JANUARY 11, 2007 (STAR) The Freeman - Close to 15 militant groups comprised of farmers and fishermen yesterday hurled rotten vegetables and "tuloy" (a variety of fish) in front of the Malacañang sa Sugbo as part of a four-day protest against the alleged "anti-people policies of the 12th ASEAN Summit."

"Bahala'g gamay ra mi, ang importante nga among napadangat ang among mensahe," Wilbert Dimol, secretary general of the Panaghugpong sa mga Gagmay'ng Mangingisda sa Sugbo, said.

Members of the Presidential Security Group and the Mobile Patrol Division were deployed at the rally site, but obviously weren't threatened of the number of militants present at the Malacañang sa Sugbo.

Dimol accused the World Trade Organization of "soon killing Philippine domestic agriculture and fisheries, these two sectors being poorly subsidized, and are therefore dying sources of food."

Also, militant farmers groups denounced the Bush administration's signing of the 2005 US-ASEAN Enhanced Partnership Agreement with the main objectives of "increasing security and political cooperation, and enhancing trade and investments."

"Its trade liberalization policy has been thoroughly discredited the world over. It has been exposed as an instrument of the US and other monopoly capitalists in their pursuit for super-profits to the detriment of the poor and toiling masses in third-world countries," Nick Abasolo, chairperson of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-Cebu, said.

Meantime, members of the Kilusang Mangingisda failed to carry out the planned street painting protest against the summit after they were spotted by elements of the Mandaue City Police.

Nearly 10 visual artists from the University of the Philippines would have wanted to depict the demands of marginal fishermen in their paintings. - Ramil V. Ayuman

GMA transfers DAR, DA, DOTC head offices to provinces The Philippine Star 01/11/2007

President Arroyo has ordered the transfer of the central offices of the departments of agrarian reform, agriculture and transportation and communications from Metro Manila to the provinces to expedite regional development.

The President tasked Presidential Adviser for New Government Centers Rodolfo del Rosario to focus on the moving out of the three agencies from Metro Manila, and manage the social preparation of the respective agencies’ staff.

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will be transferred to Davao while the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) will be moved to Clark, Pampanga and Baguio, respectively.

"The decentralization of government departments to regions where they are needed most is envisioned to promote regional development," Cabinet Secretary Ricardo Saludo said.

Mrs. Arroyo said the introduction of the super regions has made it more appropriate to move the agricultural agencies, DA and DAR to North Luzon and Mindanao, respectively, while maintaining the plan to transfer the DOTC to Clark since ports were the priority in the Luzon Urban Beltway.

The President established the super regions to develop the provinces and generate jobs for the people in the countryside.

At the same time, Mrs. Arroyo designated Presidential Management Staff chief Cerge Remonde as oversight official for micro-small and medium enterprise programs of the country, one of the priority projects of the administration to generate jobs as well and speed up economic development.

The government committed to support three million entrepreneurs by providing them with credit to contribute to the generation of six to 10 million jobs until 2010. — Aurea Calica

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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