politicians against vote-buying and election violence
By NDF-Eastern Visayas
April 7, 2013
The National Democratic
Front-Eastern Visayas today said that election candidates campaigning
in the revolutionary jurisdiction will be strictly monitored to
prevent vote-buying and election violence.
“The election candidates
must comply with the guidelines of the people's democratic government,
especially the prohibition of vote-buying and coercion,” said Fr.
Santiago Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson.
“While the reactionary
ruling system pretends to undergo clean and honest elections, the
reality is that traditional politics have always meant the use of
money and armed minions to buy and coerce votes. Thus, the
revolutionary movement asserts to the traditional politicians that
such condescencion towards the people will not be tolerated.”
The NDF-EV spokesperson
noted that previous studies have shown the reactionary elections as
elitist and rotten to the core. “Even the legally allowed ceilings for
campaign spending show that candidates for top positions must be
multimillionaires. That means they are representatives of big
landlords and big business. Noynoy Aquino, for example, legally spent
more than P400 million in 2010 to win the presidency. In reality,
however, a candidate for president can spend more than P2 billion to
mobilize the resources necessary to win, according to a 2001 study by
IBON Foundation on the 1998 Estrada presidential campaign.
“Candidates at the local
level spend commensurately. A candidate for governor or congressman
typically spends P100-200 million to win, not just in the legal
campaign, but to either buy or coerce votes. They are spending such
for three-year positions roughly worth about P3 million in accumulated
salaries. It goes to show that the winning candidates will be
recouping their spending by continuing the vicious cycle of systematic
corruption, patronage politics and crime while in power.”
Fr. Salas said the New
People's Army has been tasked to enforce the guidelines of the
people's democratic government in the reactionary elections. “The NPA
will be vigilant against vote-buying, which is forbidden by the
people's democratic government. The buying of votes takes advantage of
the people's desperation as well as sows corruption and disunity. Even
families have been known to fight among themselves over money from
rival politicians. Thus, the NPA will confiscate any war-chest for
vote-buying by the politicians, and turn these over to the local
organs of political power and mass organizations to be used for the
benefit of the people. However, if the election candidates will give
financial support to projects for the benefit of the people and not
for the buying of individual votes, they will be allowed to do so.”
The NDF-EV spokesperson also
warned that armed minions of reactionary candidates, including the
military, police and paramilitary, will be regarded as legitimate
targets by the NPA.
“It is well-known that
traditional politicians build up their own private armies as well as
cultivate relationships with the military, police and paramilitary.
The NPA intends to break up these private armies and confiscate their
weapons for coercing votes and sowing fear among the people.
Government security forces who bolster the private armies of the
traditional politicians are of course legitimate targets. In their
negotiations for electoral access to revolutionary areas, the election
candidates have already been made fully aware of the guidelines
regarding their security escorts. Any violation will be accordingly
Fr. Salas said vote-buying
and election violence prove the pro-elite and rotten state of the
reactionary ruling system. “Vote-buying and election violence are
essential to the reactionary elections and unmask the farce of the
process. Even the strict vigilance of the NPA and those who serve as
election watchdogs can only to do so much. The only way to a genuinely
democratic system of governance such as that enjoyed in the
revolutionary areas is in doing away with the reactionary ruling
Chiz rallies voters
to seek full transparency from bets
By Office of Senator Chiz
April 6, 2013
PASAY CITY – Senator Chiz
Escudero exhorted voters to demand that political candidates execute
an unconditional waiver of secrecy of bank deposits, the compliance
for which would help form informed decisions on election day.
"Di na uso ang magnanakaw sa
tuwid na daan ni Pangulong Aquino. Naniniwala ako na mataas na ang
batayan ng mga botante natin kung saan hanap nila ay mga tapat na mga
halal na opisyal, yung hindi magnanakaw at walang balak magnakaw
(Plunderers have no room in President Aquino's straight path. I
believe that Filipino voters now have a high standard on the officials
that they put into office, honest people who shun corruption),"
He issued the call to
Filipino voters a day after issuing a challenge to government
officials and those aspiring for public office including senatorial
candidates to execute waivers on secrecy of their bank deposits to
accompany the submission of statements of assets, liabilities and
"Candidates in the coming
elections without exception should make public their financial records
going by the dictum that working in government is a privilege and not
a right,” Escudero said.
An investigate report had
implicated several high-profile Filipino personalities mainly
politicians as maintaining offshore corporations or trust accounts.
While owning assets in
offshore tax havens is not against the law, government officials and
employees are required to declare these in their yearly statement of
assets, liabilities and networth (SALN).
Escudero said those serving
in government – members of the Executive, the Senate and the House of
Representatives, and the Judiciary, including judges and justices of
the Supreme Court – should also execute the waivers.
Escudero had filed a bill,
Senate bill 107 or the Submission of Waiver of Bank Deposits bill,
starting in 2010 that seeks the mandatory signing of bank waivers. The
controversy involving the illegal use of Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) funds prompted the filing of the bill.
It was refiled in the
current Congress amid the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice
Renato Corona, who issued a waiver on the secrecy of his bank accounts
which was a major issue in the impeachment trial.
“I will refile the bill in
my next Senate term. A similar waiver was required of Chief Justice
Renato Corona during his impeachment trial and it only follows that
all those in government service should be subjected to the same rules
and standard,” Escudero said.
“The bill on the waiver of
secrecy of bank deposits is the missing link to prevent public
officials from using the banking system to hide plundered funds,” he
Escudero said he signed a
bank secrecy waiver which was submitted to the Senate President a day
before the historic verdict to convict Corona on his impeachment case
was handed down on March 28, 2012.
The waiver authorizes the
Office of the Ombudsman to open bank accounts for scrutiny of
government agencies such as the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
PRO8 arrests farmer
who made daughter his sex slave
By RPCRD, Police Regional
April 5, 2013
CAMP SEC. KANGLEON, Palo,
Leyte – The long arms of the law finally caught up a farmer who made
his daughter his sex slave for 3 years when he was arrested by
policemen after five years in hiding.
“The suspect thought he can
escape liability on his evil deeds, but unfortunately for him, our
intelligence gathering efforts paid off,” Police Chief Superintendent
Elmer Ragadio Soria, Regional Director of Police Regional Office 8
Soria identified the suspect
as Nelson Villagracia y Rivera, 43, married, of Brgy Lupig, Sta Rita,
Villagracia was arrested by
a police team led by PSInsp. Romelito Sorila early Tuesday morning at
the outskirts of Brgy. Lupig after receiving positive information from
Barangay Intelligence Network (BIN) member on his presence in the
The police team was armed
with an arrest warrant issued by Hon. Jovito Abarquez, former
Presiding Judge of Regional Trial Court Branch 30 in Basey, Samar.
Suspect is facing 2 counts
of rape charges docketed under criminal case numbers 2008-12-3369 and
2008-12-3370 and is ranked number 1 in the list of most wanted persons
in Sta. Rita town.
For three years, suspect
allegedly made his then 8-year old daughter, name withheld, a sex
slave since year 2005.
Villagracia’s criminal acts
was discovered when the victim finally reported her ordeal to her
grandmother sometime in April 2008 who immediately sought the
assistance of the police. The victim was allegedly last raped by her
father on that same day she braved to report to her grandmother to put
an end to her agony.
The suspect immediately went
into hiding before the police could arrest him.
Intelligence efforts have
been carried out to track down the whereabouts of the Villagracia and
a significant breakthrough came on Good Friday when the police
received information that the target person was sighted at vicinity of
It was then that a manhunt
operation was conducted leading to the suspect’s arrest.
Villagracia is currently
detained at Basey Sub-Provincial Jail while awaiting trial for the
cases he is facing, Soria further informed.
organizations vow continued support to military’s call for peace
By 19th Infantry Battalion,
April 5, 2013
CALUBIAN, Leyte –
Well-wishers of Samahan sa Mag-uuma sa Calubian (SAMACA) and
Kahugpungang Mag-uuma sa San Isidro (KAMAS) vowed to support the 802nd
Infantry Brigade’s call for peace during the 12th Anniversary of the
so-called “Balik-uma” held at Brgy. Jubay this town on Wednesday,
April 3, 2013.
The whole day celebration
started with a mass presided by Rev. Allan Cenit, a minister from the
United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) at around 10:00 a.m.
This was followed by short program at about 1:00 in the afternoon with
Col. Rafael Valencia, the commanding officer of the Ormoc based 802nd
Infantry Brigade as guest speaker.
KAMAS and SAMACA which has
nearly 2,000 followers were communist-inspired organizations according
to a certain Mayang, former secretary of the decimated Northern Leyte
Front of the Communist Party of the Philippines in Leyte.
For years, KAMAS and SAMACA
battled over rights to farm within the thousand hectares of land owned
by the “Larrazabals”. Their call was officially heard on April 3, 2001
when the “Larrazabals” offered portions of their land to be nurtured
by the members.
During the activity, leaders
of SAMACA and KAMAS hoped that better opportunities would come to them
now that they turn away from the New People’s Army.
In his speech, Col. Valencia
stressed that the military is not against the ideology of the NPA but
will implement actions to rebels for them to abandon the armed
struggle which had been futile for more than forty years.
It can be recalled that Col.
Valencia suggested the reorganization of KAMAS and SAMACA into eight
associations. Valencia also initiated visits and consultative
dialogues with Local Chief Executives and appropriate government
agencies for legal, administrative and financial support to the said
With the support of the
military, the Taglawigan Farmers Association of San Isidro, Leyte was
officially registered in the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)
a day before the Anniversary of Balik-uma. Same support was likewise
being extended by the troops of 19th Infantry Battalion under Lt. Col.
Joel Alejandro Nacnac to the farmers associations in Calubian and San
Application for registration
of other six farmers associations and one fisher folks association are
now being processed at the DOLE Regional Office VIII.
organization celebrates anniversary with army troops in Leyte
By 802nd Infantry Brigade,
April 4, 2013
ORMOC CITY – Almost one
thousand members of the eight organizations organized in the early
‘90s by the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's
Army/National Democratic Front (CNN) in Leyte celebrates openly their
12th Anniversary under the folds of the law with the government
troops, Non-Government Organizations and Civil Society Organizations
last April 3, 2013 in Barangay Jubay, Calubian, Leyte.
Colonel Rafael C Valencia,
Commander of the Army’s 802nd Brigade based in Camp Downes, Ormoc City
said that the 802nd Brigade and 19th Infantry Battalion of 8th
Infantry Division, Philippine Army are closely working with these
organizations to attain their dreams in a peaceful manner, without
“We are helping these
organizations to be registered with DOLE. One of these Associations
already got their certificate of registration, making them a duly
government-recognized organization. Other government agencies, NGOs
and CSOs have signified to help these organizations achieve their
dreams. This is Bayanihan in action”, Colonel Valencia added.
“The registration of the
organization will not only benefit the association, but will also be a
significant advancement since they have already a personality in
dealing with the government agencies, NGOs and or CSOs”, Colonel
These farmers and fisher
folks organizations are: Taglawigan Farmers Organization, Taglawigan
Fisher Folks Organization, Catoogan Farmers Association from San
Isidro, Leyte; Sorosimbahan Farmers Association, Jubay Farmers
Association, Airport Farmers Association, Cabatoan Farmers Association
from Calubian Leyte; and Libertad Farmers Association from Kananga,
issues HDO vs. Delfin Lee, co-accused
By OVP Media
April 4, 2013
MANILA – A Hold
Departure Order (HDO) has been issued against Globe Asiatique Realty
Holdings Corp. (GA) owner Delfin Lee and four others involved in the
GA housing scam, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay announced today.
The Vice President said the
HDO against Lee was issued by Judge Amifaith Fider-Reyes of Branch 42
of the Pampanga Regional Trial Court in an order dated March 25 and
released on April 3, the same court trying the syndicated estafa case
Aside from Lee, also
included in the HDO were his son Dexter, GA officers Christina Sagun
and Cristina Salagan, and Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund
or HDMF) official Alex Alvarez.
The housing czar hailed the
issuance of the HDO as “another victory for our kababayans who were
defrauded of their hard-earned money.”
“This is a very welcome
development. We are very hopeful that this will advance our demand for
Delfin Lee to pay for his crimes," Binay said.
“We just hope that the hold
departure order would aid our law enforcement authorities. We do not
want to think that Delfin Lee has evaded justice. Despite the P2
million reward offered by the President for his capture, Lee and his
co-accused remain at large," he added.
The Vice President is the
chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC)
and chairman of the board of Pag-IBIG Fund.
In ruling for the issuance
of the HDO, the court noted that the charge against Lee and his
co-accused was a non-bailable offense.
It also noted that the
Supreme Court has ruled that “the activity of subdivision and
condominium development which is under the HLURB (Housing and Land Use
Regulatory Board) involves ‘public interest and welfare.’”
“Thus, it is public interest
and public welfare that is served when the Hold Departure Order is
issued against those who have to account for the alleged misuse of
funds that were availed from the HLURB and that should have been
dedicated to the real beneficiaries of the low-cost housing projects,”
Fider-Reyes ruled in her decision.
“As for any constitutional
right to travel that [the five accused] may have been entitled to,
this should now give way to the public interest and public welfare
that is vested in the instant proceedings,” the judge further ruled.
The Court of Appeals (CA)
also recently stopped a Makati City judge from implementing its
earlier rulings favoring Lee.
The case against the GA
owner stemmed from the purported anomalous loans amounting to more
than P7 billion granted by Pag-ibig Fund to “ghost borrowers” who had
allegedly bought homes in GA’s Xevera Housing project in Mabalacat,
Both Delfin and Dexter Lee
remain at large despite the outstanding warrants for their arrest
issued by the Pampanga court.
door-to-door delivery of social pension in ten remote towns in East
Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
April 3, 2013
TACLOBAN CITY – Starting the
first quarter of this year, the Department of Social Welfare and
Development is piloting the door-to-door delivery of social pension
for indigent senior citizens of ten remote municipalities of the
region, using the services of the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHILPOST).
The pilot-testing for three
months will be undertaken for timely delivery of the cash grants, and
efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the door-to-door delivery, DSWD
Region 8 Director Remia Tapispisan informed.
A total of 1,180 senior
citizens from Limasawa in Southern Leyte province, San Jose de Buan,
Almagro, and Tagapul-an of Samar, Jipapad in Eastern Samar, and
Silvino Lobos, Lapining, Gamay, San Vicente, and Capul of Northern
Samar, will receive the quarterly stipend of P1,500.00, right in their
It was learned that the
signing of the Memorandum of Agreement was conducted recently between
the DSWD Field Office 8 and the Philippine Postal Corporation for the
three-month mode delivery of pension.
The DSWD is the lead agency in the implementation of the Social
Pension for Indigent Senior Citizen to augment the daily subsistence
and other medical needs of Filipino indigent senior citizens.
On the other hand, PHILPOST
has a facility that can service the regionwide distribution of cash
grants to Social Pension beneficiaries who are indigent senior
citizens with disability, bedridden, and residing in far flung areas
as priority target beneficiaries for the door-to-door delivery.
When the Social Pension
Program started in 2011, the DSWD Field Office Eight conducted the
distribution at the municipal plaza, and in other areas, the agency
transferred the funds to the local government units for the latter to
handle the giving out of cash grants.
This time, there will be
three modes of cash distribution: through the transfer of funds to the
Local Government Units, PHILPOST Door-to-Door payout and the Special
Disbursing Officers (SDOs) who will go to the municipalities to give
out the stipend of the Social pensioners.
According to Rose Fe
Valeriano, Social Welfare Officer II of the Social Pension Program,
the ten identified municipalities for the door-to-door delivery of
social pension are the most hard-to-reach areas by the SDOs.
She added that these Special
Disbursing Officers will take over the disbursing of funds to several
municipalities as there are identified LGUs with bad track records in
liquidating funds. The SDOs will also take charge in visiting and
personally handing out the pension of the bedridden social pension
“Sometimes it took 1 to 2 months for the beneficiary to receive the
stipend. It takes that long because in every province there is only
one SDO that disburses the pension except for Leyte which has two SDOs.
The DSWD hopes that with the
new mode of payment, the implementation of the Social Pension Program,
will be improved and fast tracked.
The government is always
finding ways and systems to improve the delivery of social services to
the needy public, the DSWD director said.
Chiz: BOC liable
for widespread oil smuggling
By Office of Senator Chiz
April 3, 2013
PASAY CITY – The
blame for widespread oil smuggling in the country that costs the
government P30 billion in lost revenues every year should fall
squarely on the shoulders of the Bureau of Customs (BoC), underlining
the need to overhaul the agency, Sen. Chiz Escudero said.
“The Lateral Attrition Law
mandates penalties on government personnel who fail to perform their
duties. The unabated smuggling of oil products and other commodities
indicates a massive failure of the BoC requiring top to bottom changes
to be effected within the agency,” Escudero said.
Petron Corp. chairman Ramon
Ang has alleged that one in every three liters of oil products that is
shipped into the country is smuggled, and puts government revenue
losses at about P30 billion a year.
Escudero said it would not
be a surprise that the same equation applies to other products that
enters the country.
The country’s steel industry
has also complained about the alleged unabated entry of smuggled steel
Last year, the Philippine
Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) and its member-industry associations
said the industry was “now starting to lose hope of getting a level
playing field as local manufacturers are still not seeing any change
in the unhampered smuggling of steel products.”
PISI also said the
Philippine Galvanized Iron Wire Manufacturers Association Inc. (PGIWMAI)
had sent “voluminous letters” to Customs Commissioner Rozzano Rufino
Biazon asking the bureau to put a stop to steel smuggling in the
Escudero said the only
possible answer to the questions on the resilience of smuggling
syndicates is that smuggling is mostly done in collusion with some
For its part, Pilipinas
Shell Petroleum Corp., the country’s second biggest oil company,
confirmed oil smuggling in the country. Its country manager, Edgard
Chua, said oil smuggling should be considered plunder because of the
damage it causes to the economy.
products does not require sophistication since products being sold far
below the average price in the market are probably smuggled. My
question to the Customs bureau is, why can’t it use this simple rule
in investigating reports of smuggling?,” Escudero said.
He said the government
should immediately file charges against errant Customs officials and
personnel, as well as against members of smuggling syndicates amid
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda’s claim that the government
already knows the identity of big-time smugglers in the country.
He also urged the government
to coordinate with private sector groups and individuals who had
undertaken studies on the extent of smuggling activities in the
The reelectionist senator
said the government should read the assessment made by University of
the Philippines (UP) economist Ben Diokno on the impact of smuggling
on the economy.
Diokno had said that the
extent of smuggling in the country can be seen from the 6.6 percent
growth rate of the local economy last year despite the low 2.6 percent
growth in the country’s imports which he saw as a paradox. He
described smuggling as the elephant in the room that state
statisticians missed in coming out with the conflicting economic
“Smuggling not only deprives
the government of revenues but also annihilates local industries that
in turn forces local manufacturers to close shop and lay off workers,
adding to the unemployment burden,” Escudero said.
Factories that generate the
most number of jobs for poor Filipinos are the main victims of
widespread smuggling, according to Escudero.
employers & gov’t to share economic gains with workers; asks wage
board to hike wages anew by 85 pesos
April 3, 2013
QUEZON CITY – The Trade
Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) yesterday filed a petition
before the wage board urging employers and government to share the
gains of the economy with the workers in Metro Manila by increasing
the current 456-peso minimum wage rate by 85 pesos.
If granted, the daily
minimum salary rate would become 541 pesos. As of June 2012, a family
of six needs at least 1,022 pesos a day to live decently. TUCP also
announced plans to file wage increase petitions in Cebu, Davao,
Cagayan de Oro cities next week.
“Recently, Fitch Ratings
upgraded our economy to investment-grade (BB+ from BB-) - a vote of
confidence in the Philippine economy. The international finance
community recognizes our outstanding economic fundamentals including
faborable interest rates, sound banking system, sustainable fiscal
position and good tax revenues, and strong external position,”’ said
TUCP Partylist Rep. Raymond Mendoza.
“It is our obligation to
help our workers get what is legally and morally due them. They toil
all day, sweat for grueling work hours, break their back to keep
enterprises alive, and yet, are left to scrape the bottom of the
barrel. The employers and our government should respond to this
petition in the spirit of allowing workers partake of the blessings of
a booming economy in the spirit of equity. Philippine prosperity
cannot and should not be built on a permanent class of poor people,”
Mendoza stressed adding: “we therefore call on the wage board to
consider that the times are good and the workers deserve to receive
their just share of this vastly improved and improving economy.”
TUCP President Vic Balais,
on one hand, emphasized the point by saying: “We are not asking too
much or too little. This amount does not and will not impede current
investments nor will it discourage new investors. We are only asking
for a decent living for our workers and their families.”
Government estimates there
are more than 8 million workers in Metro Manila region working in
different sectors with around a million are receiving minimum wage
Last year, the seven-man
tripartite wage and productivity board issued wage order 17 approving
a measly 20 and 10 pesos in June and in November amid TUCP’s 90-peso
wage increase petition. It also integrated into the basic pay the
22-peso COLA approved in 2011.
In a four-page petition
Balais and Mendoza submitted yesterday, it said the workers in
metropolis have not been given a single peso real wage increase since
1989. As of February 2013, the purchasing power of the latest
legislated 456 peso daily minimum wage was only 362.77 pesos, eroded
by 20.45 percent.
Between March 2012 and
February 2013, the consumer price index or CPI in the region rose from
123.1 to 125.7 which requires a 9.63 peso additional increase in
minimum wages. The prices of goods and services are expected to rise
by 6% which would require an additional 27.36 peso adjustment
considering the coming whammy of increasing tuition fees, increasing
transport fares including the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail
Transit (LRT), increasing residential power rates because of the
introduction of Open Access in the NCR, increasing health care costs
because of the privatization of public hospitals and the inflationary
effects of election spending.
In addition, the petition
also said that workers have done their share in improving the
standards of living in the country, particularly in the National
Capital Region (NCR), which continues to be the largest contributor to
the national economy, 35.7 percent share in 2011, and 35.8 percent in
2010 and 2009.
However, the workers’ own
standards of living have not risen. It is about time that overall
improvements in standards of living in NCR be reflected in real gains
in the minimum wage.
The TUCP is also asking a
mere P2.00 per day share of the growth in Gross Regional Domestic
Product (GRDP) for the past 24 years AS EQUITY SUPPLEMENT. This would
be equivalent to 48 pesos.
The petition, in conclusion,
said the level of minimum wage needed to help restore the purchasing
power of the workers’ wages in NCR AND to give them a share in the
region’s economic development should be P541, computed as follows:
P456.00 - the minimum wage
in June 3/Nov 1, 2012
9.63 - from actual 2.112%
increase in prices between March 2012 and February 2013
27.36 - projected 6% rise in
48.00 - P2.00/year since
1989 that there were no increases in real wage
P540.99 or P541 - This
should be the new minimum wage rate in NCR by 2013.