HEADLINE NEWS THIS WEEK...

RECENT PULSE ASIA SURVEY: EMPHATIC 'NO' TO TERM EXTENSION

OCT 7 --A recent survey found that six out of every 10 adult Filipinos, or 62 percent, do not want a second term for President Aquino should the 1987 Constitution be amended. On Thursday, Pulse Asia released results of a survey it conducted from Sept. 8 to 16 showing that Filipinos emphatically opposed the extension of Mr. Aquino’s term for another six years beyond 2016. The results were released amid growing concerns over the President’s admission that he was open to suggestions that his term be extended for a number of reasons. One reason is to enable him to give continuity to his governance reforms and to clip the Supreme Court’s power to review decisions of the executive branch. Mr. Aquino claims that this power of the high court has threatened to “paralyze” economic initiatives of the President.

The survey results showed widespread rejection to extension moves across all economic classes and regions. Campaigns calling for reelection or term extension have been launched in print and social media without endorsement from the President, who has been ambivalent about his plans after the termination of his term in 2016.
He has refused to say whether he is going to seek a second term but says he would listen to his “bosses” or his constituents. While the President remains ambiguous and evasive, there was nothing ambiguous about the public sentiments regarding the contentious issue of term extension or Charter change (Cha-cha) involved in the process.
Uncertainty  --The widespread rejection of Cha-cha comes as Mr. Aquino winds down his first term, with the nation facing uncertainty over the succession to the presidency—whether it would be disruptive or smooth. Only four out of every 10 adult Filipinos, or 38 percent, favor a second term in 2016. * READ MORE...


ALSO From Cebu: The Natl Transformation Council (NTC) explained 

OCT 8 --By Bobit Avila: At the heels of the successful launching in Cebu City of the National
Transformation Council (NTC), which followed the equally successful launching of the NTC in Lipa, Batangas last Sept. 27, suddenly more people wanted to know what the NTC is all about. Yes, the NTC made the headline news in The Freeman when it blared, “Group wants P-Noy to Quit!” The next day, The Freeman front page news blared, “Palace brushes aside Church-led group’s call for P-Noy to resign.” Then ABS-CBN came up with that report where purportedly it said that “Ricardo Cardinal Vidal denies seeking the ouster of P-Noy. So was Cardinal Vidal really misquoted or was the NTC the subject of Yellow propaganda?

First of all, let me say it here that his eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal was not the prime instigator of the call for P-Noy to resign. In fact the NTC issued a clarification saying, “The P-Noy resign campaign was the product of the collective decision of the NTC, not an individual initiative of Cardinal Vidal alone. The whole NTC and the participants of that event called for and shouted for the entire Aquino government to quit! In fact the word that the NTC used was not even resign…but ”Relinquish” (this is the title of our column last Saturday) power after the NTC heard the speeches and powerpoint presentation of former Biliran Congressman Glenn Chiong who gave the group the most convincing report on how the Comelec cheated in the 2010 and 2013 elections using the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines, which we’ve called the massive “Electronic Dagdag Bawas”!

In short, the NTC was convinced that because of this massive cheating in the 2013 elections, all elected officials are considered de facto government officials and should relinquish their respective posts. Then came the speech of Rev. Greco Belgica. Mind you, he is a born-again Christian and surely you must have noticed that the Catholic Church leaders, evangelical Christians and Muslims were united in this endeavor to cleanse the government of corruption and incompetence, which is why it is wrong to say that the NTC is led by the Catholic Church. It was the first time that I met Greco Belgica and yes, that name isn’t exactly common. So I asked him if he was related to Butch Belgica? Apparent, Butch is his father. Indeed, Butch Belgica was a notorious character in the ’60s and ’70s where he led a life of wild abandon and was sent to a long prison term. In jail, Butch Belgica met our Lord Jesus Christ and he turned into a Christian preacher. Now his son is also committed to our Lord Jesus. * READ MORE...

ALSO by Bobit Avila: NTC asks President Aquino to relinquish his post! 

OCT 4 ---I’m sure our faithful readers are waiting for me to write about how The National Transformation Council (NTC), which was held at the Mariner’s Court in ALU Compound last Wednesday afternoon came out? Let me say that it was a very successful affair with more than 600 people from a multi-sectoral group attending this historic event in Cebu. This event started with A Holy Mass officiated by our beloved Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal assisted by Archbishop of Lipa Ramon Argüelles, Fr. Romeo “Archie” Intengan, Fr. Ramon Ofredo, Fr. John Orat and Bishop Romulo dela Cruz of Zamboanga. During the mass, the air was very solemn as everyone on the floor who were not Catholics, like our Evangelical Pastors and Muslims showed all their respect for the Catholic rite. This gives us an idea that truly, we are one people under one God.

Master of ceremonies, former Sen. Francisco “Kit” Tatad acknowledged all those who came from all over the country, many of whom came from the troubled areas of Muslim Mindanao. Eid Kabalu, former spokesman of the MILF was also there as a speaker against the Bangsamoro Peace Process, not because he didn’t want peace, but that the Philippine government never went into consulting all the Muslim groups. The event was highlighted by the talk of his eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal who didn’t mince words saying of President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III “He has damaged the moral fabric of the society, and has therefore lost the moral right to lead the nation.” The Assembly called upon the incumbent to relinquish his position now. The last speaker was Lipa Archbishop Ramon Argüelles, also demanded that Pres. Aquino relinquish his post “Now Na!” * READ MORE...

ALSO: NTC, clergy can’t force Aquino to quit – Palace  

OCT 5 --MEMBERS of civil-society groups and the clergy cannot force President Benigno Aquino 3rd to step down because they only represent a small sector of the people, majority of whom are behind the country’s leader, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on Sunday. In an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan, Coloma again belittled what seems to be a growing clamor among the ranks of Catholic officials for Aquino to quit.

“Well, the President is determined to continue his service and implement the reforms he promised to our people. We believe that [call to quit] is only a part of the opinion of one sector,” the Palace official said. Coloma was alluding to a statement made by retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz that the Catholic Church is determined to compel Aquino to vacate Malacanang amid controversies surrounding his administration. Cruz supported the move of the National Transformation Council (NTC), which had convened a series of assemblies in a bid to force Aquino out of office. The NTC launched its campaign in Batangas on August 27 and conducted another assembly in Cebu City on October 1 to call on the President to leave his post. * Read more...

ALSO Manila Times Opinion: The civil resistance movement will succeed

OCT 7 --“Aquino shrugged,” so said his spokesmen and communications secretary, following the issuance of
the Cebu declaration and the Lipa declaration by the assemblies of religious and civic leaders, which called on the 15th president of our republic to step down. The spokesmen’s allusion to Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is unfortunate and only digs a grave for the president. Rand’s 1957 novel depicts a dystopian United States, in which the country has a “National Legislature” instead of a Congress and a “Head of State” instead of a President. This will give angry citizens plenty of ideas. If anything, the Palace statement is prophetic of what I am persuaded now has become inevitable. Aquino will bow to the will of the people and will step down and out of Malacañang. Sweeping political reforms will be passed and implemented.

The scenario and program boldly advanced by the Cebu and Lipa declarations, and the proposed National Transformation Council, will slowly but surely become reality. Am I, like President Aquino, hallucinating or being delusional? Not at all. History, stretching over a hundred years, validates this forecast. Why civil resistance works  --A foreigner and regular reader alerted me to this verdict of history, in empathizing with us Filipinos in our ordeal and miseries under the administration of President Benigno BS Aquino 3rd. He directed my attention to a much-praised article in International Security quarterly, by two women authors and academics, who have done exceptional research and analysis on the subject of civil resistance movements in history. * CONTINUE READING...

(ALSO) Tribune Editorial: Power perpetuation crisis 

OCT 13 --Based on the computation of Sen. Serge Osmeña, chairman of the Senate committee on energy, local power producers have more than ample capability to bridge the power supply gap next year, exposing the deceit in the efforts of the Palace and its allies in the House to grant Noynoy emergency powers. The special powers that Noynoy is asking is supposedly meant to sign contracts mainly for portable high-powered generator sets to augment electricity supply by up to 1,000 megawatts which was the figure Noynoy mentioned in his speeches about the power situation. Osmeña, however, indicated that even without even asking private firms, 50 of them comprising the biggest in the country, indicated they have self-generating capacities totaling 3,163 megawatts (MW) which would be enough to cover Noynoy’s claimed supply deficit three times over. Considering that the shortfall in electricity generation is temporary — if Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla has his numbers right — new power plants would start adding to the capacity by 2016 and by 2017 the electricity grid, at least in Luzon, and there would be ample back-up supply.

The computation of Noynoy goes like 350 MW of supply in shortfall that is expected by next year and the need for another 350 MW in back-up supply comes when demand peaks, and the 300 remainder for good measure for which nobody, even Petilla, had ventured to explain the need. The rule of thumb is that for each megawatt of electricity produced, an investment of $2 million is needed. For the 1,000 MW that Noynoy had cited, at least $2 billion worth of contracts would be needed. At the current exchange rate, that would be P90 billion immediately since the proposed emergency powers would likely have a term of less than a year. At the usual 10-percent commission for government contracts, that would mean P9 billion in instant cash that would be available during a crucial stretch in the campaigns for the 2016 polls. Even at this time, Osmeña pointed out that the administration of Noynoy knows or should know that 815 MW are immediately available even as the shortage has yet to occur. Some 400 MW from brand new plants coming onstream and another 400 MW within the Meralco franchise from private firms which committed to use their own generators during periods of peak demand are available, according to Osmeña.*READ MORE...
 


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

Pulse Asia survey emphatic ‘no’ to term extension


INQUIRER FILE

MANILA, OCTOBER 13, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Amando Doronila - A recent survey found that six out of every 10 adult Filipinos, or 62 percent, do not want a second term for President Aquino should the 1987 Constitution be amended.

On Thursday, Pulse Asia released results of a survey it conducted from Sept. 8 to 16 showing that Filipinos emphatically opposed the extension of Mr. Aquino’s term for another six years beyond 2016.

The results were released amid growing concerns over the President’s admission that he was open to suggestions that his term be extended for a number of reasons.

One reason is to enable him to give continuity to his governance reforms and to clip the Supreme Court’s power to review decisions of the executive branch. Mr. Aquino claims that this power of the high court has threatened to “paralyze” economic initiatives of the President.

The survey results showed widespread rejection to extension moves across all economic classes and regions.

Campaigns calling for reelection or term extension have been launched in print and social media without endorsement from the President, who has been ambivalent about his plans after the termination of his term in 2016.

He has refused to say whether he is going to seek a second term but says he would listen to his “bosses” or his constituents.

While the President remains ambiguous and evasive, there was nothing ambiguous about the public sentiments regarding the contentious issue of term extension or Charter change (Cha-cha) involved in the process.

Uncertainty

The widespread rejection of Cha-cha comes as Mr. Aquino winds down his first term, with the nation facing uncertainty over the succession to the presidency—whether it would be disruptive or smooth. Only four out of every 10 adult Filipinos, or 38 percent, favor a second term in 2016.

* What is clear, from the survey, are:
— A sizable majority do not want the 1987 Constitution to be amended in order to clip the Supreme Court’s power of review and to permit foreign corporations to own residential and industrial lands in the country.
— Seven out of 10 adult Filipinos, or 70 percent, are not in favor of amending the Constitution to limit the high court’s power to review executive branch decisions;
— Eight out of 10 adults in the country, or 85 percent, oppose amendments to the Constitution to permit foreign ownership of lands in the Philippines.

In an interview in August, the President said he was open to amend the Constitution to check the power of the Supreme Court.

“Before all these happened, I admit I had a closed mind. But now I realized that there is judicial overreach,” the President told a TV interview. “Congress and the executive may act but they can be punished anytime.”

Pulse Asia said its survey was conducted amid various events (that may have influenced public reactions), such as the Senate inquiry into the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall parking building; dismissal of the three impeachment complaints against Mr. Aquino by the House justice committee; the President’s request for emergency powers to address the impending power crisis; transmittal of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law to Congress; and increasing number of crimes involving policemen.

Writing on wall

With all these issues confronting the administration, it was not clear how Mr. Aquino would respond to the results of the survey.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, speaking on behalf of Mr. Aquino, said the President “will see the writing on the wall” and heed what would seem to be an emerging people’s will in surveys showing large numbers opposing a second term.

He added that the President had said he would listen to the voice of the people. “He always listens to the voice of the people, his bosses. On this matter, he will listen.”

But Drilon qualified his statement, saying the President was opposed to the idea of amending the Constitution just to lift term limits—an essential step for Mr. Aquino to qualify to run again. “As far as I know, the President is averse to any constitutional amendment, which will give him an opportunity to run again,” he said.

However, a group identified as responsible for placing advertisements in newspapers calling on the President to seek a second term announced that it was launching a signature campaign—to gather two million signatures to persuade Mr. Aquino to say, “My boss orders me to run again.”

Whose voices will Mr. Aquino heed this time—those polled by survey groups or those claiming to support the continuity of his reforms?

The latter are echoing verbatim the arguments of the President’s apologists for term extension, which are music to his ears.

FROM PHILSTAR

The Natl Transformation Council explained SHOOTING STRAIGHT By Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 7, 2014 - 12:00am 0 20 googleplus0 0


By Bobit S. Avila

At the heels of the successful launching in Cebu City of the National Transformation Council (NTC), which followed the equally successful launching of the NTC in Lipa, Batangas last Sept. 27, suddenly more people wanted to know what the NTC is all about. Yes, the NTC made the headline news in The Freeman when it blared, “Group wants P-Noy to Quit!”

The next day, The Freeman front page news blared, “Palace brushes aside Church-led group’s call for P-Noy to resign.” Then ABS-CBN came up with that report where purportedly it said that “Ricardo Cardinal Vidal denies seeking the ouster of P-Noy. So was Cardinal Vidal really misquoted or was the NTC the subject of Yellow propaganda?

First of all, let me say it here that his eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal was not the prime instigator of the call for P-Noy to resign. In fact the NTC issued a clarification saying, “The P-Noy resign campaign was the product of the collective decision of the NTC, not an individual initiative of Cardinal Vidal alone. The whole NTC and the participants of that event called for and shouted for the entire Aquino government to quit!

In fact the word that the NTC used was not even resign…but ”Relinquish” (this is the title of our column last Saturday) power after the NTC heard the speeches and powerpoint presentation of former Biliran Congressman Glenn Chiong who gave the group the most convincing report on how the Comelec cheated in the 2010 and 2013 elections using the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines, which we’ve called the massive “Electronic Dagdag Bawas”! In short, the NTC was convinced that because of this massive cheating in the 2013 elections, all elected officials are considered de facto government officials and should relinquish their respective posts.

Then came the speech of Rev. Greco Belgica. Mind you, he is a born-again Christian and surely you must have noticed that the Catholic Church leaders, evangelical Christians and Muslims were united in this endeavor to cleanse the government of corruption and incompetence, which is why it is wrong to say that the NTC is led by the Catholic Church.

It was the first time that I met Greco Belgica and yes, that name isn’t exactly common. So I asked him if he was related to Butch Belgica? Apparent, Butch is his father. Indeed, Butch Belgica was a notorious character in the ’60s and ’70s where he led a life of wild abandon and was sent to a long prison term. In jail, Butch Belgica met our Lord Jesus Christ and he turned into a Christian preacher. Now his son is also committed to our Lord Jesus.

* So who is Greco Belgica? As we already wrote last Saturday, it was Greco’s petition before the Supreme Court (SC) that led to the unanimous decision declaring the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional. In short, the Filipino people owe much to Greco Belgica. What an irony!

Greco, the son of Butch Belgica is perhaps the best proof of a man’s transformation from a notorious convict to a good citizen. Indeed, a bad tree can still produce good fruit, which is true to the family of Butch Belgica and a good tree can produce bad fruit, which is happening in the case of the late Sen. Ninoy and Cory Aquino with his only son President Aquino who has done so much to damage our democratic institutions just like Marcos!

Sure we read the report that Malacañang brushed aside calls by the NTC “led by the Roman Catholic Bishops” for P-Noy to resign. What can we expect Malacañang to say? But that’s because of their lack of information regarding the NTC, which has no visible leader. Mind you, we got this from the National Transition Councils during the Arab spring.

Meanwhile the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issued a statement distancing themselves from the NTC. First of all, the NTC never sought the help of the CBCP. But if they seriously looked at what is happening to our nation today, I’m sure that the CBCP would want to join the NTC in our quest to transform this nation and depoliticize it.

Ask yourself, how come there is no Senate Blue (I think this color should be changed to yellow) Ribbon Committee investigation on the massive electronic cheating using the PCOS machines? The reason is simple… if it can be proven with evidence that there was massive electronic cheating, and then every single Senator and Congressman, Mayor and Governor becomes a de facto official. This is what the NTC believes and it is the truth.

Again if you recall, the Comelec cheated for Marcos in the February 1986 elections when 44 computer programmers walked out of the PICC, which resulted to the EDSA Revolution. But the opposition was so euphoric when the Marcoses fled the country that they did not even investigate the Comelec and the people who cheated.

The new dispensation merely changed the heads of the Comelec and now the Filipino voters have lost their right of suffrage as one man, Chairman Sixto Brillantes, decides elections.

AVILA'S SATURDAY COLUMN (OCTOBER 4, 2014)

NTC asks President Aquino to relinquish his post! SHOOTING STRAIGHT By Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 4, 2014 - 12:00am 4 34 googleplus0 1


Bobit S. Avila

I’m sure our faithful readers are waiting for me to write about how The National Transformation Council (NTC), which was held at the Mariner’s Court in ALU Compound last Wednesday afternoon came out? Let me say that it was a very successful affair with more than 600 people from a multi-sectoral group attending this historic event in Cebu. This event started with A Holy Mass officiated by our beloved Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal assisted by Archbishop of Lipa Ramon Argüelles, Fr. Romeo “Archie” Intengan, Fr. Ramon Ofredo, Fr. John Orat and Bishop Romulo dela Cruz of Zamboanga.

During the mass, the air was very solemn as everyone on the floor who were not Catholics, like our Evangelical Pastors and Muslims showed all their respect for the Catholic rite. This gives us an idea that truly, we are one people under one God. Master of ceremonies, former Sen. Francisco “Kit” Tatad acknowledged all those who came from all over the country, many of whom came from the troubled areas of Muslim Mindanao. Eid Kabalu, former spokesman of the MILF was also there as a speaker against the Bangsamoro Peace Process, not because he didn’t want peace, but that the Philippine government never went into consulting all the Muslim groups.

The event was highlighted by the talk of his eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal who didn’t mince words saying of President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III “He has damaged the moral fabric of the society, and has therefore lost the moral right to lead the nation.” The Assembly called upon the incumbent to relinquish his position now. The last speaker was Lipa Archbishop Ramon Argüelles, also demanded that Pres. Aquino relinquish his post “Now Na!”

* There were two very important speakers last Wednesday afternoon. The first was Rev. Greco Belgica who was the main petitioner who filed the cases against the DAP and the Priority Development Assistance Program (PDAF) a.k.a. pork barrel system which the Supreme Court both declared as unconstitutional, and Atty. Glenn Chiong who showed the audience how the Comelec cheated in the 2013 elections. At the end of the event, we sang “Bayan Ko,” which we sang against the Marcos dictatorship. It was the first time I sang it with fervor, but this time it was against an Aquino!

* * *

It’s all over town, in the mainstream newspapers, ABS-CBN and yes, the social media network that Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Alan Purisima has been caught lying with that mansion he has in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija and yes, he got an armored 2014 Toyota Land Cruiser for a measly P 1.5 million bucks from a dealer when that vehicle should cost more than P6 to P7 million bucks! But there’s no Department of Justice (DoJ) or Ombudsman investigation on his alleged corruption because it is more than obvious to us that when Pres. Benigno “PNoy” Aquino, III defended the PNP Chief, it was the signal for all those agencies to keep away!

This is how things have turned from bad to worse under the Aquino Regime. Perhaps you’re wondering why Police Chief Alan Purisima has a passion for expensive, but “cheap” vehicles and when he’s caught, he lies about them? Well, he could only learn this from his boss… Pres. PNoy Aquino. How? Hmmm, you folks have so soon forgotten that early in his Presidency, the Boy President got himself a nice Porsche, which got him a lot of flak early in his Presidency because of his lack of transparency. He quickly got rid of this hot Por….err potato!

Yes, until today, the Filipino people do not know where Pres. PNoy got his Porsche, how much he paid for it or whether he paid taxes for it at all? Then suddenly because the issue was too hot, he sold it to a secret buyer. Now could the dealer of the PNP Chief’s bulletproof Toyota Land Cruiser one and the same dealer? Well, I dare say that it is time to investigate that dealer. Who knows we could stumble to the truth.

But wait! There’s a new twist to this story. Now the PNP Chief is saying that he merely borrowed that Land Cruiser. Hmmm. It reminded me of what the late Betty Go-Belmonte told me when she interviewed me when Sir Max Soliven wanted me to become a STAR columnist. Ma’am Betty said, “Always remember what we printed in our masthead in The STAR… that the Truth Shall set you free because if you write the truth, you only have one story to tell.”

So now, there are many stories about how the PNP Chief got that Land Cruiser… first it was bought for only P1.5 million… but now that story has changed… he merely borrowed it. This is the problem when you do not tell the truth… you end up with so many lies in trying to find out which of those lies we journalist would finally believe. At this point, what we only know is that both Master and Bata-Bata were lying to the public about their luxury cars. Abangan! Corruption in the Aquino Regime is now at the top!

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

NTC, clergy can’t force Aquino to quit – Palace October 5, 2014 11:27 pm by JOEL M. SY EGCO SENIOR REPORTER MANILA TIMES

MEMBERS of civil-society groups and the clergy cannot force President Benigno Aquino 3rd to step down because they only represent a small sector of the people, majority of whom are behind the country’s leader, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on Sunday.

In an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan, Coloma again belittled what seems to be a growing clamor among the ranks of Catholic officials for Aquino to quit.

“Well, the President is determined to continue his service and implement the reforms he promised to our people. We believe that [call to quit] is only a part of the opinion of one sector,” the Palace official said.

Coloma was alluding to a statement made by retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz that the Catholic Church is determined to compel Aquino to vacate Malacanang amid controversies surrounding his administration.

Cruz supported the move of the National Transformation Council (NTC), which had convened a series of assemblies in a bid to force Aquino out of office.

The NTC launched its campaign in Batangas on August 27 and conducted another assembly in Cebu City on October 1 to call on the President to leave his post.

* The group also called for the establishment of an “alternative government” in case Aquino quits. The convenors of the NTC believe it is necessary to preserve “the Philippine democratic and republican state and the peace, freedom, security and moral and spiritual well-being of the Filipino people.”

Despite this, Coloma said there is no reason for the President to leave earlier than June 2016 because the views presented by the NTC and its supporters run counter to the overall positive public perception of the Aquino administration.

“It does not reflect the opinion of the majority of our people who continue to support the leadership of the President and who continue to trust his ability to lead the country,” he added.

Last Friday, Coloma and Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda took turns in shielding Malacanang from NTC criticisms.
The two officials noted that majority of the people want Aquino to finish his term.

“The President is duty-bound to fulfill his mandate from the people. He remains firmly committed to pursue the reforms aimed at achieving stable and inclusive growth for the country. These reforms have been established on the platform of good governance and have gained acceptance by the vast majority of our people, as well as recognition from the international community,” Coloma said.

Former senator Francisco Tatad, in his column, wrote that the “heat is on” for President Aquino who, he said, “has sinned and continues to sin” against the Constitution. Tatad was referring to Aquino’s expressed openness in extending his term and for limiting the powers of the judiciary, which he accused of abusing its “reach.”

But Coloma countered that the real “transformation” has been achieved by the President for the people. That is, “the transformation of the country from being regarded as ‘the sick man of Asia’ to being Asia’s fastest-growing economy.”

Lacierda said majority of the people disagree with the view of the council, adding that Filipinos “live in a pluralistic society.”

MANILA TIMES OPINION

The civil resistance movement will succeed by YEN MAKABENTA October 7, 2014 12:12 am MANILA TIMES


YEN MAKABENTA


“Aquino shrugged,” so said his spokesmen and communications secretary, following the issuance of the Cebu declaration and the Lipa declaration by the assemblies of religious and civic leaders, which called on the 15th president of our republic to step down.

The spokesmen’s allusion to Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is unfortunate and only digs a grave for the president. Rand’s 1957 novel depicts a dystopian United States, in which the country has a “National Legislature” instead of a Congress and a “Head of State” instead of a President. This will give angry citizens plenty of ideas.

If anything, the Palace statement is prophetic of what I am persuaded now has become inevitable. Aquino will bow to the will of the people and will step down and out of Malacañang. Sweeping political reforms will be passed and implemented. The scenario and program boldly advanced by the Cebu and Lipa declarations, and the proposed National Transformation Council, will slowly but surely become reality.

Am I, like President Aquino, hallucinating or being delusional?

Not at all. History, stretching over a hundred years, validates this forecast.

Why civil resistance works

A foreigner and regular reader alerted me to this verdict of history, in empathizing with us Filipinos in our ordeal and miseries under the administration of President Benigno BS Aquino 3rd.

He directed my attention to a much-praised article in International Security quarterly, by two women authors and academics, who have done exceptional research and analysis on the subject of civil resistance movements in history.

* The paper is “Why civil resistance works: The strategic Logic of nonviolent Conflict,” by Maria J. Stephan and Erica Chenoweth (International Security, Volume 33,no.1, Harvard University).
http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/IS3301_pp007-044_Stephan_Chenoweth.pdf

The journal article has since been published as a book. It’s been reviewed and praised by experts. There are multiple citations of it online. I found a picture of the volume (see illustration- (copyrighted).

I have ordered a copy of the book through Powerbooks, and it will take about a month to reach me.

In the meantime, I had to content myself with a shortened version of the book by the authors, which was published this year in an issue of Foreign Affairs. What follows is derived from my reading of the shorter version.

But first, let us ground the concept of “civil resistance” in an easy-to-understand definition, courtesy of an Oxford book,Civil resistance and power politics. Its editors, Adam Roberts and Timothy Garton Ash, define “civil resistance” as “a type of political action that relies on the use of non-violent methods. It involves a range of widespread and sustained activities that challenge a particular power, force, policy or regime – hence the term ‘resistance.’ The adjective ‘civil’ in this context denotes that a movement’s goals are widely shared in a society; and that the action concerned is non-military or non-violent in character…”

What Ms. Stephan and Ms. Chenoweth have done in their research project is both daunting and remarkable.

To assess the real potential of civil resistance movements, they assembled a historical data set of 323 campaigns that spanned the 20th century.

The global data set covered all known nonviolent and violent campaigns (each featuring at least 1,000 observed participants) for self-determination, the removal of an incumbent leader, or the expulsion of a foreign military occupation from 1900 to 2006. The data set was assembled using thousands of source materials on protest and civil disobedience, expert reports and surveys, and existing records on violent insurgencies.

Of course, Philippine people power in 1986 forms part of the data set.

Startling, incisive and cogent research findings

The findings of Ms. Stephan and Ms. Chenoweth in their research project are startling, incisive and cogent. Among these are the following:

1. Between 1900 and 2006, campaigns of nonviolent resistance against authoritarian regimes were twice as likely to succeed as violent movements.

2. Nonviolent resistance also increased the chances that the overthrow of the dictatorship would lead to peace and democratic rule.

3. Contrary to conventional wisdom, no social, economic, or political structure has systematically prevented nonviolent campaigns from emerging or succeeding. From strikes and protests to sit-ins and boycotts, civil resistance remains the best strategy for social and political change in the face of repression.

4. Movements that opt for violence often unleash terrible destruction and bloodshed, in both the short and the long term, usually without realizing the goals they set out to achieve.

5.Civil resistance does not succeed because it melts the hearts of dictators and secret police. It succeeds because it is more likely than armed struggle to attract a larger and more diverse base of participants and impose unsustainable costs on a regime.

6. Civil resistance campaigns that work have three things in common: they enjoy mass participation, they produce regime defections, and they employ flexible tactics.

Mass participation –Historically, the larger and more diverse the campaign, the more likely it was to succeed. Large campaigns have a greater chance of seriously disrupting the status quo.

Regime defections –Broad-based support for a civil resistance movement can weaken the loyalty of economic elites, religious authorities, and members of the media who support the regime. When such figures defect to the opposition, they can sometimes force the regime to surrender to the opposition’s demands.

Flexible tactics — When large numbers of people engage in acts of civil disobedience and disruption, shifting between concentrated methods such as protests and diverse methods such as consumer boycotts and strikes, even the most brutal opponent has difficulty cracking down and sustaining the repression indefinitely.

7. Civil resistance requires more than just mass participation and defections; it also requires planning and coordinated tactics. One scholar identified 198 different tactics that nonviolent resistance movements employ.

8. The authors cite the Syrian case as an illustration of why violence is the wrong path to take in resisting a regime. Rather than illustrate the limits of nonviolent resistance, Syria’s path shows how devastating the choice of violence can be. It has played to Assad’s strengths while making the opposition wholly reliant on external armed intervention.

9. Civil society played an essential role in nearly every major social and political transformation of the last half century.

10. Civil resistance campaigns are and should remain homegrown movements. The international community has done much to undermine civil resistance by quickly and enthusiastically supporting armed actors when they arrive on the scene. Syria’s tragedy is a case in point.

The fierce urgency of now

This brings us back to where we began: the situation in our country today.

The varied initiatives and programs that have recently sprouted with the avowed purpose of effecting political, economic and ethical change can be described collectively as civil resistance movement.

By gathering them together under this single concept, it becomes easier to analyze this growing phenomenon in our midst, to comprehend the spreading kaleidoscope of action ideas and the increasing clamor for results.

Impeachment, the constitutionally prescribed option, is dead, because it just plays into the hands of Aquino’s gangster politics. It only gives the President and his congressional allies an excuse to loot the treasury some more.

Constitutional reform is an even more risky enterprise, because it can be used to enable Aquino to seek another term.

The tide of public outrage is rising. Our people will no longer tolerate the looting of the public treasury, the failure of the administration to solve glaring problems and provide vital public services. They cannot understand why in Aquino’s government, officials do not resign, and are not fired.

It is to the ordinary citizen an abnormal state of affairs. And it reflects the man who sits on top of our government.

This is why the formation of the National Transformation Council as both an umbrella and a transition vehicle for political change – is potentially a game-changer.

Aquino’s apologists in the media have advised the president, “Just say no,” to the calls for him to step down. And so he has. He has blamed Gloria Arroyo some more for the failures of his administration. And he keeps muttering reforms that are only visible to him, and are enjoyed by no one.

But the clamor for him to leave has relentlessly grown. From Lipa to Cebu, the civil resistance movement is spreading throughout the archipelago; other cities will host their own assemblies and issue their own declarations.

Signatories to the transformation movement will reach millions.

When the Aquino Resign movement was first launched,, the administration tried to tamp it down by organizing its own support-Aquino movement, Kompre.

The group and its leaders have disappeared in shame. Now, two opportunists have unfurled the banner of yet another pro-Aquino movement – More2Come – promising to enlist millions of signatures. You can see the organizers as just salivating for the administration to fund them. They will disappear even faster than Kompre.

By the time Pope Francis comes to town, who knows how many will be willing to fly Aquino’s ribbon?

To President Aquino’s shrug, the proper response, as in Lipa, was and always is: “Step down, now na.”

It has the fierce urgency of now.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

EDITORIAL: Power perpetuation crisis Written by Tribune Wires Monday, 13 October 2014 00:00

Based on the computation of Sen. Serge Osmeña, chairman of the Senate committee on energy, local power producers have more than ample capability to bridge the power supply gap next year, exposing the deceit in the efforts of the Palace and its allies in the House to grant Noynoy emergency powers.

The special powers that Noynoy is asking is supposedly meant to sign contracts mainly for portable high-powered generator sets to augment electricity supply by up to 1,000 megawatts which was the figure Noynoy mentioned in his speeches about the power situation.

Osmeña, however, indicated that even without even asking private firms, 50 of them comprising the biggest in the country, indicated they have self-generating capacities totaling 3,163 megawatts (MW) which would be enough to cover Noynoy’s claimed supply deficit three times over.

Considering that the shortfall in electricity generation is temporary — if Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla has his numbers right — new power plants would start adding to the capacity by 2016 and by 2017 the electricity grid, at least in Luzon, and there would be ample back-up supply.

The computation of Noynoy goes like 350 MW of supply in shortfall that is expected by next year and the need for another 350 MW in back-up supply comes when demand peaks, and the 300 remainder for good measure for which nobody, even Petilla, had ventured to explain the need.

The rule of thumb is that for each megawatt of electricity produced, an investment of $2 million is needed. For the 1,000 MW that Noynoy had cited, at least $2 billion worth of contracts would be needed.

At the current exchange rate, that would be P90 billion immediately since the proposed emergency powers would likely have a term of less than a year.

At the usual 10-percent commission for government contracts, that would mean P9 billion in instant cash that would be available during a crucial stretch in the campaigns for the 2016 polls.

Even at this time, Osmeña pointed out that the administration of Noynoy knows or should know that 815 MW are immediately available even as the shortage has yet to occur.

Some 400 MW from brand new plants coming onstream and another 400 MW within the Meralco franchise from private firms which committed to use their own generators during periods of peak demand are available, according to Osmeña.

* If temporary incentives are granted, the 3,163 MW are ready for tapping. Osmeña, moreover, said the option of exploiting the self-generating capacity of private firms to solve the shortfall in electricity supply next year would mean an increase of five centavos per kilowatthour instead of the 15 centavos per kwh Petilla estimated as a result of new contracts under Noynoy’s emergency powers.

So what would be motivating Noynoy to choose the emergency powers option in which the government needs to spend to solve the energy deficit instead of tapping private firms to use their own generator capacities?

What comes to mind, of course, is the poll campaign season which is fast approaching and which in reality is already upon us, with the muckraking and mudslinging going around, and the P130-billion Malampaya Fund which the Supreme Court (SC) through a ruling that barred the Palace from touching unless it is done for purposes for which the fund was conceived which are projects for the development and exploitation of energy resources.

The SC ruling accompanied the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) decision declaring the legislative pork barrel unconstitutional.

It is likely that through the emergency powers, Noynoy would again assume the authority already outlawed by the SC to dip into the lucrative fund raised from the Malampaya natural gas project.

The emergency situation that Noynoy needs to solve, so it seems, is not entirely related to electricity supply but the twin SC decisions in the PDAF and the Disbursement Acceleration Program that took away much of Noynoy’s lump sum funds.

Noynoy and his Liberal Party are in critical need to raise a formidable 2016 war chest for their power perpetuation bid.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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