates killing to the status of a national sport. We find in our midst self-righteous protagonists out to lay claim to their rights while blinded by their dogma and politics to the rights of others. There is much to untangle in the orthodoxy of class antagonism, of class struggle being necessarily violent, the state being the instrument of the ruling class, and the primacy of armed struggle in achieving political change.

There is much to question about the soundness of the Maoist injunction to encircle the cities from the countryside as the route to revolutionary victory, the national democratic revolution as a stepping stone to a socialist revolution, etc. Certainly, we should discuss these, debate and challenge (but not kill) each other.

Let us have a national debate not to divide us further but in order for us -- state actors, counter-state forces, and ordinary citizens – to reach some national consensus on how to best achieve social and political change. Without a shared norm or ground rules, and a consensual road map to start as off, we are doomed as a nation.

To conclude, the campaign against political killings of leftwing activists requires focused, case-specific response directed against the perpetrators and their chain of command. It also compels us to ask hard questions about the national security orientation and national security policies of the state and concerned agencies.

But our advocacy should be extended to become a campaign for a peace process; a movement against political violence as a whole, promoting human rights and extracting accountability from all parties (such as what Sulong CARHRIHL aims to do, using the CARHRIHL as framework); a dialogue for norms founded on life-affirming means and ends; a national quest for peace built on respect for human rights.

Human rights, peace, students, development and other groups should come together to work for new politics, the kind of politics that makes a firm stand against political violence.

Buzan, Barry. 1983. People States & Fear, The National Security Problem in
International Relations. Hertfordshire: Harvester Wheatsheaf.
Rotberg, Robert . 2004. When States Fail, Causes and Consequence.
Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Soyinka, Wole. 2004. Climate of Fear. London: Profile Books Ltd.
Stepanova, Ektarina. 2003. Anti-terrorism and Peace-building During and
After Conflict. Stockholm: Stockholm International Peace Research

Saturday, September 16, 2006

TRG pa ba o Randy for Senator sa 2007?

Pansamantalang nagkaisa tayo sa proyektong politikal na Transition Revolutionary Gov't (TRG). Bagamat nagpatuloy ang samutsaring debate, ang kahinaan at kalakasan, diskurso't substansya, kahit paano walang dudang umangkop ito sa konteksto't tawag ng panon, ang lumalagablab na sitwasyon politikal nuong huling quarto ng taong nakalipas hanggang unang quarto ng taong kasalukuyan.

May pitong (7) buwan na ang nakalipas nung naudlot ang inaasam-asam na “walk in the park”, ilang buwan ang nagdaan nung matapos ang campaign propaganda “victory sa SONA” ni Ate Glo, nailibing ng buhay ang impeachment 1 at 2 sa Tongreso, nag-conter attack ang Malakanyang sa mga kaaway nito sa politika. Ilang daan ang napaslang at ipinadukut, lumarga ang people's initiative at naka-abang sa kasalukuyan ang Con As ni Tainga't Kilay sa Tongreso. Maliban sa Stop Chacha, walang malinaw na kasunod na political projects (tactical) ang Kilusang Kaliwa't demokratiko sa darating na 2007 election.

Pare-pareho nating tanggap ang deka-dekadang kabulukan ng sistemang elektoral at procedure sa ating bansa. Sa punto de vista ng IPD, may katagalan at kaliwanagan ang panawagang electoral reform; baguhin, iamyenda, mapangHATI at napag-iwanan na ng panahon ang Omnibus Election Code, ang sistema ng party list at kredibilidad ng Comelec.

Naniniwala tayo na ang katangian ng ating eleksyon ay pangunahing kompetisyon lamang ng mga personalidad, kapangyarihan at makinarya. Sapagkat ang sinasabi nating kompetisyon ay sa pagitan lamang ng mga indibidwal at hindi sa PARTIDO o sa plataporma de gubyerno. Nakabaon ng malalim ang umiiral na relasyon, ang isang sistema't relasyong padri-padrino, ang utang na loob, bata-bata, ang “bossism, (boss ko'yan noh) at panunumbalik ng casique't oligarkiya.”

Bukud sa un-even development ng voters location, di balansyado o di pantay ang pag-unlad ng ating lipunang ginagalawan. Malaki ang naging pinsala o epekto sa mamamayan Pinoy o sa botanteng Pinoy ang kabulukan ng sistema ng eleksyon at pulitika. Habang may mga lugar na sinasabing mauunlad (industrialisado, urbanisado, middle class area?), mabilis na lumalaki at lumalawak ang matinding marginalization (karalitaan) ng populasyon. Tumitindi ang kumpas ng migration pattern (alsa balutan) mula sa kanayunan tungo sa kalunsuran, meaning mula sa atrasadong kalagayan, kawalan ng oportunidad sa probinsya patungong Kamaynilaan.

Dahil sa pagdarahop, karalitaan ng ating mga kababayan, sinamantala't matingkad hanggang sa kasalukuyan ang Kasal, Binyag at Libing (KBL), isang uri ng pribadong relasyon, pakikipag-ugnayan o serbisyo sa rural poor man at urban poor areas.

Personality, character traits at image oriented ang botanteng Pinoy, ang suma total, lantay na MACHO ang pampulitikang kultura. Nakakalungkot isiping na HINDI usapin ngayon kung sino ang tunay na magseserbisyo't maraming alam sa mga isyung pangnasyunal, ang mas litaw, ang mas matimbang ay kung sino at kanino kikita ang botante. Ang labanan sa ngayon ay kung sino ang mas may logistic at maayos na makinarya sa halalan.

Hindi mapagpasya sa electoral contest kung ika'y popular at maraming alam, ang mapagpasya sa ngayon ay kung sino ang MAGALING MANDAYA. Parang sinasabi na ang lahat ng paraan ay gamitin upang manalo at makapasok sa top 10 slate. Kaya naman ka'y daling unawain kung bakit sumikat at maraming "hello Garci" sa isang institusyong naatasang magbilang, magdagdag at magbawas ng boto, ang COMELEC.

Tactically at strategically, lubhang magkaiba kung paano itatrato, ang katangian ng mga botanteng Pinoy sa kalunsuran kung saan ang “market votes” o ang labanang propaganda ang siyang magdadala ng labanan, kaysa sa kanayunan kung saan ang “machine politics” (well oiled machinery) ang karaniwang kumpas ng pagpapanalo.

KAYA LANG.... Anumat-anumang ang mangyari, magkaroon man ng electoral reform o manatili tayo sa dating gawi, meaning walang mababago sa mannual na pagbibilang ng Comelec (ibinasura ng SC ang Automated Counting Machine), withdrawal of support man sa hanay ng junior officers, insureksyon man, rebolusyon man o pipol power, natuto't naistablished na rin ng Kilusan ang TEKNOLOHIYA sa eleksyon lalo na ang usapin ng pagpapanalo at kahit ano pa ang mangyari, "walang dudang matutuloy ang 2007."

Bilang mga progresibo't nag-aadvocate ng pagbabago, sa ayaw man natin o sa gusto, kailangang nating maging vigilant, kailangang pumapel, kailangang maghanda sa 2007 election lalong-lalo na sa Senatoriable.

Ayon sa mga lumalabas na senatoriable electoral survey, 12 sa nangunguna sa kasalukuyan ay pawang mga nasa elite oposisyon; (1) ang dating Senator Legarda (48.6%); (2) Senator Francis N. Pangilinan (39.0%); (3) Senator Panfilo M. Lacson (34.9%); (4) Senator Manuel B. Villar, Jr. (34.2%); (5) Senator Ralph G. Recto (33.1%); (6) former Senator Vicente C. Sotto III (31.0%); (7) Atty. Aquilino Pimentel III (29.9%); (8) Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter S. Cayetano (29.5%); (9) former Senator Greogorio B. Honasan (27.7%); (10) San Juan Mayor JV Ejercito-Estrada (23.8%); (11) Ilocos Norte Representative Imee R. Marcos (23.1%); and (12) former Senator John Henry Osmeña (22.7%).

Summary of the 10 May 2004 Senate of the Philippines election results
Rank Candidate Party Votes
1. Manuel Roxas II K-4 - Liberal Party 19,372,888
2. Ramon Revilla, Jr. K-4 - Lakas CMD 15,801,531
3. Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. KNP / PDP-Laban 13,519,998
4. Maria Ana Consuelo Madrigal KNP 13,253,692
5. Richard Gordon K-4 - Lakas CMD 12,707,151
6. Pilar Juliana Cayetano K-4 - Lakas CMD 12,542,054
7. Miriam Defensor-Santiago K-4 - PRP 12,187,401
8. Alfredo Lim KNP 11,286,428
9. Juan Ponce Enrile KNP 11,191,162
10. Jinggoy Estrada KNP - PMP 11,094,120
11. Manuel Lapid K-4 - Lakas CMD 10,970,941
12. Rodolfo Biazon K-4 - Liberal Party 10,635,270

13. Robert Barbers K-4 - Lakas 10,624,585
14. Ernesto Maceda KNP 9,944,328
15. John Henry Osmeña K-4 - Independent 9,914,179

Pinagsanggunian: Philippine Commission on Elections

Batay SWS survey na llamadong nakahanay na 12 mga pangalan, mae-engganyo tayo sa unang tingin, kaya lang nakakalungkot suriin sa bahagi natin na halos ang karamihan ay nabibilang sa elite opposition! Malinaw na tagos hanggang buto ang kahinaan at kabulukan ng sistema ng halalan sa bansa. Para sa isang aktibista, mag-aalangan, magdududa, mahihirapan siyang sikmurahing dalhin ang halos lahat nito sa 2007. Maaring asahang magdeliver o may bagong-politikang susulpot sa isa o tatlo sa kanila.

Kaya lang, inaasahang marami pang mga kaganapang maaring magpabago habang papalapit ang 2007. Mga pagbabo sa mga pormasyon, re-aalignment ng pwersa o mga kakaibang mga koalisyon o kaganapang politikal sa magkabilang panig ng pampulitikang larangan. Ang sigurado, batay sa survey at kung bukas na ang election, pupulutin sa kangkungan ang administration ticket (senate slate) sa 2007.

Mahalagang mapag-aralan ng progresibong kilusan ang latag at taya ng electoral mapping at scanning sa senatoriable na labanan, balangkasin ang stratehiya't taktika at itayo ang matibay-tibay na gulugud na lalamnan ng mga kadreng elektoral na siyang magbubuo't magtratransporma't magpapalakas ng BASENG ELEKTORAL ng Kilusan. Sapagkat Senatoriable ang labanan, "botong merkado, imahe't kredibilidad ang isang maaasahan. May malaking papel ang gawaing pakikipag-alyansa't pakikipagnegosasyon, lalo na't iisa lang naman ang ating ilalako (Randy David) na pumasok sa top TEN, unang sampu.

Maaring magkanya-kanya ang Kilusang Demokratiko't Kaliwa sa Party List election, malaki naman ang posibilidad na magkaisa ito kahit pansamantala na bitbitin si Randy David sa SENADO. Dagdag pa, batay sa track record, malaki ang pag-asa, ang kakayahan at kapabilidad ng Kilusang sa Pilipinas na mabilisang i-translate bilang Base Vote ang buong organisasyon.

Bilang mga propagandista at bilang malikhaing makilos sa mayaamang karanasan ng gawaing grassroot organizing at networking. Kung pagsasam-samahin ang lahat ng botong nakalap nito nuong mga nakarang nagdaang halalan (20 years) at maidevelop, mamultiply ng 3 hanggang 4 beses (2.5 million x 4 = 10.5 million votes plus NEGO votes), may dagdag na diskarte, maari sabihing ilang kayod pa, ilang kahig pa sa target votes na 14.0 million ay kakayanin para sa top 10 sa Senado si Ka Randy.

Sa nalalapit na 2007, kung naniniwala tayong walang mababago sa Konstitusyon at mananatili ang sistemang PRESIDENTIAL, maliban sa paglahok sa party-list, mahalagang pag-aralan ang pagpapatakbo't may manok tayong tatayaan sa SENATORIAL na labanan at wala ng ibang pagpilian, mga TRAPONG oposisyon o kay Kasamang Randy.

Doy Cinco / IPD
September 17, 2006

Pusali't marumi pa rin ang Kamaynilaan, dahil sa Dengue

Mula ng mainvolved ang LGUs (Metro Manila Mayors), partikular ang ULAP (Union of Local Authorities of the Phil) sa pamumulitika, sa bulag na pagsunod sa Malakanyang-DILG sec Puno, Sigaw ng Bayan sa Pipol Inisyatib at pagsusulong ng Cha Cha, gumuhong parang kastilyo ang kredibilidad ng mga Mayor, napabayaan tuloy nitong paglingkuran ang kanyang constituencies lalong-lalo na ang maralita.

Kamakailan lamang, bagamat maraming hindi naniwala, buong tikas at yabang na ipingalandakan ng mga Mayors na "ganap ng super linis, the cleanest city ang kanilang lunsod." Unang pumutak, nagpropa at nagmagaling ay si Atienza ng Manila, ang isa sa pangunahing promotor ng No Election at pipol inisyatib ng country.

Matapos ang ilang buwang panloloko sa propagandang "malinis", bumulaga sa mga pahayagan, headline ang kasong DENGUE sa Metro Manila. Batay sa ilang statistics, mula January hanggang August 2006, tumaas ng 47 % ang kaso ng dengue sa Kamaynilaan partikular sa CAMANAVA area (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas at Valenzuela), Quezon City, Manila, Marikina at Morong, Rizal.

Mahirap mabiktima sa ngayon ng dengue. Maliban sa gastos sa pagpapahospital, damay ang pag-aaral at panahong maigugugol mo sa ibang gawain. Minsan na rin nabiktima ng dengue ang aking anak at ilang niyang ka-eskwela sa high school may sampung taon na ang nakalipas. Dahil dito, iba-iba ang naging mga reaksyon ng school admin at parent teacher's association; may nagsasabing alisin na ang urban poor section sa harapan ng school premises (Aghan road), magsagawa ng fumigation kahit pinaniniwalaang useless na paraan at linisin ang buong campus.

Kada buwan, binabaybay ko ang Quiapo, mula dating Raon hanggang Ongpin (Chinese doctor at bumibili ng gamot) at pabalik na binabaybay ko ang maliliit na tributaries na lansangan patungong Recto hanggang umabot sa Mega Train Station. Maka ilang beses na rin akong nakabisita sa ilang barangay sa QC, ang Commonwealth, Batasan, Payatas at Holy Spirit. Parang pakirandam ko sa sarili na wala ka sa lugar na sinasabing pinakamayamang lunsod (Internal Revenue Allotment) sa bansa. Pakirandam ko sa sarili na nasa 1970s circa ako ng Balut, Tondo na malapit sa Tambakan (orihinal na bundok basura). Hindi ko maarok, matanggap na hanggang ngayon, tatlumpu't taon ang nakalipas ay umiiral pa, hindi pa mareso-resolba ang isyu ng maayos na komunidad, malinis na kapaligiran at good local governance. Parang walang asenso at walang nagbabago.

Ayon kay Dr. Eric Tayag officer-in-charge ng DOH National Epidemiology Center, umabot na sa 13,500 sa kabuuan ang kaso at 167 na ang namatay sa dengue. Dagdag pa ng DOH, may tinatawag na pulu-pulutong (cluster), maliliit at tukuy na lugar sa Metro Manila ang karaniwang napuruhan ng kasong dengue.

Nangunguna sa talaan ay ang 13 pulutong lugar na tinamaan sa Quezon City, ang tinaguriang pinakamayamang LGUs sa Pilipinas (tax collection); ang barangay Tatalon, Tandang Sora, San Bartolome, Payatas, Masambong, Loyola Heights, Holy Spirit, Gulod-Novaliches, Cubao, Commonwealth, Manresa, Batasan Hills at Bagbag.

Pumapangalawa ang 7 lugar sa Valenzuela; Ugong, Marulas, Malinta, Karuhatan, Lawang Bato, Gen. T. de Leon, and Bigna. Pangatlo ang 5 lugar sa Caloocan City; Bagong Silang, Libis, Talisay, Lapu-Lapu- Maypajo, Julian Felipe-Sangandaan. Pang-apat ang limang (5) lugar sa Malabon City; Acacia, Catmon, Longos, Potrero and Tonsuya.

Pang-lima (5th) ang Manila na kung saan ang “magaling” na Mayor Atienza ng Manila matatagpuan; Oroquieta-Sta. Cruz, Quiricad a-Sta. Cruz, New Antipolo, Hermosa-Tondo and F. Varona-Tondo. Dalawang cluster na lugar sa Muntinlupa; Bayanan and Putatan. Tatlong lugar sa Navotas; Dagat-Dagatan, Tangos, and Tanza. Dalawa sa Paranaque; Moonwalk and Sucat. Tag-iisa sa Pasig at Taguig. Grabeng napuruhan din ang Marikina at Morong, Rizal.

Isang malaking sampal sa pagmumukha ng mga Mayor ang pagsambulat ng kasong DENGUE sa lunsod. Sa ayaw man natin sa gusto, tanggap man natin o hindi, pinatunayan ng mga pangyayari na PUSALI'T MARUMI pa rin ang Kalakhang Manila. Nahubaran at lumabas ang tunay na SIGAW ng BAYAN sa Kamaynilaan, ang tunay nitong estado, ang nakakaiyak, ang kalunus-lunus na kalagayang ng ating kapaligiran na sa aking pagtantya'y siyang ugat, punu't dulo kung bakit may DENGUE;
Ang isyu ng basura, walang maayos na sistema ng waste disposal, "kulang- kulang sa kalahati" ng kabahayan sa Kamynilaan (populasyon) ang walang matinong sewerage system, barado at maruming kanal, malinis na maiinum na tubig, ang matinding polusyon at ang lumalaking bilang ng maralitang lunsod, ang kakulangan ng PABAHAY, hospital at health center sa komunidad at iba pang mga batayang serbisyong inilaan ng lokal na gubyerno (LGUs) sa mamamayan.

Pagkatapos lolokohin ng mga Mayor na ito ang mga tao at sasabihing ang problema ay Senado, ang sistema ng bicameral-presidential at dapat wala ng election? Sa kabila nito, ibinoboto't paulit-ulit na narere-elect pa ang mga kupal na ito sa pwesto, sa pagkaMAYOR!

Mga simpleng problema na walang dudang magpapatuloy kahit magbago ng sistema ng paggugubyernong PRESIDENTIAL at PARLIAMENTARYO. Mga simpleng isyung dapat sanang pinag-ukulang pansin ng ating punong lunsod. Kung naresolba na ito sa ibang mauunlad na lunsod sa Asia, sa Europa at Amerika, walang dahilan kung bakit hindi makakayanang resolbahin, gawin ito sa Kamaynilaan.

Ayon sa ilang experto ng World Health Organisation (WHO), sa nakalipas na sampung taon, may nakikitang kakaibang pattern ng pagsambulat ng dengue sa Asia. Ang isang binabanggit na kadahilanan ay ang mabilis na pagbabago ng lifestyle at movements ng populasyon mula sa kanayunan at kalunsuran. Ang ilan sa tinukoy na nag-eemerge ay ang nagbabagong uri ng pamumuhay (lifestyle). Dahil dito, nakapagpalakas sa paglaganap ng dengue ang mga containers na ginagamit sa pagsalok ng tubig, gulong na ginagamit pampabigat sa bubong, jars, mga lata, flower base, mga boteng nakakalat at iba pang bagay na siyang pinamumugaran ng mga lamok.

Ayon kay Dr. Kevin Palmer ng WHO's Manila-based Western Pacific Regional Office, nagsimula ang naturang outbreak ng sakit sa kalunsuran (cities) at habang bumibilis, lumalawak at lumalaki ang Ubanization, sabay na lumawak din ang mga LAMOK. Batay sa kanilang pagsusuri, sa nakalipas na sampung taon, ang dengue ay kakambal na sakit ng MARALITANG Lunsod na naninirahan sa kalunsuran at at maging kanayunan. Ibig sabihin, mas malaki ang tsansang tamaan, mas vulnerable na tamaan, malaki ang panganib at malaki ang posibilidad na magkaroon ng atake ng dengue outbreak sa mga lugar na mahina't mababa ang Serbisyong Pangkalusugan at Maralitang Lunsod.

Idinagdag pa ng Geneva-based global health agency, na dalawa sa pinakamahirap na bansa sa South-east Asia's, tulad ng Burma at Cambodia ang palagiang binibisita ng dengue outbreak. Nagkaroon din ng kaso ng dengue sa India, Bangladesh and Bhutan. Sa kalaunan, malamang ka-level, kahanay na ang Metro Manila sa mga bansang nabanggit nating suki na ng dengue outbreak.

Hindi kataka-taka kung ang Metro Manila ay palagiang pineperwisyo ng dengue. Naiiba ang uri ng gawaing paggugubyerno ang inaatupag ng mga Mayor. Pabagsak ang kalidad ng pamumuhay sa Kamaynilaan at maging sa buong kapuluan. May mga tendensiyang hindi marandaman ng taumbayan kung may gubyerno ba o wala.

Patuloy ang paghihikahos, lumalaki ang bilang ng maralitang lunsod. Nananatiling buluk ang serbisyo publiko (health servises). Paulit-ulit ang katiwalian at maling prioritization sa pagbubudget. Pamumulitika ang pangunahing pinagkakaabalahan ng mga Mayor. Walang maayos na mekanismo ng partisipasyon at kooperasyon ng mamamayan sa gawaing lokal na paggugubyerno. Kung kaya't maari nating sabihing SIMTOMA, kakambal lamang ng kaso ng DENGUE ang BAD GOVERNANCE ng ating mga lokal na ehekutibo sa bansa.

Doy Cinco / IPD
September 16, 2006

Unemployment, Underemployment rise amidst weak job creation

July 2006 Labor Force Survey

After easing in the last six quarters, unemployment rose again in July this year, even as underemployment continued to hit new highs since 1998, according to the latest labor force survey (LFS) done by the National Statistics Office (NSO). While the economy manages to add jobs, this has failed to match the growth in the labor force, resulting in deeper jobs deficit.

Unemployment went up to 11.7% in the third quarter compared to 10.9% in the same period last year. After six consecutive quarters of decline, the number of jobless Filipinos jumped by 395,000 in July to 4.4 million from 4.0 million in the same month last year.

Higher unemployment came on the back of slow job creation. Net job creation was 736,000 over the last 12 months even as the labor force grew by 1.1 million resulting in rising joblessness. The pace of job creation was in line with expectations given moderate 5.5% GDP growth in the second quarter of 2006.

Unlike in previous quarters when the bulk of new jobs came from agriculture, additional jobs in July came mostly from services, which added 873,000 jobs from its year-ago level. By contrast, agriculture lost 149,000 jobs while employment in industry barely nudged.

Significantly, underemployment rose to 23.5% in July from 20.1% in the same period last year. This translates to an increase of 1.3 million underemployed workers. Underemployment has been surging since April 2005 just as unemployment began to taper off. Rising underemployment at a time when the economy continues to produce jobs indicate poor quality of employment being generated.

Visible underemployment or involuntary part-time employment also increased to 13.3% up from 12.6% in July 2005. This brings visible underemployment to 13.7% in the first three quarters of 2006, the highest rate since the current data series started in 1988. Rising involuntary part-time employment in recent quarters can be traced to the fact that new employment has been coming mostly from agriculture. Jobs in agriculture are characterized by short work hours.

The shift to services as the major source of new jobs in third quarter 2006 has, however, resulted in higher invisible underemployment, which reached 9.8%, up from 7.5% in July 2005. Invisible underemployment refers to full-time workers wanting additional work hours owing mainly to low earnings. The number of invisibly underemployed rose by 826,000 to 3.3 million based on the latest data. Many jobs in services are characterized by long work hours to compensate for low earnings.

Escalating underemployment is important because it may also indicate rising poverty incidence. The underemployed are likely to become working poor given insufficient incomes to carry their families above the poverty line. Moreover, regional underemployment is positively related to poverty incidence. Regions with high underemployment rates tend to have high poverty rates. The latest poverty statistics available, however, is for 2003, hence does not reflect this new trend.

Clarence Pascual
Labor Education and Research Network (LEARN)
15 September 2006

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Rebellion is not Terrorism


‘The militarist Arroyo adminis-tration, we fear, is pursuing a campaign that could turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.’

The horrific attacks by Islamic militants in New York and Washington five years ago have introduced marked changes in the way power is exercised globally.

The attacks probably were a deliberate attempt by Osama bin Laden to provoke the United States into a response not commensurate to the actual damage inflicted. If so, Bin Laden has succeeded brilliantly. The United States invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, where it is now bogged down in wars without seeming resolution in the near future.

The war on terror has overshadowed the clearly emergent wave of democracy and self-determination that was sweeping the global landscape pre-9/11. At that time that the people power-type of revolutions in the authoritarian states in Europe were seen as a precursor of similar movements that would sweep away the remnants of despotism in the world, not excluding the absolutist regimes in most of the Middle East.

The global war on terror has taken its toll even in the Philippines, which Gloria Arroyo has perversely volunteered as a battleground in a conflict where it was not a direct participant. No, this is not to condone the Abu Sayyaf which deserves to be fully treated as bandits and thugs. But the convenient classification of the communist rebels and the Islamic secessionists (in the latter case a classification suspended in the meantime that peace negotiations are going on) as terrorists has, we believe, brought us farther away from a political solution to these security concerns.

The communist rebellion, for example, had always been primarily treated as a problem rooted in poverty and social injustice before the rise to dominance of the militarist Arroyo administration. Now, the doctrine is to kill them all – armed guerrillas, supporters, sympathizers and fellow travelers – in the name of the crusade against terrorism.

The hostilities in the South are for the moment in a state of suspended animation. Peace talks have not been called off but prospects of a peace agreement are becoming dimmer by the day. The nation is again on the knife’s edge. There is an even chance for either peace or war. And if it would turn out to be the latter, it’s a certainty new hostilities would be packaged also as a crusade against terrorism.

The result in both cases would be to do violence to the twin rebellions’ self-understanding of themselves – as movements directed at bringing about what they consider desirable alternative social, political and economic structure (a national democratic state for the communist rebels; a separate Islamic state for the secessionists). To ascribe to them a commitment to mindless, nihilistic violence that we identify with terrorism could bring about the very terror we seek to avoid.

The militarist Arroyo administration, we fear, is pursuing a campaign that could turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Muling na-scam ng P3.3 bilyon plus ang Gov't sa PIATCO controversy

Tayo na naman ang papasan sa P3.3 bilyong ibabayad ng gubyerno sa PIATCO, sa kumpanyang aleman Fraport AG at Takenaka (gumawa ng NAIA Terminal 3). Nai-lift ng Court of Appeal (CA) ang TRO hinggil sa kabayarang compensation ng gubyerno sa PIATCO, meaning TALO ang Malakanyang (o sadyang nagpatalo?) at naabswelto ang PIATCO sa KASO! Habang nagsasaya't natutuwa si Ate Glo, nagluluksa't nagdadalamhati naman si Mang Pandoy, Aling Amelita at si Mang Juan!

Hindi na nag-iisip, PRANING na't NABUBUANG na ang mga matataas na opisyal ng PALASYO at gubyerno! Kung sa bagay, kahit sinong magaling ang lumagay sa kanilang katayuan (taong Malakanyang), napapa-inutil, napapariwara't nagiging mga tanga't gago.

Sa loob ng burukrasya, nawawalan ka ng opsyon, nabubura ang mga pagsisikap, inobasyon, imahinasyon mo (matataas na opisyal) at nagiging isa kang bulag na masunuring bata. Nawawala sa lugar ang kabayanihan lalo na kung may masasagasaan sa taas o ika'y malapit sa kawali ng palasyo. Padri-padrino, talangka mentality at kung hindi ka makikiisa sa malaking agos ng katiwalian, ikaw pa ang lalabas na walang pakisama, gago, tanga at walang dudang tigpas ang ulo mo. Ito ang burukrasya sa ilalim ng nanlulumong 'strong republic."

Headline kahapon sa mga pahayagan ang P3.3 bilyon ibabayad ng gubyerno sa PIATCO! Ang sad and lonely rito, maliban sa P3.3 bilyon ibabayad sa PIATO, ang gumawa ng NAIA 3 Airport, mayroon pa itong succeeding installments (inililihim) na nagkakahalaga ng $565.0 million (P33.0 bilyon) kabayaran. Bukud sa natalo ang gubyerno sa kaso, may COVER-UP pa sa TOTOONG halagang babayaran dito!

Dahil sa compensation sa expropriation ng NAIA Terminal 3, papasanin na naman ng mamamayang Pilipino sa anyo ng buwis at mataas na bayad ng Terminal Fees! Hindi lang ito, may hiwalay na babayarang din ang gubyerno sa halagang $425 milion sa FRAPORT Germany at sa Takenaka (isang kontratistang Aleman at Hapon na kasamang gumawa ng NAIA 3) na $80.0 million .

Kung hindi tayo namamali, lumalabas na mahigit $1.0 bilyong (P50.0 bilyon) ang lahat ng bayarin sa expropriation ng NAIA 3 Terminal. Ang asar pa dito, mahinang kalidad ang pagkakagawa nito kaya nga bumigay ang bubungan ng Airport, hindi pa lubusang tapos ang NAIA 3, mangangailangan pa ito ng panibagong halagang $100.0 million para makompleto ang paggawa nito.

Sa totoo lang, batay sa mga abogado at PIATCO, ang aktwal na halaga (total cost) at nagastos sa pagpapaggawa ng NAIA Terminal 3 ay $175.0 million LAMANG, kumpara sa ngayong inaasahang $1.0 bilyong lomobong babayaran ng gubyerno. Sana pala ang gubyerno na lamang ang gumawa ng terminal. Kung sino man ang in-charge sa Malakanyang sa PIATCO controversy, bukud sa tanga, naloko, involved sa anomalya. Can you imagine, mula sa $175.0 milyon, dahil sa hindi nag-iisip at kabobohan, lomobo't naging mahigit $1.0 billion?

Kung tutuusin, ang halagang ito ay maaring KATUMBAS NG MAHIGIT dalawang (2) high- tech, malalaki at modernong airport, isang MRT at dalawang (2) malaking hospital ng bayan. Sayang! Ang Malakanyang ang malinaw na manangot sa KARUMALDUMAL na KRIMENG ito.

Kung matatandaan, tatlong presidente (FVR, Erap Estrada at GMA) ang pinagdaan ng maanomalyang kontrata sa PIATCO. Dineklarang null and void ng Supreme Court at iba pang mga pinagdaanang legal na usapin ang nasabing kontrata. Una; nilabag nito ang batas sa patakarang majority Pilipino share na 51%, pangalawa; nirevised, hindi nasunod ang mga orihinal na kontrata (isang subway connecting NAIA 2) at bidding, pangatlo; ang kaguluhan, kiskisan sa mga involved at humawak ng proyekto-kontrata at panghuli, ang katiwalian, dilhensya, ang sabwatan at pangungurakot ng ilang ma-impluwensyang (Unang Ginoo at tanging Esposong si Mike Arroyo?) tao sa Malakanyang.

Dapat pinag-aralan ng gubyerno ang track rekord at kakayahan ng mga kontratista sa bidding o subastahan. Shocking, tubong lugaw, laway ang puhunan! Can you imagine na $14.0 million lamang ang CAPITAL na nailagay ng pamilyang Cheng Bon Yong (may-ari) sa Piatco? Sa bidding process pa lamang, nakapambulsa, nakatabo na antimano ang mga dorobo ng Malakanyang.

Isa pang nakakapanglumo, bakit ie-expropriate ng gubyerno ang isang property (NAIA 3) na kanya naman? Bakit ie-expropriate niya ang kanyang sarili?

Maliban sa terminal fees, ano ang mayroon sa bagong terminal airport na ito at atat na atat itong i-compensate ang PIATCO bilang expropriation compensation? Bakit hindi na lang hinayaan sa PIATCO ang pangangasiwa, pag-ooperate at kontrol sa NAIA 3 Terminal airport at (batay sa BOT frame) hintayin na lamang ang panahon na i-turn over, ihatag na sa gubyerno ang terminal? Akala natin seryoso ang gubyerno sa PRIVATIZATION, dito lang pala sa airport, kita mo ang paglalaway at pagiging GANID ng dorobo sa gubyerno.

In the first place, ni cinco ay wala dapat ibayad ang Malakanyang, dahil nga isa itong BOT projects (built-operate-transfer), malinaw ang batas hinggil sa BOT. Sa konsepto't katangian ng BOT, ang project builder ang aako ng lahat ng gastusin, ang construction cost at upang marecover nito ang kanyang ginastos, tutubo't kikita ito ng malaki sa pagpapatakbo ng terminal at sa takdang panahon mag-expire ang kontrata, saka pa lamang ito itra-transfer, ipapasa, itu-turn over sa gubyerno.

Iligal ang nasabing pagbabayad! Kung saka-sakaling sang-ayunan, ituloy pa rin ng gubyerno ang pagbabayad, maaring (sa tamang panahon) maisakdal sa korte sa kasong plunder at pakikipagsabwatan si Ate Glo, bilang commander-in-chief at presidente, ito ang babala ng ilang mga expertong abugado na nagsubaybay ng kaso ng PIATCO.

Paulit-ulit na lang ito (Bataan NuclearPower Plant, IPPs, MRT, Macapagal Highway, Mega Pacific Consortium, mga balaking privatization ng NAPOCOR, Transco, PNCC, iba pang mega projects), hindi na natuto ang gubyerno. Isa na naman ito sa mahabang listahang pangungurakot na madalas bukang bibig at pulutanin ng oposisyon laban kay Ate Glo.

Ang nakakatawa rito, parang pinagmamalaki pa ng gubyerno ang naging KATANGAHAN nito. Parang tuwang-tuwang inireport kay Ate Glo ni Exec Sec Eduardo Ermita at Sol General Antonio Natchura ang nasabing desisyon ng Court of Appeal.

Gusto pang palabasing nagtagumpay ang Malakanyang sa nasabing usapin. Sa katunayan, lalapag (NAIA Terminal 3) ang eroplanong sasakyan ni GMA mula sa siyam na araw na biyahe at 5 bansa sa Europa, Cuba at Hawaii. Malamang na pasinayaan, may ribbon cutting at hindi lang yan, muling magpopropagandang "natapos rin ang isyu at sa wakas ang bayan ang makikinabang at nagtagumpay".

Kabisado na natin ang spin doc ni Ate Glo, ipropropa na naman niyang, "isa na namang makasaysayang yugto sa country ang take over, big boost ito sa ekonomyang (turismo) patuloy na umuunlad at isa itong palatandaang bumubuti na ang serbisyo publiko at kumpyansang dayuhang mga mamumuhunan?" True?

Dito dapat ipinakita ng gubyerno na hindi totoong ikalawa tayo sa ASIA sa pangungurakot. Nagpakita sana ito ng paninindigang kontra sindikato't anomalya, maipakulong ang dapat mpakulong, walang sini-sino, puru't dalisay- transparency, hindi alintana kahit pa maulit ang sinasabing “white elephant” projects (BNPP), kahit mapahiya't laitin, nagpapakumbaba, handang tumanggap ng mali, manindigan sa mga pandaigdigang namumuhunan na dito sa Pilipinas, walang lugar ang suhulan, dilhensya at katiwalian!

Doy Cinco / IPD
September 9, 2007

Monday, September 04, 2006

na one two three (zero) na naman ang oposisyon

Kung sa bagay, hindi na ito balita. Hindi rin balita na matagal ng nakasalang, preperado't naka-abang ang Resolution 123o sa Tongreso. Ang balita ay kung nanaig ang oposisyon laban (resolution 123o) sa mayorya sa Tongreso kahapon.

Kung matatandaan, nalagay sa alanganin ang Pipol Inisyatib ni Gloria (PIG) nang maghugas, "ibasura" ito sa COMELEC at ipasa ang kahihinatnan nito sa Supreme Court. Kung matatandaan din, buong galak at tuwang i-anunsyo ng Kampi ni Ate Glo na si Tong Tanda Villafuerte na nakuha na raw nila ang sapat na bilang na 198 o 3/4 vote sa kabuuan, (batay ito sa isinasaad ng Article 17, Section 1 ng 1987 Constitution) upang itulak at maiconvene sa paraang CON Ashole (resolution 123o) ang pagbabago ng Konstitusyon (chacha).

Fake man ito (dinuktor man o psywar) ayon kay Rep Riza Hontiveros Baraquel ng Akbayan, ang totoo hindi kataka-takang dadami, magpapatuloy ang paghuhudas sa Tongreso lalu na sa hanay ng oposisyon. Kasalukuyang dumadanas ng matinding krisis at paksyunalismo ang minorya habang papalapit ang 2007 election.

Inaasahan na ring marami ang maghuhudas sa Tongreso, sabi nga ni Sec. Ninyo Bonito Mike Defensor, “bakit namin kayo bibigyan ng pondo (pork barrel), in the first place hindi n'yo nire-recognized ang Presidente, in the second place, gusto n'yong i-oust ang Presidente,” sa madali't salita, MONEY TALKs!

Mas mainam sana kung may idinagdag pang panghuli,"hindi naman kayo mga Pilipino, mga terorista kayo!" Sa cardinal-survival ruling ng isang politiko; ano ang mangyayari sa kaka-prinsipyo mo kung mabubura ka naman sa 2007?" Para sa kanila, kalokohan ang ugung-ugung na NO-EL, dahil pagbali-baligtarin man ang sitwasyon, status quo at pagbabago ng gubyerno, tuluy na tuluy ang halakan sa 2007!

I-abolished na ang Tongreso!

Ayon kay Villafuerte, ang mga naghunyango at pumirma ng con-ass resolution 123o ay sina Rep. Edgardo Angara Jr. (LDP, Aurora) Justin Chipeco (NP, Laguna), Florencio Noel (PL, An Waray) at Benjamin Agarao (Ind., Laguna) also signed the con-ass resolution. Tama si Tainga't Kilay De Venecia at Nograles nung sabihin nitong sa buwan ng Agosto ay tuluy na ang biyahe ng tren, ang kampanyahan, ang bonggahan at sayawang chacha sa Tongreso.

Muling pinatunayan kahapon kung paano KINUYOG, pinaglaruan ng mayorya ang minorya. Sa score na 30 – 7, ipinasa ng Komiteng (Constitutional Ammendment) pinamumugaran ng mga tuta't garapata ni Ate Glo at Tainga ang House Resolution 123o. Alisin natin ang zero, na 1 2 3 na naman ang oposisyon.

Sa resolutiong 123o, magkakaroon ng Con As at kikilalanin ang joint voting sa Tongreso. Ibig sabihin, unicameral na. Magkasama ang Senado at Tongreso sa mga labanan, sa mga buladas, sa mga diskurso't mga botohan sa ilalim ng Con As. Kung mangyayari ito, mauulit lamang ang walang kalatuy-latuy na bali-taktakang tampisaw na debate nuong impeachment 1 at 2 kung saan pinaglaruang parang bata ang oposisyon. Muling kukuyugin nito ang labanan, bukud pa sa nasunod ang plano't balakin nitong malusaw na nga ang Senado ng mga Baboy sa Tongreso.

Maliban sa walang enabling law, BICAMERAL pa rin ang ating lehislatura at gawa-gawa lamang ng mga alipores ni Ate Glo't Tainga ang joint session kuno. Malinaw pa sa kristal ng Konstitusyon na dapat “magkahiwalay na pagbobotohan ng dalawang kapulungan ng Kongreso ang Con As. Meaning, kung may labanan at botohan sa Tongreso, may hiwalay na labanan at botohan din sa Senado, ito ang isinasaad ng ating Konstitusyon, ani ni Sen Nene Pimentel. Kung sa bagay, kailan pa sinunod at tumalima (tiranny of numbers) ang mga baboy sa Tongreso?

Mas kapani-paniwala pang brabrasuhin ng mga maka-Chacha sa Tongreso ang Con As,(kahit pa ang PI) kahit walang partisipasyon ang Senado. Ayon sa ilang nagmamasid, isang bahagi sa estrehiya ng Malakanyang (scripted) ang naging desisyong i-reject ng Comelec ang PI upang sa gayon maitulak agad ito sa SC na siya namang mag-aapruba't mag-aaphold ng interpretation tungo sa Con As. Kung magkatotoo ito, magkasama sa banig ang Senado at Tongreso, jointly voting para sa Cha cha sa paraang Con As.

Lutung makoy ang tirada. “Pakunwaring padadamahin ang oposisyon, itatapon sa basurahan ang Pipol Inisyatib (PI) ng Supreme Court, pero mas deadly ang kapalit, ang ikalawang option na Con As ang siya namang kakatigan.”

Bagamat kumpiyansa si Pimentel na mananaig ang katwiran at katarungan sa magiging desisyon ng Korte Suprema, may ilan kinakabhan, nagdududa't may agam-agam na muling ma wa-one two three na naman ule ang oposisyon ng Malakanyang. Matatandaang mayorya ng mga mahistrado sa SC ay mga appointee't itinalaga ni Ate Glo.

Tutal babuyan na, ginagago't ginagamit lamang pandekorasyon ang oposisyon, mas maganda pa sigurong magsipag-aklas, lisanin na ang lahat ng minorya ang Tongreso, baka palakpakan pa sila ng country. Walang na tayong mahihitang katinuan sa Tongreso. Isa na siyang IRRELEVANT, USELESS, nakakahiya't wala ng layunin o purpose para sa country.

Hindi na siya maituturing na independent entity. Isa na itong rubber stamp ng ehekutibo, ng Malakanyang. Isang kapulungang maihahalintulad sa partidong Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) ni Marcos na nagmanipula sa Batasang Pambansa may tatlumpu't (20) taon na ang nakalipas.

Sapagkat kambal tuko ito ng Batasang Pambansa-KBL, walang nabago sa takbo ng politika. Napalitan lamang ng bagong PADRINO at mga bagong mukhang patron. Si Ate Glo, Kilay-Tainga, Tabako ang siya ngayong bagong Lola't Lolo ng mga patron sa lagay ng politika sa bansa.

Sa kabuuan, masasabi nating mga hindi tunay, isang fakeng kinatawan ang kalakhang bumibilang sa Tongreso. Nanalo dahil sa kahinaan ng Comelec at kabulukan ng sistemang elektoral, nanalo dahil sa Kasal, Binyag, Libing (KBL), nangdaya, dinaan sa logistic, laki ng makinarya at pamimili ng boto. Ang Tongreso at ang kapanalig nito sa Malakanyang ang siyang tunay na mga kriminal sa bansa. Nakinabang, taumabo, naglustay at nangurakot sa kabang yaman ng bansa sa pamamagitan ng mga suhol, lagay, komisyon (20-50%), dilhensya sa anyo ng pork barrel at sa mga paboritong proyektong inprastruktura.

Hindi ang Senado ang siyang dapat na malusaw, buwagin at mai-abolished, bagkus ang Tongreso. ANg Tongreso ang tunay na walang silbe at nagpahirap sa mamamayang Pinoy.

Kung ako kay Ate Glo at ni Tainga, kung may balak itong gumawa ng kasaysayan, itulak nila ang ConCon at isabay sa 2007 election.

Ang isang malaking tanong ngayon, isang malaking hamon ngayon ay kung handa ang ating mga sarili, kung handa ang Kilusang Demokratiko, kung handa ang kilusang Kaliwa kung saka-sakaling mag-swing sa ConCon ang labanan. Ano ang magiging posisyon ng STOP Cha-cha, ng ONE VoICE, ng simbahan, ng civil society at higit sa lahat ng Akbayan at Laban ng Masa?

Doy Cinco / IPD
September 5, 2006

Criminals both?

Criminals both?

‘Clearly the intent is to distract attention from the extra-judicial killings taking place in the here and now.’

The military said the evidence that the communist rebels were behind the killing of those they had suspected as government spies is far stronger than that linking soldiers and policemen in the current spate of murders targeting militants and journalists.

Capt. Ramon Zagala, deputy chief of the military’s public information office, said they have witnesses tagging communist party founder Jose Ma. Sison as having given the order to purge suspected DPAs (deep penetration agents). Fr. Romeo Intengan, S.J., mentor of national security adviser Norberto Gonzales, chimed in with the observation that the purge demonstrated the "extreme paranoia and ruthlessness" of communist rebels.

Zagala could be forgiven for believing that his revelation about the Sison-ordered bloodbath in the communist movement was something dramatic and earth-shaking He was probably in his short pants in the 1980s when the purge took place.

Intengan’s sally is understandable too. He is the unreconstructed cold war warrior who believes everything is justified in the war against those godless communists. But the issue at hand is state-sanctioned death squads, not the paranoia and the ruthlessness of Sison which are fairly well-known.

So, OK, the communist leaders’ hands drip with the blood of the innocents in their hundreds, thousands even, in the purges that took place almost 20 years ago. If Zagala would bother checking the communist party documents gathered by the intelligence agencies, we would find that CPP has long admitted responsibility and has offered its apologies to the victims.

This is not to justify what is patently unjustifiable. Our point is that the AFP is dredging up rebel atrocities of long ago and packaging them as new. Clearly the intent is to distract attention from the extra-judicial killings taking place in the here and now.

What we find more disturbing is the attempt to apply the same legal and moral norms on the atrocities of the NPAs and on those of the AFP.

Look, AFP leaders would say. The NPAs are more ruthless than we are. Even if your accusation that death squads have killed 700 militants, the NPAs have killed many, many more. You accuse us of human rights violations, but why don’t you also denounce the NPAs’ human rights violations?

The short answer is that the NPAs are rebels and are, thus, criminals by definition. The AFP and the PNP enjoy a monopoly of state-sanctioned violence to protect the people, not to slaughter them. If that distinction is not recognized, Gloria Macapagal might as well extend the service of her paragon of the soldier, Maj. Gen. Jovito "The Butcher" Palparan, and name him chief of staff.

In time, the AFP might yet surpass the atrocities of the rebels and turn into a criminal organization like the NPA with which it wants to be judged by the same standards.
September4, 2006

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Charter Change as an Advocacy

CHA CHA as an advocacy Agenda
Institute for Popular Democracy

The most important reason for amending the constitution is that it is the best way to respond to widespread dissatisfaction with our politics. Our political system is the same as that designed by the American colonial government and Quezon seventy years ago. It is not anymore capable of responding to the needs of the Philippines of the 21st century.

We are unhappy with the caliber of our politicians. But it is not enough to say we should replace them. With few exceptions, the system continuously produces corrupt and incompetent politicians. The best way to get better politicians is to change the whole system of representation starting with electoral system.

Among the substantive proposals are reforms on: executive-legislative relations – the form of government, central-local relations, and the electoral system.


What is a Constitutional Convention (ConCon)?
A Constitutional Convention is a body established by law to frame a new Constitution or revise an existing one. It requires the direct election of the delegates by the people. How many delegates are elected will be determined by Congress. The product of a Constitutional Convention will be approved by the people through a referendum.

Why ConCon over Con-Ass?
Constitutional reform should be democratic and pro-people. The amendment process should be fair, open, transparent and participatory. Our people have become weary of politicians and their partisan interests. That is why the attempts at constitutional reform during the Ramos and Estrada terms failed. The current proposal from the House of Representatives to convene a ConAss have raised fears that the 2007 presidential elections will be canceled and incumbent officials’ terms extended (NO-EL).

What are the advantages of ConCon?
A ConCon is not bounded by the interest of the members of Congress, it is free from suspicions that amendments will be self-serving to politicians’ interest. The members of a Constitutional Convention are directly elected by the people for the sole purpose of amending or revising the Constitution. They will be more focused on the job of producing a well-crafted Constitution.

Sectors that do not presently have representation in Congress may be given the opportunity to sit in the Constitutional Convention to enable them to participate in its drafting.

When should ConCon elections be held?
ConCon delegates should be elected simultaneous with the regular 2007 elections. This way, the new administration will not be able to stop constitutional reform. The ConCon can then deliberate on amendments and get their proposals approved in a referendum simultaneous with the MAY 2007 elections. This will give sufficient time for public debate on proposed amendments. A number of transitory provisions can then be implemented as early as 2007.

But isn’t ConCon more costly than Con-Ass?
Not really. ConCon is not as costly as we are made to believe. Those against ConCon argue that it will be very costly since there will be elections of delegates, plebiscite, etc. But since the election of delegates will be simultaneous with the 2007 election, this will require no additional cost.

It is simply adding another line/space in the ballot to write the name of the voter’s chosen delegate. The same will apply to the plebiscite after 2007 election. The costs then will only be related to the actual processes of deliberating the proposed amendments.

What will happen to the more progressive provisions of the 1987 Constitution?
We are committed to defend the hard-won guarantees of political freedoms, national patrimony and sovereignty and other pro-people provisions of the 1987 Constitution. We do not believe that the possibility that we would lose the struggle to defend these provisions is enough reason for us to oppose constitutional reform altogether.

The best way to defend these provisions is from within the constitutional reform process, not outside the process. Besides, unlike Estrada’s ‘Concord’ where changing the economic provisions was the priority, the ongoing reform process is directed at the political sections of the 1987 constitution.


What is the present form of government in the Philippines?
We have a presidential system borrowed from the United States. This operates on the principle of separation of powers among executive, legislative, and judicial branches. This implies that no two powers of government shall be vested in the same person or institution and there exists a system of checks and balances between the branches.

Under this system, the popularly elected president is a single executive acting both as head of government and head of state. The president nominates the members of the Cabinet and is confirmed by the legislature. They cannot simultaneously be members of legislature.

Why should we change from a Presidential to a Parliamentary System?
In theory, the presidential form of government is a good system. In practice, there are more parliamentary than presidential democracies in the world. In thePhilippines, the history of local-central government and executive-legislative relations have created a politics of corrupt deal-making. Instead of national interest, individual and family nterests determine policy; instead of rational decision-making, laws and implementation of laws are unpredictable and subject to the uncertainties of areglo.

The president has a lot of powers, but without strong political parties has to negotiate with individuals or factions in the legislature. Because in the absence of political parties, local political leaders control votes, the president often cannot get laws and policies implemented locally.

In a parliamentary system, the chief executive is the Prime Minister elected by the members of parliament. He/she can be removed through a ‘vote of no confidence’ or at the end of the parliament’s term. Members of parliament are elected with fixed terms of office but no limits on number of terms they can be reelected. This means both prime minister and legislators stay in office only as long as they enjoy majority legislative support. There is also a ceremonial head of state who symbolizes the solidarity of the nation. In a number of countries the ‘head of state’ is also given substantial powers.

Legislative Process
The unification of the executive and legislative branches in a parliamentary system will greatly improve the legislative process. Under the presidential system, disagreements between the president and even only one of the two houses of Congress will derail the process. Most years, the Philippine Congress approves only two or three bills of national importance other than the budget.

Crisis Management
The tenure of both the president and the legislature cannot be modified (shortened or prolonged) under normal circumstances. Presidential democracies cannot respond to crises as exit options like impeachment are difficult, protracted, and impracticable. Without constitutionally mandated exit options such as ‘votes of no confidence’ in parliamentary systems, extra constitutional options such as coup attempts or mass actions are encouraged.

Political Parties
One of the biggest problems with our political system is our weak political parties. A major reason for this is our electoral system which is anchored on electing individuals in a ‘first past the post’ contest. In elections for the House of Representatives, the single member district system makes political parties even weaker because parties are dependent on individual politicians instead of balancing party and individual politician.

All parliamentary systems are based on various combinations of proportional representation where votes are for parties and single member constituencies. In the Philippines, the party list system is not only limited (20% of the House of Representatives only), only 14 (1998) and 19 (2001) out of a total of 52 seats available have been allocated because of confusion in the COMELEC and the Supreme Court on the law.

One proposal is to split membership in a unicameral parliament 50/50 between enlarged single member districts and a party list proportional representation system. This will assure continuity with the present system and at the same time push the creation of stronger, program-oriented and accountable parties.

What are the essential features of a Parliamentary Government?
1. Executive Power is exercised by the Prime Minister with the assistance of a Cabinet composed of the heads of various departments or ministries. The National Assembly chooses the Prime Minister from the elected representatives of the Parliament. Members of the Cabinet are chosen by the Prime Minister from the National Assembly.

2. The Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet do not have a fixed term of office. They are elected for a set number of years, but they can be removed from office any time should their policies and performance fail to gain the support and confidence of the National Assembly.

3. In case of deadlock between the executive and the legislature, the legislature may force the Cabinet to resign in a no-confidence vote. A new Prime Minister is then elected, and a new Cabinet that enjoys the confidence of the National Assembly shall be formed by the new Prime Minister.

4. If the Prime Minister feels he has popular support but is unjustifiably being opposed by the National Assembly, he may call on the President to dissolve the National Assembly. A midterm election will be held wherein the people will decide on whom to give their support: to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet or to the National Assembly.

What are the variations in Parliamentary Forms of Government?
1. Under a Parliamentary setup, the legislature can be unicameral (e.g., Singapore, South Korea, New Zealand, and Finland) or bicameral (e.g., Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, UK, France, and Germany).

2. Also, government may either be unitary (e.g. France, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, United Kingdom) or federal type of state (e.g. Germany, Malaysia, Australia, and Belgium).

3. The Head of State can be a monarch or a president. The position of the monarch is ceremonial in countries like the UK, Malaysia and Thailand. In Germany and France, the presidents serve as heads of state. The President may be elected directly by an absolute majority vote of the people, by the Parliament, or by an electoral college consisting of representatives from the national legislature and state assemblies (e.g., India).

What are some of the features of parliamentarism that may address or offset the problems of presidentialism?

As both the executive and legislative powers will be fused into parliament, it will prevent gridlock and promote consensus in governance.It also has the capacity to better ensure stability and continuity in governance since there can be continuity in the party in power. Without engendering a constitutional crisis, the prime minister can be replaced in a variety of ways – by his/her party, by the formation of a new coalition, etc.

Government formation takes a short time because of the presence of a well-known shadow cabinet. Moreover, because of strong party discipline and clear lines of responsibility, passing the blame somewhere else or avoiding accountability cannot be done.


Why Federalism?
The Philippines has had long history with a centralized system of governance. As far back as the colonization of Spain, the country has been governed from Manila, the nation's capital. In the current debate for Charter Change, proponents of federalism believe that it is the answer to the age-old problems of inequitable distribution of wealth, slow pace of development in the country side, and the peace and order situation in Mindanao.

The country has enacted legislation that would bring the government closer to the people through administrative deconcentration and political devolution, most importantly the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991. Despite the success of local governments in the implementation of the LGC, much is still to be desired in the decentralization of governance in the country.

Why should we adopt Federalism?

What our country needs is a decisive paradigm shift. A shift to a parliamentary system is only one-half of the needed structural and institutional change in our form of government. The shift to federalism will complete the institutional and structural change our current political system requires. Federalism is a form of political structure that unites independent states within a larger political framework, but still allowing each state to maintain its own political integrity.

What is a federal system of government?

A federal system involves the establishment of relatively small, coexisting political units that are geographically within the boundaries of economic interaction and territorial reach of the central government. It is a system that institutionalizes the participation of local populations and communities to pursue development according to their particular competencies, culture and natural resources operationalized through its own charter or constitution.

What distinguishes a federal system from a unitary system of government?
In a federal system, the central government is prevented from becoming all-powerful and is given only the powers it needs. State governments are established as “regional localities”, free to handle local affairs according to the political desires of their constituents. In a unitary system, almost all policies and decisions emanate from the central government.

What is the structure of a federal system in general?

A federal system consists of the federal or national government and constituent states and local governments in each state. Each state government may define with local governments, the functions and powers of the latter.

Why have some countries adopted federalism?

Some countries have adopted federalism because of the need for new forms of functional administration since some political modalities have become insufficient in coping with people’s needs and problems. Federalism brings about greater autonomy for people in far-flung regions thus letting them address their needs and problems in their own way and making available adequate resources.

Why a federal system of government in the Philippines?

The present unitary and centralized form of governance of the Philippines is a remnant of its colonial past. It continues to be used as a tool for domination and control, hence the basic issue of inequality still remains to be solved. It has become unresponsive, irrelevant, and has engendered patronage politics, underdevelopment, poverty, and unresponsive governance.

In a federal system, power shall be transferred from the central government in Manila to the regions. Contrary to fears that this will dismember the country, the federal system will foster closer dialogue and interaction between the people and regional leaders because the locus of power is physically closer and accessible to the people.
What are some of the advantages of a federal system?

In a federalist system, power is divided between the National (federal) government and the Regional (state) governments. Usually, the national government’s authority encompasses national defense, foreign affairs, immigration, currency, and postal service while the regional governments with its own constitutions takes care of basic governance. The regions are therefore vested with powers, authority, and the resources to manage and govern in order to propel their development agenda.

What are the advantages of Federal System of Government?

1. A federal republic will bring about peace and unity in ethnic, religious and cultural diversity. This is especially true in Mindanao where for generations, the Christian settlers have not found just and lasting peace with Muslim residents. The traditional policy of assimilation and subordination has failed. On the other hand, responsive federalism will lead to accommodation within the Republic and discourage secessionism.

2. Federalism will improve governance through a new division and specialization of government functions. There will be a broad devolution of power, authority, and the needed revenues and resources from the national government to the States. Local governments will be closer to the people and have greater impact on their lives.

3. Federalism will empower state and local leaders and citizens throughout the country. With policies, programs, and decisions made outside the national capital, local leaders will assume greater responsibility for leadership and service delivery. People will be more involved and will demand better performance and accountability. As a consequence, they will be more willing to pay taxes to finance government programs for their own direct benefit.

4. Federalism will hasten the country's development. Since planning and policy decision making will be given to the States, there will be less bureaucratic obstacles to the implementation of economic programs and projects. There will also be inter-state and regional competition in attracting domestic and foreign investments and industries.

Resources will be better distributed among the provinces/regions since government revenues will be devolved. States will have more funds for infrastructure and other economic projects. Federal grants and equalization funding from the federal government and the more prosperous states will help support the less endowed and developed regions, and the poor and the needy across the land. This will result in more equitable development.

5. Federalism will enhance democracy. The citizens will have more opportunities to participate in state affairs beyond voting.

Is federalism suitable only for large countries and, therefore inappropriate for a relatively small country like the Philippines?

Federalism is feasible in both small and large countries. Political considerations are more important than size of the country. Large countries that have adopted the federal system include the United States, Australia, Canada, India, and Brazil. Smaller countries include Belgium, Pakistan, and Switzerland.

People’s organizations and other progressive groups are very hesitant to engage the constitutional reform process because they are afraid that if you open up the 1987 constitution for amendment, progressive provisions such as those limiting foreign ownership of certain sectors of the economy will be removed. Indeed there are groups who want to do this.
The Congressional Policy and Budget Office under the Speaker of the House of Representatives, for example, has proposed that these provisions be removed from the constitution and policy on foreign investment in these sectors be left up to a new parliament to decide.

Another group, that set up as a project of the Presidential Assistant for Special Concerns Bert Gonzales, has adopted the proposals of the PCCR. In 1999, President Joseph Estrada issued Executive Order 43 to create the Philippine Commission on Constitutional Reforms (PCCR) to "facilitate the study of proposals on economic reforms that can be accomplished through constitutional amendments." The PCCR concluded that certain provisions in the Constitution need to be clarified and reviewed to avoid ambiguity, moderate traditions of protectionism and afford flexibility to future policy makers.

Is it necessary that we make amendments to the economic provisions in the Constitution?
We are committed to preserve the pro-people provisions in the Constitution.We believe that charter amendments are not necessary to spur economic growth. Amending the charter will have little effect on the entry of foreign investments. Most surveys of foreign investors show that they have other concerns beyond low barriers to entry. Many business people argue that amendments are not necessary given the adequacy of provisions in Article XII and other legislation allowing participation of foreigners in economic activities of the country.

Shall we allow foreigners to involve in the development our national resources?
It is ideal for Filipinos to develop and benefit from our natural resource endowments. We have been fortunate to have enormous resources in this country but until now vast portion of these resources remain untapped.

Why these resources have remained untapped is a question Lack of capital and appropriate technology For sure a lot of us have pondered on the question why these resources remain untapped and for sure one of the many our answers may have been the lack of capital and appropriate technology.

Removing capital requirements for foreign juridical entities but not individuals could be an option in accessing capital and technology. Or at least, perhaps it may serve the country’s economic interest if we could give Congress and our economic managers the maximum flexibility to determine from time to time, pursuant to the current economic needs and circumstances of the country and the its specific industries, policy and regulations relating to foreign investments.

At present what are being resorted are creative ways in skirting the constitutional prohibitions related to foreign investments. Because these creative navigating of the provisions in the constitutions are which are also sources of rent seeking behaviors and outright corruption, giving more room for foreigners to involve in the development of our natural resources may prove better in the long-run.

Shall we allow foreign ownership of land?

It may help us understand the complex issues related to land ownership if we start by looking at land classification. Lands that are alienable and disposable (thus could be owned) are only agricultural lands. Agricultural lands are further classified according to its use, either agricultural per se, industrial, commercial, residential or institutional. Forest/timber lands, mineral lands or national parks are non- alienable and non-disposable. The big issues surrounding land ownership debate is one of national patrimony, security and control.

One way to approach the debate is to determine which of the different land classifications make us very vulnerable when we allow foreign ownership on them. Perhaps it would be prudent to fight for sole Filipino ownership of agricultural and residential lands but maybe not with commercial and industrial lands. Making available commercial and industrial lands may not compromise our security but could possibly spur economic growth and productivity.

How about in public utilities?

The big issue here is the concern for national patrimony and security. But while these concerns are valid, we should separate issues relating infrastructure, media, telecommunications and education because their security dimensions may not necessary be the same in all areas.

It is an accepted fact that developing the country’s infrastructure to the level comparable with our neighboring countries requires billions of capital investments. The Philippines, however, do not have the required investments and thus the ensuing question: what shall we do to develop our infrastructure? Some are now open in the possibility of lifting the not more than 40% ownership requirements for non-Filipinos in companies wanting to assist in upgrading our infrastructure. Partly this have been done in the case of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) who helped solved our problem with brownouts in early 1990s.

In the case of media, there are people who also argue that foreign ownership in media (broadcast and print) be allowed. They reasoned that due to the absence of competition from non-Filipino media outfits, upgrading in terms of skill and equipment by media networks is taking a longer time. Second, they also complain the reported abuse of some media groups of their employees. They provide low salaries especially to ordinary personnel like reporter, researcher, spinner, deskman, etc.
Educational institution is yet another sector where prohibition for foreign ownership is constitutionally mandated.

We are of the view that there is need for the continued Filipinization of the educational system. Thus, to instill nationalism and active citizenship, educational institutions should remain in the hands of Filipinos. It must be pointed out, however, that these institutions should achieve global quality standards.

Institute for Popular Democracy
August, 2006

SWS: 70% OF PINOYS FOR CON-CON, 72% FOR PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM. Seventy percent of Filipinos prefer a constitutional convention to propose amendments to the Constitution, according to the latest survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).
The noncommissioned survey, which was conducted from May 28 to June 14, involved 1,200 respondents and has an error margin of plus or minus three percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level for national-level percentages.