NOY'S CORNER THIS PAST WEEK...
(MINI-READS followed by FULL REPORTS below)

PALACE ON HUNGER DECLINE: 'TUWID NA DAAN' PAYING OFF


According to the SWS, the new hunger incidence rate was the lowest recorded in 10 years.
The decline in hunger incidence among Filipino families was due to the programs of the Aquino administration, Malacañang claimed Tuesday. In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda welcomed the results of a new Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey which showed that the proportion of families experiencing involuntary hunger has dropped from 17.2 percent in December 2014 to 13.5 percent in March 2015.
Lacierda said under the "Tuwid na Daan," the Aquino administration has pursued initiatives such as the the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to improve Filipinos' welfare. "All these contribute to a better quality of life for our people, equipping them to find better opportunities to lift up their families and, ultimately, the nation. The administration’s investment in social services—in the form of budget increases—is truly paying off," he said. Lacierda said the SWS finding that hunger has declined in all areas encourages the government to continue pursuing inclusive growth. "Rest assured that in the remaining months, we will continue our vigorous efforts to empower our citizens to achieve the Filipino dream," the Palace official said. According to the SWS, the new hunger incidence rate was the lowest recorded in 10 years. The polling firm said the 3.7-point drop translates to an estimated 800,000 families no longer experiencing involuntary hunger. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO SWS: 3M families went hungry in first quarter of 2015; 3.8M IN 2014


The recent Social Weather Stations survey showed that around three million families experienced hunger during the first quarter of 2015. An estimated 3.8 million families went hungry during the last quarter of 2014. File photo
 Around 3 million Filipino families experienced involuntary hunger at least once during the first quarter of 2015, according to the recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey. The 13.5-percent hunger rate for the first quarter of the the year is 3.7 points below the 17.2 percent (3.8 million families) last December 2014, the lowest in 10 years. The March 2015 survey showed that 11.1 percent or an estimated 2.5 million families experienced moderate hunger while 2.4 percent or 522,000 families endured severe hunger in the last three months. "Moderate Hunger refers to those who experienced hunger 'Only Once' or 'A Few Times' in the last three months, while Severe Hunger refers to those who experienced it 'Often' or 'Always' in the last three months," the SWS said. Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda noted that the improving hunger rate is a result of the government's various programs such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, K to 12 program and expansion of PhilHealth coverage. The country's self-rated poverty (28.8 percent to 23.9 percent) and self-rated food-poverty rate (21.3 percent to 19.2 percent) also declined between December 2014 and March 2015. The said survey was conducted from March 20 to 25 using face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults nationwide. The survey questions were directed to the household head.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO FLASHBACK 2008 Report: Philippines rice crisis increasing poverty, puts MDG target out of reach
[REPORT FROM IRIN (Humanitarian News & Analysis June 9, 2008]


A farmer collects rice in Minguindano Province, Mandanao Island in the southern Philippines Photo: Manoocher Deghati/IRIN (IRIN) - The ongoing rice crisis will push many more Filipino families into poverty and prevent the country from achieving the Millennium Development Goal to cut extreme poverty and hunger by 2015, according to NGOs. "We are definitely not going to meet MDG1 [the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger]," says Joel Saracho, national coordinator of the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP-Philippines). "There is going be a further delay in achieving it by 2015." Saracho predicted that the rice crisis would continue for some time, putting more pressure on Philippine food security and self-sufficiency and hitting the poor hardest. Average prices of rice have risen P10 to P15/kg (23 to 34 cents) since the rice shortage hit three months ago. What used to cost P25 to P30 (58 to 69 cents) now goes for P35-P45 (81 cents to $1.04) in Manila stores. In Mindanao, rice is sold at P45-P51/kg (95 cents to $1.18). The Philippines' MDG target is to cut the proportion of people living in extreme poverty and subsistence from 24.3 percent in 1991 to 14.6 percent in 2006 and 12.5 percent in 2015. A mid-term report prepared by the National Economic Development Authority last year showed that compared with the 1991 baseline figure, the Philippines had bettered its mid-term target on extreme poverty to 13.5 percent in 2003, but in recent years the percentage has been increasing again. READ MORE...

ALSO: 60 changes delay BBL vote


File photo
Voting on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives was stalled again yesterday and moved to next week to allow lawmakers more time to review the draft after the influx of last-minute amendments. At least 60 BBL provisions have proposed amendments. Because of the amendments, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the 75-member panel, said the 99-page draft submitted by Malacañang would increase to about 150 pages. At least 12 lawmakers have written new amendments to the draft as of yesterday. The second postponement came amid talk among administration lawmakers that the ruling Liberal Party (LP) is putting in its own set of amendments to counter moves of a majority in the ad hoc panel to remove at least eight unconstitutional provisions in the BBL. “I think it’s not just Malacañang or the LP that is moving, that led to the postponement of the voting to next week, but this is because the other side (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) does not like the emerging draft. If these proposals are just from us, we can talk about it among ourselves,” a senior lawmaker said. Malacañang denied it was pressuring the House to pass the executive’s version of the proposed BBL, the reason the voting at the ad hoc committee level was delayed.
READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino lacks sincerity in Peace Negotiations and has wantonly violated existing agreements‏


** Aquino lacks sincerity in Peace Negotiations and has wantonly violated existing agreements <http://www.ndfp.net/web2014/index.php/peace-talks/2317-aquino-lacks-sincerity-in-peace-negotiations-and-has-wantonly-violated-existing-agreements>  **
The recent statement of BS Aquino III to Radyo Bombo and published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer attacking the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and seeking to impose on the NDFP his one-sided views has upset efforts to pave the way for the resumption of the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations. It is Aquino who lacks sincerity in peace negotiations between the GPH* and NDFP. He has wantonly violated the existing agreements, especially The Hague Joint Declaration, the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), and the Joint Agreement on the Formation, Sequence and Operationalization of the Reciprocal Working Committees. He is out of his mind if he thinks that he can get an agreement on indefinite ceasefire without complying with the aforesaid existing agreements and without a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms at the same time. He shows his bad faith, selfishness and incorrigible penchant for cruelty by putting in advance of formal talks his precondition that he will continue to violate JASIG and CARHRIHL, and further on by allowing the issuance of warrants of arrest against NDFP consultants in connection with the baseless and false Hilongos charge. He seems to be obsessed with going down in history with a legacy of cruelty comparable to that of Marcos and Arroyo in collecting political prisoners and allowing the military, police and paramilitary in perpetrating forced disappearances, torture, mass dislocation, demolition of homes, and landgrabbing under Oplan Bayanihan. READ MORE...

ALSO: Freeze order vs Binay’s assets unconstitutional – UP Law professor


Professor H. Harry L. Roque, Jr. is an Associate Professor at the UP College of Law and teaches, among other subjects, Public International Law, International Humanitarian Law and Constitutional Law. He is also Professor 2 at the Philippine Judicial Academy. He is the Director of the University of the Philippines Law Center Institute of International Legal Studies.  University of the Philippines law professor Harry Roque came to the defense of Vice President Jejomar Binay, saying the freeze order issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) against his assets is unconstitutional. Roque said in a phone interview that the petition of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to freeze the accounts of the Vice President violates his immunity from suits as mandated by the Constitution. The lawyer also stressed that the freeze order does not constitute a finding of criminal offense, adding that the AMLC will now have to file a case before the regional trial court to declare the funds as “proceeds of predicate crimes under the law.”  READ MORE...

ALSO STANDARD COMMENTARY:  Congress grows a pair
[How iffy is the passage of the BBL, anyway? Well, the fact that some congressmen wanted a secret vote in executive session in order to pass the measure anonymously (a proposal since thrown out into the nearby Payatas dump) is a dead giveaway; many committee members want to make Aquino happy by passing his pet bill, but they didn’t want to have to deal with the fallout that will come from anti-BBL voters in their constituencies.]


By Jojo Robles  Now wait just one Manila minute. Is it actually possible that Malacañang is afraid that Congress would no longer act as its rubber stamp and not just bend over to give the palace what it wants?
The official reason given by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law for postponing the vote yet again yesterday was to give itself time to make necessary amendments. That’s a load of you-know-what. The real reason why the controversial measure can’t get out of the committee and on to the plenary is because the Malacañang-controlled faction in the panel chaired by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez isn’t even sure, at this point, that it can win in a vote. It’s that simple. But don’t the seventy-odd members of Rodriguez’ committee, you might ask, for the most part long-standing members of the palace’s Big Railroad Network in the House? Well, yes; but many of these congressmen don’t really want to affix their signatures on the BBL at the committee level, so fearful are they of the backlash in their home districts – especially in Mindanao. “It’s not the same as the Corona impeachment or the RH [reproductive health] bill anymore,” a lawmaker told me. “It’s an election year next year, for one.”  How embarrassing would it be, anyway, if House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte isn’t able to win the BBL vote in Rodriguez’s committee, after Belmonte and his chief minions have all but ensured its passage in plenary to the chief proponent and of the measure, President Noynoy Aquino? For a House majority that is so used to having its way (or Aquino’s way, really), failure is not an option. How iffy is the passage of the BBL, anyway? READ MORE...
 


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

Palace on hunger decline: 'Tuwid na Daan' paying off


According to the SWS, the new hunger incidence rate was the lowest recorded in 10 years.

MANILA, MAY 18, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Louis Bacani May 12, 2015 - 11:31am - The decline in hunger incidence among Filipino families was due to the programs of the Aquino administration, Malacañang claimed Tuesday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda welcomed the results of a new Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey which showed that the proportion of families experiencing involuntary hunger has dropped from 17.2 percent in December 2014 to 13.5 percent in March 2015.

Lacierda said under the "Tuwid na Daan," the Aquino administration has pursued initiatives such as the the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to improve Filipinos' welfare.

"All these contribute to a better quality of life for our people, equipping them to find better opportunities to lift up their families and, ultimately, the nation. The administration’s investment in social services—in the form of budget increases—is truly paying off," he said.

Lacierda said the SWS finding that hunger has declined in all areas encourages the government to continue pursuing inclusive growth.

"Rest assured that in the remaining months, we will continue our vigorous efforts to empower our citizens to achieve the Filipino dream," the Palace official said.

According to the SWS, the new hunger incidence rate was the lowest recorded in 10 years.

The polling firm said the 3.7-point drop translates to an estimated 800,000 families no longer experiencing involuntary hunger.


PHILSTAR

SWS: 3M families went hungry in first quarter of 2015; 3.8M IN 2014 By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated May 12, 2015 - 1:44pm


The recent Social Weather Stations survey showed that around three million families experienced hunger during the first quarter of 2015. An estimated 3.8 million families went hungry during the last quarter of 2014. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Around 3 million Filipino families experienced involuntary hunger at least once during the first quarter of 2015, according to the recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.

The 13.5-percent hunger rate for the first quarter of the the year is 3.7 points below the 17.2 percent (3.8 million families) last December 2014, the lowest in 10 years.

The March 2015 survey showed that 11.1 percent or an estimated 2.5 million families experienced moderate hunger while 2.4 percent or 522,000 families endured severe hunger in the last three months.

"Moderate Hunger refers to those who experienced hunger 'Only Once' or 'A Few Times' in the last three months, while Severe Hunger refers to those who experienced it 'Often' or 'Always' in the last three months," the SWS said.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda noted that the improving hunger rate is a result of the government's various programs such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, K to 12 program and expansion of PhilHealth coverage.

The country's self-rated poverty (28.8 percent to 23.9 percent) and self-rated food-poverty rate (21.3 percent to 19.2 percent) also declined between December 2014 and March 2015.

The said survey was conducted from March 20 to 25 using face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults nationwide. The survey questions were directed to the household head.


IRIN (HUMANITARIAN NEWS AND ANALYSIS)
June 9, 2008 RELATED REPORT

PHILIPPINES: Rice crisis increasing poverty, puts MDG target out of reach


A farmer collects rice in Minguindano Province, Mandanao Island in the southern Philippines Photo: Manoocher Deghati/IRIN

MANILA, 9 June 2008 (IRIN) - The ongoing rice crisis will push many more Filipino families into poverty and prevent the country from achieving the Millennium Development Goal to cut extreme poverty and hunger by 2015, according to NGOs.

"We are definitely not going to meet MDG1 [the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger]," says Joel Saracho, national coordinator of the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP-Philippines)."There is going be a further delay in achieving it by 2015."

Saracho predicted that the rice crisis would continue for some time, putting more pressure on Philippine food security and self-sufficiency and hitting the poor hardest.

Average prices of rice have risen P10 to P15/kg (23 to 34 cents) since the rice shortage hit three months ago. What used to cost P25 to P30 (58 to 69 cents) now goes for P35-P45 (81 cents to $1.04) in Manila stores. In Mindanao, rice is sold at P45-P51/kg (95 cents to $1.18).

The Philippines' MDG target is to cut the proportion of people living in extreme poverty and subsistence from 24.3 percent in 1991 to 14.6 percent in 2006 and 12.5 percent in 2015.

A mid-term report prepared by the National Economic Development Authority last year showed that compared with the 1991 baseline figure, the Philippines had bettered its mid-term target on extreme poverty to 13.5 percent in 2003, but in recent years the percentage has been increasing again.

READ MORE...
In just three years, from 2003 to 2006, the number of poor Filipinos rose to 27.6 million from 23.8 million, according to the GCAP, an increase of 3.8 million. This translates to about 4.7 million families earning less than P6,274 ($146) a month. In Metro Manila, the poverty threshold is higher at P8,569 ($199) a month.

Inflation pressure

April 2008 inflation was up to 8.3 percent from 6.4 percent in March, based on figures released by the National Statistics Office, because of the hike in rice prices. April's figure is the highest monthly rate in two years.

Latest figures from the NSO showed that May 2008 inflation has further risen to a nine-year high of 9.6 percent. The highest inflation rate was recorded in January 1999 at 10.5 percent.

Photo: Veejay Vilafranca/IRIN High prices and shortages of rice and other food stuffs are affecting vulnerable communities the most, particularly children Saracho said inflation would exert further pressure on poor people. "Their income is barely enough for their daily needs yet there is a decrease in their purchasing power."

In Metro Manila, for instance, the spiralling prices of food have pushed the poverty threshold to P10,000 ($232.5) a month for a family of five, government statistics showed.

National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) director-general Romulo Virola warned last week that unless prices are capped, more families would slip below the poverty line.

Virola said the P10,000 threshold "only covers basic necessities such as food, education, health, transportation".

With the increase in the cost of living, the NSCB estimates that the number of poor families could swell to 259,135 in Metro Manila alone in 2008 from 167,316 in 2006.

The new estimate, however, is preliminary, as the official figure will be determined in 2009. Poverty surveys are conducted once every three years, and the last set of statistics on the poor was compiled in 2006.

Mindanao worst hit

Valerie Guarneri, World Food Programme (WFP) director for the Philippines, told IRIN that Mindanao was expected to be hardest hit by higher food prices, particularly in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and its outlying provinces.

Before the food crisis, the poverty level there had barely dipped from 50 percent of the population to 45 percent. "This is nowhere near the target of 25 percent by 2015."

Photo: Google Maps A map of the Philippines and surrounding countries highlighting Mindanao island "Even more disturbing," Guarneri said, "is the fact that the proportion of the population that fails to meet daily food needs has increased from 62 percent to 64 percent."

Prevalence of malnutrition (defined in this case as being dangerously thin or too short - stunting - for one's age and or being deficient in vitamins and minerals) among children in the ARMM had also increased - from 31 percent in 1990 to 38 percent in 2005, based on a survey by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute that was only released in 2007. The figure of 38 percent malnourished would have to drop to 15.65 percent by 2015 to meet the MDG1 goal – an all but impossible task.

The government has responded with stop-gap measures to mitigate the effects of the rice crisis, such as issuing food coupons in exchange for rice, but Glipo said the problem was the lack of domestic support for agriculture and agricultural development.


PHILSTAR

60 changes delay BBL vote By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 13, 2015 - 12:00am


File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Voting on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives was stalled again yesterday and moved to next week to allow lawmakers more time to review the draft after the influx of last-minute amendments.

At least 60 BBL provisions have proposed amendments.

Because of the amendments, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the 75-member panel, said the 99-page draft submitted by Malacañang would increase to about 150 pages. At least 12 lawmakers have written new amendments to the draft as of yesterday.

The second postponement came amid talk among administration lawmakers that the ruling Liberal Party (LP) is putting in its own set of amendments to counter moves of a majority in the ad hoc panel to remove at least eight unconstitutional provisions in the BBL.

“I think it’s not just Malacañang or the LP that is moving, that led to the postponement of the voting to next week, but this is because the other side (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) does not like the emerging draft. If these proposals are just from us, we can talk about it among ourselves,” a senior lawmaker said.

Malacañang denied it was pressuring the House to pass the executive’s version of the proposed BBL, the reason the voting at the ad hoc committee level was delayed.

READ MORE...
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the House was free to work on the draft BBL and pass the version it deemed appropriate.

“Let us wait for the decision of the ad hoc committee in Congress on the amendments for the draft BBL proposed. We recognize and respect that our Congress has a process as a separate and co-equal branch of government,” Coloma said.

Coloma said the goal was to come up with a law that would pursue the goals of the peace process.

He refused to comment on allegations that Malacañang would prefer to rush the passage next week and push for its version rather than allow the House members to deliberate on it.

Coloma said the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office was continuously coordinating with Senate President Franklin Drilon and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on the priority bills of the executive branch, including the proposed BBL.

The ad hoc panel was supposed to start its three-day section-by-section voting on the BBL on Monday but the additional amendments reset the balloting to yesterday.

The BBL, which has 221 sections, seeks to create a new Bangsamoro autonomous region in Mindanao.

Rodriguez maintained the unconstitutional provisions cannot be cured by simple rewording as pushed by some of his colleagues from the LP.

However, in a caucus of House leaders late Monday, it was decided that the voting be moved to May 18 to also allow the panel to compile all the amendments and come up with a single draft that will be distributed to lawmakers for review.

“I think I’m reasonably certain that we have the numbers (to pass the BBL) but more than that, really we should be voting on a bill that has been properly reported out. We ourselves may not be in full agreement with his (Rodriguez) report but still that can be the working basis for our votation,” Belmonte told reporters.

He said the timeline to approve the BBL on or before Congress adjourns on June 11 will be tight but will be met.

Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez welcomed the additional time to scrutinize the BBL.

“This development indicates that the House majority has no solid number to pass the BBL because even their allies believe that Congress should not hurry the approval of a very vital and important measure,” Romualdez said.

“While we support peace with the MILF, Congress should not pass it under duress. This measure must be approved in consonance with the Constitution and existing laws,” he said.

Romualdez said Malacañang was pressing for the approval of the BBL when it has yet to deliver justice to the 44 elite policemen killed by MILF fighters in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25.

Belmonte, for his part, denied the LP has inserted a set of amendments, saying any member of the committee can propose changes.

Rodriguez earlier said the panel is bent on removing eight perceived unconstitutional provisions, particularly those creating agencies with powers reserved for constitutional offices like the Office of the Ombudsman.

Other perceived unconstitutional provisions that lawmakers wanted removed include those which require the President to coordinate military operations with the chief minister of the Bangsamoro region; empower the chief minister to have control and supervision over police forces in the region; and the provision authorizing the conduct of a plebiscite in any territory contiguous to the Bangsamoro region where 10 percent of residents want to join the autonomous regional government.

“That is a basic draft and if at all that is what the administration is pushing. But as you know from the very start, the idea that it could be approved here without amendment was really something that nobody subscribed to. We all thought that it needed inputs from members of Congress,” Belmonte said.

He stressed the BBL was an instrument of peace in Mindanao and can block the resurgence of violent extremism as seen in the Middle East.

While Congress will do its best to come with its version of the BBL, Belmonte said it is inevitable that the document will be questioned before the Supreme Court, particularly the eight unconstitutional provisions.

“I believe that we can find some compromise on all of these (provisions) and we cannot issue a blanket statement on it, in effect deprive the Supreme Court of the right to go over or the chance to go over or to rationalize it or to make a judgment on it,” he said.

Call for peace

Local leaders and stakeholders in Mindanao called on Congress to fast-track approval of the BBL.

“We are urging members of the committee to pass the bill ‘as is,’ not in a diluted form, to enable the Bangsamoro entity to efficiently govern the communities inside its proposed core territory,” Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) officials led by regional executive secretary Laisa Alamia said.

Alamia said ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman is ready to turn over all the manpower and fiscal assets of offices under the executive department of the regional government once the transition process begins.

“Our regional governor is a staunch supporter of the government-MILF peace initiative,” Alamia said.

She said the main concern of the Hataman administration, for now, is the enactment into law of the draft BBL.

Alamia said ARMM employees are expecting the two chambers of Congress to enact the draft law without revisions.

“The approval of this proposed law is a major step in resolving nagging security problems in the autonomous region,” Alamia said.

“The Senate should read the sign of the times. People want peace in Mindanao, as shown by a recent survey that more Filipinos want peaceful negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front,” added Octavio Dinampo, executive director of the Tulung Lupah Sug Inc. – Aurea Calica, John Unson, Jose Rodel Clapano, Edith Regaado


MEDIA RELEASE By Prof. JOSE MARIA SISON
NDFP Chief Political Consultant in Peace Negotiations
with the GPH/GRP 15 May 2015

From:
NDFP info (listadmin@ndfp.net) May 15, 2015
To: editor@newsflash.org

Aquino lacks sincerity in Peace Negotiations and has wantonly violated existing agreements‏


** Aquino lacks sincerity in Peace Negotiations and has wantonly violated existing agreements <http://www.ndfp.net/web2014/index.php/peace-talks/2317-aquino-lacks-sincerity-in-peace-negotiations-and-has-wantonly-violated-existing-agreements>  **

The recent statement of BS Aquino III to Radyo Bombo and published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer attacking the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and seeking to impose on the NDFP his one-sided views has upset efforts to pave the way for the resumption of the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations.

It is Aquino who lacks sincerity in peace negotiations between the GPH* and NDFP.

He has wantonly violated the existing agreements, especially The Hague Joint Declaration, the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), and the Joint Agreement on the Formation, Sequence and Operationalization of the Reciprocal Working Committees.

He is out of his mind if he thinks that he can get an agreement on indefinite ceasefire without complying with the aforesaid existing agreements and without a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms at the same time.

He shows his bad faith, selfishness and incorrigible penchant for cruelty by putting in advance of formal talks his precondition that he will continue to violate JASIG and CARHRIHL, and further on by allowing the issuance of warrants of arrest against NDFP consultants in connection with the baseless and false Hilongos charge.

He seems to be obsessed with going down in history with a legacy of cruelty comparable to that of Marcos and Arroyo in collecting political prisoners and allowing the military, police and paramilitary in perpetrating forced disappearances, torture, mass dislocation, demolition of homes, and landgrabbing under Oplan Bayanihan.

READ MORE...
Aquino has allowed OPAPP secretary Deles to sabotage every step in the so-called special track, from the time of Ronald Llamas to that of Hernani Braganza (who was brusquely laid aside by Deles only recently).

Now, Deles wants to humiliate and insult the NDFP by putting forward the self-proclaimed designer of Oplan Bayanihan as the chief negotiator of the GPH.

By his callous and malicious statement, probably advised by Deles, Aquino has made it necessary for the NDFP to consider again whether or not it is useful at all to negotiate with a lameduck regime which is obsessed with violating existing agreements and which is predetermined to leave a legacy of ruining the peace negotiations with the NDFP, and even messing up those with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front by committing the Mamasapano fiasco.

* GPH or GRP: Government of the Republic of the Philippines

For news updates and articles, multimedia, archived materials, and
additional information about the NDFP and the Philippine revolution, 
please visit our websites:
www.ndfp.net 
www.philippinerevolution.net 

We welcome your inquiries, comments and suggestions. Contact the NDFP
International Information Office at: 
Postbus 19195
3501DD Utrecht
The Netherlands
telephone: +31 30 2310431
email: ndf@casema.nl  | info@ndfp.net 
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Freeze order vs Binay’s assets unconstitutional – lawyer By Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 17, 2015 - 12:00am


Professor H. Harry L. Roque, Jr. is an Associate Professor at the UP College of Law and teaches, among other subjects, Public International Law, International Humanitarian Law and Constitutional Law. He is also Professor 2 at the Philippine Judicial Academy. He is the Director of the University of the Philippines Law Center Institute of International Legal Studies.

MANILA, Philippines - University of the Philippines law professor Harry Roque came to the defense of Vice President Jejomar Binay, saying the freeze order issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) against his assets is unconstitutional.

Roque said in a phone interview that the petition of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to freeze the accounts of the Vice President violates his immunity from suits as mandated by the Constitution.

The lawyer also stressed that the freeze order does not constitute a finding of criminal offense, adding that the AMLC will now have to file a case before the regional trial court to declare the funds as “proceeds of predicate crimes under the law.”

READ MORE...
Roque doubts if a case can be filed against Binay as he says the Vice President is immune from suits, a position that contradicts an earlier statement of Justice Sec. Leila De Lima who said that only the President is immune. De Lima claimed that while both the President and Vice President are classified as impeachable officials, only the President possesses immunity from suits while in office.

But Roque, who has previously supported moves to limit the coverage of immunity of impeachable officials, stressed that the Supreme Court (SC) has repeatedly upheld that the top officials of the land could not be charged with an offense while in office.

He cited his attempts to file corruption and human rights charges against then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a move that was denied by the SC.

‘Fruit of hoax’

The issue, to Roque, would be best settled before the SC as he advised the Vice President’s camp to either appeal the CA freeze order or elevate it to the highest tribunal.

“It is only a matter of time before the SC declares the freezing of the VP’s assets as being unconstitutional,” he wrote in a column while dismissing the freeze order as a “fruit of a hoax.”

He argued that the frozen P600 million, supposedly belonging to Binay and his 33 alleged dummies, would only amount P18 million each if equally divided. Binay alone, he stressed, has declared his assets to be at P60 million.

“Given that some of those in the list include Ten Outstanding Young Men awardee and Xavier alumnus Antonio Tiu, I’m sure the P600 million in frozen assets is insignificant since Tiu alone should be worth at least P600 million,” Roque wrote.

Tiu was previously named a Binay dummy, an allegation he denied. He also filed a civil case against accuser Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

Roque also scored the media for reporting supposedly confidential information.

“Even public figures, after all, are entitled to the presumption of innocence; more so where a law itself requires everyone to treat information as confidential,” he added.

Political conspiracy

Binay maintained that the release of the AMLC report, which reported Binay as having used 242 bank accounts, is part of the conspiracy to derail his chances of winning in the 2016 presidential elections.

He insisted owning only five accounts and that the money came from legal sources including his income, savings and investments before he joined government and the campaign donations he received when he ran for Vice President in 2010.

Misamis Oriental Vice Gov. Joey Pelaez said Binay is a victim of his political opponents’ constant hounding – piling investigations upon investigations – but leaving with nothing but investigations.

Pelaez renewed his loyalty to Binay during the latter’s two-day visit to Cagayan de Oro city and Misamis Oriental province.

Both Binay and Pelaez are officers of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, with the former as outgoing national chair and the latter as Misamis Oriental chairman.

In 2013, Pelaez ran and won the vice gubernatorial race in the province under Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

Over the weekend, Pelaez accompanied Binay to Tagoloan, Villanueva, Claveria and Jasaan towns, with Binay distributing cash assistance and wheel chairs to a largely senior citizen audience. – With Gerry Gorit


MANILA STANDARD COMMENTARY

Congress grows a pair By Jojo Robles | May. 13, 2015 at 12:01am

Now wait just one Manila minute. Is it actually possible that Malacañang is afraid that Congress would no longer act as its rubber stamp and not just bend over to give the palace what it wants?

The official reason given by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law for postponing the vote yet again yesterday was to give itself time to make necessary amendments. That’s a load of you-know-what.

The real reason why the controversial measure can’t get out of the committee and on to the plenary is because the Malacañang-controlled faction in the panel chaired by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez isn’t even sure, at this point, that it can win in a vote. It’s that simple.

But don’t the seventy-odd members of Rodriguez’ committee, you might ask, for the most part long-standing members of the palace’s Big Railroad Network in the House? Well, yes; but many of these congressmen don’t really want to affix their signatures on the BBL at the committee level, so fearful are they of the backlash in their home districts – especially in Mindanao.

“It’s not the same as the Corona impeachment or the RH [reproductive health] bill anymore,” a lawmaker told me. “It’s an election year next year, for one.”

How embarrassing would it be, anyway, if House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte isn’t able to win the BBL vote in Rodriguez’s committee, after Belmonte and his chief minions have all but ensured its passage in plenary to the chief proponent and of the measure, President Noynoy Aquino? For a House majority that is so used to having its way (or Aquino’s way, really), failure is not an option.

How iffy is the passage of the BBL, anyway?

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Well, the fact that some congressmen wanted a secret vote in executive session in order to pass the measure anonymously (a proposal since thrown out into the nearby Payatas dump) is a dead giveaway; many committee members want to make Aquino happy by passing his pet bill, but they didn’t want to have to deal with the fallout that will come from anti-BBL voters in their constituencies.

Thus the postponement for the second time. And, in all likelihood, for some more time to come.

Meanwhile, some members of Congress are reportedly griping about how the palace move to approve the BBL in the committee level is making only some people in the panel happy. They talk darkly about one supposed House point man who “collects” for every text message to Aquino about the progress the bill is making.

Perhaps it’s time (especially because of the aforementioned approach of the next elections) to open the palace faucets so that passing the measure becomes more attractive to the committee members. That’s worked wonders for Aquino in the past; no sense scrimping and saving now.

Not when Aquino has bet the farm on BBL. For reasons only he really knows.

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President Noynoy Aquino returned from Canada this week promising that blueberry shipments would save Philippine exports. It was not too long ago when he announced that coconut water would do the same.

But the truth of the matter is, banana exports, which breached the $1 billion mark last year, making the fruit the most valuable exported agricultural product next only to coconut oil, is doing a lot of the heavy lifting already. And now, thanks to an ill-conceived House measure, the Cavendish banana industry – the second-biggest in the world – could use some saving itself.

House Bill 5161, like a particularly virulent agricultural pest, might just kill the banana industry, according to the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association Inc.

The industry association has written the bill’s author, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, to tell him that his measure, aimed at regulating the establishment and implementation of agribusiness ventures arrangements in land reform areas, will have a chilling effect on the industry. And the banana industry is no small venture: in 2014, the total land area planted with different varieties of bananas all over the Philippines reached 441,951 hectares.

The Cavendish banana export industry employs 503,058 people receiving an estimated P44 billion in annual wages. Together with the workers’ families and relatives, more than three million individuals are dependent on the banana export industry.

Baguilat’s bill, PGBEA said, is unnecessary because there is no need for a law on the specific and restrictive regulation of AVAs between private investors and Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs). HB 5161 will unnecessarily allow interference by the government in purely private commercial transactions.

PBGEA said that the private sector is the most efficient and effective mover of business and investments. Involving the government in AVAs will further increase the presently cumbersome regulatory requirements for investments in the Philippines, including investments in agribusinesses in tandem with ARBs.

If Congress wants to protect the interests of ARBs who enter into contracts with the private sector, Congress should provide support services to these ARBs instead of mandating governmental approval of all contracts which they enter into.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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