People's SONA 2009

 

Commonwealth "Avenue, Quezon City

 

July 27, 2009

 

   Click here for photos of the march along Commonwealth Avenue

 

    Video of SONA 2009 by Pinoy Weekly and May Day Productions

 

    Video by Bulatlat - Arroyo's SONA: A litany of lies

 

    A poem by Joi Barrios: SINUNGALING

 

 

 

Baguio City     Bicol     Bohol     Cagayan de Oro     Cebu     Davao   

 

GenSan and Koronadal cities    Iligan City       Iloilo     Migrante/LKM pre-SONA

 

Australia     Khobar, Saudi     Canada      Hongkong      New York      New Zealand     Amsterdam      San Francisco

 

 

   
   
   
/p

/p
   
           

 

News Release
July 26, 2009

SONA: Thousands of protesters cry “No more cha-cha, no more Gloria!”

Starting 6:00 am tomorrow, protesters will start pouring in Commonwealth Avenue to take part in the day long demonstration against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s last State of the Nation Address. At 9:00am, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan will be rolling out the giant effigy of Arroyo mounted on bulldozer with the words “Gloria Forever” and “Charter change”.

Some 15,000 people are expected to join the mass action in Commonwealth Avenue, and thousands more are expected in protest actions in other parts of the Philippines.

“The message from the people, the SONA from the streets, would be a call for Mrs. Arroyo to abandon Charter change and any maneuver to stay in power. A pitch for Cha-cha, despite the public opposition, would be a terrible mistake and would show gross insensitivity to the people’s sentiments,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“A pitch for Charter change will cement Arroyo’s legacy as the most power-obsessed president since Marcos. That is how she will be remembered. That's her legacy,” he added.

A summary of Arroyo's SONA was released to the media. It vows to include political and constitutional reforms as part of the thrust of Arroyo in its last months in office.

Reyes said "political reforms" is just a pretext for Arroyo to push for her self-serving Charter change amid widespread public opposition.

Bayan said that from Arroyo’s first SONA to her last, the country’s problems have gone from bad to worse. “We have record unemployment and labor migration, hunger and poverty. Mrs. Arroyo will also be remembered for making inflation rise to record highs because of her expanded Value Added Tax on oil and power. She will be remembered as the President who borrowed and paid the most foreign debt while spending the least for social services,” Reyes said.

“No flashy audio-visual presentation by Mrs. Arroyo can conceal the worsening problems under her regime. The applause she will receive in that chamber will be meaningless for the thousands gathered outside Batasang Pambansa,” he added.

Bayan also slammed security preparations for the SONA as “proof that Arroyo has moved farther and farther away from the people.”

“Over the years, protesters have been pushed farther and farther away from the Batasang Pambansa. At Arroyo’s first SONA, protesters were allowed at Batasan Road. Now, in her ninth SONA, protesters have been pushed back beyond St. Peter’s church. That distance has become sort of a indication how far she has moved away from the people,” Reyes said. ###

 

     
           
     
     

 

News Release
July 20, 2009

Artist group Ugatlahi prepares final effigy for GMA

For the last eight years, the artist collective Ugatlahi has labored every July to build effigies that have become attractions at protests during the State of the Nation Address of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. This year, after having built 8 Arroyo effigies since 2001, the artist group hopes to build its last for Mrs. Arroyo.

Working on this year’s effigy are Cultural Center of the Philippines “Thirteen Artists” awardees Iggy Rodriguez and Buen Calubayan together with veteran visual artist Max Santiago. They are working with professional as well as student artists in making one of the biggest and most menacing effigies in recent years. This year’s effigy will stand 12 foot tall and will roll down Commonwealth Avenue in the morning of July 27 as one of the highlights of the protests led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).

The effigy has been the main visual for protest actions. Through the different SONA’s, the effigy captures the theme for the protest and the burning issues of the day.

In 2001, the effigy was called the “Gloria in a Box”, in reference to the toy “Jack in the Box”. At that time, her policies were still unfolding. In 2002, Ugatlahi built the “Gloria Anay”, a reference to the term “termites” used by Arroyo to describe elements who were out to destabilize her regime.

In 2003, the group constructed the “Running Glo”, an effigy that made reference to her bid of running in the 2004 elections. The effigy featured moving legs. Arroyo had made the announcement in December 2002 that she will not run for president in the 2004 elections. She later took back this statement in October 2003.

In 2004, the effigy was the “Gloria Buwitre” or mechanical vulture with the wings of a fighter plane. The effigy captured people’s objection to the US invasion of Iraq and the subsequent hostage-taking of Filipino driver Angelo dela Cruz.

By 2005, at the height of calls for Arroyo’s resignation over allegations of electoral fraud, the effigy was the “Gloria Kapit-Tuko”, a lizard whose claws had a tight grip over Malacanang. In 2006, when extrajudicial killings were on the rise and emergency rule had been declared in February, the artists put together the “Gloria Hitler” effigy which had a moving arm that made the infamous Nazi salute.

After the Human Security Act was approved in 2007, the effigy for the SONA was “Gloria Manananggal”, a reference to a monster in Filipino folklore. The “manananggal” was a reference to Arroyo being the real “terror”.

The year 2008 saw one of the biggest effigies yet, a sinking ship and a plane with Arroyo on board. The effigy reflected events from the sinking of the MV Princess of the Stars and Arroyo’s trip to the United States when the tragedy occurred. The sinking ship effigy represented the Philippines.

The last effigy

This year, Charter change and repression will be prominent issues and themes of the effigy. The artist group will put together the “Gloria Forever” effigy which would highlight her persistent attempts to stay in power.

According to Rodriguez, the effigy will feature “a rotting Arroyo” on a throne that is mounted on a tank or bulldozer. The Arroyo effigy would portray a “decaying president on life support that wishes to perpetuate itself in power through the use of charter change and Martial Law.”

“The tank symbolizes her reliance on military might. The life support system is a symbol of US support for her government. The decaying or rotting Gloria refers to her eight to nine years in power,” Rodriquez said.

Santiago hopes that this would indeed be the group’s last attempt at constructing an Arroyo effigy. “We made eight Gloria effigies already and this would be the ninth. We hope we don’t have to do another Gloria effigy next year,” he said.

A slide show of the various SONA effigies since 2001 can be viewed at Bayan’s official website, www.bayan.ph .
 

     
     
Photo by Raymund Villanueva/www,bulatlat.com
           
     
     
     

 

IBON Statement (SONA) / 27 July 2009

Arroyo Presidency’s Economic Legacy:
A Distorted and Disintegrating Economy

The Arroyo administration has been in office for nine years now – more than
enough time for an economic program to be put in place and for results to be
realized. A conscious economic program has been implemented in the form of
the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) 2004-2010, presumably
aimed at achieving the ‘aspirational’ targets set by Pres. Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo in her first State of the Nation (SONA) address of July 23,
2001.

Nine years later the administration is unfortunately going be hard-pressed
in claiming any meaningful economic achievements especially in terms of what
really matters most for Filipinos who have suffered mounting decades of
poverty and underdevelopment. The economic legacy it leaves is a distorted
and disintegrating economy.

The economy has become even more distorted where the benefits from economic
growth, Filipino labor and natural resources are going to a few. There are
pockets of prosperity in a sea of poverty. It is also disintegrating. Real
domestic production is falling with the share of agriculture and industry in
the economy shrinking to their smallest in half a century, in the case of
manufacturing, and even in the country’s history, in the case of
agriculture. Perversely, the main drivers of growth have been in activities
essentially disconnected from the domestic economy and unable to contribute
to any broad-based economic dynamism– especially overseas work but also such
as low value-added export manufacturing and business process outsourcing
(BPO).

Any ‘bright spots’ of seemingly vibrant economic activity need to be seen in
their proper context. The Philippines has a population of some 90 million, a
labor force of over 38 million, and poverty of at the very least 28 million
(using an unreasonably low poverty line of around P42 per person per day).
The national economy needs to be directed to meeting the needs of all of
these Filipinos which entails, without exaggeration, radical structural
changes breaking the inertia of decades of backwardness.

However the Arroyo administration’ s thrust has been continuous with the
failed economic policies of previous administrations with the inevitable
result of continuing, indeed deepening, economic failure. On the face of it,
economic growth has been relatively high compared to previous
administrations. Yet the last nine years have also seen record joblessness,
deteriorating quality of jobs, falling household incomes, increasing
poverty, fiscal crisis, unprecedented debt and debt service, social service
cutbacks, and deeper Philippine underdevelopment. There is unfortunately no
inconsistency: the economy has become even more distorted and the gains from
this growth and economic policy in general have gone to a few and not been
felt by the largest number of the Filipino people. No amount of reporting of
deceptively ‘hard’ infrastructure achievements, nor indeed of officially
refusing to count millions of jobless by changing the definition of
unemployment, will change underdevelopment realities on the ground.

The onset of global crisis since the last part of 2008 makes the situation
even more urgent. This is undermining the external sources of growth that
the economy has been made to unduly rely on. The crisis exerts severe
downward pressure on exports, foreign investment and remittances– and this
combines with chronically weak domestic industry and agriculture to drag
down domestic manufacturing, consumption and investment. This is aggravated
by a non-existent ‘stimulus package’ consisting of an insignificant increase
in the national budget, misrepresentation of standing government programs as
new and additional in response to the crisis, and hazy promises.

The unfinished business of true national development is a massive task and
will entail challenging deeply entrenched and powerful interests. But this
is precisely the task and responsibility of the government: to use its vast
economic, financial, administrative and political resources for the benefit
of the majority Filipino people. Certainly there is still much work to be
done in building economic and political democracy in the country even as,
slowly and painstakingly, there has been progress. The Arroyo presidency has
set back that progress, even as the growing struggle of Filipinos build the
foundations of expanding what is politically possible in the period to come.
(end)

Arroyo Presidency’s Economic Performance

Targets from Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’ s State of the Nation Address,
July 23, 2001 vs. Actual performance

“Our challenge is clear: sugpuin ang kahirapan.”

o 530,642 increase in the number of poor families between 2000 and
2006 – to 4.7 million poor families in 2006. (NSCB, using low official
poverty lines)

o 2.1 million increase in the number of poor Filipinos between 2000
and 2006 – to 27.6 million in 2006. (NSCB, using low official poverty lines)

o Meanwhile the net income of the Top 1000 corporations in the
Philippines increased 490% between 2001 and 2007, from P116 billion to P686
billion. (BW)

o In 2006, the net worth of just the 20 richest Filipinos – including
close Arroyo allies Lucio Tan, Enrique Razon, Jr., Eduardo Cojuangco,
Enrique Aboitiz and others – was P801 billion (US$15.6 billion), which was
equivalent to the combined income for the year of the poorest 10.4 million
Filipino families. (Forbes Asia, NSCB)

“The way to fight poverty is to create jobs, not destroy them.”

o The period 2001-2008 is the longest period of sustained high
unemployment in the country’s history – the true unemployment rate averaged
some 11.2 percent. (NSO, IBON estimates)

o 621,000 increase in unemployment between Jan-01 and Apr-09 – to 4.2
million. (NSO, IBON estimates)

o 1.9 million increase in underemployment between Jan-01 and Apr-09 –
to 6.6 million. (NSO)

o Combined unemployment and underemployment increased 2.5 million
between Jan-01 and Apr-09 – to 10.8 million. (NSO, IBON estimates)

o The quality of jobs has worsened: merely part-time work increased
by 5.9 million and now accounts for 14.3 million or two out of five of all
jobs. Moreover, those “with jobs but not working” more than doubled and
increased by 489,000 to reach 839,000. (NSO)

o The period 2001-2008 has seen the most Filipinos forced abroad to
find jobs in the country’s history – deployments averaged 990,000 annually
compared to 469,709 (Aquino), 713,505 (Ramos) and 839,324 (Estrada); some
1.24 million were deployed last year or 3,400 Filipinos leaving every day.
(POEA) There are over 9 million Filipinos forced to find work abroad.
(DFA-CFO)

“Dapat din tugunan ang karaingan ng madla sa mahal na bilihin at kulang na
sahod.”

o The gap between the NCR minimum wage and the family living wage
more than doubled to P535 in 2008 (NCR minimum wage P382, family living wage
P917) from just P257 in 2001 (NCR minimum wage P252, family living wage
P509). (DOLE, NWPC)

o Nominal minimum wages are stagnant and barely able to even just
keep up with inflation. While nominal wages in NCR seem to have increased
from P252 in 2001 to P382 in 2008 – or a P130 increase – the true increase
is worth just P12 because of inflation. (DOLE, IBON estimates)

“To reduce excessive friction in labor and management relations, we will go
the extra mile to work for industrial peace.”

o Since 2001, 62 workers have been extra-judicially killed and 15
others forcibly disappeared. (Karapatan). There have also been 1,478 cases
of trade union human rights violations with 116,356 victims. (CTUHR).

“With regard to the fiscal sector, we will control the budget deficit by
collecting taxes vigorously and spending money prudently.”

o The cumulative national government deficit from 2001 to May 2009 is
P1.29 trillion – triple the deficits of the Aquino, Ramos and Estrada
administrations combined. (BTr)

o The Arroyo administration has paid P4.8 trillion in debt service
since 2001 – this is two-and-a-half times the P1.8 billion in debt payments
made over 15 years by the Aquino, Ramos and Estrada administrations
combined. (BTr)

o Yet government debt has continued to rise to P4.23 trillion in
March 2009 which is almost double the P2.17 trillion debt inherited from the
Estrada government. The administration has effectively been borrowing an
additional P256.8 billion annually since coming to power. (BTr)

“A social bias toward the disadvantaged to balance our economic development
plan. Pagkalinga sa mga bahagi ng lipunan na naiwanan ng kaunlaran.”

o The Arroyo administration (2001-09) allotted only 15.1% of the
national budget to education which is lower than under Estrada (18%,
1999-2000) and Ramos (16.6%, 1992-98). (DBM)

o To health, it allotted only 1.8% of the national budget which is
lower than under Estrada (2.4%), Ramos (2.5%) and Aquino (3.1%, 1986-1991).
(DBM)

o To housing, it allotted only 0.4% of the national budget which is
lower than under Estrada (1.0%), Ramos (0.7%) and Aquino (0.5%). (DBM)

o In 2009, the Arroyo administration is only spending P6 per Filipino
per day on education, P1 on health and 12 centavos on housing – while paying
the equivalent of P21 on debt service. (IBON computations on DBM data)

“Increase the chances of Filipino children finishing school… [karunungan]
para sa masa”

o The number of out-of-school children and youth increased by 2.45
million between school year 2000-01 and 2008-09 – consisting of an
additional 1.62 million children aged 7-12 years old and an additional
822,097 children aged 13-16 years old – to reach a total of 4.69 million.
(DepED)

o The number of elementary-age out-of-school children increased by 1.62
million between school year 2000-01 and 2008-09 to a total of 2.04 million.

o The number of high school-age out-of-school youth increased by 822,097
between school year 2000-01 and 2008-09 to a total of 2.66 million.

o 1.95 million of these children and youth – consisting of 1.59
million of the elementary-age children and 360,000 of the high-school age
children – are directly due to the deterioration of participation rates
during the Arroyo administration. (IBON computations on DepED data)
Elementary school participation rate dropped from 96.8% in school year
2000-01 to 85.1% in 2008-09; the high school participation rate dropped from
66.1% to 60.7% over the same period. (DepED)

“There can be a million new jobs in agriculture and fisheries [within the
year]… I don’t want the one million new jobs to come in the long term.”

o Only an average of 258,200 agricultural jobs have been created
annually in the last eight years – from 10.25 million agricultural sector
jobs in 2000, the year before Arroyo came to power, to 12.32 million in
2008. (NSO)

o The agriculture sector has fallen to its smallest share in gross
domestic product (GDP) in the country’s history – 18.1% (2008). (NSCB)

“Sisikapin nating magkaroon ng rice self-sufficiency.”

o Rice imports increased 280% from 639,000 tons in 2001 to a record
2.4 million tons in 2008. (DA)

“Murang bigas at masaganang magsasaka.”

o The price of rice increased 68% between 2000, the year before
Arroyo came to power, and 2008: of regular milled rice to P29.38 per kilo
(from P17.59) and of well milled rice to P32.71 per kilo (from P19.45 in
2000). (DA)

“Bawat taon, mamahagi ang gobyerno ng dalawandaang libong ektarya para sa
reporma sa lupa: 100,000 of private land and 100,000 hectares of public
land, including 100 ancestral domain titles for indigenous peoples.”

o The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) of the Arroyo
administration distributed an average of 119,301 hectares annually
(2001-2008) which is smaller than under Estrada (121,274 ha., 1999-2000),
Ramos (296,395 ha., 1993-1998) and Aquino (169,063 ha., 1987-1992). (No
equivalent data available for land distributed by the DENR)

“Information and communications technology (ICT) will jumpstart our old
stalling economy and make it leapfrog into the new economy.”

o The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry rapidly grew from
5,600 employees and US$56 million in revenues in 2001 to 372,000 employees
and US$6.1 billion in revenues in 2008. (NEDA) But in 2008 the sector still
accounted for just 1.1% of total employment and only some 2% of gross
domestic product (GDP). (IBON computations on NSCB data)

o The manufacturing sector has meanwhile shrunk to as small as in the
1950s – 23.1% of GDP (2008). (NSCB) The sector lost 51,000 jobs between
Jan-01 (2,885,000 jobs) and Apr-09 (2,834,000). (NSO)

“Kumikilos ang gobyerno upang mapigilan ang pagtaas ng presyo ng mga
pangunahing pangangailangan ng manggagawa. Binabantayan ang presyo ng
langis,”

o The price of diesel rose 220% between 2001 (average P13.96 per
liter) and 2008 (P44.31) and of gasoline by 180% (from P16.58 to P45.92).
(IBON monitoring)

o The peso price per liter of Dubai crude has increased by an average
of P0.16 per month since January 2001 – yet the pump price of diesel has
increased by an average of P0.26 per month, which is excessive even if the
effect of the RVAT law since November 2005 is factored in. (IBON)

“Damihan ang kategoriya ng manggagawang hindi na kailangang magbayad ng
buwis.”

o On average, every Filipino 15 years old and over paid the
government an extra P5,059 in taxes over the last three years (2006-2008).
This is equivalent to the additional P287.0 billion in taxes paid by
Filipinos due to the imposition of RVAT in Nov 2005. (DOF) (IBON
computations)

“Reduce corruption in the executive branch… investigate and prosecute
corruption in high places… reduce corruption among elective officials… no
one is above the law.”

o The total amount of kickbacks, ill-gotten wealth and payoffs
involved in just 16 major corruption cases reaches as much as P20.9 billion
(US$430 million). The amount remains substantial even if the interrupted
NBN-ZTE and Cyber-Education deals are excluded. (Pagbabago! Research Working
Group)

Sources: Bureau of Treasury (BTr), Department of Agriculture (DA),
Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Education (DepED),
Department of Foreign Affairs-Commission on Filipinos Overseas (DFA-CFO),
National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), National Statistics Office
(NSO), National Wages and productivity Council (NWPC), Philippine Overseas
Employment Administration (POEA), BusinessWorld Top 100 Corporations, Forbes
Asia, Center for Trade Union Human Rights (CTUHR), Karapatan and Pagbabago!
Research Working Group.

IBON Foundation
IBON Center 114 Timog Ave.
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel. (632) 9277060 to 62
Fax (632) 9292496
 

GLORIA   spells  ►  GO LIAR
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
           
           
           
           

 

IBON Media Release / 21 July 2009

MAJORITY OF NEW JOBS CREATED NON-EARNING, LOW PAYING, PART-TIME WORK

Some 1.3 million or the overwhelming majority of the supposedly 1.5-million new jobs created since last year are actually non-earning, poorly earning or otherwise insecure jobs including part-time work, according to research group IBON.

In April 2009, 540,000 of the jobs created were either unpaid family work (394,000) or domestic household help (146,000). IBON notes that these are jobs that notoriously earn far below minimum wage, if at all.

Another 803,000 jobs were created in the own-account category “self-employed”. This is an extraordinary increase in an employment category that has only seen increases of 45,000 (2007), 74,000 (2008) and 87,000 (2006) in the last three years. This may be taken as a kind of disguised unemployment and could indicate that many Filipinos are being driven into the informal sector or, for some, buying into the entrepreneurship hype. But while government has been aggressive in promoting entrepreneurship and small businesses many of these informal sector workers and budding entrepreneurs will be faced with disappointment. Domestic consumption is weakening further, and demand for common entrepreneurial goods will likely be low.

There has also been a drastic 2.4 million-increase in part-time work which, at 14.3 million out of total employed of 35 million, now accounts for a massive 41% of jobs. The number of those in full-time work in turn fell by 925,000. This reflects how workers are facing greater work flexibilization arrangements alongside lower wages, salaries and benefits.

Job creation figures actually show that 1.3 million Filipinos are crowding into sectors that are stagnating or even shrinking according to first quarter economic growth figures, which implies that average incomes in these sectors are falling if not already low. The largest number of jobs created was in the agriculture sector which registered a 408,000-increase in jobs but saw year-on-year growth in production falling 0.7 percentage points in the first quarter of 2009 from the same period last year.

According to IBON, the seeming improvement in the labor market situation is illusory: there were still at least 4.2 million unemployed in April 2009 (correcting for the misleading change in the NSO definition of unemployment in 2005), and 6.6 million underemployed– or at least 10.8 million Filipinos looking for work or additional work.

Poor job creation and deteriorating quality of jobs are a significant factor in explaining why household incomes and consumption are starting to fall. Seasonally-adjusted personal consumption expenditure actually fell 3.1% in the first quarter of 2009, turning negative for the first time after about a decade-and-a- half of positive growth.

Clearly, even the surprisingly large job creation in April 2009 from the year before was not enough to increase household incomes and corresponding consumption- - highlighting the need for genuine policies that will create sufficient and quality jobs, beyond government’s token measures like emergency programs and job fairs. (end)

IBON Foundation, Inc. is an independent development institution established in 1978 that provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues.

     
     
           

 

SINUNGALING (MGA DATOS PARA SA SONA)
Joi Barrios, BAYAN Women's Desk

Hindi sinungaling ang mga numero.
Kuwentahin natin
ang presyo ng billihin at ang suweldo.
Ang kinikita na kakarampot,
at ang araw-araw na gastusin na kabundok.

Halimbawa na lang, ang halaga ng bigas
para may sinaing na maihain sa hapag.
Trenta pesos ang isang kilo.
At para maluto mo ang bigas,
bumili ka ng gaas.
Ang tangke ng LPG,
Kuwatro siyentos na ngayon.
Sino ang hindi magugutom
kung ang isasahod
Ay dadalawang daan isang araw?
Sino ang hindi maghihikahos?

Dalawampu't pitong milyon.
Dalawampu't pitong milyong Pilipino ang naghihirap.
Naghihirap ngunit hindi kapos-palad.
Hindi busabos, hindi aliping nakaluhod.
hindi sunod-sunuran sa nagrereyna-reynahan.

Hindi sinungaling ang mga numero.
Ang kabang yaman ng pangulo,
Dating animnapu't anim na milyon,
at matapos ang walong taon,
doble na, parang double your money,the price is right!
Dan dararan daran! Isang daan apatnapu't apat na milyon. Ting!

Hindi sinungaling ang mga numero.
Ang pangulo na nagsasabing
sarili niya ang yaman, ang bulaan.
Ang pangulo na nagsasabing
bayan ay maunlad
ang siyang di nagsasabi ng tapat.

Ihanay ang mga numero,
daan-daan, libo-libo, milyong katao.
Iisa ang sigaw: Ang ninakaw ay dapat ibalik
ang ganid at sinungaling dapat nang mapatalsik!

 

Bibeth Orteza delivers poem by Joi Barrios
Elmer Labog, KMU Chair
Emmi de Jesus, Gabriela Secretary General
           
=          
==          
     
     
           

 

PRESS RELEASE
July 28, 2009
REFERENCE:
ROY MORILLA, KMP Public Information Officer (63-905-421- 7305)

No clear report of land distribution on Arroyo's SONA, group said

The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines ) stated that there was no clear report on land distribution, particularly through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) on the ninth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The group believed that it is because there is nothing to report.

The excerpt say, "Sa pagpapamahagi ng milyun-milyong ektaryang lupa, 700,000 na katutubo at mahigit isang milyong benepisyaryo ng CARP ay taas-noong may-ari na ng sariling lupa. Hinihiling ko sa Kongreso na ipasa agad ang pagpapalawig ng CARP, at dapat ma-condone ang P42 billion na land reform liabilities dahil 18% lamang ang nabayaran mula 1972. Napapanahon, because it will unfreeze the rural property market. Ang mahal kong ama ang nag-emancipate ng mga magsasaka. Ii-mancipate naman natin ngayon ang titulo." (With the distribution of millions of hectares of land, 700,000 indigenous peoples and more than 1 million beneficiaries of CARP are proud owners of their land. I ask the Congress to immediately pass CARP extension, and the P42 billion land reform lialibilites should be condoned as only 18% were paid since 1972. It is timely, because it will unfreeze the rural property market. My beloved father emancipated the farmers, I will now emancipate the titles.)

"We have anticipated this non-sense statement from Arroyo as the Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has accomplished significantly nothing, specifically in challenging the feudal set-up in the countrysides. The lands are still controlled by the rich landlords and foreign agro-corporations, " said Danilo Ramos, KMP Secretary-General.

"It is really easy for Arroyo to say numbers to make a good picture of her ugly government. Even DAR couldn't make a clear inventory of its program, it maintains its gross total of Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) – holders while bulk of it are already cancelled as landlords systematically file petitions of cancellations and non-coverage, " said Ramos.

KMP also belied that the mere granting of CLOA is not equal to land distribution as the supposedly farmer-beneficiary would pay for the land.

"The concrete proof that the Arroyo government has not realized agrarian reform is the continuing struggle of millions of farmers nationwide for genuine land reform. Farmers from Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon joined the recent anti-SONA rally as they are still being displaced from their tilled lands," added Ramos.

Peasants from Bgy. San Rafael , Montalban, Rizal province and Bgy. Tungkong Mangga, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan are still fighting for their lands being grabbed by First Gentleman Mike Arroyo and Aranetas, respectively. Also, farmers from Southern Tagalog held their 6-day Lakbayan (long march) to call for genuine land reform and ouster of Arroyo. Moreover, the Court of Appeals affirmed the land use conversion and landgrabbing at Hacienda Looc, Nasugbu, Batangas, peasants at the Hacienda Luisita are being threatened to abandon their crops, the military, particularly the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army is attempting to displace tens of thousands of farmers cultivating at the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR). Also, CARP failed the peasants at Central Mindanao University (CMU) in Bukidnon as it exempted the lands they tilled.

Also, Arroyo also said at her SONA, "Dahil sa ating mga reporma, nakaya nating ibenta ang bigas NFA sa P18.25 per kilo, kahit tumaas ang presyo sa labas mula P17.50 hanggang P30 dahil sa kakulangan sa supply sa mundo. Habang, sa unang pagkakataon, naitaas ang pamimili ng palay sa mga
magsasaka, P17 mula sa P11."

"She is totally lying as she didn't mention that the P18.25 per kg NFA is already extinct, a concrete result of her program of liberalizing agriculture and killing the livelihood of Filipino farmers," said Ramos.

"The Arroyo government is also guilty of killing the country's agriculture. With its total submission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and pushing the liberalization of agriculture, the country has faced a food crisis which should not be as our country is basically an agricultural economy," added Ramos.

Since 1995 to 2005, the rice, vegetable and livestock industry were crippled due to the increasing presence of imported agricultural products. Not contented, the Arroyo further increased its importation where the country is now the world's no. 1 rice importer, farmers and producers were put to debt and low incomes. From 2001 to 2008, Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) show that farmgate prices of rice has only increased by P6 per kg, from P8.17 to P14.13 per kg, where the price of rice has hiked by P12, from P17.54 to P29.38.

Also the local production's share to the country's gross supply decreased from 74% to 70%, while imported's share increased sharply from 7% to 16%. With this data alone, it is unquestionable that the Arroyo government is favoring the imported rice, thus, killing the livelihod of the country's local rice farmers.

The worse the Arroyo government is pushing now is the 100% foreign ownership of land. Arroyo has long boasted of her plans to sell 3 million hectares to foreign agro-corporations. She has already reserved 1 million hectares for Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco-Kuok Group partnership, 1 million hectares to China-firm Fuhua Co., a hybrid rice corporation, another 40,000 hectares to ADGZAR of China, 200,000 hectares to BHG of China, and 60,000 hectares to Pacific Bio-Fields Corp. of Japan .

"Nothing has been mention about her selling of the country's lands to foreigners. Foreigners' intrusion to the country's lands would certainly bring a new dark age for the Filipino peasantry. It would be no different to Spanish colonial times where peasants are toiling for the benefit of foreigners. This would put the whole country into submission and future generations would be involuntarily put into slavery," Ramos said.

"The data regarding Arroyo's anti-peasant policies and programs are overwhelming and undisputable. Arroyo's persecution of the peasants extend to oppression of other sectors as crisis are being faced by poor people in the country. Food and rice crises are worsening and this encompass the whole society, and Arroyo's selling of lands is a blatant violation of our sovereignty and against what our forefathers in Katipunan fought for. These times necessitates urgent action from the people, to oust a dictator, a self-proclaimed leader only out to plunder the country and sell the people to foreigners," called Ramos.#

     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
           

 

PCPR Promotion of Church People’s Response – Negros Occidental
July 22, 2009

THE 9th SONA OF PRESIDENT ARROYO WILL MISLEAD THE PEOPLE

“O my people, spoiled by your rulers, dominated by your creditors! O my people, your leaders mislead you, and confuse your paths.” (Isaiah 3:12)

The Promotion of Church People’s Response – Negros Occidental firmly holds its view that President Gloria Macapal-Arroyo will not tell the true state of the nation on July 27, 2009 but will only mislead the people with her farewell address focusing on supposed “success stories” of her administration and may hint on advancing the idea of Charter Change to bring economic progress and good governance when it truth it is a bluff to let her stay in power. In this way the present administration will cunningly attempt to mislead the people by hankering on Charter Change as a solution to the worsening economic and political crisis in our country. The truth is that the roots of the present crisis is not the 1987 Philippine Constitution but the neo-feudal and neo-colonial system that exacerbates poverty, promotes graft and corruption and strengthens the stranglehold by big business monopolies and capped by her misrule and bad governance. If she is to tell the truth, she will have made a review of her 10-point Agenda of 2004 SONA which has fizzled out and did not realize the 6 million jobs she promised the people. She will have made a true account of important national concerns like social services, education, energy, infrastructure, peace and order, national budget and the political situation that is stained by brazen anomalies and graft. She will have begged pardon for the human rights violation perpetrated by her civil and military personnel, for the squandering of government finances, for the overpriced government projects, and the use of PCSO, GSIS and other government funds for political campaigns, To quash all speculation that she does not desire nor aim at staying in power, she will categorically state that she will abandon all efforts to convene Congress into Constituent Assembly for Charter change, she will step down in 2010 and will not seek or run in any elective position when her term expires. She will have to make a concrete act of retribution to the many victims of repression effected by her administration.

We call on all the Filipino people to uphold our Christian values and to stand up against the 9 years of poverty, corruption, repression and subservience to foreign dictates! Let us go forward for the advancement of our national democracy and for justice, peace and truth!

“Woe to the wicked; the evil that their hands have done shall be done to them!” (Isaiah 3:11).

(SGD) Fr. Paul Medina, O.Carm.
Chairperson

PCPR-Negros Occidental
 

     
     
  From: www.bulatlat.com  

Video: Arroyo’s Sona: A Litany of Lies

Video: The Making of the Last Gloria Effigy

Anti-Sona Protests in Manila, Provinces
           

xPress Statement - 27 July 2009

Reference: DJ Acierto, Karapatan Public Information Officer
Cellphone No.: 09189790580


Enough of the human rights violations! Enough of Gloria Arroyo!


Today, human rights advocates under the banner of Karapatan, and relatives of victims of human rights violations Hustisya! (Victims of Arroyo Regime United for Justice), Desaparecidos and Selda (Society of Ex-detainees Against Detention and for Amnesty) together with the Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace (EMJP) declare that they will do everything to make sure this will be Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s last State of the Nation Address.

After an almost a decade in power, Arroyo has been the longest president after the dictator, Ferdinand Marcos. Her administration has ruled in a state of an undeclared martial law making her worse than her predecessors.

For the human rights advocates, her track record proves that if she ever has a human rights agenda, apparently, is nothing but to systematically violate the Filipino people’s civil and political rights to keep her into power. Human rights violations are being committed as a matter of state policy, thus with immunity, to quell public dissent and cover up the plunder and economic exploitation of the Filipino people.

Oplan Bantay Laya, a counter-insurgency program has led to countless victims of human rights violations. Grave forms of violations such as extrajudicial killings, abductions and enforced disappearance, and torture were committed against activists and suspected sympathizers of the revolutionary movement.

For the first half of 2009, Karapatan has documented 34 victims of extrajudicial killings. From January 21, 2001 to June 30, 2009, the victims of extrajudicial killings have reached to 1,032, victims of enforced disappearance at 202. Meanwhile, the use of abduction rather than to arrest has also intensified. This year alone, 20 victims have been abducted bringing the total victims to 521.

Several hundreds of families have been forced to flee from their communities to seek refuge and safety because they have been subjected to threats to their lives, malicious accusations and vilification.

The so-called measures carried out by the Arroyo government bandied about in the United Nations and other forums have no intention to address the problem and instead are desperate attempts to save face from the humiliation it faced from the international human rights community.

In the midst of the President’s and military officials’ continuous declaration of supposed complete annihilation of the insurgency by 2010 and incessant posturing of strength, Arroyo’s administration has fully lost the people’s trust and confidence. Her frantic attempt to stay in power has all the more led the people to anger and ire. Her hunger for Constitutional Change is nothing but a crack to evade her accountabilities to her grave human rights abuses against both civil and economic rights of the Filipino people.

Arroyo’s failure in governance, not only proved herself incompetent but worse, her family’s barefaced plunder on the people’s money has led the people’s desire for better government and significant economic reforms to build up.

The Filipino people desires for change. The Filipino people deserve a radical change. Great power comes with great responsibilities. Grave abuse of power comes with great accountabilities.

The Filipino people have had enough! Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo must go! ###
 

     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

PRESS RELEASE
24 July 2009

UP Diliman professors denounce GMA’s con-ass

Despite President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s claim to the contrary, professors of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman said that she is planning to stay in power even beyond 2010 so that she can enjoy immunity from suit.

In a statement of the UP Diliman’s University Council (UC) – composed of assistant professors, associate professors and full professors and chaired by the Chancellor – they said that Macapagal-Arroyo' s attempt to remain in power and to escape accountability "is an affront to the values (of) public accountability, transparency, honor, and excellence in service" which are held dearly at UP.

The UP Diliman professors added, "There now exists political uncertainty as the public is unaware of what will happen between now and May 2010 when elections are supposed to be held. There is no justice in a situation where an extension of her immunity from suit would bar any prosecution when her term as President expires on June 30, 2010."

In this context, the UC vowed to “oppose all attempts of GMA and her allies to convene an illegal constituent assembly and to prolong her rule,” stressing that “(t)he people should freely choose leaders that would truly represent the people’s interests.”

At its 109th meeting, the UC approved last July 20 the statement titled “No to GMA’s Illegal Constituent Assembly.” Of those present, 148 voted in favor; 4 voted against and 11 abstained. The statement’s full text may be retrieved from http://www.upd. edu.ph/~updinfo/ octnovdec08/ articles/ notogma.html.

For verification, please call UP College of Mass Communication Dean Roland B. Tolentino (928-1388) who is also chair of the University Council Committee on National Policies and Programs.

     
           
           
           
           
Neither the barbed wires and container vans nor the rain could stop the People's SONA
           

 

NO TO GMA'S ILLEGAL CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY
A Statement of the University Council of the University of the Philippines Diliman

On the eve of her supposedly final state of the nation address (SONA), the feeble attempt of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her allies to change the Constitution shows that she is planning to stay in power even beyond 2010 so that she can enjoy immunity from suit.

At the height of the Garci scandal, the University Council (UC) on July 13, 2005 called for her immediate resignation. And on February 28, 2008, the University Council, in the face of massive corruption in GMA’s administration and unsolved extrajudicial killings, unanimously approved a resolution telling GMA it was time to go. To this day, GMA continues to ignore calls from various sectors of society for her to step down.

Today, with 345 days left to her term, GMA and her allies are not preparing to leave office. They are instead preparing to change the Constitution in order to, among others, lift term limits.

House Resolution No. 1109 which seeks to convene the House of Representatives (HOR) into a constituent assembly shows that in the next few days, GMA and her allies would try to prolong her rule. The brazen manner in which this is being done is manifested by the House Speaker’s pronouncement that immediately after the SONA, the HOR would convene itself into one, with or without the Senate and with or without public approval.

Any attempt to change the Constitution at this time could result in the amendment or revision of the following contentious issues: term limits of the President and members of Congress; the date of the elections, or whether such elections would be held; change in the form of government from presidential to parliamentary.

The attempt of GMA to remain in power and to escape accountability is an affront to the values that we hold dear in the University: public accountability, transparency, honor, and excellence in service. There now exists political uncertainty as the public is unaware of what will happen between now and May 2010 when elections are supposed to be held. There is no justice in a situation where an extension of her immunity from suit would bar any prosecution when her term as President expires on June 30, 2010.

In the hundred-and-first year of the University, the University Council of UP Diliman reiterates its call for public accountability, and renews its commitment to work for a just and progressive society. We in the University Council oppose all attempts of GMA and her allies to convene an illegal constituent assembly and to prolong her rule. The people should freely choose leaders that would truly represent the people’s interests.

U.P. Diliman University Council, 20 July 2009

UNIVERSITY COUNCIL SECRETARIAT
University of the Philippines Diliman
Office of the University Registrar (3/Floor)
Phone 981-8500 ext. 4558, 4554
Fax 927-6084; Mobile 09199464416
 

     
     
           
           
Protestors took shelter temporarily at the nearby Ever Gotesco Mall when there was a heavy downpour
           

 

U.P. -Diliman Survey
GLORIA, HULING SONA MO NA!
27 July 2009

SURVEY SAYS:

89% -- opposes a PGMA presidency after 2010
88% -- says that the education sector did not improve under PGMA's eight years
88% -- says that PGMA should be charged with cases of corruption, electoral fraud and human rights violations
69% -- says that education is not accessible

THE QUESTIONS

Overwhelming opposition to PGMA presidency after 2010.

Survey question: "Ikaw ba ay sang-ayon o hindi sang-ayon sa pagiging pangulo ni PGMA pagkatapos ng kanyang termino sa Hunyo 30, 2010?” (Are you for or against PGMA's presidency after her term ends on June 30, 2010?)
Answer: No -- 89%

An overwhelming majority disagrees that the education sector improved under eight years of PGMA in office.

Survey question: “Ikaw ba ay sang-ayon o hindi sang-ayon na may pag-unlad sa sektor ng edukasyon sa mahigit walong taong pagkapangulo ni PGMA?” (Do you agree or disagree that the the education sector improved under more than eight years of PGMA in office?)
Answer: No -- 88%

Overwhelming majority wants GMA charged with cases of corruption, electoral fraud and human rights violations

Survey question: “Ikaw ba ay sang-ayon o hindi sang-ayon na ihabla si PGMA sa mga kasong inihaharap sa kanya tulad ng korupsyon, pandaraya sa eleksyon at paglabag sa mga karapatang pantao matapos ang kanyang panunungkulan bilang pangulo?” (Do you agree or disagree that PGMA should be charged with cases of corruption, electoral fraud and human rights violations after her term?”)
Answer: Yes -- 88%

Survey Background

Ø independently conducted by CONTEND (Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy), ACT (Alliance of Concerned Teachers) and UPAC Alliance (University of the Philippines Against Charter Change)

Ø conducted over the period July 18-July 23, 2009

Ø used survey questionnaires distributed to 1,207 students from randomly selected clusters of General Education subjects

     
     
           
           
           
       
      ►  Click here for the march along Commonwealth Avenue
           
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