Thursday, November 30, 2006

"The Importance of the Spratly Islands"

28 November 2006

he Spratly Islands, located at the southern end of the South China Sea, remain crucial to the region's geostrategic setting. In late October and early November this year, Beijing and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (A.S.E.A.N.) tried to re-launch friendly talks related to the territorial disputes of the islands. They discussed broad Southeast Asian security issues and opened the way for possibly fruitful, structured diplomatic dialogue. The context, however, remains extremely complicated.

Claimed in their entirety by China, Taiwan and Vietnam, and partially by the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, the contested isles and reefs are a potential catalyst for major inter-state conflict in the coming years. In fact, all traditional geopolitical issues are at work in the Spratlys controversy: sovereignty, control of the vital hydrocarbons, control of the Sea Lines of Communication (S.L.O.C.s), and the capability to project power and influence across a broad region.

At a time when China is emerging as a political and military -- and not only economic -- power, whose strategic reach expands and involves new maritime ambitions, the South China Sea issue poses a huge challenge to Washington and its Asian allies. Beijing is adopting a complex policy, predicated upon diplomatic openness to enhanced cooperation with A.S.E.A.N. and, at the same time, upon a self-confident, assertive stance on the South China Sea.

Washington believes that Beijing's real goal is to reach strategic dominance over the South China Sea, which could make China the hegemonic power in Southeast Asia and multiply its influence on the global stage.

Energy, Trade and Power
Recent media coverage on the Spratlys issue has typically concentrated on the quest for fossil energy resources since natural gas and oil play an increasingly important role in power politics. The reasons for sovereignty claims on the archipelago, however, are in no way limited to the hydrocarbons extraction issue alone. Control of the S.L.O.C.s, with its effect on energy transport and strategic military advantage, is at least as important as the much wanted oil and gas reserves.

In Asian maritime geopolitics, the South China Sea functions as a vital gateway that links the Gulf's oil to East Asia via the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia. Although during the recent decades of the Cold War the sometimes aggressive Chinese policy toward Southeast Asian states was tolerated by Washington because of China's role as a counterweight to the U.S.S.R., after 1991 this state of affairs changed.

Certain figures display the importance of the Spratly Islands as a transport route: the South China Sea is the world's second busiest international sea lane and conveys roughly one-fourth of the globe's crude oil and oil products.

Tokyo's tankers carry around 70 percent of Japan's oil on these sea lanes, while 90 percent of the oil needed by Washington's northeast Asian allies reaches its destination through the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea. Liquefied natural gas, coal, and iron ore are conveyed through the above mentioned route. The waters are also the site of a massive fishing industry. A country that would have the capability to interrupt the free navigation of the sea lines would pose a significant threat to the other powers' energy security.

As for hydrocarbons in the Spratlys, the exact amount of available resources is not easy to determine, since China's analyses are significantly different and more optimistic than U.S. and European ones. A September 2003 brief issued by the U.S. Department of Energy suggests that oil production levels for the Spratly Islands would not exceed 183,000 barrels per day, while Chinese estimates claim that a level of 1.9 million barrels per day could be attained. According to other Chinese reports, the Spratly Islands should have around 225 billion barrels of hydrocarbons -- 70 percent of which would be natural gas. No Western analysis, however, confirms such data at the moment.

Regardless, it is without a doubt that further exploration of the Spratly Islands is considered to be a major stake by all regional claimants and that control over hydrocarbons will remain a crucial goal for all powers involved.

Multilateralism and its Interpretations
One of the most interesting developments in the Spratly Islands debate is undoubtedly the different use and perception of multilateralism. As a matter of fact, all players are calling for multilateral engagement and cooperation to prevent the conflicting interests from leading to a clash. On October 29, before the start of the China-A.S.E.A.N. meeting in Nanning, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said that "regional security issues, aside from trade," would take center stage in A.S.E.A.N.'s political-strategic dialogue with China.

Mentioning the Spratlys, Arroyo added that "instead of concentrating on conflicting claims," regional powers should "concentrate on what we can do together." Speaking at the Nanchang University the same day, she launched the proposal of a "joint exploration of the Spratly Islands," and expressed the view that the current "code of conduct" on the contested territories is "very weak."

For Manila, just like for Hanoi and Kuala Lumpur, multilateralism and a regional security approach is the best possible strategy to contain China's rising military power. Since Beijing is aiming at enhancing its deep blue navy, other regional players (among which Taiwan is the one that fears Beijing the most) wager on continued U.S. involvement in the region and A.S.E.A.N.'s enhancement.

On the contrary, China's approach to A.S.E.A.N. and regional multilateralism appears that of a rising hegemonic power. Beijing's interests lie in avoiding major confrontations and, above all, direct confrontation with Washington in order to continue its relatively flawless pursuit of power. China's openness to strategic dialogue with A.S.E.A.N. has the goal of lowering the risk of military conflict while gaining time to calmly, but steadily, develop its new military power.

In other words, China's waiting game is consistent with hegemonic ambitions, but it uses the tactics of progressively achieving strategic dominance and thus enhancing its negotiating capability and effectiveness. [See: "China's Geostrategy: Playing a Waiting Game"]

Multilateralism could enable Washington to remain a decisive player in the Southeast Asian theater while avoiding the perils of automatic defense engagement via bilateral agreements. The United States, however, will consistently work to prevent China's domination of the South China Sea and Beijing's potential capability to choke freedom of navigation.

As expected, when U.S. President George W. Bush met with A.S.E.A.N. leaders in Hanoi this month, he insisted -- consistently with the American tradition -- on the importance of free trade and economic liberty in Southeast Asia.

Clearly, China's persisting claim to sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, coupled with Beijing's ambitious military improvement, will hardly be seen as reassuring by A.S.E.A.N. members and by Washington. On the other hand, the Sino-U.S. competition is not deterministically bound to lead to a showdown in the region, as it could instead end up in a new balance of power in which regional multilateral agreements may help Washington and Beijing solve or freeze the Spratlys issue and similar controversies.

A.S.E.A.N.'s role in the future of diplomatic attempts to resolve the Spratly Islands question appears to be increasing. The organization, however, will probably function as a tool in the hands of the great powers rather than as an autonomous power center.

China's rise as Southeast Asia's main regional power will continue in the coming years. Since Washington needs to protect U.S. vital interests, such as the liberty of navigation and regional stability, the United States will likely be called to a new and comprehensive engagement policy toward Beijing, which can be implemented if the reality of a new multipolar power configuration in Asia is acknowledged.

Report Drafted By:
Dr. Federico Bordonaro

The Power and Interest News Report (PINR) is an independent organization that utilizes open source intelligence to provide conflict analysis services in the context of international relations. PINR approaches a subject based upon the powers and interests involved, leaving the moral judgments to the reader. This report may not be reproduced, reprinted or broadcast without the written permission of All comments should be directed to

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Popularazing JPEPA issue ect, ect...

Mas madaling unawain ang JPEPA kung mailalarawan natin sa ganitong (analogy) sitwasyon. May dalawang magkapit-bahay, may dalawang (2) bakuran. Nakatayo sa isang bakuran ang isang bahay na "bahay kubo" at ang isang bakuran ay naglalaman ng isang bahay na malaki, bungalow, mala-palasyo.

Ikaw ang nakatira sa isang bahay Kubo. Ngayon, papayag ka bang pagtapunan ng mga toxic waste, basurang ala-Payatas (umaalingasaw sa baho) ang iyong bakuran (likuran ng bahay mo) na manggagaling sa isang kapitbahay mo na malaki, bungalow na ang magiging kapalit ay iyong dalagitang anak na aalilain, gagawing katulong, gagawing aliping sagigilid at malamang sa hindi, gagahasain?

Sinong siraulo, gagong magulang, sinong taran... nilalang sa planetang ito, sa galaxyng ito ang tangang papayag na ibugaw, ibebenta ang sariling dalagang anak na babae, kapalit ang DOLYAR, paninilbihan at NAKAKALASONG basura?

Anong bansa, sinong head of state ang gago, ang baliw, ang nasisiraan ng bait na sasang-ayon sa ganitong karumaldumal, 'di pantay na kondisyones na tratado sa pagitan ng mga Sakang na Hapon, ang super kontrabersyal na JPEPA?

- doy / ipd
Nov 29, '06

Monday, November 27, 2006

''Russia-China Security Cooperation''

27 November 2006

ussia and China have joined together in a strategic partnership aimed at countering the U.S. and Western "monopoly in world affairs," as was made clear in a joint statement released by the Chinese and Russian presidents in July 2005. The long standing border disputes between the two countries were settled in agreements in 2005, and joint military exercises were carried out in the same year. Furthermore, Russia, in addition to its arms exports, has been increasing its oil and gas commitments to China. Clearly, the recent comprehensive improvement of bilateral relations between China and Russia is a remarkable development. What is the meaning of this military and security related cooperation, and is the Sino-Russian military liaison likely to expand? Should this rapprochement be considered as a structural shift of power with the goal of repelling Western influence from Central Asia and the adjacent areas?

Russian-Chinese Military Maneuvers
In August 2005, for the first time in 40 years, Russian and Chinese armed forces carried out joint military exercises. China took the lead in proposing the size, participating type of forces and content of the maneuvers. Allegedly, China also took care of most of the costs of the exercises. The formal objectives of the mission were to strengthen the capability of joint operations and the exchange of experience; to establish methods of organizing cooperation in the fight against international terrorism, separatism and extremism; and to enhance mutual combat readiness against newly developing threats. [See: "The Significance of Sino-Russian Military Exercises"]

The exercises comprised "ingredients" such as the use of strategic long range bombers, neutralization of anti-aircraft defenses, command posts and airbases, gaining air superiority, enforcing a maritime blockade and the control of maritime territory. Terrorist movements, however, do not posses conventional land, sea or air forces, nor do they deploy their military power in a symmetrical way. Therefore, the objectives of the joint exercises had little to do with combating terrorism; instead, they were aimed at conventional warfare, employing all military services except for nuclear forces. The actual objective of the maneuvers was likely to display to the Western world that Russia and China consider themselves to be in control of the Asia-Pacific region and that outside powers will be denied the right to interfere in their sphere of influence.

From a military-operational point of view, Russia as well as China gained from the experience of the bilateral exercises. The Chinese armed forces are -- as a consequence of China's increasing political and economic power -- in a stage of growth, in size as well as in ambition. Therefore, practicing command and control procedures but also purely operational aspects, such as carrying out an airborne assault, will strengthen the capabilities of the Chinese forces. If Russia considers that China might turn into a threat in the long run, then these exercises have also been worthwhile for the Russian general staff by providing it insight into how the Chinese armed forces operate and what their current capabilities are.

Arms Sales
The demonstration of weapon systems at the 2005 Sino-Russian exercises might have been meant to promote Russian arms sales to observers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (S.C.O.). India, for instance, comprises some 40 percent of Russia's arms exports and Iran is considered to be an important growth market for the Russian arms market. Currently, some 45 percent of Russia's arms exports go to China. Since 2000, Russia has delivered weapon systems to China -- including fighter aircraft, submarines and destroyers -- amounting to an average of US$2 billion annually. China has been the largest consumer of Russian military equipment for a number of years. Russia's arms trade to China is an important factor in the cooperation between the two countries.

Nevertheless, Russia seems to be well aware that China would like to obtain its most sophisticated military technology, which, in case of deteriorating relations, Beijing might use against Russia. For that reason, Russia is reluctant to provide China with its state-of-the-art products. Moreover, there are indications that China is steadily acquiring enough knowledge to have a solid military industry of its own. Subsequently, in the coming years China will buy fewer arms from Russia, which will diminish the value of this cornerstone of their bilateral relationship.

Energy Policy
In August 2005, during a visit to Beijing, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed economic ties and especially the work of Russian energy companies in China, bilateral projects that would distribute those supplies to third countries, as well as the delivery of Russian oil and gas to China. Furthermore, in November 2005 Russia and China agreed to double oil exports to China and to consider constructing an oil pipeline from Russia to China and a gas-transmission project from eastern Siberia to China's Far East.

China, however, also focuses on Kazakhstan in its need for energy. In December 2005, the Atasu-Alashankou pipeline between the two countries was opened. In due course, this Sino-Kazakh pipeline will be enlarged from 1,000 to 3,000 kilometers (621 to 1,864 miles) and will eventually provide China with approximately 15 percent of its crude oil needs. By establishing energy ties with Kazakhstan, it is clear that China wants to avoid energy dependency on Russia.

Another argument is that by redirecting Kazakh oil pipelines through China instead of through Russia, China's influence over Kazakhstan and Central Asia will increase at the expense of Russia's position. Thus, Russia's energy power tool -- as used successfully against Ukraine -- seems to be threatened by China's energy strategy. Although cooperating with China in energy, however, Kazakhstan has a considerable Russian minority and therefore will be unlikely to follow an anti-Russian political course.

The Demographics Factor
In December 2005, Russia's interior minister, Rashid Nurgaliev, stated that illegal immigration is creating a threat to national security in the Russian Far East. Although Nurgaliev did not mention the word "Chinese," and in spite of frequent formal statements contradicting such a development, a continuous influx of illegal Chinese immigrants is taking place in this region. Russia has a long border with China, some 4,300 kilometers (2,672 miles), and is sparsely populated in its Far East. The numbers may vary but sources mention a flood of thousands of Chinese entering Russia, up to allegedly 600,000 per year.

It is not inconceivable that this flood is more than a coincidence; in fact, it might well be a planned policy directed from Beijing. Possibly, China is carrying out a policy of "Finlandization" in order to gradually increase its influence over this Russian region. The reasons for such a population policy might be to create an overflow area for Chinese citizens from densely populated areas in China proper, and also to gain a political and/or economic foothold in this area, which is rich in energy resources.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization
The Russian-Chinese military exercises of 2005 should not only be considered from a Sino-Russian bilateral point of view, but also as an activity of the S.C.O., as was frequently stated by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. Not only did the Russian and Chinese ministers of defense observe the maneuvers, but also present were representatives from the S.C.O.

Formed in 1996 as the "Shanghai Five" -- comprising Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan -- in 2001, together with admitting Uzbekistan, the S.C.O. was formalized as an international organization. Until 2005, the S.C.O. mainly dealt with regional security -- in particular against the three "evils" of terrorism, separatism and extremism -- as well as with economic cooperation. However, at its summit of July 2005 in Astana, the S.C.O. proclaimed a radical change of course. The governments of the Central Asian member states -- faced with the Western-supported regime changes in Ukraine and Georgia, as well as with Western criticism of the Uzbek government's repression of the unrest in Andijan -- increasingly saw their existence threatened, which forced them to choose an alliance with Russia and China and diminishing the (economically favorable) relationship with the West. [See: "Intelligence Brief: Russia in the S.C.O."]

At the summit, this led to a final statement of the S.C.O. members in which Washington's unipolar and dominating policies as well as foreign military deployment in Central Asia were condemned and the withdrawal of Western military troops was encouraged. This Declaration of the Heads of Member States revealed a watershed in the S.C.O.'s range of policy from regional anti-terrorist activities to claiming an important position in the international arena in external security policy.

In addition to the S.C.O.'s change of course, there was another significant development at the 2005 summit. In addition to Mongolia, in July 2005 Iran, Pakistan and India joined the S.C.O. as observers. By admitting these three states as observers, the S.C.O. now encompasses nearly half of the world's population. Furthermore, in addition to Russia and China, India and Pakistan bring together four nuclear powers, whereas Iran possibly has the ambition to become one. In addition to this, the S.C.O. Shanghai summit of June 2006 -- which was dominated by energy deals, especially by China -- demonstrated that energy resources (Russia, Kazakhstan and Iran) are also a crucial focal point for its members and observers. Comprising a considerable territory in and around Central Asia, a large part of the world population, energy resources and nuclear arms, the S.C.O. has a formidable political, economic and military potential.

For Russia, the S.C.O. apparently acts as a means to bring together different policy objectives. Not only China, but India and Iran as well have a special relationship with Russia. All three states are important actors in Russia's arms exports. In addition to this, China and India are gaining a closer relationship with Russia in the field of joint, bilateral military exercises. Therefore, the fact that India and Iran recently joined China in its cooperation with Russia within the S.C.O. could prove that the S.C.O. serves as a platform for Russia's security policy.

It is evident that the S.C.O. is gaining power, in particular since the Astana summit of 2005. It is likely that this development of the S.C.O. will continue in the coming years. Russia will use this organization to reduce Western and U.S. influence in Central Asia which was accomplished in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. In such a way, the S.C.O. will represent to Russia a vital instrument to achieve geopolitical objectives.

In envisaging the future position of the S.C.O., it is important to note that cooperation among its members and observers is essentially based upon a negative strategic objective: to counter U.S. and Western influence. To a large extent, common, positive targets are absent. For example, China is seeking markets and energy resources; Russia is eager to regain its leadership status within the C.I.S. as well as that of a superpower in the international arena; and the Central Asian regimes consider the S.C.O. as their guarantee for political survival.

Moreover, India and Pakistan are probably showing the West that they follow their own independent course and Iran's objective might be found in anti-Americanism. This mixture of possibly divergent objectives -- for instance, Iran's support of radical Islamists which are a threat to the Central Asian states -- demonstrates that they do not necessarily have much in common. It is not inconceivable, therefore, that the eventually deviating objectives of the S.C.O. member states and observers will cause a split in the organization, which would paralyze its activities.

Outlook on Russia-China Relations
In the coming years, Russia is likely to strengthen its ties with China. These two states are seeking a closer relationship not only in the field of security, but also in areas such as military cooperation, energy, the arms trade and foreign policy. Russia has more than once stated that closer relations with China is a geopolitical objective in order to strengthen Russia's global position. Nonetheless, this close relationship with China could very well turn out to be for the short term.

In its Far East, Russia is increasingly confronted with illegal immigration from China. Furthermore, Russia possesses energy resources that China desperately needs. China is "using" Russia for its military technology and energy resources. When China reaches its current drive for independence in military technology and will have created alternative ways of gaining energy -- for instance through Kazakhstan -- China may reduce ties with Russia. Moreover, China will continue to use its neighbors, such as Russia, the Central Asian states and other partners within the S.C.O., to strengthen its global position. If so required, China will not hesitate to use its power against one of its former partners, as is demonstrated by China's efforts to divert energy routes away from Russia.

Russia is well aware that China's growing economic and military importance could develop into a threat. An indication of Russia's concern toward China could be in Moscow's alleged creation of a second joint military grouping of defense forces and internal and security troops. In contrast with the areas of Chechnya and Dagestan, in Russia's Far East there is no threat of Islamic extremism and the formation of a joint military command could only be related to a potential threat from China. In due course, the so far hidden fear of China could cause Russia to draw back from China and to seek an intensification of political and economic ties with the West, even if this abandonment from China would mean that Russia has to accept Western influence in its backyard of the former Soviet Union.

The West will probably have to cope with increasing ties between Russia and China and subsequent policies contrary to Western activities in the Far East and the Pacific. To a certain extent, the West itself is the reason for this rapprochement between Russia and China. All current Russian major security documents clearly demonstrate disappointment in the West for leaving Russia out of Western security policy. The climax of this mistrust has been N.A.T.O.'s war in Kosovo. Although Russian-Western relations since then have improved, the feelings of mistrust and disregard are still evident in parts of Russia's security elite and thus have resulted in closer ties with China.

China's emerging economic and military power will have to be taken into account. China will become a regional and possibly global power with capacities and policies that may counter Western influence not only in the Far East, but elsewhere. Western security policy should be aware of this development. If China indeed achieves such a superpower position, the West and Russia may find common ground to seek closer cooperation.

Report Drafted By:
Dr. Marcel de Haas

The Power and Interest News Report (PINR) is an independent organization that utilizes open source intelligence to provide conflict analysis services in the context of international relations. PINR approaches a subject based upon the powers and interests involved, leaving the moral judgments to the reader. This report may not be reproduced, reprinted or broadcast without the written permission of All comments should be directed to

Drinking Water projects, imbis na ambisyosong "super regions blueprint plan"

Kung 'di ba naman puro kabobohan at puro pangungurakot ang alam na gawain ng mga taga-Malakanyang, isipin ba namang ni SINGKONG DULING ay wala palang inilaang pondo para sa mga proyektong MAIINUM na TUBIG ng ating mga kababayan!! Ipinagyabang pa ang KATANGAHAN sa isang power point presentation (SONA) ng mga "mega regions/projects! Nasaan ang ipinagmamalaki nitong mga bode-bodegang diploma't certificates......ect, ect,ect.....?

Kaya't tatlong (3x) bagsak sa IPD, FDC, Cong Rene Magtubo, Cong Mayong Aguja, Sen Ralph Recto at sa marami pang kilusang masang kakarga ng isyung ito! - doy/ipd

November 28, 006 07:47 PM Tuesday

Water crisis!
LONG queues for water, like what is being seen in some areas in Metro Manila, could be a common sight years from now unless the government rectifies its error of neglecting water projects in its ambitious “super regions” plan.

Sen. Ralph Recto yesterday stressed this as he lamented that the government’s P369.2 billion infrastructure blueprint does not “allot a single centavo for projects that would produce a single drop of drinking water.”

”There is a drought of funds for water projects in that blueprint. Water, which is a basic need for human survival, should be high on the list but the fact is , potable water projects simply evaporated from that list,” Recto said.

By project, the super regions plan earmarks P90.2 billion for roads, P51.8 billion for airports, P15.8 billion for seaports, P12.6 for irrigation, P5 billion for bridges, P180.1 billion for rail, and P13.5 billion for “other projects” which include IT (information technology) activities and the MWSS (Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System) pumping station in southern Metro Manila.

Recto urged Malacañang to correct the oversight as the country – already the second lowest in terms of per capita water availability in Southeast Asia – faces a serious water crisis when the population hits 100 million in seven years and 153 million in 23 years.

But even today, there are many places already reeling from lack of water , “a development that bodes dire political consequences, “ he said.

”Lack of water dissolves people’s trust in the government. If it is feared that the next world war will be fought over water, the next people power here can be about water too, “ he said.

Citing a Japanese government–funded study, Recto said that by 2025, water demand in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Davao, Baguio, Angeles, Bacolod, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro and Davao would have tripled to 3,995 million metric cubic meters per year from the 1995 demand of 1,303 million cubic meters , far outstripping groundwater availability of 759 million cubic meters.

At present , for lack of access to clean drinking, 500,000 Filipinos are downed yearly by diarrhea , cholera, typhoid and other water-borne diseases, “which account for three in every 10 illnesses,“ Recto said. This is not surprising as “58 percent of groundwater sampled is contaminated with coliform and needs treatment,” Recto said, quoting a 2003 World Bank study.

”That same study pegs at P3 billion a year the medical expenses, hospitalization costs and income losses caused by drinking dirty water,” Recto said. He said the plan of the MWSS to build a P5.6 billion pumping station and storage to service Las Pinas, Muntinlupa, Paranaque – which is included in the super regions’ wish list – “while a good one falls under the water distribution aspect.”

He said that experts are one in saying that the government should tap a new water source for Metro Manila and should not be solely relying on Angat. He was referring to the Bulacan dam which captures water runoff from the Sierra Madre and brings this through an underground tunnel to La Mesa Dam.

‘Breastfeeding saves P1.38B’

By Cher Jimenez

AFTER warnings of possible strained relations with foreign investors in the local milk and other sectors like pharmaceuticals because of the implementation of revised rules for the 1986 Milk Code, Manila is now receiving expressions of support from international bodies, saying that regulating infant formula is economically advantageous to the Philippines.

In a letter to President Arroyo dated October 31, World Health Organization (WHO) representative Dr. Jean Marc Olivè said promoting the culture of breastfeeding will actually reduce poverty and bring the country closer to achieving No. 4 of the Millennium Development Goal—reducing infant mortality.

Olivè indicated that an increase in the breastfeeding rate is likely to cut by about P100 million the expenses incurred by Filipina mothers to fight children’s diseases attributed to infant- formula consumption, P280 million from hospitalization, and P1 billion due to absenteeism in the workplace by employed nursing mothers.

The WHO estimates that Filipino families spend P21.5 billion a year for infant formula. This expense would also be minimized for nursing mothers.

According to him, increasing the country’s breastfeeding rate to 80 percent in the next 10 years will bring it 61 percent closer to reducing infant mortality by two-thirds by the year 2015, and achieving one of the government’s 10-point agenda.

It is estimated that at least 16,000 children under five years of age who died last year in the United States could have been saved if only they were breastfed. The WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) attribute most of the deaths to milk substitutes.

The WHO’s letter to President Arroyo came in the wake of protests from breastfeeding advocates over the US Chamber of Commerce’s alleged pressure on Malacañang not to implement the 1986 Milk Code.

In a letter to the President in August 11, the US business federation, through its president Thomas Donohue, said pushing forth with the revised implementing rules and regulations of the law would “have unintended negative consequences for investors’ confidence in the predictability of business law in the Philippines.”

“In particular, we are concerned about the effects this decision will have on the pharmaceutical industry,” added Donohue.

Earlier, the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) filed a petition to stop the government from implementing the new rules, which seeks to regulate the marketing of milk substitutes in all forms of media. The Supreme Court rejected the petition but accepted a petition for reconsideration in the middle of August. Breastfeeding advocates saw this as a reversal that was influenced by the alleged pressure from the American business federation.

The issue has also prompted foreign breastfeeding advocates to condemn alleged US intrusion in Philippine policymaking and challenge their local counterparts to sue and boycott milk companies. They contend that the aggressive marketing of infant formula has continued to defeat breastfeeding in the Philippines and cause many children to die of diarrhea and related illnesses attributed to cow’s milk.

Government data showed the average duration of exclusive breastfeeding in the country has gone down to 24 days in 2003 from 1.4 months in 1998. The international standard recommendation is six months exclusive breastfeeding that can afterward be combined with other foods until two years.

The PHAP in a statement affirmed its position that infant mortality in the Philippines is not related to the use of infant formula on newborn babies. It noted the Department of Health’s Philippine Health Statistics showing the top 10 causes of infant mortality are not in any way associated with infant formula use.

The DOH statistics show that pneumonia and bacterial sepsis are the top two reasons for infant mortality in the country. Other causes are respiratory distress of newborns, disorders related to short gestation, and congenital malformations.

The association also cited a survey published by Unicef that the Philippines is among the highest breastfeeding nations with 88-percent initiation rate. It’s also the second-highest exclusive breastfeeding society at four months with 47 percent. The rest, according to PHAP, may be composed of mothers who cannot breastfeed, choose not to follow to exclusively breastfeed for six months, or stop breastfeeding for some reason or another.

PHAP is currently awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision on the validity and legality of the revised implementing rules and regulations of Executive Order 51, or Milk Code and insisted the issue is not about milk or breastfeeding, but the legality of the new rules, “which is best left to the Supreme Court’s decision.”

Friday, November 24, 2006

Nakakatawa at nakakahiyang senaryo sa 2007 election

Pulit-ulit nating sinasabing hindi na mapipigilan ang election sa 2007. Maliban sa nakagawiang takbo ng pulitika, hindi malayong mangyaring mauwi sa SHOWBIZ entertainment lingo ang 2007 election. Maliban sa boksingerong si Pacquiao, dudumugin, idodomina at katakot-takot na endorsement ng mga sikat na showbiz entertainment industry ang labanan at kampanyahan sa 2007 election (opposition at administration ticket), iba pang usapin kung ito'y talo panalo.

Inaasahan ding makikisawsaw sa labanan ang mga retiradong matataas na puno ng AFP, PNP at ilang mga recycled na pulitikong gustong bumalik sa pulitika.

Dahil sa mga lumalabas na electoral SURVEY, kapraningan, tarantitay, desperado at kahibangang, mas vulnerable na patakbuhin ng administrasyon (Lakas-CMD at KAMPI) ang mga artista, 'wag lamang mapahiya't ma-zero sa inaasam-asam na magic 12 sa Senado at sa mababang kapulungan. Kaya ngat minsan naiisip nating “tunay nga bang inihahalal, tunay nga bang kinatawan, tunay nga bang masasabing representante ng pipol ang mga hinayupak na pulitikong ito?” Maliban sa pandaraya (pre-campaign period-Election/canvassing period), vote buying, padri-padrino't pamimigay ng bigas at noodles, sinasamantala ng mga TRAPO ang labis na kahirapan, karalitaan ng botanteng Pinoy makaupo lang sa poder.

Habang may ilang malalaki at maliliit na regional party ang malulusaw, dahil sa laki ng hiwaga ng "pork barrel" at proyekto, malaking bilang ang mag-aalsa balutan (turncoatism) at lilipat sa partidong malapit sa Malakanyang, ang KAMPI, mapanatili't maprotektahan lamang ang pansariling interes. Isang buhay na trend ang maramihang paglipat ng partidong naghihingalong Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), NPC, LP at iba pa.

Ang partidong KAMPI ni Ate Glo ang siya ngayong paboritong paglipatan ng mga TRAPO, siya ngayon ang patok, nananagana, lumalakas at lumalawak dahil sa pork barrel at dahil sa pangggapang, pamimirata, pangangangkong at pananaraydor na iniuutos ng makapangyarihang punong nag-uukupa sa Malakanyang.

Habang sinisimulan na ang pandaraya, dirty tricks o special ops (PRE-CAMPAIGN period) ng Malakanyang, inaasahang darami pa ang kakampi ang Kampi sa mga lugar kung saan matatagpuan ang may malalaking bilang ng boto (Pampanga, Batangas, Isabela at Visayas at Mindanao).

Sa mauunlad na bansa, sagrado't ideolohikal ang Partido Pulitikal (hal. Communist Party, Social Democratic Prty, Liberal Democratic Party, Labor Party), sila ang nasa likud, susi at utak ng pagdidisenyo ng demokrasya at kaunlaran. Sa Pilipinas, baligtad ang sistema, ang Political Party ang sumasagka, ang sagabal sa demokratisasyon, kaunlaran at sumisira ng mga institusyon. Dito, pansariling interes, nakakatawa't buluk, showbiz, TRAPO, pinatatakbong parang pamilya't negosyo ang partido.

Nuong panahon ni Marcos, ang Kilusan Bagong Lipunan (KBL) ang nagdomina ng politika at silungan ng TRAPO, nuong panahon ni Tita Cory, magnetic pole ang Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), nuong panahon ni Tabako-FVR, naglipatan ang karamihan sa Lakas-NUCD, kambyo sa Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) at Nationalist Peolple's Coalition (NPC) sa panahon ni Erap Estrada at ngayon, paparami ang kumakamping TRAPO sa KAMPI, ang partido't pinamumunuan ni Ate Glo.

Doy Cinco / IPD
Nov 25, 2006

MWSS and new Maynilad owner will not bring water to waterless communities

Press Release

November 23, 2006

Two years ago, the National Anti- Poverty Commission (NAPC) identified 212 communities or three million residents[1] of Metro Manila as "waterless". What NAPC meant was that these communities have no means, or lacked the access to clean, affordable water. Eighty percent of these belong to the West Zone, Maynilad's assigned area of responsibility.

The search for a new Maynilad owner has been on for months and now, nears conclusion. But the concern for waterless communities is yet to be taken up. Not a whisper coming from the Board of Trustees of the Metropolitan Water and Sewerage System (MWSS), and much less from the bidders.

" Many of these communities are in the most depressed areas of Metro Manila, they stand no chance of getting the service anytime soon", according to Jude Esguerra, spokesperson of water utilities watchdog Bantay Tubig. "We know that funds brought in by investors will first pay for $30 million that MWSS used to save the former owners of Maynilad from bankruptcy. We also know that as cash comes in from customer payments the heavy debt burden of Maynilad gets first priority. Other things considered less important by MWSS come into consideration later."

Esguerra adds, "if there is some money left after paying Maynilad's creditors and when considering service expansion and water supply allocation, our information is that commercially lucrative areas and easy-to-discipline customers will be given preference. Tsaka na lang yang mga urban poor areas."

MWSS is expected to transfer its shares in Maynilad to a new owner in the coming weeks. Missing in the entire selection process is MWSS' insistence that bidders should address the plight of waterless communities. MWSS only need to make the threat that their performance bonds will be taken from them.

There are two weak links in this second privatization process Esguerra notes, "first, there are no targets and deadlines regarding the waterless communities. And second, the MWSS has already allowed the required performance bond to be brought down from $120 to $30 million, insuring against scenarios wherein Maynilad will fail to honor its financial obligations but not from failures to achieve service improvement targets for the poor."

Esguerra makes the charge that MWSS is not performing its mandate -- "MWSS is refusing to hold Maynilad owners accountable for the service that the company needs to deliver to the waterless communities of Metro Manila."

The MWSS Board previously has agreed twice to the postponement of the expansion plans. The first permission to postpone expansion plans was given during the review of tariffs and targets in 2002 (rate re-basing), the second permission to postponement was given in-line with the effort to save Maynilad from bankruptcy.

Bantay Tubig's Esguerra believes that "in the end the Maynilad creditors will be paid, MWSS will recover money it used for the bailout, the company is rehabilitated – but services for the waterless communities will not be delivered."

"If we take a long view," Esguerra says notes, "next year is the tenth anniversary of the privatization of water services in Metro Manila. The original promise is that on the tenth year, there will no longer be waterless communities in Metro Manila. (Well) the price of water has been raised from P5 per cubic meter to P30 per cubic meter today, and yet the waterless communities of CAMANAVA and Quezon City are still not part of the MWSS plan."

Because there are no commitments to bring water to the poor areas, especially in places like CAMANAVA and Quezon City, the Bantay Tubig Network wants the reprivatization of Maynilad to be stopped.

Contact Person: Jude Esguerra, Bantay Tubig/ Ernesto E. Tomas Jr. @Nos. 9218049 / 4346674

The Bantay Tubig Network is a non-profit, development- oriented citizens' coalition organized in April 2002 in response to the worsening water and sanitation supply situation in the country. Bantay Tubig is for adequate, accessible and affordable water, and among its activities are to monitor regulatory processes, price increases, quality standards, and the performance of water companies in Metro Manila and the rest of the Philippines.

1 comment

Citizen’s concerns raised, MWSS should reconsider rebidding of Maynilad
(Response to "Maynilad claims partial restoration of water services" by C Gaylican, PDI November 30)

Bantay Tubig wishes to clarify Metro Manila’s water supply and many news article that inadvertently confuses readers by combining two unrelated issues.

Of immediate concern for the past ten days is the Angat Dam situation due to abnormal water depletion over the past months.

Of daily concern for the past ten years since 1996 for the 170 communities in the West Zone of MWSS, is a basic access to water that has been denied to 1.5 million people since the botched privatization of MWSS in Metro Manila.

Maynilad (the distribution company serving the west zone) has been a failure from the start. The company had not only reneged on its investments and planned targets of service expansion and universal water coverage, it was an outright financial failure requiring a government bailout last year. Maynilad looses 65 percent of its water due to unrehabilitated infrastructure, pilferage, and poor management. Water losses on this systemic scale have nothing to do with temporary shortages at the source in Angat Dam.

Bantay Tubig believes that the government has been expediting the re-privatization of Maynilad without requiring firm service commitments from bidders. The government is apparently now using the abnormal water shortage situation to confuse the people who have been without water for the past 10 years.

Metro Manila residents and communities need to know the real cause of this systemic problem. This has to do with Maynilad’s failure to provide investments, and meet performance targets and expansion plans. This has occurred with the consent of MWSS in direct contravention to their own mandate.

Before MWSS declares a winning bidder next week, it must specify plans and deadlines for the waterless communities. Today there are none. MWSS must insist on bidders to prioritize the waterless, rather than Maynilad’s creditors. ‘Restoration of water supply in the west concession area’ promised by Maynilad will do nothing for the waterless communities. Neither will re-privatization, it seems.

Contact Person: Jude Esguerra / Ernesto E. Tomas Jr. @Nos. 9218049 / 4346674,, Bantay Tubig Secretariat at No. 45 Matimtiman St. Teacher’s Village, Quezon City.

Mega Mall sa Pilipinas, nag-eevade ng REAL PROPERTY TAX

Kung totoo man ito, shocking ito. Nakakalungkot isiping na sa kabila ng kakulangan ng Internal Revenue Allotment ng ating mga Local Government Units upang ipangtustus sa batayang serbisyo publiko, itong mga Mega Mall ay 'di pa la nagbabayad ng sapat na buwis. Kung nagbabayad man ito, hindi mahirap paniwalaang kakarampot, kinukurakot at nauuwi lamang sa bulsa ng ilang mga lokal na ehekutibo ng LGUs.

Kung ang maliliit na negosyo sa komunidad, mga lupa't bahay ng maliliit nating kababayang nagbabayad ng ilang libong piso taun-taon ay 'di pinaliligtas ng Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), bakit nakakalusot itong mga multi-bilyong negosyong mga MALLs na pag-aari ng mga Pilipino-Chinese tycoon (Taipan)?

Hindi lingid sa mamamayang Pilipino ang modus operandi ng mga Taipan ("acquited" tax evasion ni Lucio Tan ng Fortune Tobacco), kung paano dumiskarte't maiwasan ang bilyong pisong buwis na dapat bayaran nito sa gubyerno. Hindi rin lingid sa mata ng mamamayan ang bilyong pisong pinansusuhol ng mga Taipang ito sa tuwing may ELECTION, pasko't bagong taon at sa tuwing may mahalagang pribadong okasyon ang mga pulitiko.

Sa liit ng sweldo ng isang pulitiko (P25-35,000/buwan), magtataka tayo kung bakit pinag-aagawan nito ang mga malalaking lunsod (Metro Manila cities, Cebu at iba pa), kung bakit daang milyon piso ang kanilang nagagastos sa tuwing halalan, narere-elect at kung bakit nagmumultiply at magagarbo ang mga ari-ariang personal sa Pilipianas at maging sa ibayong dagat nito? Ang tanong, magkano ang nakukurakot, natatanggap na lagay sa mga lokal na punong lunsod mula sa mga Taipan?

May isang daan maliliit at malalaking Mall ang nakabalagbag sa buong kapuluan, mula Baguio City sa Northern Luzon hanggang Davao City sa Katimugang Mindanao. Pinagmamalaki pa ng gubyerno na pangalawa ang 'Pinas sa mundo na may pinakamalaking Mall sa Asia. Isa ng consumerist Mall oriented service economy ang ating bansa, ang problema, bakit parang pulubing namamalimos ang Malakanyang at ang ating mga LGUs?

Ang mga military camp, mga pampublikong paaralan at nakatiwangwang na lupain ng gubyerno ay nabili't ipinabili na sa SM, Ayala at Robinson. Nanganganib pang ibenta ang ilang libong ektaryang nasasakupan ng lupaing gubyerno; mga state colleges, hospital at mga parke, mga ala-Central Park sanang magbibigay ginhawa sa metropolis kung itutulad sa mga luntiang, forested park na matatagpuan sa maunlad na bansa.

Kung may buto pa sa gulugud at political will ang BIR, ang national gov't, bakit hindi busisiin ang katiwalian at pandarayang ibinabayad na REAL PROPERTY TAX ng mga higanteng Mall sa Pilipinas?

Doy Cinco / IPD
Nov. 24, 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Outdated at Outmoded economy

Totoong outdated na ang modelong ginagamit na pang-ekonomya ng gubyerno. Hindi na uubra, hindi na kwela o 'wa EPEK na sa mamamayang Pinoy ang paulit-ulit na ipinagyayabang ng Malakanyang, ng NEDA, ni Ate Glo ng mga pulitikong nakakubli sa saya nito, na kesyo gumaganda't lumalakas ang Piso at stock market ay gumaganda na ang ekonomiya.

Palagiang ginagamit din sa panloloko ang taunang 4-6% TANTOs (rating) na Gross National Product (GNP) at Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ng ating ekonomya na kung tutuusin, ayon mismo ng United Nation Development Program (UNDP) ay isang OUTDATED na panukat ng kaunlaran, malayong 'di makasasapat at suntuk sa buwang magtri-trickle down effect sa baba o sa naghihikahos na mamamayang Pilipino.

Tignan at suriin na lamang ang ibinabandila ng “elitist” na World Economic Forum (WEF), ang version ng World Social Forum na dinadaluhan ng mga alternative progressive forces, civil society ng mundo. Sinasabi mismo ng WEF na nakapag-come up na ito ng makabagong mga measures na kahit paano'y may katuturan sa paglago ng ekonomya ng mundo.Ayon sa kanila, “sa mga nagdaang panahon, may paghina, pagbagsak ng international barriers sa daloy ng goods, services, capital, labor, may pagmarka ng pagbilis ng kumpas ng technological at scientific progress...may pagbawas sa halaga ng transport at communication... Against this backdrop of rapid systemic change.... we have seen shifts in the relative importance of those critical factors which determine the evolution of productivity and hence growth."

Sa usapin daw ng national competitiveness, tinalakay sa WEF ang pangunahing mga bagay na nagdedetermina ng antas ng pag-unlad o produktivity ng isang bansa. Ang mga ito ayon sa kanila ay mga saligang factors-SALIK, patakaran at INSTITUTION." May siyam (9) na pillars na sinasabing critical factors sa pag-unlad ng ekonomya; una ang pagpapalakas ng Institutions, Macro economy, Health and primary education, Market efficiency, Technological readiness, Business sophistication, at ang Innovation. Klinassified nila ang unang apat bilang basic requirements, bilang efficiency enhancers ang sumunod na tatlo, habang ang salik ng innovation at sophistication ang huling dalawa.

Ipagpalagay na nating may istabilidad ang macro economic factors (fiscal) na ikinokokak ng Malakanyang, pero sa ibang anggulo't larangan walang dudang WEAK-lumpo ang ating INSTITUTION, (lalo na ang democratic at political institution) infrastructure at ang pagkontrol ng pangungurakot na sinasabing siyang salik sa panlulupaypay ng ating ekonomya. Nakahanay ang Pilipinas sa mga bansang tinaguriang “banana republic” o ang kabaligtaran ng propang "strong republic" ni Ate Glo.

Sa mga nabanggit na institution, ang peace and order ang numero unong kailangang mairepaso. Bagsak ang kredibilidad ng AFP at PNP, mga bantay salakay at isinisisi sa malawakang pangungurakot-katiwalian sa weteng, “hello garci tape controvercy, ilihitimong gubyerno," political killings at panunupil ng demokratikong karapatan. Ang AFP at PNP na siyang dapat gumampan ng tungkuling protector of the pipol at Constitution, ang siyang promotor, fertilizer at canal na pinanggagaliangan ng lamok ng insureksyon at rebelyon.

Binabanggit din ang kahalagahan ng citizenry, ang aktibo at reponsableng papel ng mamamayan (active citizenry) na sasawata at magfifiscalized sa lumalalang kadimonyohan sa gubyerno, kaTRAPOhan sa Kongreso, sa lumalalang crisis ng representation (electoral politics) at institusyon ng Hustisya't hudikatura ng kasalukuyang dispenzation.

Sa dinami-dami ng batas na nakapatungkol sa safe guarding ng mga institusyon, preservation ng karapatang pang-tao, electoral process at pagbaka ng kurapsyon, wala itong nagawa, nagmistulang inutil, butas ang mga batas. Ang malalaking maimpluwensyang politikang angkan, oligarkiya, casique at warlordismo ang siyang nakapangyayari, kumatay at sumasalaula ng “rule of law at regulatory provision ng mga batas.”

Ang mga Pinoy na kabilang sa sinasabing middle class, na siyang dapat isa sa mga nangunguna sa panawagan (advocacy) ng good governance at kaunlaran ay napanghinanaan ng loob. Iilang porsiento na nga lang ng populasyon, nagsipaglikas (migration) pa ang malaking bahagi. Marami sa kanila'y matatagpuan sa mayayamang bansang tulad ng Amerika, Canada at Europa.

Wala sa PI, Con-Ass at CHA CHA ni Ate Glo, ni Tainga de Venecia at elite sa Tongreso ang SUSI, bagkus sila pa nga ang sanhi, ang pangunahing dahilan kung bakit lumala ng gadambuhalang sari-saring krisis ang country.

Mahalagang pag-isipan ng gubyernong papalit (kung sino man 'yon) ang “alternative development strategy” na matagal ng isinisigaw ng mamamayan. Pag-isipan ng ibasura ang kinakalawang na modelo ng ekonomyang sinusunod ng kasalukuyang umuukupa sa Malakanyang. May mahigit apat na dekadang kontrol ng elite ang gubyerno, wala na tayong narinig sa mga bukang bibig ang palagiang pagbibigay emphasis sa; macroeconomic stability (price at exchange rate stability, sustainable fiscal and balance of payments balances), trade liberalization, privatization, deregulation, and creating free markets, na sa totoo lang ayPASO na, 'di lang OUTMODED, OUTDATED pa.

Doy Cinco / IPD
Nov. 24, 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

2 version ng Con-Asshole, ampaw, walang numero!!

Kamakailan lamang, matapos maibasura ang Palace Initiatives (PI), napabalitang kamuntik raw na maiconvene at magkaroon ng resolution sa House ang tungkol sa ipinipilit na Con-Ass, ang problema walang qourum, walang numero at kinapos ng tao.

Hati at dalawang version ang nasabing resolution sa House; ang 1230 ni Tong Salaula-Jaraula (Lakas-CMD) at HR 1285 sa version ng paksyon ni Tong Prospero Pichay (Kampi). Bagamat 'di gaanong magkapareho ang probisyon, parehong CHA CHA ang direksyon at puntirya. Pareho ring umaasa, nababaliw at napapraning na makaka-kalap pa ng 195 na pirma. Dahil walang sumisipot at abala na sa gawaing TRAPO at pamumulitika sa 2007 election sa kani-kanilang constituencies, ang resulta, parehong tiguk, bulilyaso!

Kung totoo ang ipinagyayabang ni Tandang Villafuerte (Kampi) nuong nakaraang Oktubre na 195, bakit 'di masimulan ang sesyon para agarang ma-aamyendahan na ang Constitution? Ang totoo, ang nais ng mamamayan ay mawala na ang 150 pulitiko (Kampi at Lakas-CMD) sa Tongreso. Ang kakakapal, pinagtatawanan na't bistadong dinero, pondo't pera-pera lang ang katapat ng mga Trapong ito.

Mangangailan ng mahigit-kumulang na DAANG MILYONG PISONG pansuhol na "pork barrel" uli si Pichay at si Tainga de Venecia para mabilisang mapirmahan ang isa sa mga resolution. Magkakaroon lamang ng QUORUM kung may DATUNG na pangKOTONG. Susugud ang mga TRAPONG yan sa Tongreso kung may SARO na, kung may Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) na maliwanag, naniniguro lang!

Walang problema sa isinusulong na charter change, Constitutional reform tungo sa parliamentaryong pagbabago ng sistemang politikal, basta't sabay ring babaguhin, irerepormang tunay, mapapawi sa pwesto ang kasalukuyang TRAPONG nakalukluk sa gubyerno, igagarantiya ang karapatan at palalakasin ang kapangyarihan ng mamamayan.

Ang nakakatawa, kayo-kayo at sila-sila pa rin, napaka-brutal, garapal at pansariling interest. "Political survival" ang habol ng ilihitimong nag-uukupa ng Malakanyang. Sa isang banda, layon nitong burahin sa kasaysayan ang krimen, katiwalian, linlangan, political killings at 'hello garci controversies, habang kapit sa tuko sa kapangyarihang magtagal sa poder, chugiin, durugin ang mga kaaway sa politika, aktibista man o oposisyon.

Doy Cinco / IPD
Nov 21, 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Int’l groups back RP’s pro-breastfeeding code

May ilang dekada na tayong pinagloloko, nililinlang at pinagsasamantalahan ng tatlong dambuhalang US formula companies na kinabibilangan ng Abbott Ross, Mead Johnson at Wyeth, Gerber (pag-aari na ng Swiss NOVARTIS) at iba pang international pharmaceutical giants. Napapanahon na upang siguro'y ilantad ang tunay na kadimonyohan ng mga malalaking kumpanyang GATAS na ito na patuloy na nanggogoyo sa mamamayang Pilipino at sa iba pang mga bansang dukhang kabilang sa Third World Countries.

Ang katarantaduhang ipinapalaganap na marketing strategy ng mga ito, na kesyo kapag ininum ito ng isang batang sanggol ay magiging MATALINO at lulusog, etc..etc...etc.. Sa totoo lang, ang katalinuhan, intelligence (intelectual) at emotional upbringing, capacity ng isang bata ay dulot ng kanyang kapaligiran, nasa kanyang mga MAGULANG, nasa paghuhubog na pagpoprograma ng kanyang Nanay at Tatay, hindi dahil sa isang nakadelatang gatas ng baka na sa totoo lang ay nakakaLASON!!

Kaya, isang bagsak para sa mga taga Department of Health (DOH) at mga NGOs, specially ARUGAAN na nagsulong ng BREASTFEEDING advocacy sa Pilipinas - doy / IPD

By Christian V. Esguerra, Philip Tubeza
Last updated 00:22am (Mla time) 11/21/2006

EXPRESSIONS of support from the United States, Canada, New Zealand and United Kingdom, poured in Monday in the wake of the “blackmail” the Philippine government got from American businessmen over its rules regulating the marketing of infant milk formula.

“Do not let yourself be bullied by these outrageously inhuman beings -- they are not supported by the citizens of their countries,” a mother from the United States wrote in an Internet-based “petition of solidarity” started by the global advocacy group Baby Milk Action.

“I admire the Philippines (for) taking this strong action to protect infants,” wrote another from Canada. “Infant health should always take precedence over corporate interests.”

Similar messages continue to fill the online pages of the Baby Milk Action petition, all attacking the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America.

Mothers and breast milk advocates were outraged by the letter of Thomas Donahue, chamber president and chief executive officer, warning President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on the government’s position against infant formulas.

“It has been brought to my attention that a recent regulatory decision by an agency of your government would have unintended negative consequences for investors' confidence in the predictability of business law in the Philippines,” Donahue said in the letter dated August 11.

Donahue was referring to the revised implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Executive Order No. 51 or the Milk Code, which limits the marketing of infant formulas and requires companies to put labels on their products warning of possible health hazards.

He said the chamber was particularly “concerned about the effects this decision will have on the pharmaceutical industry.”

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier described the Donahue letter as a form of “pressure” and “a subtle blackmail.” Malacañang stood by Duque on Monday.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye, who was in Singapore with the President, said Duque was acting in the country’s “interest.” However, he said the government was also trying to “address” the concerns of the American businessmen.

“The secretary of health is the point person on this issue and is acting in our national interest without straining our diplomatic and trading ties with any nation,” Bunye said in a statement.

He said the IRR was “already undergoing a review to address the comments of the US Chamber of Commerce.”

“The Philippines as a matter of national policy supports and promotes breastfeeding and adheres to reasonably strict standards for the entry of infant milk formula products in the Philippines,” he said.

In a statement, Nestlé Philippines Inc. said it was supporting the proposal to prohibit the use of identical or similar brand names both for infant formulas and for other milk products not covered by the Milk Code.

“The proposal will strengthen the effective and transparent enforcement of the ban on the advertising of infant milk,” Nestlé said in a statement on Monday.

It said it was also supporting an advertising ban on breast milk substitutes for infants aged up to 12 months. In contrast, the IRR regulates the advertising of milk formula for children aged up to 24 months, which is consistent with the World Health Assembly resolutions and the Infant and Young Child Feeding Convention to which the Philippines is a signatory.

The International Baby Food Action Network (Ibfan) in Europe, representing 58 groups in 35 countries across the continent, endorsed the petition supporting the Philippine government’s policies on infant formulas.

From England, a certain Jennifer wrote: “The health of children of the Philippines is of far greater importance than the accumulation of profits by baby milk companies." “It is shameful that companies and individuals should undermine the health of babies purely to make money.”

In a letter to Arroyo dated September 25, the World Alliance for Breast-feeding Action (WABA) commended the government for standing firm on the Milk Code.

“The efforts of your team in strengthening the existing EO 51 (Milk Code) are being followed by experts on the international field of infant and young child feeding and [by] breastfeeding advocates worldwide,” WABA Chair Beth Styer wrote. “We applaud your courage and conviction in the face of adversity.”

The group is an alliance of individuals and organizations promoting breastfeeding.

Besides Styer, representatives of the International Lactation Consultant Association, of the Academy of Breast-feeding Medicine and of Ibfan signed the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Inquirer.

The letter was accompanied by a press statement saying that the US Chamber of Commerce was exerting “direct pressure” on the Philippines “to withdraw newly introduced regulations that protect breast-feeding and infant and young child health.”

Consistent with the findings of international experts, the IRR drafted by the Department of Health required milk formula companies to put up labels warning that their products “may” contain either “Enterobacter sakasakii” or “salmonella.”

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization earlier found that “intrinsic contamination of powdered infant formula [by E.] sakasakii and salmonella is a cause of illness and infection.”

E. sakasakii has been identified with sepsis and meningitis while salmonella causes food poisoning. The Pharmaceutical and Health Care Association of the Philippines earlier challenged the IRR of the new Milk Code in court.

“The court refused to issue the requested temporary restraining order,” the Baby Milk Action said on its website. “However, it reversed this decision four days after the President was contacted by the US Chamber of Commerce.”

Direct pressure is being exerted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the President of the Philippines to withdraw newly introduced regulations that protect breastfeeding and child health. In a leaked letter dated 11 August, the President of the US Chamber of Commerce, Mr Thomas Donohue, warned President Arroyo of “the risk to the reputation of the Philippines as a stable and viable destination for investment” if she did not “re-examine this regulatory decision”. He was referring to marketing restrictions on pharmaceutical and formula companies.

In July 2006, new Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) to restrict marketing practices used to boost formula sales were to come into force. These regulations, issued by the Philippines Department of Health must be seen in the light of the 1986 Executive Order 51 also known as the “Milk Code”, a law restricting promotion of infant foods, based on the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. The “Milk Code” had become somewhat outdated in view of changing marketing practices and the IRR were a way to bridge the gap. They also reflected relevant World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions, endorsed by all countries including Philippines and the USA.

In protest over the IRR, the Pharmaceutical and Health Care Association of the Philippines (PHAP) representing three main US formula companies (Abbott Ross, Mead Johnson and Wyeth), Gerber (now owned by Swiss NOVARTIS) and other international pharmaceutical giants, took the Filipino government to court. In July, the Supreme Court declined PHAP’s application for a temporary restraining order to stop the IRR from coming into effect. Both initiation and duration of breastfeeding had dangerously declined and it was very necessary to halt commercial promotion for bottle feeding. Babies must come before business.

Within a month, however, on August 15, just 4 days after the letter by the American Chamber of Commerce, the Supreme Court, overturned its own decision by granting a temporary restraining order in favour of PHAP. While a court case is pending, no one should comment on its merits. The letter by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce can therefore be seen as a direct threat to the independence of the judiciary. This should not happen anywhere, not in the Philippines or in any other country.

We wish to publicise and denounce the interference by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and express our support for the Implementing Rules and Regulations issued by the Department of Health. We also reaffirm that use of infant formula is indeed a potential hazard to infant health, and that promotion of such foods undermines breastfeeding, putting health at risk. WHO and UNICEF both agree that the risks of artificial feeding should be highlighted. [Innocenti Declaration 2005 on Infant and Young Child Feeding, 22 November 2005, Florence, Italy.]

We therefore call upon the business sector in the US and in Manila to exercise restraint and also call upon various arms of the Government of the Philippines – Judiciary, Executive and Legislature – to carry out their duties independently and without fear or favour so as to fulfil the right of the children of Philippines to the best attainable standard of health.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Water is an election issue, too

By Ernesto F. Herrera

CANDIDATES running for next year’s election should take a page off the campaign tactics of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, who banked on public-utility issues to make his name a byword among voters. Who can forget Enrile’s Kontra PPA (the power purchase adjustments of the Manila Electric Co.) advertisements? His advocacy against the PPA and the subsequent Supreme Court decision that ordered a refund on electric bills practically won him a seat in the Senate.

Of course, after he won, he was deluged with complaints about the high cost of electricity, which is the second highest in Asia after Japan. People expected him to do something about it as he promised; to live up to the rhetoric of his crusade.

If candidates are brave and honest enough to walk their talk then a very good public-utility issue for them would be water, or specifically, water rate increases.

Since the water distribution function of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System was sold and turned over to Maynilad and Manila Water in 1997 under a privatization scheme that was recommended by the World Bank, people in the metropolis have had one more thing bleeding their pockets dry aside from the high cost of electricity, and that is these seemingly incessant and unconscionable water rate increases.

The promise of privatization was made clear to the public: more efficient water distribution through better infrastructure, which meant no more waterless communities, lower rates and more efficient management. The new water concessionaires were supposed to absorb the ballooning debt of the MWSS, which at the time was around $800 million. They were also supposed to undertake the massive infrastructure repair (estimated at $7.5 billion), which was imperative in order to avoid a water crisis in the metropolis.

Everything was hunky dory at first. People were ecstatic at the lower water rates and the improved service delivery. But the honeymoon was short. Now, after nine years of privatized water distribution, government has to take a long hard look if people are really better off. Water rates have increased many times over even as many communities remain waterless, and those that are not have to buy safe drinking water, because they can’t get it from their taps.

In the case of Maynilad, it has increased water rates in the West Zone by as much as 700 percent and still it lost money. Moreover, it refused to pay its concession fees (easily more than P10 billion by now) and even returned its concession to the MWSS in 2003. The debt-burdened MWSS has had to shoulder the obligations of Maynilad when it should have been the other way around.

On the other hand, Manila Water is raking it in. Based on the first quarter of 2006 alone, the water contractor’s net earnings reached P599.74 million, and its revenues stood at 1.51 billion. Nobody can fault it for making money (it is a business after all) but the company is still well short of meeting its target to supply water to 4.2 million residents.

Questions about water rates have struck a chord among consumers, and they are justified in asking about the real nature of these rate hikes. What do these acronyms on their water bills, these CERAs, FCDAs and environmental and sewer charges stand for? How are they being used? How can consumers be sure that rate increases are actually being spent in the right place, so they don’t need to buy safe drinking water from water businesses? Most importantly, when can they expect a break on their water bills?

There are more questions to be asked especially with the impending takeover of the government equity in May­nilad by a new water contractor after the scheduled MWSS rebidding in December.

For instance, if Manila Water wins, it will have a monopoly of water services in Metro Manila. What would be the broader and long-term implications of this? Would they be able to do what they’d like with water rates and services? Shouldn’t there be changes in the regulatory framework of the MWSS regulatory office with such a monopoly?

One of the NGOs playing close attention to the rebidding of Maynilad also raised questions about the qualifications of one of the bidders.

According to Kaakbay, the consortium Karunakaran Ram­chand of India is identified with a certain Cesar Quiambao, who has a dismal performance record when it comes to meeting his obligations with government.

Kaakbay noted that Quiam­bao was involved in the unfinished Skyway project. His group also bagged the computerization projects of the Land Transportation Office, the Land Registration Authority and the Department of Foreign Affairs, all of which have not been completed. He also won the bidding for the toll management of STAR highway (the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road). But while he collected fees from motorists out of STAR, not a single meter of road was added to connect STAR up to Batangas, which was stipulated in the contract.

Kaakbay is asking how such a failure can still be pre­qualified to bid for the May­nilad equity? I guess being a water contractor is so profitable that the opportunity to be one naturally attracts all kinds of characters, but it is the government’s responsibility to secure the people’s best interests by weeding out unreliable bidders, especially on such an important service as water distribution.

Going back to my point though, water is such a hot button issue that candidates better pay attention. And they better back up their rhetoric by doing something about those water rates, which continue to eat into ordinary Filipinos’ budget for food, clothes and other basic necessities.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Dayaan (dirty tricks) sa 2007 election, nagsimula na!

Kahit saang anggulo tignan, tuloy na tuloy na ang election sa 2007. Maliban siguro sa ilang siraulong diehard na Lakas-NUCD-Tainga de Venecia at nababahalang Kaliwa na hanggang ngayon ay umaasa pang mailulusot ang Con-As, insureksyon at pag-aalsang militar.

May 14, 2007 ang election at maghahal tayo ng 12 senador, partylist at district representative, gobernador, bise gobernador, board members (bokal), city at municipal mayor at vice mayor at city at municipal councilor. Batay sa kalendaryo ng Comelec, ang election period ay magsisimula sa January 15 at magtatapos sa June 15. Meaning, 45 na tulugan, election period na.

Kahit malayo pa, election fever na sa mga pulitiko. March 30, 2007 ang campaign period sa local election. Sapagkat mas apak, grounded at visible, mas magiging kapana-panabik sa mata ng mamamayan ang local election. Ang deadline ng filing ng Certificate of Candidacy ay sa March 15, 2007. January 15 ang deadline ng filing of candidacy para sa senador ataparty list, samantalang sa February 15, 2007 naman ang simula ng national campaign.

Sa panahon ng election period, ipinagbabawal ang pag-aalis o paglilipat ng empleado sa gubyerno. Bawal din ang paggawa ng proyekto (infra), maliban sa mga napasimulang public works and highways bago ang takdang panahon. Total gun ban o ipinagbabawal ang pagdadala ng mga sandata, maliban sa mga mapagkakalooban ng exemptions ng Comelec, tulad ng mga pulis at sundalong mga naka-duty.

Sa Pilipinas, kung saan ang kontrol ng kapangyarihan ay katumbas ng buhay at kamatayan ng TRAPO, kakaiba ang sinusunod na electoral calendar ng kani-kanilang mga operador. Hinahati ito sa apat (4 phases) na yugto; pre-campaign period (one year before), campaign period, ora de peligro't botohan at post election period. Sa mga seryosong candidate, nagsisimula na dapat ang election period, ibig sabihin “one year before campaign period”.

Ang pagpapasurvey, mga GIMIK sa pagpapa-alam at pagpapakilala, pangangalap ng pondo, panimulang pagbubuo ng makinarya, pamumulitika, panggagapang, pag-iinbintaryo na ng mga lider at angkan, at higit sa lahat, KBL (kasal, binyag, libing) ang kadalasa'y laman ng mga activity sa PRE-CAMPAIGN PERIOD.

Kaya lang, batay sa kasaysayan ng ating pulitika, walang election sa Pilipinas na hindi nagkaroon ng dayaan, kaguluhan at patayan. Kailanma'y hindi naging malinis at patas ang halalan sa Pilipinas. Gayumpaman, may ilan pa ring mangilan- ngilang na nakakalusot na matitino't makabagong pulitiko.

Dahil sa political instability at political uncertainty (banana republic), posible ang lahat, pagdududa't skeptics sa anumang ikinikilos ng Malakanyang. Kung matatandaan, ilang buwang nalagay sa alanganin ang populasyon na kesyo baka hindi matuloy ang halalan, may senaryong No-El sa nilulutong People's Initiative – Cha Cha ng Sigaw ng Bayan, DILG at ULAP at ang isinusulong na Con-Ashole sa Tonggreso.

"Superior political machinery" at war chest ng Malakanyang sa 2007

Isang referendum para kay Ate Glo ang 2007 election. Walang dudang titingkad ang isyu ng legitimacy na ipinakita at pinatunayan sa linlangang, garapalan ng “hello garci tape”, katiwalian ng P3.0 bilyong fertilizer funds, Philhealth card, road user's tax at iba pa. Ubligadong harapin ng administrasyon ang isyu ng pangungurakot, pananalaula sa Constitution, panunupil at political persecution sa mga kilalang aktibista, karalitaan at malawakang unemployment-OFW at kagutuman.

Crucial at mahalaga para kay Ate Glo ang 2007 election. Bagamat hindi siya ang nakasalang (proxy war), manganganib at nakasalalay ang kanyang political survival kung hindi maisisiguro at masesecure ang mahigit 2/3 na bilang ng Tongresmen sa Mababang kapulungan, istratehikong mga LGUs at Senado.

Kung makakalap ng oposisyon ang mahigit 80 (1/3 vote) sa Kongreso, walang kaduda-dudang bibilis ang ikatlong salang impeachment laban kay Ate Glo. Dapat din niyang ikunsidera na may ilang Kinatawan sa Lakas-CMD ang posible ring bumaligtad at makisawsaw sa oposisyon. Sapagkat mamumuro ang oposisyon sa Senado, maliwang pa sa sikat ng araw na pormalidad na lamang ang kakailanganin upang husgahan ng kasaysayang nagkasala ng pandaraya't pandarambong-guilty verdict si Ate Glo.

Dahil sa ganitong scenaryo, pagbabantang binitiwan ni Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Gabriel Claudio na pupulutin sa kangkungan ang oposisyon dahil “buong bigat na ibubuhos ang resources ng pamahalaan sa itatayong “superior political machinery” sa 2007 election. Ibig sabihin, malaki ang posibilidad na isagawa ang malakihang PANGUNGUPIT sa Treasury o kabang yaman ng gubyerno upang biguin, sawatain ang napipintong pananagumpay ng oposisyon sa 2007; Kung magkaganito, muling gagamitin ang nakagawiang pandaraya, harrashment, blackmail at pananakot upang maisalbang muli hanggang 2010 ang GMA administrasyon.

Habang nana-psy war, pinoposisyon na ng Malakanyang ang buong ahensya-resources para sa 2007. Binalasa ang buong Gabinete at itinalaga bilang undersecretaries ng Dept of Transportation ang Communication (DOTC) sina Elena Bautista ng Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) at Land Transportation Office (LTO) Assistant Secretary Anneli R. Lontoc. Maraming pork barrel fund at government projects ang DOTC na maaaring ipamudmod ng gobyerno sa kanilang mga kaalyado.

Si Presidential Management Staff (PMS) chief Arthur Yap ay nalipat naman sa dati nitong pinamunuan na Department of Agriculture (DA) bilang kapalit ni Domingo Panganiban na ililipat bilang hepe ng National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC). Inihahanda na ng Malakanyang ang masunuring tupang (Tong Pichay?) ipampapalit kay Sec Nonong Cruz sa AFP. Kung matatandaan, nakialam at nagdeliver ng malaking boto ang AFP nuong 2004 presidential election.

Paghahanda ng “superior political machinery”

1. Ang hiwaga ng “pork barrel” sa electoral campaign budget. Naisingit na ang “hidden portk barrel” ng mga Administration Tongresmen sa makukuhang katkong na P18.0 bilyong budget sa DOTC para sa 2007 national budget at pangungupit sa P10.0 bilyong human rights victims compensation act na binibinbin ng House Committee on Appropriations ni Tong Salceda. Bubulaga ule sa madla ang isyu ng “WASTED, diverted, unliquidated, missing” sa mga susing ahensya ng gubyerno.

2. intact at patuloy na namamayagpag ang mga sindikato ng pamemeke ng Election Return (ER) ng Administrasyon. Ang mga Garci boys, Sec Hermogenes Ebdane at ang point man ni Ate Glo na si Arsenio Rasalan.

3. Ang papel ng citizens armed militia at barangay tanod. Kung ang AFP angnagamit noong 2004 election, walang dahilan upang hindi pakinabangan ng administrasyon ang daang libong CAFGU o BSDO na nakabalagbag sa mga liblib sa kanayunan.

4. dagdag na “umentong pasahod (vote buying)” sa empleyado ng gubyerno. Base sa estimate ng Department of Budget and Management (DBM), magpapaluwal ng mahigit P10.0 bilyong ang gubyerno bago ang May, 2007 election; P32.0 bilyon sa 2008, P55.0 bilyon sa 2009 at P75.0 bilyon sa 2010 bilang salary increases sa mahigit dalawang milyong kawani ng gubyerno.

5. ang “scholarship” fund ng mga maka-administrasyong Tongresmen. Kung ang P1.0 bilyong fertilizer fund scam ay nanggaling sa Dept of Agriculture ni Jocjoc Bolante, manggagaling sa CHED (commission on Higher Education) ang P 187.0 milyon one time fincial grant program na ihahatag sa mga galamay ni Ate Glo. Halatang suhol sapagkat imbis na CHED ang mamimili at mag-iiscreen ng mga mabibiyayaang “scholars” na siyang normal at moral na kalakaran, ipapaubaya na ito sa mga buwitreng mga pulitikong Tongresmen na kaalydo ni Ate Glo. Ayon sa ilang inpormante, P185.0 milyon Emergency Financial Assistance for Students (EFAST) ang ihahatag bilang payback time sa naging performance nito nuong impeachment proceeding.

6. “seed fund” na nagkakahalaga ng P425.0 milyon programa ng Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (rice and corn) ng Department of Agriculture (DA). Walang kaduda-dudang gagamitin sa electoral campaign ang seed fund na pinangalanang hybrid seeds at certified seeds.

7. ang P3 bilyong school feeding program na nakapaloob sa 2007 national budget na inaprubahan sa Tongreso. Naisingit ng maka-administrasyon Tongresmen ang nasabing budget sa naaprubahang P 1.136 trilyong panukalang budget ng pamahalaan. Imbis na gatas at nutribuns na kakaialanganin upang sumigla't tumalino ang mga bata, mukhang BIGAS ang ipamamahagi at ang malungkot, mga pulitiko sa LGUs (ULAP) at 'di mga guro sa Dep Ed ang pangunahing papapel sa distribusyon ng feeding program.

8. P500.0 milyon para sa PRE-SCHOOLING program “para sa mahihirap”. Ayon kay Tong Villafuerte (Lakas-NUCD), isang pusakal, luma at pulitikong angkan ng Camarines Sur, “ang P500 milyon ay bukod pa sa P250 milyon na inilaan para sa Preschool Program na kabahagi sa P46.4 billion supplemental national budget. Dagdag pa, naglaan din ng panibagong P269.5 milyon sa supplemental budget para sa Department of Social Welfare and Development’s breakfast and milk feeding para sa preschoolers sa day care centers. “Wag n'yo kaming pinagloloko!!!

9. plano ring magsagawa ng pagpapautang o “direct lending” ang DSWD-Malakanyang. Isang credit program na manggagaling sa budgetary allotments, special purpose funds at loans o grants mula sa mga donor agencies na ipapautang sa paraang subsidized rates ala KKK (Kilusang Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran) ni Marcos.

10. ang P430.8-million isiningit sa 2007 budget ng DOTC. Ayon kay Secretary Leandro Mendoza, ang karagdagang budget ng ahensya ay gagamitin raw sa feasibility studies ng kunstruksyon ng railway systems sa Panay, Cebu at Mindanao na nagkakahalaga ng P200.0 milyon. Ito raw ang idinikta sa kanya ng administrasyong Tongresmen na kabilang sa House Finance Committee. Saan planeta ka namang makakakita ng P200.0 million "lump sum" para lamang sa isang pag-aaral kung pupwede o hindi (feasibility studies) ang railway system?

11. Ang imminent na pagju-jugglin ng pondong P1.0 bilyon mula sa Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) patungo sa JATHROPA projects na nagresulta ng resignation ng PNOC President Eduardo Manalac. Ayon kay Manalac, kadud-duda, isa lamang propaganda at pamumulitika ang itinutulak na alternative fuel program ni Ate Glo.

12. ang misteryosong paglobo ng botante. Sa budget hearing ng Senado, iginiit ng Comelec na “aakyat ng 49 milyon ang inaasahang magpaparehistro” hanggang Disyembre 31 ng taong ksalukuyan. Ayon kay Sen Drilon, hindi katanggap-tanggap ang depensang ‘erroneous assumption’ na gustong palabasin ni Abalos. Mula raw sa 41.7 milyong botanteng kasalukuyang nakapagtala na sa Comelec nuong nakalipas na 30 ng Hunyo at inaasahan raw na madaragdagan ng mahigit walong (8) milyong botante ang magpaparehistro sa susunod na buwang Disyembre.

13. may 6.4 milyong botanteng di pa rehistrado. Sa isang survey na isinagawa ng Social Weather Stations (SWS), may 13 percent, o bumibilang na 6.4 million Pinoy na botante ay 'di pa narerehistrado sa Comelec. Three-fourths (¾) ng mga potensyal na mga botanteng ito o 4.8 million, ay 'di alam o walang kaalam-alam na pwede silang magparehistro anumang oras (continuing registration) sa Comelec (may kahinaan sa kampanyang inpormasyon). Ang nasabing survey ay inisponsor ng United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at University of the Philippines-National College on Public Administration and Governance.

14. Ang pagreresign at pagpapatalsik sa ilang key officials ng Arroyo administration. Isang hakbang ang political cleasing na isinasagawa ng DILG sa mga LGUs na itinuturing na mga kaaway ni Ate Glo.

15. Ginamit ang kaso ni Atong Ang at Gringo Honssan upang durugin ang oposisyon.

16. Ang hiwaga ng Jueteng operation at ang STL. Ayon kay Sen Nene Pimentel, supotado at pintatakbo ng DILG at PNP ang Jueteng operation sa Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Kabisayaan. Ang Jueteng bilyong pisong payola ay malinaw na gagamiting ng mga pulitikong (LGUs) kaalyado ng Malakanyang (partidong KAMPI) upang talunin at katayin ang oposisyon sa 2007 election .

17. programang “Tulay ng Pangulo” ng Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). Kaduda-duda ang nasabing P1.095 bilyon programa dahil sa totoo lang, wala sa konsepto, guni-guni sa kasaysayan na papapilan nito pati ang infra projects na tulad ng tulay at kalsada.

18. smuggling money na magmumula sa Bureau of Custom (BOC). Ayon sa ilang inpormante, may P80.0 bilyong taun-taon ang nawawalang buwis sa BOC na napupunta sa bulsa ng ilang ma-impluwensyang tao sa Malakanyang.

Bantay Halalan ng civic, progressive groups

Inaasahang pare-parehong gagawa ng alingasngas at kalokohan ang administrsyon, ang Comelec at buong bangis ng burukrasya ng estado sa darating na 2007 election. Ang isang malaking hamon sa bahagi ng progressive groups ay kung paano mapoproteksyunan, paano mababantayan, paano bawasan ang dayaan at kaguluhan at higit sa lahat,paano KIKILATISIN ang mga kandidto sa 2007 election?

Ang isang alam kong nag-eemerge na makabagong kilusang aktibo at gagalaw para sa 2007 election ay ang Consortium for Electorl Reform (CER), isang malawak na alyansa na seryosong nag-aadvocate ng pagsasareporma hindi lamang ng sistemg electoral maging ang kabuuang sistemng pulitikal ng bansa. Isa sa mga proyekto ng grupo ay pagsasareporma ng electoral Finance, Political Party, modernization ng electoral conduct, paglilinis ng listahan ng botante at institutionalization ng voter's education.

Nagbabalak din ang Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) na maglunsad ng malawakang “Kam panyang 'wag iboto o iboykot ang mga re-electionistang mga TRAPO at kamag-anak na ihahalili nila sa Kongreso." Isa sa maaring puntiryahin ng mga Obispo ay ang Tongresmen na nagbasura ng impeachment proceeding ng dalawang beses. Kanilang ikakampanya sa pamamgitan ng kanilang mga dioceses, paaralan, komunidad at networks na iboykot ang mga re-electionistang mga TRAPO.

Muling bubuhayin at palalakasin ang Parish Pastoral Council of the Philippines (PPCRV) upang maisakatuparan at makapagsagwa ng isang profiling ng mga Tongresmen tatakbo sa 2007. Ang political profiles, pagkilatis ng track record at position sa mga isyu ng mga pulitiko ay lubhang kailangan ng mga botante upang magsilbing gabay sa kanilang pagpipilian. Maliban sa masinsinang pagbabantay halalan (poll watching), malawakang magsasagawa rin ng “voter's education” sa mga kabataan at komunidad.

May kilusan "Marangal na Halalan o bantay halalan sa presinto" ring binuo ang grupo nila Obet Verzola (Greens Phil) at PRRM. Isang electronic at high tech na pamamaraan upang masubaybayan-monitor at surveilance ang mga polling place at presinto lalona sa panahon ng bilangan at canvassing. Maaring makatulong din ang pagco-conduct ng malawakan at makasyensang, credible electoral survey at exit poll ng SWS at Pulse Asia upang masawata ang garapalang dagdag-bawas, pandaraya ng adoninistrasyon.

Inaasahang marami pang grupong non-alligned, non-partisan, civic groups ang magbubuo ng mga kilusang upang bantayan ang napipintong malawakang dayaan sa 2007 election. Walang ng debate sa kung ano ang pakinabang at kahalagahan ng electoral politics sa isinusulong na pagbabago, demokratisasyon at kaunlarang .

Maliban sa kampanyang "oust GMA campaign", non-partisan framing at pagsusulong ng people's agenda ng Kaliwa, lubhang kakailanganin ang direktang pagpapatakbo ng mga kandidatong magdadala ng "Bagong Pulitika," mga reformer at mga dating aktibista sa Lokal man, sa Senado at sa Party List. Isang tanong, ano ang maaring PAPEL at AGENDA ng DEMOCRATIC LEFT sa 2007 election?

Doy Cinco / IPD
Nov 15, 2006

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Pwersang GMA ang magdodomina sa 2007?

Malabong sabihing nobenta porientong (90%) matutulad o magkakaroon ng “part 2” ang nangyaring pagkatalo ng Republican Party ni Bush sa nalalapit na May, 2007 election. Sinasabi ng oposisyon na “preview lamang ang 2007 mid-term election ang US at sabihing mas masahol pa ang dadanasing lagapak-pagkatalo ng GMA administrasyon sa 2007.” Bagamat sinasabing may katiting na pagkakahawig ang sistemang pulitikal sa US at sa Pilipinas, ibang-iba ang laro ng politika sa Pilipinas, malayong-malayo ito sa usapin ng konteksto't mga larangan pang-election;

Una; Sa Pilipinas, pangunahing kompetisyon ng personalidad, kapangyarihan, padrino at makinarya ang katangian ng election sa Pilipinas. Kung baga, labanan lamang ito ng mga traditional politicians (TRAPO) at makabagong elite, labanan lamang ng mga politikang angkan (political clan), oligarkiya, indibidwal at hindi ng partido o plataporma. Mas brutal at garapal ang kalakarang election sa Pilipinas kaysa sa Amerika.

Masyadong partisano, sobrang gastos, divisive, madugo, showbiz, over acting at magastos ang election sa Pilipinas. Walang election na hindi nagkaroon ng dayaan at patayan. Bilyon piso ang nawawaldas sa election. Normally, naglalaro sa ilang daang milyong piso ang kakailanganin budget sa isang electoral campaign para sa isang Senatorial bet at ilang milyon piso para sa isa lamang 3rd hanggang 5th class municipality.

Pangalawa; "di tulad sa US, pare-pareho at walang bagong inihahatag na alternatibo ang magkabilang panig (oposisyon at administrasyon). Kung baga, parang coke at pepsi, produktong parehong cola. Sinuman ang manalo sa dalawa , walang katiyakan, kasiguruhang magkakaraoon ng pagbabago, repormang tunay at radikal na pagbabago sa sistemang politika.

Maliban sa Senatoriable slate na walang dudang makokopong ng oposisyon, may tatyang muling mananaig ang tiket ng administrasyon, si GMA sa congressional district at local election kung sakaling bukas na ang election. Meaning, malaking posibilid na mananaig ang mga anti-impeachment Tongresmen, mga galamay nito sa ULAP at Liga ng mga lokal na ehekutibo sa Pilipinas. Ngayon sa tanong kung bakit, ang ang salik at kadahilanan?

Ang local politics sa Northern Luzon

Ang Northern Luzon (NL) ay binubuo ng 3 rehiyon, Ang Region 1 - Ilocos Region, Region 2 – Cagayan Valley at CAR Cordillera Autonomous Region. Ang R1 ay binubuo ng 4 na probinsya, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union at Pangasinan. May kabuuang 11,402 clusterd precints at total na 2,323,285 rehistradong botante.

May limang (5) nasasakupang probinsya ang NL; Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino at Nueva Viscaya ang Region 2. May 7, 180 clustered precints at may kabuuang 1,498,780 rehistradong botante. Ang Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) ay may 6 na probinsya; ang Abra, Kalinga, Apayao, Ifugao, Mt Province at Benguet. May 3,861 clustered precints at m kbuuang 762,268 rehistradong botante.

Katulad sa kalakhang mga rehiyon sa Pilipinas, (exception ang NCR), TRAPO ang labanan at walang gaanong pagbabago sa Northern Luzon (NL), kung sa bagay hindi na ito balita. Meaning, ang 2007 election ay inaasahang laro lamang ng mga dati, lumang pulitiko at mga makabagong TRAPONG elite. Mga pulitikang angkan (political clan) naghari nuong panahon ni Marcos at namayagpag, nagpatuloy at nakapagkonsolidad hanggang sa panahon ni GMA.

Ang NL ang larawan ng political dynasties, oligarkiya't political elite, sa madali't sabi TRAPO. Bawat probinsya o tahi-tahing mga distrito hanggang mga kabayanan ay pinaghaharian ng isang maliit na political clan o kahariang politikang angkan.

Nuong panahon ng diktadurang Marcos, nabansagang “Solid North” ang NL, sapagkat sa tuwing may labang electoral sa pang-panguluhan at Senado, “naissosolido” nito (command politics) ang boto para sa isang kababayan tangan ni Marcos, ang Ilokano factor na kadalasa'y binibitbit na parang kanila at kapatid. Kaya lang, sa nakalipas na dalawang dekada, unti-unting nabago ang political landscape at hugis. Bagamat nawala na ang ilang sagadsaring galamay ni Marcos sa poder, may kahalintulad na humalili at panibagong padron sa pulitika sa katayuang ng kasalukuyang dispensasyon.

Basically, MACHINE POLITICS ang electoral tactics at istratehiyang gagamitin sa rehiyon, meaning, kung may mahusay kang makinarya't lohistika't mukha-popularidad, nakalalamang na ito ng mahigit 20 porsiento na winning chance. Subukan nating isa-isahin ang kabuuang larawan ng rehiyon.


Kilalang Enrile Country ang Cagayan. May clout din sa lugar si Danding Cojuanco, mga dating malalapit kay Marcos na ngayo'y nakahanap ng panibagong padron, si GMA. Hangga't naise-secure ang economic interest ng dalawa at walang nakikitang bantang gibain ito ni GMA, aasahang makikipag-landian si Danding at Enrile sa mga nakaupo sa Malakanyang.

Sa tatlong distrito ng Cagayan, mamanipulado't mapapanatili ni Enrile at ni Danding Cojuanco ang Cagayan hanggg sa 2007 election. Kung baga, walang makakalusut sa probinsya na hindi man lang dadaan, magmamano o walang basbas na manggagaling sa dalawa. Alyado ni Enrile ang gobernador (Gov Lara-Nationalist People Coalition), Mayor Randy Ting ng Tuguegrao City at Cong Vargas sa 2nd District.

Dahil graduating na si Jacky Enrile, ipapalit sa pwesto ang asawang (magpapalit) si Salvacion S. Enrile. Mananatili't may isa pang term si Gov Lara. Hawak ni Enrile at Lara ang botong manggagaling sa 3 malalaking bayan ng Baggao, Gattaran, Lallo at Aparri na bumubuo ng halos kalahati ng boto sa Unang Distrito. Maliban sa Vice Gov Oscar Pagulayan (LDP), kontrolado ng dalawa (NPC) ang kalakhang bilang ng provincial board member, punong bayan hanggang barangay.

Matatag ang pwesto ni Cong Florencio Vargas (Lakas-NUCD) sa Distict 2. Bagamat may dalawang term pa, may posibilidad na patakbuhin nito ang kanyang anak na si Arlene Vargas. Ang suma total, Lara-Vargas ang magtatandem sa 2007.

Hawak ng angkang Mamba ang pulitika ng 3rd District. Bago si Manuel mamba, may sampung taong hinawakan ng kamag-anak na si Francisco Mamba ang pulitika ng distrito. Kahit magpapatuloy ang tampuhan nila ni Gov Lara at mga Enrile, mayroon siyang masasandalang alyadong Mayor Ting ng Tuguegrao. Malaki ang posisbilidad na umastang oposisyon (LP-Drilon wing) ang Mamba.

Sa kabuuan, 2 : 1 ang posibleng score card sa Cagayan, pabor kay GMA.


Walang dudang makokontrol ng GMA administrasyon ang probinsya ng Isabela. Nanatiling kontrolado at dominado ng mga Dy ang Isabela. Mula ng namatay ang matandang Faustino Sr nuong 1993, nakakalat sa iba't-ibang posisyong politikal ang mga anak nito. Hinawakan ni Faustino Jr ang Probinsya habang ang isa pang Faustino III ay kinatawan sa isang Distrito. Ang iba pang kapatid tulad ni Alexander at Caesar ay naging punong bayan ng San Mariano at Cauayan, mga malalaking bayan at botante sa Isabela. Ang Pamanking nitong si Benjamin jr ay naging Mayor din ng Angadanan.

Kaya lang nuong 2004 election, nakatikim ng mapait na pagkatalo ang mga Dy kay Gov Mary Grace Padaca, isa sa pinakamakasaysayan at pinakamalaking electoral upset na binantayan ng sambayanang Pilipino. Nawala rin ang mga Dy iba't-ibang lugar tulad ng Cauayan at sa San Mariano. Pinagtulungan ng lahat ng pampulitikang pwersa, ang oposisyon, partido't administrasyon at CPP-NPA ang mga Dy sa Isabela. Bagamat sinasabing kabilang sa Aksyong Demokratiko si Padaca, walang dudang manok siya ni GMA. Babalik ang mga Dys sa 2007 upang agawin ang pampulitikang kapangyarihang naagaw sa kanila ng mga Padaca .

Political kingpin at trusted ally ni Danding ang mga Dy sa Isabela. Nandiyan ang mga Albano, Uy at Miranda forces sa lunsod ng Santiago. Kaya lang, kung todong susuportahan ni GMA ang administrasyon ni Gov Padaca, baka mahirapang makabawi ang mga DY sa probinsya.

Manantili uli sa pwesto si Rodolfo Albano III (KAMPI) sa 1st D. anak ng matandang pulitikong angkan na si Rudy Albano Jr, isang survivor na Marcos ally at malapit kay Danding Cojuanco. Hinawakan ng matandang Rudy Albano jr mula nuong 1987 hanggang 2001 Congressional election ang distrito. Mula sa NPC, isa na siya ngayong KAMPI at malapit kay GMA. Matapos maipasa sa anak ang trono, naipwesto pa ito ni GMA sa Malacanyang, bilang sunud-sunurang tupa't puno ng Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

Magiging mahigpit ang labanan ng mga TRAPO sa 2nd D. Wala ng maipangtatapat kay Edwin Uy (Lakas-NUCD) kundi ang mga Dys. May isa pang termino si Edwin Uy bago maggraduate sa 2010 at kung hindi makapaghihintay si Faustino DY jr, malamang siya ang makalaban nito sa 2007. Hinawakan ng dalawang termino (nuong 1992 at '95 election) ni Faustino jr ang distrito bago naagaw ng mga UY. Kung si Uy ang magiging manok ni GMA, walang dudang manalo ito ule.

Panghahawakan ng isa pang Dy sa katauhan ni Faustino DY (Lakas-NUCD) ang 3rd D. Upang masigurado ang suporta ng administrasyon, lumipat sa Lakas-NUCD mula sa NPC. Siya na lamang ang nalalabing DY na may mataas na katungkulan sa Isabela at malapit sa adminstrasyon. Graduate na at posibleng umakyat sa governatorial race sa 2007 upang tapatan si Padaca o patakbuhin na lamang ang isang kamag-anak. Maari ring bumalik ang mga Respicio. Dating may hawak ng distrito (3 terms) bago nakuha ng mga Dy.

Mahigpit ang labanan sa 4rt D. Kung marami ang magpapanakbuhan, posibleng mabiyak ang boto at manatili ule si Anthony Miranda, dating PDP-Laban, anak ng malaking angkan ng mga Miranda (PDP-Laban), isang pulitiko't sampung (10 years) taong "nanilbihan" bilang punong lunsod ng Santiago (economic at trading center ng Region 2 at ilang bahagi ng CAR). Dahil sa laki ng banta na maagaw ng mga kaaway sa politika (pwersang Danding), si Cong Miranda ay lumipat sa saya ni GMA at pumaloob sa partidong KAMPI.

Ganunpaman, maaring 4 ang maglaban sa 4rt District; maliban kay sa incumbent na si Miranda, baka magka-interest si dating Sen Heherson Alvares, si Gigi Agabao (NPC) ang manok ni Danding at palagiang katunggali ng mga Miranda, ang bagong graduate na mayor ng Echague, si Leoncio KIAT (NPC) at pamilyang Abaya.

Kung magkakaisa, pagtulungan at maisosolido ang anti-Miranda paksyon, mga NPC candidate, papanig ang kampo ng Mayor ng Santiago na si Amelita Navarro at mga angkan ng Abaya (dating Congressman nong 90s), malalagay sa alanganin si Miranda sa 4rt D at pwede niyang plan B, option ay tularan ang kanyang Ama at lumaban at panghawakan na lamang ang mayoralty election ng Santiago City.

Sa kabuuan, magtutulungan ang LAKAS, KAMPI at NPC upang durugin ang kampon ng mga alipores ng oposisyon. Posisbleng 4 : 0, pabor sa administrasyon ni GMA ang Isabela.

Nueva Viscaya

Lugar ng mga Agbayani ang probinsya. Ang Lakas-NUCD at Kampi ay posibleng magtutulungan laban sa kung sino man ipang-babangga kay GMA. Walang dudang mananatili sa pwesto ang incumbent na si Rep Rodolfo Agbayani (LDP-KNP). Kung 'di marerecover ng LDP-Angara ang probinsya at magkakaroon ng kasunduan kay GMA, mahihirapang magkaroon ng pagbago sa Nueva Viscaya. Mahalagang maikunsidera rin si Gov Luisa Cuaresma (LDP), may tangan sa probinsya. Pro-GMA administrasyon ang probinsya.


Hawak ng mga Cua (LP-Atienza wing) ang Quirino. Mula pa nuong panahon ni Cory hanggang sa kasalukuyan, ang gobernador at mga ilang bayan sa probinsya ay pinagpapasyahan ng mga Cua. Malapit kay GMA ang mga Cua. Kung mayroon man katapat ang mga Cua sa probinsya, ito'y posibleng mggaling sa Diffun na si Mayor Maya Calauan o ang Governor Pedro Bacani. Cua-Bacani tandem pa rin at walang mababago sa 2007 election sa probinsya.


Walang gaanong pagbabago sa Batanes. Ito'y patuloy na panghahawakn ng mga Abad, isang consistent oposisyon ng administrasyon. Si Florencio Abad (LP-Drilon wing) na kabilang sa Hyatt 10, ang kinikilalang political kingpin ng lugar.

Sa kabuuan, sa anim na probinsya ng Cagayaan Valley Region, ang Batanes lamang ang masasabi natin mapanghhawakan ng oposisyon.


Mga Marcos at TRAPO ang magdodomina ng pulitika sa rehiyon, partikular sa Ilokos Norte,Sur at La Union.

Graduating na si Imee Marcos sa 2nd Distrito habang may natitira pang isang term si Roquito Ablan jr sa 1st D. Basically, maaring magpalit lamang ng mga pwesto ang mga ito. Kung babalikan, bago maging gobernador kinumpleto ni Bongbong Marcos ang termino sa 2nd D bago isinalin sa kanyang ateng si Imee.

Graduate na rin si Imee sa 2nd at kung 'di makukuha sa slate ng oposisyon sa Senado, malamang magpalit na lang ule ng posisyon sila ni Bongbong. Magiging tabla ang laban ni GMA at oposisyon.

Ilocos Sur

Dominado ng mga Singson ang Ilocos Sur. Hawak ni Chabit ang 1st District habang na sa 2nd District naman ang Eric Singson (LP), ang kanyang nakababatang kapatid. Nung magGobernor si Chabit, pina-ubaya't ipinasa nito ang pwesto sa kanyang mga galamay, una kay Mariano Tajon na naka-dalawang termino, sumunod na pinasok si Salacnib Baterina jr (Lakas-NUCD), isang mahusay na abugado at masugit na alipores ni Chabit.

Hanggang kasalukuyan, mga Singson pa rin ang makakapangyari sa lugar at kung magkaroon man ng mga pagbabago, ito'y sa konteksto pa ng pagrerelyebo ng mga tao at pagbibigay ng mga pwesto sa Malakanyang. Maari nating sabihing 2 : 0 ang Ilocos Sur sa panig ni GMA.

La Union

Mga Ortega at Dumpit pa rin ang may kontrol ng pulitika sa probinsya. Bagamat may namumuong tensyon sa pagitan ng Ortega (NPC) at Dumpit (Lakas-NUCD), itinuturing mga galamay ito ng administrasyon at walang epekto sa katatagn ni GMA. Kung magpapatuloy ang pananakop ng mga Singson sa pagkontrol ng Poro Pt. (Bases Conversion-al Clark) sa San Fernando City, baka maubligang mag-oposisyon ang ilan sa dalawang makapangyarihang pulitiko sa La Union.

Hawak ng mga Ortega ang Governor, Victor Ortega habang na kay Manuel Ortega ang 1st D. Sila rin ang may malaking inpluwensya sa malalaking bayan sa probinsya. Mula sa San Fernando City (ang bumubuo ng halos kalahati ng botante sa probinsya), Bauang, Agoo, Naguillan, Rosario at Luna. Hawak ni Tomas Dumpit (KAMPI) ang 2nd D.

Dahil parehong last term (graduated) na ang dalawang kinatawan sa kongreso, posibleng pumasok sa eksen ang Purungganan, isang dating militar at matapat na kaalyado ni GMA. Posible ring patakbuhin na lamang ng dalawa ang kani- kanilang kamag-anak para maiwasang magbanggaan sa probinsya (governatorial race). Kung magka-interes bumalik sa pulitika ang mga Aspiras jr sa 2nd D, ang anak ng matandang Jose Aspiras at dating crony ni Marcos. Hinawakan ng matagal ng matagal na panahon ng angkang Aspiras ang La Union nuong kapanahunan ni Marcos.

Ang suma total; 2 : 0 sa panig ni GMA ang La Union.


Pinakamalaki at vote rich province ang Panagasinan sa Northern Luzon. Masasabing mga Agbayani, Estrella at Ramos country ang Pangasinan. Matagal ng namuhunan ang mga Agbayani't Estrella sa lugar (Marcos years). Dahil sa laki ng ayuda ng Malkanyang, isa na sa masasabing balwarte ng administrasyon ang Pangasinan. Mula sa Lakas-NUCD, marami sa mga kinatawan dito ay lumipat na sa KAMPI. Si Arthur Celeste (KAMPI) ng 1st D, Amado Espino (may isa pang term) ng 2nd at ang last term/graduate na si Generoso Tulagan ng 3rd D. Hawak ni Joe De Venesia ang 4rt D. May isa pa siyang termino, habang si Mark Cojuanco (anak ni Danding) NPC at si Conrado Estrella sa natitirang dalawang distrito ng Pangasinan.

Ang mg Estrella, tulad ng mga Cojuanco ay apo ng mga matatandang pulitikong si Robert Estrella nuong 1969, lolo nito si Conrado Estrella Sr, ang dating gobernador, assemblyman at cabinet member ni Marcos. Dahil sa laki ng probinsya, maaring may nagtitimon sa anim na distrito ng Pangasinan (Estrella o si Joe de Venecia?). Maliban kay Tulagan (graduate) ang lima sa kanila ay may isa pang termino.

Malaki ang posibilidad na magkaroon ng pagbabago, makikigulo't maghahangad ng position sa Pangasinan, ang lugar na maaaring magiging panatag si GMA. Kaya lang, may kumakalat na usapang na malamang “game of the generals” ang 2007 election sa Pangasinan.

Malamang magbanggaan ang mag-Mistah na sina Lomibao at Pangasinan Rep. Amado Espino sa gubernatorial post ng Pangasinan. Bukod sa dalawa, kabilang rin sa mga dating heneral na tatakbo sa lokal na halalan sa Pangasinan ay sina retired army Lt. General Alberto Braganza, dating kumander ng Southern Luzon Command; dating PNP Deputy Director General Reynaldo Velaso at dating Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Jose Calimlim na nagsilbi ring hepe ng Presidential Security Group (PSG).

Magkaklase at malapit na magkaibigan sina Lomibao at Espino, dating colonel ng PNP at kumander ng Region III na minsang nakahuli kay Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo noong aktibo pa sa underground, sa Philippine Military Academy Class ’72.

Kung tutuloy si Espino na may nalalabing isang termino bilang kongresista sa gubernatorial post, inaasahang magpapalit sila ng tatakbuhang posisyon ni Gov. Victor Agbayani, isang last-termer, habang posibleng bumaba naman bilang vice governor ang maybahay ng huli na si Jamie.

Inaasahang may plano ring tumakbong gobernador nina incumbent Vice Gov Oscar Lambino at sixth district Rep. Conrad Estrella. Kakalabanin ni Braganza si incumbent first district Rep. Arthur Celeste habang sa ika-limang distrito naman bilang kongresista ang nais na takbuhan ni Velasco at hindi pa matiyak ang posisyong tatargetin ni Calimlim.

Makakalaban ni Velasco sa posisyong iiwanan ni last termer Rep. Generoso Tulagan sina Rachel Arenas, anak ng socialite na si Rosemarie “Baby” Arenas, Bayambang Mayor Leocadio De Vera, Customs Deputy Commissioner Gallant Soriano at Generoso Tulagan, Jr. Matunog rin ang pagtakbo ni Dagupan City Mayor Benjamin S. Lim sa ika-apat na distrito para kalabanin si incumbent Speaker Jose De Venecia, Jr.

Sa kabuuan, mga paksyong maka-GMA ang maglalaban-laban sa limang distrito ng Pangasinan, so 5 : 0 sa panig ni GMA.

Cordillera Region


Bagamat malakas ang kilusang progresibo sa lugar, nanatiling si Elias Bulut jr (NPC) country ang Kalinga-Apayao. Isang negosyante si Bulut. Matapos hawakan ng mga Clever ang lugar, agad naagaw ng mga Bulut ng mahigit isang dekada ang dalawang probinsya, bago nahati ito noong 2001. Nung hinati (2001) at binuo ang Apayao (lone district pareho), si Laurence Wacnang (LP), isang abugdo ang humawak dito.

Graduate na si Bulut habang may isa pang term si Wacnang. Kung sak-sakali, malamang magkroon ng rigudon at hawakan lamang nito ang probinsya na kasalukuyang hawak ng kanyang amang si Gov Elias Sr o dili kaya'y patakbuhin ang kani-kanilang kamag-anak. GMA territory ang Kalinga – Apayao at kung walang papasok na bagong pulitika sa baba, malamang walang mababago sa lugar.


Mainit ang pulitika sa Ifugao. Bagamat matatanda na ang mga dati at lumang pulitiko sa lugar, tulad ng mga Lumauig maraming nsulputang mga bago at mayamang pulitikong angkan sa Ifugao. Incumbent Rep sa ngayon si Solomon Chungalao (LP), isang maka-GMA. May isa pa siyang term at posibleng siya pa rin ang tumangan sa probinsya. Dating hinawakan ang probinsya ni Benjamin Cappleman (Lakas-NUCD) ng dalawang termino bago siya tinalo ni Chungalao.

Mt Province

Victor Dominguez (KAMPI), Pilando clan ang malalaks sa lugar. Mga alipores lamg ni GMA ang maglalaban-laban dito. Si Victor Dominguez ay anak ng political clan ng mga Domingez nung panahon pa ni Marcos. Bago niya hawakan ang Mt Province, kinontrol din niya ng tatlong termino ang probinsya at ng maggraduate, lipat naman siya sa pagiging kinatawan. May dalawa pang termino si Dominguez


Angkang Dangwa-Cosalan country ang Benguet habang Domogan-Vergara tandem ang may kontrol ng pulitika sa Baguio City (lone District).

Sa kabuuan, iba ang dynmics ng local politics. May iba siyang karakter at konteksto na ang hirap itulad sa nagganp na pangnasyunal na konteksto. Ang Northern Luzon ay basically, paghaharian ng TRAPO at ito ang tutungtungan ng adminstrasyon GMA.

Doy Cinco / IPD
Nov 14, 2006

Paalala sa mga Kasama: kung may maidadagdag o maibabawas, o maling info hinggil sa kwentong NL sa 2007. mangyari pong ipagbigay-alam at magkomentaryo. Malaki ang maitutulong natin sa isyung ito. Salamat. - doy