TUCP warns Petilla
of “pimps and whisperers” on power crisis
July 31, 2014
QUEZON CITY – The
Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) warned Energy Secretary
Jericho Petilla to be cautious of vested interests in handling the
proposed emergency powers to address the looming energy crisis.
“The TUCP warns that the
power emergency of Icot Petilla is now opening doors for salesmen,
opportunists and pirates of all stripes peddling very expensive power
solutions that will preserve the prerogatives of the private
independent generation sector who seemingly willed the power shortage
to existence,” said Louie Corral, TUCP executive director.
He said the TUCP received
reliable information suggesting that Petilla is being swarmed by some
interest groups to offer to President Aquino power solutions that will
make people pay more for their electricity.
“We support emergency powers
for the President, but it must be based on clear policies of what
constitutes “secure power” and what government means as “competitive
power rates”. The DOE secretary is now on sifting sands, first he
wants to buy generator sets, now, he says he wants to commercially
rent power barges for 3 years which will run only for 20 days. Which
is which? How much is Juan dela Cruz paying? What is the game plan?”
He added that the country is
faced by a financial triple whammy – as consumers, as taxpayers, and
through a damaged economy “that is why TUCP cautions Secretary Petilla
to institute a clear, categorical timetable for the consultations that
President Aquino directed DOE to undertake during his SONA.”
Corral said Petilla should
refrain from scaremongering and giving the President a deadline but
rather ensure that consultations are transparent and the policies that
are arrived at must be acceptable to the economic cluster of the
cabinet, to businessmen and the workers and consumers who will bear
the burden. “Maraming aninong gumagalaw at maraming bumubulong na
pagkakitaan ang krisis na ito. Kung kaya’t pinag-iingat namin ang
butihing kalihim,” he said.
Meanwhile, TUCP spokesperson
Alan Tanjusay said the TUCP is prepared to join the process now
directed by Aquino to help solve the problem.
“If Secretary Petilla does
not make the consultation transparent and time-bound, we will not just
have a failure but a failure of governance. The economic legacy of the
Aquino administration is what at stake. In bearing the ultimate
command responsibility, he must look at a full-options approach to
solving the problem rather than just the narrow suggestions being
eagerly whispered to his ears,” Tanjusay said.
Tanjusay added that TUCP was
the first group to ask Aquino to declare a national emergency on the
power sector in April this year. He said they asked for Aquino to
establish a presidential task force to address the problem of lack of
power and the spiraling power rates.
The TUCP is also proposing
to Aquino for government to return to power generation business until
there is at least 20% reserve in all island grids.
release of POW, asks GPH to reciprocate by releasing political
July 31, 2014
QUEZON CITY – “We
welcome the release of the four prisoners of war by the National
Democratic Front of the Philippines. We view the release as a gesture
of goodwill in the peace negotiation with the Philippine government.
It is about time the Aquino administration releases political
prisoners to reciprocate the NDFP’s act and to honor its commitment as
stated in the 2011 GPH-NDFP Oslo Joint Statement,” said Cristina
Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
Palabay said there are
currently 504 political prisoners in various jails nationwide. Among
them are 15 peace consultants of the NDFP who are protected from
arrests and other human rights violations under the Joint Agreement
for Safety and Immunity Guarantees of the GPH and NDFP. Karapatan
cited the cases of Eduardo Serrano and Eduardo Sarmiento, NDFP peace
consultants from Southern Tagalog and Eastern Visayas, respectively.
Serrano was arrested under
the Macapagal-Arroyo regime and has been detained for more than 10
years. He was arrested on May 2, 2004, a few days after a consultation
with panel members Fidel Agcaoili and Connie Ledesma on the formation
of the Joint Monitoring Committee for the Comprehensive Agreement for
the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
He is detained at the Custodial Center of the Philippine National
Police in Camp Crame, with other peace consultants Benito Tiamzon,
Wilma Austria-Tiamzon, and Renante Gamara.
On the other hand, Sarmiento
was tortured when he was abducted and then brought to jail after
trumped-up criminal charges were filed against him. On December 11,
2013, he was sentenced with reclusion perpetua and is now detained at
the maximum security compound of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.
“The government slapped
fabricated criminal charges against the political prisoners to keep
them in jail. Legal shortcuts and defective warrants were used to
arrest them, including false witnesses hired by the military. This
practice has become prevalent especially under the Aquino
administration,” Palabay stated.
Palabay added, “Aquino
resents the political prisoners who work for just and lasting peace in
the country and puts them in jail, while coddling those who plundered
billions of public funds to evade accountability.”
Karapatan on BS
Aquino's SONA: Delusions, lies, crocodile tears - all signs of a
July 29, 2014
QUEZON CITY – "The
web of lies woven by BS Aquino during his SONA on the alleviation of
poverty in the country, job creation, and immediate response to
disasters reflects his disconnect with the real world. By all
indications, the lives of the majority of Filipinos have deteriorated
immensely under his watch. Shedding crocodile tears to gain the
sympathy of the public is straight out of a poorly made script to save
face amid rising people’s protests and three impeachment cases,”
Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said on BS Aquino’s
Karapatan also condemned the
arrest of four activists during the SONA - Maria Luisa Garcia, 46, and
Rosita Labarez, 57, of Controlled Economic Zone Federation; and Rodel,
33, and Rochel Ann Tortola, 12, of Migrante International, all
resident of Bgy. Holy Spirit, Quezon City. A stun gun was used to
immobilize Rodel and Rochel Ann Tortola, while they were inside a
jeepney. All were released after intervention by Karapatan paralegals
and lawyers from the National Union of People’s Lawyers.
"The repressive measures
used against the protesters – the overkill presence of police and
military, the layers of barriers and concertina wires and container
vans, and the water cannon and stun guns are tell-tale signs of a
beleaguered presidency. The layers of barricades literally and
figuratively show the isolation of BS Aquino from the people," Palabay
"In just four years, Aquino
has used up all of Cory’s magic," Palabay said. Aquino now faces three
impeachment complaints for his presidential pork, the Disbursement
Accelaration Program (DAP) and the signing of the Enhanced Defense
Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the Obama Administration. "Caught
with nothing to gain people's trust, BS Aquino resorted to emotional
blackmail by again invoking the name of his parents," Palabay said.
"BS Aquino even had the gall
to boast of the arrest of the Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria-Tiamzon
when the arrest was a violation of the Joint Agreement on Security and
Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) signed with the National Democratic Front
of the Philippines. The peace negotiation between GPH and the NDFP has
been stalled despite billions of pesos poured into the Office of the
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)," Palabay said.
Karapatan has documented 204
victims of extrajudicial killings and 207 cases of frustrated killing
committed under the Aquino regime. There are 99 victims of torture, 21
enforced disappearances and 504 political prisoners. "With Aquino’s
desperation to stay in power and the full blast modernization of the
Armed Forces of the Philippines, more rights violations will be
committed as its protector, the AFP, sow terror to silence
opposition," she said.
"But the Filipino people
will bow down. With pride and courage, we will continue fight to break
the bankrupt system which the rich and the powerful, like BS Aquino,
benefitted from at the expense of the Filipino people," Palabay ended.
Gaza - ICRC invokes
the humanitarian imperative: Stop the killing!
By JACQUES DE MAIO,
ICRC's head of delegation in Israel and the occupied territories, back
July 29, 2014
North Gaza, middle of the
afternoon, on a street in front of a seven-storey building.
A little boy is playing
alone with a football. A man kneels down in front of him and smiles.
Taking the boy's hand in his own and holding it as a caring uncle
would, he says: "May God protect you."
Abdel (not his real name),
the boy’s father, notices the man talking to his son and does not like
it: the stranger is a ‘wanted’ member of a militia. In military jargon
the man is a ‘high-value target’; everybody knows this.
He calls his son over and
sends him to his mother, on the fourth floor. A few minutes later, the
building has been sliced in half by an airstrike. There no longer is a
When the father awakens in
the hospital - the very hospital that was shelled a few days before,
killing patients and injuring scores of civilians, including medical
staff - his first words are: "Where is my family?"
The doctors will tell him
soon enough that his family is dead. His little boy, his wife and his
mother, among others. That his left leg is gone too in an
above-the-knee traumatic amputation. Beside him, a three-year-old
girl, Fatima grimaces in pain. She has shrapnel in her spine, and her
teenage cousin by her side is visibly shell-shocked.
Is this little boy the 226th
Palestinian child to die here since the resumption of this
high-intensity conflict? The 228th? Has this man’s young son been
reduced to yet another statistic?
Meanwhile, fear permeates
the eyes of Israeli children too. For a nation’s civilian population
at large, daily life is disrupted by the threat of indiscriminate
shelling and constant running to shelters. I look back at Fatima*, who
had no shelter to run to, and who may never run or walk again.
The ICRC engages in
discussion with ‘both parties’ about the ‘rules of war’. We talk about
principles such as ‘precautions in attack’, ‘legitimate targets’,
‘concrete military advantage’ and ‘proportionality’. We remind
everybody that if an attack is expected to cause ‘excessive incidental
civilian casualties’ in relation to the concrete and direct military
advantage anticipated, it must be cancelled or suspended. We say
loudly and clearly that in this war, as in any other, it is not
acceptable that soldiers minimize their risks at the expense of
civilians on the other side. We also say it is not acceptable to use
civilians as human shields, in any conflict. We attend diplomatic
conferences, we organize workshops, we ‘raise awareness’ among
belligerents to ‘minimize casualties’. How effective is all this?
In Gaza, we evacuate
war-wounded patients and old people trapped in the rubble of what had
been their homes only a few hours earlier. We visit prisoners captured
in the combat zones. We repair electrical and water lines. Meanwhile
hundreds of thousands of people are ordered to evacuate their homes in
the middle of the night. What happens to those left behind who cannot
flee? Where should they go? To overcrowded centres that may be bombed?
To hospitals or medical emergency services that are not spared by
either of the warring parties? To destroyed neighbourhoods where even
Palestine Red Crescent ambulances are shot at? How many more Shujaiyas
– a sea of rubble, previously home to almost 100,000 thousand people -
does it take before everybody opens their eyes to the gravity of the
By the side of a maimed
father without a family anymore, of a little girl deprived of the
future she is entitled to, I am overwhelmed by a sense of inadequacy.
The human cost is simply too
high. Too many women and children are wounded, dying or damaged in
their minds and bodies. This is not about who is to blame for not
respecting this or that specific rule of war, or even about whether
the expected military advantage outweighs the collateral damage.
Academics, lawyers, NGOs, journalists and keyboard warriors will
attend to those questions.
For us, at the ICRC, this is
about stopping the inhumanity of this war. It’s about doing the right
As an ICRC delegate, I
simply raise my hand and say: "I am not just invoking the law now, I
invoke the humanitarian imperative – stop the killing, stop the
Every Filipino family should get VIP
for equal allotment of gov’t resources across the regions
By Office of the Senate
July 25, 2014
PASAY CITY – Senate
Majority Leader Alan Peter S. Cayetano is pushing for the equitable
distribution of government resources in all regions across the
country, as he cited data that the lion’s share of the government’s
budget for infrastructure is focused in the National Capital Region
"Why are we so Metro
Manila-centric? Bakit ang mundo ng Pilipino ay napapaloob sa Metro
Manila? From 2001 to 2010, some 70 percent of all projects nasa Metro
Manila. Thirty percent or the rest, sa buong Pilipinas," Cayetano
"Every Filipino family
should feel like a VIP. It is high time the government gives the
families in the provinces the support they need."
Cayetano cited that in 2013
alone, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) approved
P184.2 billion worth of 10 major infrastructure projects, eight of
which are located in the National Capital Region (NCR). The two other
projects are the Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project worth P24.4 billion
and Mactan Cebu International Airport Expansion at P17.5 billion.
He said many Filipino
families are robbed of opportunities because the biggest chunk of the
national budget pie is allocated to NCR. Under the 2014 General
Appropriations Act (GAA), 13.07 percent of the total P2.265-trillion
national budget will be spent on the capital region.
"Sabi ide-decongest daw ang
Metro Manila dahil masikip na pero dinadagdagan ng skyway at highways
para lumuwag ang mga kalsada sa dami ng sasakyan. Pero sa mga
probinsya at ibang rehiyon, sira-sira ang mga kalsada. Kaya tuloy ang
mga investors at big businesses, pinipili talaga ang NCR compared to
other regions," he said.
"Bakit nga ba nasa Metro
Manila lahat ng pondo? Kasi, ang presidente, nasaan? Nasa Metro
Manila. Nasaan ang Kongreso at Senado? Nasa Metro Manila. Nasaan lahat
ng departamento? Metro Manila. Nasaan ang mga embassy? Metro Manila,"
Cayetano challenged the
government to deliver on its promise of rapid inclusive growth by
exploiting the potential of other regions, and implementing projects
that will benefit each and every Filipino family through employment,
health care services, and accessible infrastructure and public
He said the national
government should partner with local government units (LGUs) and
officials to improve the delivery of services across the country.
Cayetano likewise urged
Filipinos, especially the youth, to use social media to demand from
government leaders the services they need and deserve.
dependence on coal is costing the Philippines its climate
A Greenpeace report shows
how coal fuels more extreme weather events
July 25, 2014
QUEZON CITY – The
Philippine government’s continued fixation with coal-fired power
plants as our main energy source will push the country to more climate
catastrophes that will cost the economy, as well as endanger the lives
of present and future generations of Filipinos. This was the
pronouncement of Greenpeace as it launched the second volume of The
True Cost of Coal Volume 2: Costs of Climate Change in the
“Our country is at the
forefront of climate change-influenced extreme weather events and
we’ve seen it happen more frequently, with typhoons becoming more
intense and more deadly like Yolanda,” said Reuben Andrew Muni,
Philippine Climate and Energy campaigner from Greenpeace Southeast
Asia. “While we cannot prevent super typhoons from entering the
country, we can address what causes these storms to be stronger and
more frequent, and we tag coal as the culprit- the main driver of
Worldwide, coal-fired power
plants are the biggest source of man-made carbon dioxide (CO2)
emissions which causes global warming. In 2011, globally, coal was
responsible for 44% of carbon emissions from fuel – a higher
percentage than oil (35%) or natural gas (20%). This makes coal energy
the single greatest threat facing our climate.
In 2012, the Department of
Energy (DOE) reported that power generation in the Philippines was
still dominated by coal at nearly 38.76%. With 13 operational
coal-fired power plants that already burn coal to produce electricity,
the Philippine government plans to bring online another 45 coal-fired
power plants. Operating 45 new coal-fired power stations would
increase the Philippines’ CO2 emissions by over 64.4 to 79.8 million
metric tons a year. Increasing our CO2 emissions will greatly damage
the Philippines’ credibility in fighting for a good climate change
treaty from which we could benefit greatly.
The second of three-parts,
the True Cost of Coal Volume 2 (TCC) examined the country’s historical
climate data and found that manifestations of climate change are now
more evident. Increasing trends in annual mean temperature have been
noted and extreme weather/climate events, like increasing number of
hot days and warm nights and intense 24-hour rainfall, are being seen
to be more frequent. These are not unusual anymore and are becoming
TCC Volume 2 also listed
climate vulnerability rankings, all of which tag the country as a
“climate hotspot” and highly vulnerable to climate change. The report
underscored how super typhoon Yolanda, the strongest typhoon ever
recorded to make landfall and the costliest in Philippine history, was
not a rare occurrence given how the Philippines was previously
devastated by typhoon Sendong (2011) and super typhoon Pablo (2012).
“As global temperatures
continue to rise, the waters surrounding the Philippines will continue
to get warmer and could trigger more tropical cyclones and causing sea
levels to rise,” said Lourdes Tibig, Climate Specialist and one of the
lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change AR5 WG3.
“In fact, sea level rise has been occurring significantly faster in
the Philippine Sea than elsewhere around the world, with increases in
excess of 10mm/year. Higher sea levels in turn trigger higher storm
surges, which mean that more water is pushed farther inland.”
This amplifies the damage
done by tropical cyclones to people, housing and infrastructure. But
beyond extreme weather events and sea level rise, climate change
triggers temperature shifts, high rainfall variability, flooding,
landslides and droughts – all have extreme negative impacts on
country’s agriculture as well as on health.
The country’s Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) would also suffer. The report estimated that without
expanded climate change mitigation or adaptation, the Philippines
could suffer a mean loss of 2.2% of GDP by 2100 on an annual basis,
considering only market impact (especially agriculture and coastal
zones). The mean impact could be 5.7% of GDP each year by 2100 when
including non-market impact (mainly health and ecosystems). This
amounts to 6.7% of our nation’s GDP if catastrophic risks are taken
into account. In the end, climate change and other weather-related
calamities pose huge economic costs for the Philippines.
Given the economic, social
and environmental damage that climate change has wrought upon, and
will continue to threaten the Philippines, embracing coal is a
dangerous policy. Greenpeace is deeply concerned about the DOE’s
pronouncement in asking President Aquino to declare a state of
emergency to address the country’s dwindling power supply.
“Addressing power scarcity
needs a holistic approach. Government’s first order of business should
be to promote energy efficiency and introduce more Renewable Energy
sources in the power mix,” added Muni. “The short-term benefits of
coal to a few elite players in the Philippine economy pale in
comparison to the billions that coal is costing the Philippines as a
nation, with respect to climate change impacts alone. The Philippines
should be part of the global solution to climate change by promoting
clean, renewable energy as the long-term solution to the country’s
growing power needs.”
Just in time before
Aquino’s 5th SONA
Case filed against Aquino
July 24, 2014
QUEZON CITY – When it
rains, it pours goes the saying. Dark and heavy clouds seem to be
steadily hovering above the presidency of Benigno Aquino III after
another impeachment case was filed against him by cause-oriented
Bringing to a total of five
impeachment cases filed versus the beleaguered chief executive after
some portions of his Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was
declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
group Sanlakas led by Atty. Aaron Pedrosa and other leaders of various
peoples’ organizations submitted their 51-paged impeachment complaint
this morning at the Office of the Secretary-General of the House of
Representatives, just two days before Congress resumes session on
Monday for Aquino’s 5th State of the Nation Address.
Petitioners anchored their
case on the charges of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation
of the constitution.
“Unlike the previous cases
filed, our complaint revolved around the highly questionable spending
habits of Aquino, how he deliberately went over and beyond
constitutionally-mandated limitations and instituted what legal
luminaries would consider as fiscal dictatorship,” said Pedrosa.
In the complaint,
petitioners allege that the president committed betrayal of public
trust “through tyrannical abuse of power and gross exercise of
discretionary powers” when under Aquino’s directives, public funds
were used, stopped, revoked and suspended the implementation of
government projects and services “in order to corner appropriated
funds as “savings” to be expended at his pleasure”.
They also maintained that
Aquino is likewise guilty of culpable violation of the constitution
when he undermined Congress, the peoples’ representatives in
government and its power of the purse “when he declared unreleased
appropriations and withdrew unobligated allotments from the
appropriations in violation of the separation of powers” provision of
The young lawyer stressed
that Aquino’s DAP was merely the tip of the iceberg considering the
long history of abusive and arbitrary fiscal malpractices of the
Aquino administration. “For as early as August 2010, he had already
declared that the Zero-Based Budgeting program was his spending
strategy and a cornerstone of his Daang Matuwid and when it backfired
and reaped criticisms for underspending, he rectified his
miscalculation by operationalizing DAP to cover for lost ground”.
Among the programs they
claim that were capriciously defaced by Aquino as early as August 2010
were the 2009 budget-approved Department of Education’s Food for
School Program, which he transferred to the Social Welfare Department;
the Department of Agriculture’s Input Subsidies and the Kalayaan
On the likely possibility
that the allies of the president in Congress will quash all their
efforts and not endorse the cases filed before the Lower House,
Pedrosa explained that, “despite the tyranny of numbers being employed
by this deceitful regime, the actions and statements of Aquino and
coconspirators shall only expose their brand of “good governance and
democracy” to the poor majority”.
“Tyrants and plunderers will
come and go but the resolute masses shall fight on for they have none
to fear after “representa-thieves” have taken away everything but
their will to liberate themselves from graft, corruption and elite
supremacy,” Pedrosa articulated.
Among the petitioners
included Leody de Guzman of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Sonny
Melencio of Partido Lakas ng Masa, Flor Santos-Assidao of Metro Manila
Vendors Alliance and Lidy Nacpil, the current national chairperson of
They all claimed to be
determined to mobilize thousands upon thousands of their members on
Monday to reveal the true and appalling state of the nation to counter
what they called “Aquino’s recycled lies, insignificant motherhood
statements and doctored statistics and reports”.
Rights group signs
impeachment complaint vs. BS Aquino for EDCA
July 24, 2014
QUEZON CITY – "For
giving away the Philippines to the dogs, BS Aquino should be
impeached," said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay as they
signed the impeachment complaint against Pres. Benigno Simeon
Cojuangco Aquino for entering into the Enhanced Defense Cooperation
Agreement (EDCA) with the government of the United States.
On the bases of culpable
violation of the Constitution and the betrayal of public trust, this
third impeachment complaint was filed today at the House of
Representatives, endorsed by Makabayan bloc representatives Antonio
Tinio, Luz Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus.
"For entering into a
lopsided agreement which puts United States' interest over the civil
and political rights of the Filipino citizens, BS Aquino deserves to
be impeached. This agreement is a portent of more rights violations to
come. The ancestral lands of the indigenous peoples, the lands of the
farmers, even public roads, seaports and airports may now be occupied
by the American troops under the "Agreed Locations" provision of the
agreement. These facilities may accommodate and be used to transport
or preposition US personnel and war materiel. This is worse than the
rejected treaty in the 1990’s," Palabay explained.
She added that "the US may
employ any form of security measure to defend its troops against any
opposition in the use of these 'agreed locations.' More so, we
Filipinos may not file a case in any court, local or international,
for the offenses that the US troops will commit."
"Our signing of the
impeachment complaint also means we are holding the US government
co-accountable for all the human rights violations in our country,"
Palabay said. "THE US HAS COMMITTED CRIMES AGAINST THE FILIPINO
PEOPLE: for guiding the implementation of Aquino's Oplan Bayanihan;
for providing continuous and increasing foreign military aid to
Aquino’s killing machine, the Armed Forces of the Philippines; for the
victims of US troops during the Balikatan exercises in Mindanao,"
"We sign this impeachment
complaint remembering those who were victimized by the US-Aquino
government – for the 204 victims of extrajudicial killings, for the 12
enforced disappearances, for the 99 victims of torture, the thousands
of internally displaced people due to military operation, and the
hundreds of arrested and detained persons. This impeachment complaint
will only be one of the many acts of defiance, we Filipinos will make
against the US imperialism and BS Aquino. There are more to come,"