First Kalinga transport strike due to jeepney phaseout

By TMK
www.nordis.net

TABUK CITY, Kalinga — About 150 drivers, operators and commuters launched a protest action against the implementation of the jeepney phase out program by the current administration on July 9, 2018 here in the city center.

The first ever protest of the transport sector in the city commenced with a protest caravan of about 40 jeepneys from Bulanao in front of the Provincial Hospital towards the City hall in Dagupan, Tabuk city with MPT, streamers and calls to denounce the jeepney phase out of the present government administration which is an attack to their lives and livelihood.

Marching around the the city center, the protesters trooped to the Sangguniang Panlungsod Session hall to present before the city legislators their criticisms and position paper on the Jeepney modernization program through the Department Order No. 217-011 or the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines released by the Department of Transportation (DoTr) on June 19, 2017.

The said protest was organized and led by the Kalinga Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Associations (KaFeJODA) a newly formed federation of different small associations of public transport groups in the province. Whereas, the commuters especially from the basic sector- farmers welcomed the activity and mobilized themselves to participate in the protest action believing that in the end, it is them who will surely suffer the consequences and effect of this jeepney phase out.

The drivers, operators and commuters out rightly opposed the plan of the Duterte government to modernize the public transport wherein by the end of 2020 the current jeepney will be replaced by either solar a powered jeep, electronic jeeps and/or Euro IV engine jeeps.

“Dakami nga babassit nga jeepney operators ken drivers agraman maapektaran nga umili ditoy Kalinga ket saan mi a palubusan ti kayat ken panggep ti administrasyon ni Duterte nga i-modernize wenno sukatan dagiti pampubliko nga transportasyon. Kontra kami iti jeepney phase-out gapu ta dakami ti number 1 nga maapektaran. Patayen na ti pangkabiagan mi nga babbassit nga operators ken drivers,” the KaFeJODA statement read.

(We the small jeepney operators and drivers together with the affected people of Kalinga are not in favor on the plan of the Duterte administration to replace the public transportation vehicles, we are against the jeepney phase out because we wil be the first ones to be adversely affected. It will kill our source of livelihood.)

“First and foremost, we the small operators and drivers cannot afford these expensive jeeps they are trying to introduce ranging from eight hundred thousand up to 1.6 million pesos. Furthermore, these type of jeeps are not applicable here in the province considering the mountainous terrain,” the statement further read.

The operators and drivers belied the modernization program of the Duterte government and said, “instead, it is but another strategy of the capitalist corporations to monopolize and corporatize the public transportation system for their super profits.

They also claimed that this program is a disaster to their livelihood that would slump them to poverty. Through the fleet consolidation scheme of the PUV modernization, it will displace most of the current drivers/operators who are single operator units.

“Maawanan kami iti kontrol iti bukod mi a lugan ken prangkisa gapu ta maikonsentra kadagiti korporasyon ken babaknang nga isu da metlaeng ti makabael a makagatang iti minimum 15 units kadagitoy a lugan.” (“we no longer have control over our own jeeps and franchise since it will be concentrated to the corporation and rich businessmen who also are the only ones who can afford to buy a minimum of 15 units of these type of jeeps” the statement also read.

On the other hand, the city legislators welcomed and accommodated the protesters in their regular session. The protesters presented before the legislators their position paper asking the city councilors to support their plea via resolution to suspend the implementation of the Department of Transportation department order and the current transport system at status quo.

The legislators expressed that they cannot supersede any memorandum released from the national, however they assured to look into it and make an action to address the pressing issue. The city legislative body through the Committee on Transportation shall review and study the Department Order and Memorandum Circular No. 2018-008. The legislators also seconded the motion of Hon. Zoraida Wacnang to invite the KaFeJODA to sit during the review and study the said Department Order.

Meanwhile, the protesters felt dismayed upon their observation that the city councilors are obviously not so aware of the issue of the jeepney phase out. #nordis.net

Cagayan courts find political prisoner innocent

By NORWIN GONZALES
www.nordis.net

BAGUIO CITY– After over a year in jail, David Soriano who was facing trumped up charges was declared not guilty of arson.

Soriano was declared not guilty in a May 10 decision penned by Judge Nicanor Pascual, Jr. presiding judge of Branch 8 of the Regional Trial Court in Aparri, Cagayan.

Soriano was charged with arson related to the burning of equipment belonging to BrosTan Construction in Gattaran, Cagayan on February 14, 2016.

Pascual questioned whether Soriano was in Gattaran at the time the crime was committed and whether he was a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) and served as its commander. Pascual ruled in favor of Soriano, citing that the prosecution failed to show evidence for its claims.

“Likewise, the prosecution failed to at least present any photograph of the equipment allegedly burned by the accused or at least his alleged companions if indeed, said equipment was burned. It was only bare allegations without any documentary or object evidence to support the same,” the court ruling said.

He was also charged with two counts of attempted murder for an ambush also in Gattaran, Cagayan, this time in RTC Branch 9. Pascual also dismissed the case for lack of evidence in a March 15 ruling.

However, freedom is yet to come for Soriano as he is still currently being tried at the RTC Branch 10 in Tuguegarao City, this time for alleged illegal possession of firearms and explosives related to his arrest in May 2017 in Peñablanca. Cagayan.

He was also implicated in an ambush against Philippine National Police elements in Baggao, Cagayan on February 16, 2016.

In his affidavit, Soriano said that he was in Baguio City from February 12 to 14, 2016 attending a North Luzon summit and traveled back to Isabela on February 15, 2016.

“Let us continue to call for the release of all political prisoners amidst the tyranny of the US-Duterte regime,” Karapatan-Cagayan Valley in a statement said.# nordis.net

AGAW WEN Episode 3 – ENDO

Panoorin ang ikatlong nakakamatay na episode ni Agaw Wen sa kaniyang pagtalakay sa infinite war ng milyun-milyong manggagawa laban sa Endo. Video ng Kilab Multimedia.

 

I-click ito para mapanood si ‘Gaw Wen

Duterte sells Chico River to China

By RENDILYN CUYOP


BAGUIO CITY — The Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) called P3.135-billion (US $62.09 million) loan agreement for the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project (PIP) that President Rodrigo Duterte secured from the Chinese government last April 10 during his recent visit to China “the latest sell out” of the country’s resources and ancestral lands to foreign investors.

In a press statement, CPA Spokesperson Bestang Dekdeken said the Chico River PIP is part of the Duterte administration’s “build build build” program.

It can be recalled that last March the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) have secured a P4.3B contract with China CAMC Engineering Co., Ltd for the Chico River PIP. According to the Department of Finance, the interest rate on the US Dollar denominated loan is 2% per annum with a maturity period of 20 years including a seven-year grace period.

The project seeks to create canals diverting the water from the Chico River into different areas in Tuao and Piat Cagayan and Pinukpuk in Kalinga.

Dekdeken said allowing foreign investors in the implementation of projects like the Chico River PIP will result to the privatization of agricultural services. “This is one of the regime’s means to fast-track the entry of foreign corporations to make profit from our deprivation while exploiting our natural resources,” she said.

Dekdeken pointed out that the Bontoc and Kalinga peoples foiled the Chico River dams project with irrigation component of the late Dictator Ferdinand Marcos. She added that the PIP and the hydropower projects along the Chico River and its tributaries will be met with opposition because corporate and destructive projects go againsts the interest of the people.

She said that what the people of Kalinga and other farmers whose fields are being irrigated by the Chico River has been free and appropriate irrigation systems that do not take over ancestral lands and directly benefit the people.

“Duterte is deaf to these calls and is instead focused in amassing all political power in the government to make it possible for him to carry-out plans based on his selfish interests and those he kowtows to,” she said.

Dekdeken urged the people to intensify their fight for the respect and recognition of their rights to their ancestral land and to self-determination.

“We shall let the nation witness once again a successful defense of the Chico River to let the river flow free, and as the fire of our dissent engulfs a tyrant’s aspiration for absolute power. Never will we let it be recorded in history that a fascist ruler has crushed the peoples movement with tyranny,” she said.

The annual Cordillera Day celebration every April 24 to commemorate the death of Macliing Dulag who was killed by government forces in 1980 traces its roots to the Cordillera peoples’ defense of the Chico River. Dulag was a Kalinga elder who led his people against the Chico dams project.

This year’s Cordillera Day will be held at the Pacday Quino Elementary School in Barangay Asin Road on April 22-25, will tackle the different issues currently affecting Cordillera indigenous peoples, including the tyranny of the Duterte regime and the continued development aggression in our ancestral lands. # nordis.net

Compressed Work Week Bill: Pasado o Palyado?

Kasalukuyang dinidinig pa rin sa Senado ang bill hinggil sa “compressed work week”, isang iskema ng pleksibleng paggawa.

Anila, pabor daw ito sa mga manggagawa dahil mas magiging produktibo kung mas mahaba ang oras ng paggawa kada araw. Dapat ba silang sumang-ayon dito? Ano ba ang epekto nito sa kanilang sahod at kalusugan?

Isa ito sa mga isyu ng manggagawa sa papalapit na Mayo Uno.

Panoorin ang bidyo ng MayDay Multimedia:

 

AGAW WEN Episode 2: TRAIN to Bankerohan Market

by Kilab Multimedia

Panoorin ang spectacular na pagdiskubre ni Agaw kung bakit mas matamis pa ang asin kaysa asukal.

Read more

Groups deny benefits from coal plants

By SHERWIN DE VERA
www.nordis.net

BAGUIO CITY — Environmental groups in Ilocos rebuked the claims of economic benefits by coal-fired power plant proponents. The Ilocos Network for the Environment (Defend Ilocos) and Save Sual Movement (SSM), in a separate statement, argued that health and environmental cost out weights the promise of jobs and royalties from the coal-fired plants.

Two companies are set to build to coal-fired power plant in the region. The P80-Billion 670 megawatt twin-plant of Global Luzon Energy Development Corporation (GLEDC) in Luna, La Union and the P47-Billion 1,000 MW plant of South Korean energy giant Korean Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO).

Both organizations believe that residents, and the neighboring towns will be at the losing end of these projects.

Temporary benefits

Rosanna Marie Soriano, president of SSM said that KEPCO only presented “half truth” about its projects impact when it announced that it will create 5000 jobs during construction and collect about P800 million in real-property tax annually.

Her group explained that while the construction of the plant will require a considerable number of labor force, it will eventually “trim down to a few hundred skilled worker and office personnel.”

The same tactic was utilized by GLEDC and Mayor Vic Marron of Luna town. They flaunted to the media and the public the need for at least 3,000 workers and the P500-million in real property tax if the project proceeds.

For Defend Ilocos, its just routine for companies investing in coal-fired plants “to highlight the economic benefits” and “use of emission-reducing technology” but in the long term operation “this will entail heavier environmental and social cost.” The environmental network said that the plant which GLEDC and KEPCO intend to build are for big businesses and not for the local residents.

Mayor Roberto Arcinue explained that the Pangaisnan, the municipality of Sual and Barangay Baquioen will be share the revenue with each receiving 35%, 40% 25% respectively.

He also claimed in the past that revenue from the existing plant made Sual into a first class municipality. The town is the location of the 1,200 MW coal-fired plant, the country’s biggest in the country, operated by Team Energy. It started providing service in 1999 and full power capacity was delivered in 2007.

However, revenue seems to play a minimal role in the overall poverty situation in the area. In 2012, Sual ranked 8th among the municipalities generating locally sourced revenues. But she was also identified by the Provincial Poverty Reduction Action Team as one of the 10 municipalities with the highest poverty incidence.

Hazardous

GLEDC and KEPCO have boasted that their plant will run with the latest technology. Both local governments of Sual and Luna also claimed that the plants will be “environmentally-friendly.”

However, the groups are not convinced.

Defend Ilocos explained that “decades of utilizing coal for power generation across the globe have proven its detrimental impacts to our health and environment.” The group also pointed that “low-emission coal power facilities fail to address the overall impact of the coal industry from extraction, transport, stockpiling and waste disposal.”

It added that countries touted to have the most efficient coal fleet like Japan, China, and the United States failed to curbed the environmental and health issues associated with coal and coal-fired plants.

Soriano’s group, in its statement, mentioned a study by Dr. Romeo Quino of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine in KEPCO’s 200 MW coal-powered energy facility in Naga, Cebu. The doctor was able to identify heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium and arcenic in high concentrations from coal ash samples taken from the area. Residents in the place complained of of air, water and land pollution prompting even the Asian Development Bank, who funded the project to admit the said problems.

“Humihingi kami noon ng report mula sa LGU at sa planta kaugnay sa epekto nito sa environment pero wala naman silang ibinigay sa amin,” Soriano said. To bolster their proof, SMM will undertake water and air testing on March 31 to April 2 in the vicinity of the existing plant.

An independent consultant and researcher, Dr. Freddie Obligacion, in his published study in 2015 of 410 households from four major coal-powered plants found that “major coal-fueled plants in the country have adversely impacted our fellow citizens’ environment, health, livelihood, and life satisfaction.”

Health was the major impact area cited in the study. According to the document, fewer illness were experienced by the residents prior to the operation of the facilities. However, after the plants started operation, reports of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, skin allergies, infections, headaches and diarrhea became common. Of the respondents who encountered these diseases, 69% attributed it to the presence of the coal-fired power plant in their community.

No direct consumption

“Wala namang isang bahay dito na directly sa coal plant kumukuha ng kuryente, huwag niya (Arcinue) sabihin na kami ang pangunahing nakikinabang dahil dumadaan naman ito sa grid, its not only the coal plant that supplies the energy we use. Maganda sana kung diretly at libre ang kuryente pero hindi naman. Binabayaran nga namin yan. Kapag tumataas ang kuryente ay tumataas din ang sa amin kahit pa nandito ang biggest coal plant,” explianed Soriano.

The statement was her reaction to Arcinue’s foolish call to for SMM members to “refrain from using electricity produced by the power plant” to prove their sincerity in opposing KEPCO’s facility.

In 2015, Pangasinan was reported to having the highest electricity rate in Region 1 with a price tag of P17.7595 per kwh.

Harassments

Soriano said that her group are experiencing harassment from the local chief executive. While she claims to have not experience direct attacks, her family and colleagues are being singled-out.

“Yung mga kasamahan ko ang nakakaranas, lalo na yung mga nasa wharf area. Palaging sumusulat ang iba’t ibang office ng munisipyo, ang MENRO, Engineering Office at sinasabing dapat umalis sila. Pero ang pinapaalis lamang ay yung mga sumasapi sa amin samaantalang mga allies nila ay hindi naman pinapaalis,” the SSM leader narrated.

She added that even her family are threatened through their businesses.

“Marami siyang (Arcinue) sinisita na kung ano-anong violations namin, na we are not in compliance of somethings, gaya ng building code,” she said.

Like Soriano and her group, members of Defend Ilocos also experience harassment. The group said that its network TIMEK La Union, a fisherfolk organization that is opposing the construction the coal-fired plant in Luna are being monitored by the local police.

“In November 2017, PNP personnel went looking for TIMEK officers and members in Agoo and Bauang, and told the barangay officials that it is a front organization of the New People’s army,” stated the group in its year-end report.

Clean development

“Everybody desires progress, but let us have it in the proper, clean, safe and sustainable way… not with coal that will endanger our lives, our family and the future generations of Sual,” noted SMM in its statement.

Defend Ilocos on the other hand is pushing for the prioritization of “ industrial and service sector investments with less ecological impacts” to create jobs. The group also said that local governtments are “better off promoting rural development by pursuing genuine agrarian reform to strengthen agriculture and the fishery sector.” # nordis.net

Stand with Samar | Farmers take gov’t to task for not addressing their plight

By RUTH LUMIBAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — The Philippines is an agricultural country but, ironically, farmers complain of government neglect.

Though Eastern Visayas is often hit by typhoons and natural calamities, aid hardly reaches the poorest of the poor: the farmers from far-flung areas. But aside from natural calamities, another disaster plagues the farmers of Eastern Visayas: the plague of pests.

Read: Stand with Samar | On ‘ricelessness’, hunger, and poverty

According to Maricris, a coconut farmer from Las Navas, Northern Samar, pests like cocolisap have gravely affected the amount of copra produced — even reaching the point that they could no longer harvest anything because the worms have already destroyed both fruits and trees.

Jun Berino, spokesperson of SAGUPA-SB, also narrated how palay farmers have to face pests from the start of planting the seedlings up to the point of harvest. If they have enough funds, then they also have to rent water pumps. Otherwise, they would have to rely on rain for irrigation.

In the caravan of Eastern Visayas farmers for rights and justice, they were given the opportunity to face two agencies that have the mandate to assist farmers: the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Small farmers at a disadvantage

“Maraming problema na hindi natutugunan. May tulong naman na binabahagi ang PCA sa region na hindi naman nakakaabot sa mga magsasaka sa niyugan, lalo na sa mga mahihirap, (Many problems are not being met. The PCA gives assistance to the region but this does not reach the small coconut farmers, especially the poor ones.)” Berino said in an interview.

After farmers relayed problems they encounter back home, PCA Officer-In-Charge Department Manager of the Operations Department Pablo Romero explained their projects. According to Romero, PCA’s Yolanda Rehabilitation and Recovery Program (YRRP) has the following components: coconut planting/replanting, coconut intercropping, coconut fertilization debris management and integrated Rhino-beetle control, and integrated pest management.

Romero also explained that the PCA did not allocate funds for the rehabilitation of coconut plantations after post-Yolanda typhoons because no budget was released.

Later in the dialogue, the farmers discovered that one of the major factors that make it hard for them to receive aid is the requirement of a tax declaration to be presented before any assistance or rehabilitation fund is given to them.

Romero said they take ownership of the land into account to ensure ‘continuity’ of the project.

“Karamihan ng mga magsasaka sa niyugan sa Visayas ay walang sariling lupa. Ang proseso nila ay dapat may titulo o may binabayaran na tax para masama sa mga programa ng PCA. Ngayon, minungkahi namin sa PCA kung ano ang pwede nilang gawin para sa mga magsasaka na walang sariling lupa,” (Most coconut farmers in the Visayas do not have their own land. The process of the PCA necessitates a title or a tax declaration for you to be included in their program. Now, we would like to suggest to the PCA that they should also do something about the farmers who do not have their own land.) Berino commented.

Berino also explained that it is hard for them to register their lands because up until now, the classification of their area remains to be ‘forest or timberland’, meaning that it cannot be up for private ownership. Ironically, the actual use of the land is agricultural because years of cultivation have proven that it is fertile.

Romero, representative of PCA, shares about the projects of the agency. (Photo by Ruth Lumibao/ Bulatlat)

The dialogue with PCA is a telling tale of the state of agrarian reform in the country: not only of how those who till the land remain poor and landless, but also of how the politics of aid in rehabilitation tend to benefit those who are landed.

Legitimate demands and hollow promises

“Positibo na napaabot natin ang problema ng mga magsasaka sa niyog. Ang tanong lang ay kailan sila pupunta para tignan ang mga peste at matulungan ang mga magsasaka, (It is positive that we were able to communicate the problems of the coconut farmers. The question is: When will they go to our village to inspect the pests and help the farmers?)“ the peasant leader added.

In response to the farmers’ suggestion that the PCA find ways to address their problems while taking into account the reality that there is no genuine agrarian reform in the country, Romero remarked that he would have to consult his superiors.

In a dialogue with the Department of Agriculture (DA), the department agreed to coordinate with the Department of National Defense (DND) to raise the farmers’ concern about intense militarization in their home province, which likewise affects their livelihood.

It could be recalled that the farmers were earlier violently dispersed by elements of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) after building make-shift tents in front of the DA office.

Related story: Stand With Samar | QCPD demolishes campout of Visayan farmers (Link: http://bulatlat.com/main/2018/02/27/stand-samar-qcpd-demolishes-campout-visayan-farmers/)

“This is a result of the three-day camp-out. Had it not been for our determination to travel all the way from Eastern Visayas to Metro Manila, the agency will probably not even care about our situation – the alarming pest infestation and the famine looming all over the region”, Berino said in a statement.

In both dialogues, many questions were left unanswered and many concerns were left hanging. What cannot be ignored, however, is the reality that the farmers’ plight is always anchored on one unanswered call: genuine agrarian reform.

For as long as the government and its agencies do not address the problem of landlessness, they would never find a permanent, long-term, and fitting solution to the plight of the farmers. #

I will not resign — Sereno

By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
www.nordis.net

BAGUIO CITY — Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said she will not resign as she asked the House committee on justice to already render judgement on her impeachment case and submit it to the Senate to allow her to present her side.

“I have been persistently saying to those who have asked me to resign: No I will not,” Sereno said.

“I will give an account of my actions as Chief Justice to the people. I don’t owe anyone the duty to resign. I owe the people the duty to tell my story,” Sereno added.

Sereno, who is facing impeachment charges, spoke before judges, lawyers and law students among others on judicial reforms at the University of Baguio on March 2.

Sereno called on everyone to respect the impeachment proceedings as she called on the House committee on justice to quickly resolve her impeachment case instead of prolonging the agony and “calling for extra-constitutional help to facilitate the ouster of the chief justice”.

“Either the House has found probable cause or not, and if it has, the House must submit it already to the senate,” she said.

“I ask only one thing from the political leaders, give me my day in the Senate impeachment, or admit there is no probable cause,” she added.

Sereno said she is standing her ground to keep the judiciary independent from outside pressures by introducing reforms. She said that reforms will not only equip courts to be able to face today’s challenges and at the same strengthen the judicial system to be able to assert its space among democratic institutions.

“Judicial independence can only be realized when we allow our courts to exercise its constitutional mandate free of intimidation,” Sereno pointed out during a forum on judicial reforms at the University of Baguio.

“I remain steadfast in fighting for judicial independence. I have faith that in the end what some unpatriotic men and women have intended for evil in the form of my impeachment, God will turn into good,” she continued.

Sereno is hopeful that after the impeachment trial, the Supreme Court will still be renewed and be united to serve the people and protect their constitutional rights.

In an emailed statement, Atty. Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) said that the Constitution recognizes impeachment as the only way to remove a chief justice from office. He urged that the Constitutional processes defined for an impeachment trial be followed.

“Any artifice or device intended to solely target the Chief Justice and short-circuit the process would be repugnant to the Constitution, and must be slain on sight if our democratic processes are to be observed,” Fajardo said.

Fajardo said that security of tenure is the foundation of judicial independence which shields judges from the political elements that “may have played a role in their appointment on the bench”.

“We breathe life into this prized democratic value by according the Chief Justice due process of law in accordance with the rules governing the difficult process of impeachment,” he said.

“This will also afford our people the opportunity to decide for themselves whether the causes against her are contrived or artificial, or are impressed with merit as to necessitate the extreme measure of removal from office,” he added. # nordis.net