FREE Baba Jan! A Call from the Youth of Mindanao

Equating activism to terrorism is a bigoted notion among the neo-fascist and authoritarian regimes in different points of the world to justify the use state powers especially the military and police force against the protesters just like what happened to Baba Jan and his 11 companions who have been imprisoned by the authority for being a political activist in Pakistan.

Baba Jan is a central leader of the left-wing Awami Workers Party – Gilgit Baltistan.  After the landslide incident in Attabad, Hunza that displaced more than 1, 000 villagers, Baba Jan organized the displaced people to lobby to the Pakistan Government for compensation and resettlement. He joined a mobilization to demand for the rights of the affected communities however some of the protesters were shoot to death. As they call for justice for the victims, Baba Jan was arrested, repeatedly tortured and accused as terrorist. Recently, he was sentenced by the Anti-terrorism Court to 40 years of imprisonment.

The petition of Awami Workers Party in Pakistan and the some human rights organization in the Pakistan and other international organizations and personalities for his release has been signed by Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali, David Graeber and several others. Among the organizations who demand Justice for Baba Jan are International Socialist, Progressive Youth Front Lahore, National Trade Union Federation and others.

The case of Baba Jan and his fellow activists in Pakistan was similarly what happened during the Martial Law period in the Philippines where massive number of political activists were detained, harassed, sexually abused, tortured, and killed by the state.  This state violence has continued in the Philippines even after Martial Law. Doctor Gery Ortiga and Gloria Capitan, Juvy Capion and her sons were among the environmental activists who were killed in the past few years in the Philippines. In the campaign against drugs syndicate under the administration of President Duterte, the spate of extra judicial killings have gone up victimizing small time alleged drug addicts and pushers. What even more striking are the absence of due process in all these cases but also most of the victims are the young people.

Liga ng Makabagong Kabataan (LMK) [League of Alternative Youth]- a progressive youth organization based in Mindanao, Philippines- believes that in a civilized world, Human Rights must be valued and upheld by the all States at all times and that Baba Jan is just among the numbers of leaders of the oppressed and marginalized sectors in the society whose voices are suppressed. Instead, they are criminalized and persecuted.

In unison with comrades in Pakistan and around the world, the Liga ng Makabagong Kabataan demands for justice to all victims of human rights violation and for the release of Baba Jan and his 11 fellow activists.

Climate Walk: A Sobriety call for Climate Justice!

 

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Climate change may well be humanity’s greatest challenge.  It is a crisis that must be rapidly addressed if catastrophe is to be averted. Already, the impacts are being felt by millions in the world’s most vulnerable states and marginalized sectors.

The Philippines has been identified as one of, if not the most, vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change. The extent of the destruction caused by 2012 typhoon Pablo (Bopha) and 2011 typhoon Sendong (Washi) are directly and indirectly caused and worsened by logging and mining. The recent manifestation to this is the onslaught of El Niño that led to the human and food security conflict in Kidapawan, Cotabato Province between the local government and the local farmers demanding for food and aid. The farmers and fisher folks in Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Del Norte suffered the dry spell of El Nino as crops failed to produce while fish catch reduced dramatically. The decrease of water level in Lanao Lake and Pulangi River also disrupted the regular power generation of Agus-Pulangi Hydro-Power.

Among those aggravated by large-scale mining, logging, and coal-fired power plants include a rapid increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, increased morbidity and mortality incidences, environmental degradation and loss of biodiversity, contamination of aquifers and water stress, displacement of communities and development aggression in ancestral domain lands.

In response to perpetrators of the ecological crisis, the Liga ng Makabagong Kabataan- Zamboanga Peninsula organized a Climate Walk: A Sobriety calls for Climate Justice from Begong Tigbao, Limas to Maragang Lake last July 15 and 16. The walk served as a local counterpart of the 92-KM Climate Walk organized by Coal Resistance Movement (CoRE) last July 19 to 25, 2015.

As part of the Campaign for Climate Justice and Sustainable Development, LMK Zampen celebrates the invaluable involvement and vital role of young people in demanding Climate Justice. The organization also stresses the enormous role of the youth to contest and understand the root causes of climate change. The imperative action needed to avert climate change should be based on grassroots-led solutions for the well-being of local communities. The youth understands that the only way to prevent climate change is to change the neo liberal agenda of the government, a corporate-based economy, which stops us from achieving sustainable development and just society.

“What we are facing now served as a great challenge and inspiration to every youth, the future defender of our country that we need to step up our efforts and exercise the power of a collective action to defy the crooked minds of our government”, said Renz Gahum, Secretary General of Alyansa ng Kabataang Mindanao Para sa Kapayapaan (AKMK), which LMK is a proud member of.

Liga ng Makabagong Kabataan Zampen, along with other organizations in Mindanao seeks for Climate Justice Now!  LMK Zampen Youth calls:  NO TO COAL POWER PLANTS! NO TO MINING! NO TO ILLEGAL LOGGING! Perpetrators of climate crisis must pay!

Kabataan! Lumaban! Manindigan Kumilos!

THE 21ST CENTURY EVES

In the global scale, many have claimed that women had already achieved several level of victories to their struggle for determination, recognition equality, and development in the political, economic and socio-cultural dimensions.  Markedly, the proliferation of various international and local movements, civil society organizations, people’s organizations and individual who are forwarding women’s right and welfare and embracing this advocacy as their struggle are women’s realization and triumph at the present time. However in the distant view, the continuous recognition and women liberation around the world are divergent in most developing countries.

In Philippine context, we see the patriarchal domination embedded to the values and culture of the Filipino, it still defines and shapes the role of women in the family and society. The turmoil in most developing countries is that gender awareness become subtle and confine in the family and society because of various problems to take into consider and adhere such as poverty. This condition will continuously intensify the number of discrimination, biases, abuses, trafficking, and domestic violence among women.

Women constitute slightly more than half of the Philippines population. Their roles become more visible and significant in the family and society in general. Women perform both productive and reproductive roles. Presently, their contribution to the economic development of the Philippines is more than two third. As what Isabel Allende, a Chilean-American writer said “although women do two-thirds of the world labor they own less than one percent of the world’s asset”.  Many women today are now participating in the labor force in response on the so-called globalization. The increasing number of women in agriculture and domestic migration which result on the important role in keeping the Philippines’ economy afloat because of consistent in sending money to their families in the Philippines. And yet, the domestic workers’ significant contribution, remain least acknowledge as labor force for economic stability. Domestic works remains unrecognized as real work because of society’s notion on what constitute ‘work’ such that is something, is paid, and creates surplus value. There are most cases of maltreatment, illegal recruitment and human trafficking among domestic workers particularly women.  Additionally, the proliferation of young women in the service sector service where more than half or 68% are women and the majority (85%) are contractual, most of them are under minimum wage earners.

Women participation in decision making remains ambiguous. According to UNDP Report during 2005, women’s representation in legislatures in third world countries is only 15 percent. Way back time, most countries women are not recognize and legitimate to vote or to hold any governmental positions but this notion was gradually vanish when continuous persistent of Feminist movement in their determination of women’s participation was heightened around the world.  This provides an opportunity to the liberal democratic countries to response the call of women’s assertion.  But in most developing countries this still linger this traditional notion in the representation of women in political structure and process.  As a result, male domination in the government hinders the women’s participation.  Also only few women are elected to represent the women sector or get elected in the presidential candidacy because of gender biases of male leadership and there was not enough increase in the number of women participant in government activities especially in decision making process. There are still cultural-bound practices that limit the participation of women in decision making.

Another reason that hamper the participation of women in most  developing countries like in Burma, South Sudan and Philippines particularly in Mindanao was continuous armed conflict of the Moro people to the government in the Mindanao that brought thousands of lives, damages in the property and displacement of the civilian, where women and children are the most vulnerable civilian in the conflict to the extent that there are unrecorded cases of women recruitment in rebels group, harassment and killing.

However, the society does not see the women have crucial role in pacifying and mediating the conflict, for instance the involvement of Moro women in peace negotiation between the Moro Liberation Islamic Liberation (MILF) and Government of the Philippines (GPH). They are part of the monitoring body in the decommissioning of arms as part of the normalization.

On the other hand, the support and acceptance of western countries in the struggle of LGBT (Lesbian, Guys, Bisexual and Transsexual and Transgender) to their recognition are increasingly emancipated by the western people. However, in the Philippines and other developing countries, the notion concerning LGBT is not fully emancipated and recognized by the state, church and society. They are still victim of offshoot marginalization and discrimination among the dominant structure.

Despite of gender confinement and biases in most developing countries, there are persistent efforts and initiatives of the feminist movement and civil society organizations in involving community and grassroots in forwarding gender equality such as the global movement on ecofeminism as an alternative framework in solving the gender problem and climate crisis.

The struggle of Eve’s race has intensified due to the bounds set by the culture especially in Asia. This is the reason why women still fight for an identical stand in the society. The world may scream that it has already accepted that women can equal to men. But the truth is, the journey for equality is still a long way to go.

May these efforts will serve as guidepost to the community to become aware and empower, to gradually cease the discrimination and biases towards women and LGBT; and to have a framework in forwarding Gender equality and Political Participation.

The other State of the Nation Address: The Multisectoral opinions

Last June 28 President Benigno III Aquino delivered his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The SONA was annually presented by the President discussing the rhetoric reform, recent developments, projects, plans and etc. And this is a moment to regain the trust of his “boss” (the people) after declining the public trust shown by Pulse survey.

Since he was elected as President of the Republic of the Philippines I’ve always been subjected and hesitant to his administration even though it has indeed put forward some remarkable changes in the bureaucracy; I believed that it wasn’t felt by the majority poor Filipinos but even worsen the marginalization and oppression. We all know during the Presidential candidacy way back 2010, he never announced that he would run as president, he never gave any sign but after his mother died it gave opportunity to his uncle to push him to run and it followed that every Filipinos want him to run. It was the 2010 landslide victory that gave opportunity to ruling elites to preserve and maintain their power in the political system.

The Philippine engagement in the international level was one of his top priorities; government will be able to borrow funds for program and projects at lower interest rates. It assumed to open more businesses and foreign investors will be attracted to the Philippine and Filipinos will be able to feel benefits. Another is the International Civil Aviation Organization lifted the significant safety concerns, this was followed by the European Union (EU) lifting ban on Philippine Airlines, allowing it to fly once again to Europe and US Federal Aviation Administration was also. It means the increase of local airlines to the US and Europe is design for tourism and business. PNoy also highlighted the successful of the Philippines to be host of World Economic Forum and was attended by US president Obama. Lastly, he was also proud to tell that our country will be hosting APEC next year.

However the remarkable developments was a correspond to the so called neo liberal policy, since the Philippines singed to be part in so called globalization, it is essential to open the sovereignty for exploitation and accumulation by the Multinational Corporations, transnational enterprises, and imperialist state and this would mean that Philippine will now invest in the Global market. Thus, the development and underdevelopment are thus two side of the same coin with the development of the industrialized countries is product of the underdevelopment of the poor countries. It imply that the Philippines remained dependent, on the already developed countries (US) and often victims of global forces (MNC’s, military intervention) which the Philippines is remained powerless, exploited and developing. The investment of the developing country like Philippine to the international organizations is designed and conditioned by the global forces. Additionally, the openness of the Philippines in the Globalization will undermine the domestic policy and resources that would threaten the natural resources and way of life of the Filipinos. PNOY had overwhelmingly glorify the positive response of the international community without considering the people’s welfare.

In the education, the k+12 is one of its agenda in his speech, contrary to this policy is the existing situation in the public schools the overlapping of the students because of no rooms, lack of facilities and teachers. Also, the abandonment of the public university and colleges because of the budget cut which lead to the commercialization and privatization. The aspiration of the youth to access tertiary is no longer right but a privilege those who haves and can afford high tuition fee. Their welfare and rights as human is no longer accessible in the status quo. Even CHED had approved the mandatory to increase the tuition fee in all levels of education; it only means that education is no longer free.

In the peace process in Mindanao, the fast track negotiation of the GPH and MILF lead to the signed of Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro (CAB) and earning positive economic indicators and with the overwhelming support of the international community. In the new documents there are changes in the wealth sharing which is alarming for the bangsamoro. For example the participation of other countries like Japan, US, and Europe, if I would try to analyze it the government are giving opportunity to the foreign countries to operate the MNC’s and monopolize the natural resources of bangsamoro area or in the Mindanao as a whole. Another is PNOY is using this peace talks to popularize his administration, we all know that every administration has own version in the peace process and make the Bangsamoro believe.

The struggle of the Indigenous people rights for inclusivity in the bangsamoro basic law (BBL) should be consider by the Aquino’s administration. However, no response coming from the administration.

The modernization of the Armed forces of the Philippines is one of his top priorities, purchasing weaponry, armaments and helicopter. That’s why there issues on budget cut in the education and other government agencies because of his aspiration (PNOY) to have caliber in the defense. Another is the Enhance Defense cooperation agreement (EDCA) it is a treaty of the Philippines to the Imperialist US to develop and equip the Filipino soldiers, in condition that US Force will establish their own base. This protocol is somewhat alarming in the national security of the Philippines because it will create tension to other neighboring countries like china.

In the agriculture, last June 30 is the end of CARPER, but until now there are numbers of peasants who haven’t received their land. This program should be modifying into more genuine land reform.

And never mentioned about Freedom of Information bill (FOI) (He is the author) that will ensure the integrity, transparency, and accountability of his administration. However, the Supreme Court was already declare that DAP is unconstitutional because of malversation of funds.

He talked about good governance, improvements, infrastructure, social service, calamity effort, international engagement, modernization, peace and order and rhetoric change. He always give his political evaluation on the huge differences of his administration comparing to past administrations, PNoy always insisted the blatant anomalies of the past administration (I’m talking about PGMA) without evaluating that his administration is doing the same.

PROTESTA NG LIGA NG MAKABAGONG KABATAAN NGAYONG MAYO UNO!

 

Sa Full year Gross Domestic Product ng  Pilipinas noong nakaraang taon, tumaas ng 7.2% ang economic growth, mas mataas kaysa sa mga nakalipas na taon dahil dito tinagurian ang Pilipinas ng mga International Lending Agencies katulad ng IMF na Rising Tiger in South East Asia. Subalit sa paglago ng ekonomiya nanatili pa ring backward ang epekto sa mga marginalized sector o sa mga mahihirap sa lipunan. Nandyan pa rin  ang mga pangunahing problema katulad ng kahirapan,kagutoman at kawalan ng trabaho.

Ang, unemployment, underemployment, kontrakwal, maliit na sahud ay nananatili pa ring pangunahing isyu ng mga pilipinong mangagawa. Habang tumataas ang mga pangunahing bilihin sa merkado at kaikibat nito ang 12% vat sa bawat bilihin.

Basi sa datos ngayong taon, unemployment rate rose to 27.5 percent, or an estimated 12.1 million individuals, as 2.5 million Filipinos joined the ranks of the jobless between September and December, he level of joblessness across the country was almost 6 points higher than the 21.7 percent (some 9.6 million) in the previous quarter. The results were first published in BusinessWorld. (Social Weather Stations (SWS)/ http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/)

Isa sa pinakaapektadong sektor ay ang kabataan, kung saan patuloy ang bilang ng mga graduate sa kolehiyo na walang trabaho at nasa sektor din sa kabataan ang maraming bilang ng labor force sa pilipinas.

Nakikita na ang sistemang kontrakwalisasyon  ayon sa  (Article 106 of the Labor Code of the Philippines) ay isang pasakit sa mga mangagawa. Naging stratehiya at opputunidad ito ng mga gobyerno at mga nasa prebadong sektor na gawing kontrakwal ang mga empleyado  upang hindi maging regular at hindi tumaas ang sahod ng mga magagawa.

                Tulad ng lahat ng mga manggagawa sa ilalim ng kapitalistang sistema, ang pilipinong mangagawa ay hindi kailanman sapat ang sahod. Dahil ito sa mga sistemang katulad ng regional minimum wage ayon sa republic act No. 6727 o kilala sa “wage rationalization act”. Ibinagtibay ng Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards ang batas na ito.  Isa itong abuso sa  pilipinong mangagawa at hindi patas pagtranaho. Ayon National  wage commission of the Philippines ang ARMM ang minimum wage, umaabot lang ng  222 pesos samantalang ang NCR (national capital region) umaabot ito sa 410 pesos ang minimum wage, nakikita ang injustice na pagtrato ng gobyerno sa mga mangagawa ng manila empire. Resulta ito, sa pagsasamantala sa mga karapatan ng mga mangagawa  na gawing regionalize ang sahod.

                Isa din sa nakikitang dahilan ay ang sistemang neo-liberal globalization, binago nito ang sistemang Ekonomiya kung saan bukas ang  pagsasamantala at monopolyo ng mga dayuhan katuwang ang mga local na kolaborasyonista sa domestic.  Patuloy ang pagdami ng mga Multinational Corporation at Transnational Corporations, kaikibat nito ang ecological destruction at pagsira ng natural resources.

Ang pag dami ng mga pambansang patakaran nag aayon sa pribadong sektor at pagdami din ng mga batas, polisiya at programa na hindi nag aayon sa mga mangagawa (anti-labor laws), katulad ng oil deregulation law, privatization at pag-commercialize sa mga pangunahing social services.

At bilang paprotesta ng internasyonal na kilusang manggagawa ngayong mayo uno.

Ang liga ng makabagong kabataan, ay nakiisa sa pagprotesta sa mga pilipinong mangagawa ngayong mayo uno.  Naniniwala ang liga ng makabagong kabataan dala dala ang kanyang adbokasiya na patuloy ang pagpupunyagi laban sa katiwalian ng gobyerno lalong lalo na sa mga pilipinong mangagawa.  Nakita ng lmk na patuloy na pagsasamantala at pang aapi ng mga mangagawa dahil patuloy ang paghahain na dagdagan ang sahod, alisin ang mga batas na hindi nag aayon sa mga mangagawa  na pina iigting at pinapatupad ng gobyerno.

Ang liga ng makabagong kabataan dala ang adbokasiyang ipinaglalaban at dala ang sektor sa mga kabataan ay nananawagan sa mga gobyerno at ahensya ng DOLE  na pakinggan ang mga hinaing ng mga manggagawa at mga kabataan.  Nananawagan ang sektor ng mangagawa ng IBASURA ANG SISTEMANG KONTRAKWALISASYON AT ANG SISTEMANG REGIONALIZATION! PATI ANG SISTEMANG PRIBITISASYON NG LAHAT NG PAPUBLIKONG SERBISYO! Nanawagan DAGDAGAN ANG SAHOD NG MANGAGAWA AT DAGDAGAN ANG TRABAHO SA PILIPINAS!

Ang liga ng makabagong kabataan ay sasama sa protesta ngayong mayo uno dito sa iligan city, Mindanao  bilang pagpapakita ng suporta at pagkakaisa sa mga mangagawa.

                Patuloy ang liga ng makabagong kabataan sa pakikipaglaban sa mga na aapi lalong lalo na ang sektor sa kabataan  at mangagawa, maninindigan ang lmk sa adbokasiya at karapatan ng bawat isa at kikilos ang liga ng makabangong kabataan  hanggat may katiwalian sa sistema.

KABATAAN! LUMABAN ! MANINDIGAN! KUMILOS!

 

 

 

PEACE PROCESS

Ang bawat administrasyon ng republika ng pilipinas ay laging gumagawa ng sariling kasaysayan at marka sa isapan at karanasan ng bawat Pilipino. Isa dito ang pagpapanday ng kapayapaan sa Mindanao upang masolusyon ang walang tigil na gulo at bagbakan ng mga armadong grupo at militar.

            Ang GRP-MNLF Tripoli Agreement of 1976 ni Ferdinand Marcos nagsimula ang negosasyon sa pagitan ng Moro National Liberation Front at Government Republic of the Philippines upang mabigyan ng atensyon ang kanilang hinayang ng sariling atonomiya (self-ruled). Sinundan ng First Organic Act of ARMM under R.A. No. 6734 ni Cory Aquino. Nagpatuloy ang negosasyon sa panahon ni Fidel V. Ramos at patuloy din ang pakikibaka ng mga rebeldeng grupo. Lalong gumulo ang sitwasyon sa panahon ni Erap Estrada noong nag pagdeklara ng All-out-War sa Mindanao kung saan apektado ang lahat ng sibilyan.  Bumulik ang negosasyon sa panahon ni Gloria Arroyo sa armadong grupo, ang Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Noong 2008, gumawa ng bagong kasunduan ang GRP-MILF ang Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), ngunit hindi ito nagtagal dahil kwenisyon ng saligang batas. Ngayong sa panahon ni President Noynoy Aquino binalik niya ang “MAKATUTUHANANG USAPAN NG PANGKAPAYAPAAN (GENUINE PEACE TALK)” sa pagitan ng GPH at MILF.

            Makalipas ang apat na dekada ng pakikipaglaban ng bagsamoro sa kanilang kasarinlan at sariling atonomiya ay “UNTI-UNTI NG NAKAKAMIT”. Noong nakaraang buwan sa Kuala lumpur Malaysia tinapos na ang huling pag uusap ng pangkapayapaan at nilagdaan na ng GPH at MILF ang pinakahuling annexes ng Framework Agreement of Bangsamoro  upang mabuo na ang Comprehensive Agreement Bangsamoro (final agreement) upang  basihan ng Basic Laws  sa pagpanday ng  Bangsamoro Government sa Mindanao ngayong 2016. Ito ay binubuo ng transition commission, wealth-sharing annexes, power sharing annexes, at normalization.

            Ang pagiging positibo ng gobyerno at milf makamtan ang bangsamoro government ay takot at pangamba ang aking naiisip bilang nagaadbokasiya ng inklusibong pangkapayapaan sa Mindanao, na umaasa na magiging matagumpay ang proseso at makamtan ng mga moro ang karapatan ng sariling pagpapasya (right to self-determination) na matagal na nilang pinaglalaban.

            Ang legality ng Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) na maaring kwestiyonin ng korte suprema dahil sa unconstitutional bases. Batay sa konstitusyon, ang pwedeng gumawa ng isang komisyon ay ang saligang batas (legislative body) lamang at hindi pwedeng gumawa ang Executive Body, ang pwedeng gawin lang ni PNOY ay mag talaga. For instance, the creation of TRUTH CONMMISION by Pnoy, it was denied by Supreme Court because unlawful content at posibling mangyari ito sa Framework             Agreement of Bangsamoro.

            Ang “decommissioning of gun” sa loob ng Annex on Normalization,  ang mga Armadong Grupo (Communist Part of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), Bangsamoro Independent Freedom Fighter (BIFF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) at Private Armies) ay napakakomplikado at mahirap maisakatupan. Hindi basta-basta ang pagpapasuko ng mga armas sa mga armadong grupo dahil may sariling silang ideolohiya at motibo sa gobyerno bakit sila nakikibaka. Hindi rin nakasaad sa Annex on Normalization kung ano ang mekanismo at papaano “mapacify” ng central government at MILF ang mga armadong grupo.  Ang patuloy na bombing at summary killing ay katibayan na hindi “magdi-disarmed” ang mga rebeldeng grupo.

            Ang bagong political entity ng bangsamoro government ay posibling maging bukas sa kompetisyon ng mga makapangyarihang pamilya sa Autonomous Region in Muslim in Mindanao.

            Ang pagwalang bahala ng Gobyerno sa framework agreement of bangsamoro ng mga Indigenous People ay posibling makakaapekto sa pagkamit ng bangsamoro government at ancestral domain ng mga lumad. Ginigiit ngayon ng mga IP’s ang kanilang karapatan ng sariling pagpapasya gumawa din ng political entity na tatawaging BANGSAMAMALU.

            Isa din sa tinitigana sa bagong political entity ng bangsamoro ang isyu ng cultural preservation. Kung saan posibling mawawala ang sultanate system ng mga muslim dahil sa adaption of Ministerial form of government.

            Ang muling pagbukas ng konstitusyon upang isama (to integrate) ang basic laws ng bangsamoro ay maaring pagmulan ng malaking problema. Pwedeng gamitin ito upang itulak ang charter change. Ayon kay Minority Leader Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano, “economic provision nalang ang kulang upang maisakatuparan at maitulak ang charter change (CHA-CHA)”.

            Iilan lamang ito sa mga nanakitang problema at epekto kung maisasakatuparan na ang bangsamoro government sa Mindanao. Gayun paman, bilang nag aadbokasiya ng sustinabli at  inklusibong kapayapaan sa Mindanao ako ay susuporta sa kapatid nating bangsamoro sa pagpanday at pagkamit ng makakatuhanang atonomiya. #

PORKY TURN INTO CROCKY: The Pork Barrel Issue

 

            Pork Barrel has originated in the American history.  The slaves of America were traditionally provided salted pork as a gift to enjoy on holiday. The slaves would run into for the barrel. The rush of the legislators to get a subsidy was lead to stampede of the slave of the pre American civil war.

            In the Philippines, pork barrel was transplanted and altered into a Countrywide Development Fund (CDF) during Corazon Aquino where which the intention is to fast development. However, CDF was become detrimental to the Philippine state because the government started to borrow money to the World Bank and international monetary fund (IMF). Since then, the Philippine debt was growth. It was the time of Erap changed which up to present name, the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Who gets:

            Until now, Pork allocations have grown by leaps and bound. Almost 58% of the national budget are allocated to the legislators. In 2012, the amount was 26 billion at 70 million to 80 million each for the 250 house representatives including the party lists member plus P200 to P250million for the senators.

Where the fund spend:

            Lawmakers are required to focus on qualified “soft” and “hard” projects for which funds can be spent. Hard projects refers to tangible projects like small infrastructures (e.g.  Road, building). Soft projects cover non-infrastructure project like scholarship programs and medical assistance (e.g libreng tuli, free checkup and medicine).

 

Purpose of PDAF:     

            The priority development allocation fund (PDAF), better known as “PORK BARREL” is a regular allocation of public funds to members of the Philippine congress. It can served as a good complement to national development efforts, which cannot fully provide for the economic and social necessities of every localities, most especially those in far-flung provinces or remote areas. Hence, providing an opportunity for democratic and productive practices towards economic development. PDAF is also a representation of an effective governance of a people’s representative and the democratization of one state.

Issue:

            All the commotion started when a certain businesswoman Janet Napoles was identified as having allegedly cornered as much as 10billion in pork barrel funds directed through non-government organizations (NGOs). The pork-barrel scam associating several senators and congressmen. Another, the taxes of Pilipino people who get obliged to pay while the politician are waiting to corrupt it. After appalling issue, the taxpayer are now in dilemmas to pay or not.

 

Why there is a need to abolish “pork barrel”/ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)

 

            At first glance, the PDAF is a good tool that can directly address local needs. However, as with all tools, its role as beneficial or harmful means, it must to end or to abolish the system with how it is being used. Despite its good intention (ideally), the PDAF has also allowed corruption to poison our institution. A crucial elements to this problem is the transparency and accountability of the officials to their allocated fund. They have wide discretion whether to use it in accordance to the purpose or to use it in accordance to their well. Pork Barrel is root cause of corruption, what is developed is not actually the countryside but the pockets of the legislatives and executive officials.

            It also breeds patronage politics and the politics of corrupt negotiations between legislative and executive branches of the government. As a result, Pork Barrel demoralize the primary duty of congress to draft and pass law for the common good.

            Pork barrel stayed an American model which cannot be transplanted into political system of the Philippine as this will only cause on rush of the politicians to get a share of the pork leaving the poor Juan crumbs for his family, and the generation to come beholden to the cruel cycle of poor getting poorer and the politicians getting richer.

What should be done?

To abolish the pork barrel? YES, it’s really possible, but you can’t abolish bureaucratic delinquency as long as the people themselves are supporting it. Since the masses who voted the TRAPOs (politicians) and there values and character traits come from the bloodstream of the past. Let us purify the bloodstream and purify the society, then corruption will be the thing of the past and the clamor for the abolition of the pork barrel system is a call for social transformations, it is a collective aspiration for social justice. And we pave the way for social justice when we end the concentration of power.

 

Let us go on fighting against the pork barrel!

#AbolishPorkBarrelSystem

 

 

Note: Iboto si Trapo ko. Gwapito III (vol. 8 1st semester) article was published in Sunstar Davao April 23, 2013