AFP

Untrustworthy

That seems to be the label which the instigators of ‘memogate’ want to attach to the Vice President Jejomar Binay.

As the 2013 race for the senate heats up, members of the rival faction within the Palace opposing Jojo Binay have leaked a confidential memo he wrote to the president concerning a case involving corruption in the military. The advice contained in the memo was for the government to enter into a plea bargain deal with the former AFP comptroller General Carlos Garcia.

This mirrored the views of the office of the Ombudsman which at the time was held by Merceditas Gutierrez, Mrs Arroyo’s former justice secretary, who subsequently resigned as an impeachment case loomed against her in the Senate which was filed by palace supporters in the House incensed over her acceptance of the deal.

The tactic of the leakers is quite clear: make the public doubt Binay’s anti-Arroyo credentials, and by doing so, shed light on the fact that he too may have skeletons hidden in his closet. This follows news that the coalition headed by Binay and former president Joseph Estrada announced that it might field Arroyo allies not implicated in cases filed against her in their senatorial ticket come 2013.

Concerns over the integrity of the former mayor were conveniently swept under the rug during the heady days of the anti-Arroyo protest movement. Makati became a bastion of opposition in those days when most local government officials were allied with the administration of Mrs Arroyo. When the remains of former president Corazon Aquino were moved from La Salle Greenhills to Manila Cathedral, the cortege snaked through the streets of the central business district in recognition of the critical role it played as a staging ground for massive rallies.

What memogate reveals is the intention of loyalists associated with his political rival within the administration Secretary Mar Roxas to counter the vice president’s popularity by painting him with the same brush that tarnished Mrs Arroyo’s reputation by exposing his willingness to compromise with her on matters of principle that they deem sacrosanct. These insiders may have wanted the case against Garcia to proceed despite the weak and inadmissible evidence because of Mrs Arroyo’s alleged involvement in the “golden parachute” scheme involving large sums of money in exchange for military support for her government that the case had the potential to expose.

Reacting to an article about the incident reported on Rappler, which speculated on his potential motives for supporting the Ombudsman’s position (according to the report his wife had a pending case before her at the time), Binay called the media organization “reckless, irresponsible and malicious”.

Rappler for its part conceded that Binay got it right. The plea bargain was approved by the Sandiganbayan for lack of strong solid evidence. Although, the president and his allies in the house went to great lengths to reverse both the Ombudsman’s and the Sandiganbayan’s decisions, the general was only pinned down by the AFP for holding a green card to the US while in active service. He is currently serving a two year jail sentence for this infraction.

For his part, the vice president alleges that by making such sensitive deliberations ‘fair game’, the palace insiders have caused harm to the government. This is the fallout of such a propaganda war. By elevating narrow partisan interests above the national interest, these insiders have forgotten their role as custodians of the affairs of state.

On the other hand, such cannot be said of his ally Ernesto Maceda, a prospective senatorial candidate, who in a televised interview connected the case to remove Chief Justice Renato Corona from office with the electoral protest filed by Sec Roxas questioning the vice presidential election results of 2010. “With friends like these, who needs enemies,” the vice president must be saying to himself.

It appears this early that battle lines are already being drawn. The “knights of the round table” in Camelot are laying claim to the mantle of good governance and are intending to lump Binay along with the opposition that was comprised up to this point of Arroyo supporters. Binay on the other hand portrays them as saboteurs out to wreck the president’s effective governance of the nation.

The president for his part is not willing to make a split with his vice president an ‘inevitable’ proposition. He will after all need the support of his deputy in corralling votes in the senate for his proposals if indeed the vice president’s allies control a majority of the upper chamber as polling indicates they will.

The question now is whether the president can and would be able to control the machinations of those that serve in his team to prevent a dysfunction from setting in, if it hasn’t already.

Introducing the soldiers of Team Azkals

Team Azkals: Chiefly (left), Roel (right)

The whole country was excited when the Home and Away soccer game was announced and that it was to be held in the Philippines. When Panaad Stadium was chosen to be the venue, it was much to the delight of my fellow Bacolodnons and Negrenses.

The game is a welcome respite from a wave of corruption scandal in the Armed Force of the Philippines that has brought much anxiety and frustration to Filipinos.

From the moment Team Philippines’ Azkals arrived in Bacolod, screaming teenagers and staunch supporters crowded every place they visited. The team and Coach Michael Weiss indulge their fan’s excitement.  They allowed them to picture-taking opportunities with the players, sign autographs and scrapbooks!  They even allowed them to be stalked up to the hotel.  You can imagine this gave hotel security enough headache to deal with. Some even addressed Coach Weiss as Daddy Coach much to the amusement of the always smiling coach.

While the rest of the team members were crowded by the adoring fans, I took the chance to talk with the Ilonggo players. As a new soccer fanatic, I learned one surprising fact.  I found out that almost all pure Filipino players on the team are mostly soldiers from the Philippine Army and the Air Force.

According to 28 year old Chieffy Caligdong, and a member of the Philippine Air Force, he has been with that team for 10 years already. He and considers the current attention given to the Azkals as a big plus factor to the sport itself. Now that the Azkals are famous, he is hoping that the younger generation would follow their footsteps by playing soccer too. He added that the team is built on the strong foundation of players’ camaraderie with each other already.  The idea that they are raising the flag of the Philippines whenever they play, is good enough to make them prouder as soldiers, and as players as well.

When asked about the advantage of being an Azkal, 35 year old Roel Gener, and a member of the Philippine Army, said that the team is inspired to work and play harder to influence the youth to be involved in soccer and to, at least, gain support for them to win more games for the country.  Financial support was scarce during the time when the team was still struggling, and was practically unknown to the general public.

Although there are still some who are skeptical as to how long they will be able to sustain the interest of the public towards soccer, the Azkals, are hoping that their fellow Filipinos will continue to support the Team win or lose.

The soldiers in the team are still aiming big with hopes that someday the Azkals will join the likes of Brazil and Spain in games like the World Cup.  They are taking everything one step at a time. Their hearts are strong, and that serving the country is their topmost duty and interest.

Members of the Azkals who are from the Philippine Army are Roel Gener, Ricardo Becite, Nestorio Margarse, Eduard Sacapano.

Members of the Azkals who are from the Philippine Air Force are Chieffy Caligdong,Peter Jangan, Reymark Palmes, Joebel Bermejo, Ian Araneta and Yante Barsales.

AFP Chief of Staff, Secretary Angelo Reyes dead in apparent suicide

See also: Former DND Secretary Angelo Reyes commits suicide.

News broke this morning that former AFP Chief of Staff and former Energy and Environment Secretary, Angelo Reyes, has died in an apparent suicide. This comes at the heels of the Senate and congressional hearings involving the plunder case and plea bargain of former AFP comptroller, Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, and the ensuing issues of the “pabaon” and “pasalubong” system in the military that were exposed by whistle-blower George Rabusa.

The Inquirer published this story on Reyes’ death:

Angelo Reyes commits suicide

MANILA, Philippines—(UPDATE) Former Armed Forces Chief and Defense Secretary Angelo Tomas Reyes on Tuesday morning committed suicide by shooting himself in front of the grave of his mother at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City. A close friend of Reyes called the Philippine Daily Inquirer to break the news, while Colonel Boogie De Leon, a former administrative officer of Reyes when he was AFP chief, said Reyes was rushed to the Quirino Hospital at about 7:45 a.m. to revive him. Members of his family could not be reached for comment.

De Leon said that Reyes’s son Jett called him up to inform him of the incident.

Reyes, who earlier suffered a mild stroke before the congressional investigations on the alleged AFP financial irregularities, said he could not take anymore the smear campaign against his name and his family.

“Not my family,” he said.

Reyes, who loved his mother very much when she was still alive, earlier told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an interview that he would never do anything that would besmirch the name of “my good mother.” Reyes, a graduate of Philippine Military Academy Class ’66, was AFP chief under President Joseph Estrada, and secretary of defense, interior and local government, and energy during the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from 2001 to 2003. He graduated as the class valedictorian in high school and was among the top ten graduates of the PMA.

He went on to obtain two masteral degrees, namely: Masters in Business Administration from Asian Institute of Management in 1973 and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1991. He also took up International Defense Management Course in Monterey, California in 1983.

In 1987, he graduated No. 1 in Trust Operations Management Course conducted by the Trust Institutes Foundation of the Philippines at the Ateneo Business School which eventually earned him a scholarship to the Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois.

By Cynthia Balana of Philippine Daily Inquirer

Photo by Philippine Daily Inquirer

Understanding Corruption in the Philippines

There are at least two varieties of corruption in the Philippines. First, the petty corruption that happens on the street. Like a traffic violation by a public utility vehicle and they bribe the enforcer, or an enforcer would simply flag a car and charge the driver for some trump up charge. The same petty violation exist too in say, a government agency. The second is the high-level corruption that exists in the highest echelons of society, where generals and politicians and businessmen play.

Petty corruption isn’t as bad as it used to be. Oh, it is still there largely because of economic reasons, and largely because the system is inherently inefficient.

Let’s set Petty corruption aside. Let’s focus on High Level corruption.

It still shocks me to no end when people find themselves surprised at say these things that happened in the AFP. The story isn’t new though the characters and settings are. Essentially, this is the same beast.

I’m still shocked to no end when people think that corruption is at an end, you know, just because Aquino took to power. And sometimes people magically believe that our problems will go away in a day, or in less than a year that Aquino is President.

Will the Senate investigations lead to actual people being charged and thrown in Jail? Or will we see the whole thing as just one live reality tv for political junkies?

There are obvious blocks in the system.

People for example don’t trust the Justice system. The Ombudsman clearly isn’t impartial, and the Supreme Court isn’t as trustworthy as an institution as well. People still see cops and investigators as incompetent. And of course, we really can’t expect to change to happen overnight, not even in six years. It is really an imperfect system.

So where does true justice lie?

To prosecute people and let them face the law in a fair trial?

Can we create a trial that is fair that can’t be railroaded?

For the short term, the unravelling of the problem is going to take awhile. It is going to be messy. It isn’t going to be instantaneous.

So let’s think long term.

For petty corruption, the obvious solutions include making the system easy. Make it so people can pay government dues, taxes, and fines with less hassle.  Use traffic cams to spot cars beating the red light, and such.  Really just invest to make a citizen’s life so much easier and make it less bureaucratic.

For high level corruption, what can we do?

A few days ago, a group of friends and I were actually talking about this. To think, to say, to imagine that this is simply a Philippine phenomena or that we somehow invented it is to ignore the whole of history.

Corruption exists everywhere. The difference between America and the Philippines, for example, the risks are greater in America. So that’s really the answer: Create a system that makes corruption so high risk in the Philippines that it’ll deter most people.

This is how we begin to understand corruption in the Philippines. This is how we turn it around.

It is going to take awhile for our nation to get there. You know, build a nation that makes corruption high risk. Build a nation that makes things easy for its citizens. That should be the dream. Building capacity, giving jobs to people, raising the economic standard will help. Nation building doesn’t happen overnight. Democracy isn’t something we do every three years to elect officials, or every six years to elect a new president.

Both nation building and democracy happen everyday. And both? They’re very difficult; it is heartbreaking. It is never easy. We reinvent our nation, and our democracy every single day.

The Daily Roundup: 28 January 2011

Tetangco given second 6-year term as BSP governor | Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—President Aquino has given Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco a new six-year term after the end of his current tenure in July, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Thursday night.

Fed gives BSP room on rates | BusinessWorld

THE US FEDERAL RESERVE’S decision to maintain its policy rate at near zero supports the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) current stance of keeping its own rates at a record low, the central bank chief yesterday said. “The Fed move relieves some pressure off the consensus that has been building up that the US economy is at a pace of recovery which may lead the Fed to change its policy stance, and the effect of such development on inflation expectations and portfolio rebalancing out of EMs (emerging markets),” BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. said in a text message yesterday.

US monetary authorities cautious on recovery | BusinessWorld

Inflation fears overblown | BusinessWorld

‘P50-M send-off gift for Reyes’

Colonel explodes bombshell in Senate | Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—A retired lieutenant colonel on Thursday made a surprise appearance at the Senate and disclosed how he and his ex-bosses allegedly amassed wealth, with a large portion of the loot taken from soldiers’ salaries.

Angie: I’ve never been corrupt | Philippine Star

Massive corruption in AFP traced | Malaya

No need for Palace to draft new RH bill–Lagman | Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—There is really no need for Malacañang to draft a new responsible parenthood bill for endorsement to Congress as a consolidated bill with identical provisions is now on third and final reading at the House of Representatives, according to Minority Leader Edcel Lagman.

Witnesses recall death fall from Makati building | ABS-CBN News

MAKATI CITY, Philippines – Images of human bodies bent and broken like ragdolls are haunting witnesses and emergency workers who were among the first to respond to a construction site accident in Makati City on Thursday.

Economic officials head for Japan to pitch projects | BusinessWorld

ECONOMIC OFFICIALS will leave for Japan on Sunday in a bid to drum up interest in six key sectors pushed by the Aquino administration as well as promote public-private partnership (PPP) projects, officials said yesterday. Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo said he will be joined by Finance Sec. Cesar V. Purisima, Energy Sec. Jose Rene D. Almendras and a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) official, who BSP Investor Relations Office Executive Director Claro P. Fernandez identified as Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo, on a visit to Japan from Jan. 30-Feb. 2.

Economy expected to grow by 5.2% in ’11

Hike in key rates may take place in Q4 | Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines – The global economic crisis is pushing more people into poverty, and the picture is even more grim in developing countries like the Philippines, according to the Asian Development Bank.

UN agency sets new guide in fight against high food prices | BusinessWorld

ROME — The UN’s food agency published a guide on Wednesday for policy makers in developing countries to help address negative impacts of high food prices but said there was no one solution for all countries effected. The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned countries to carefully reflect before launching into policy actions that may appear useful in the short term but could be harmful in the long term.”The experience of the 2007-2008 food crisis shows that in some cases hastily taken decision by governments to mitigate the impact of the crisis have actually…aggravated its impact on food security,” Richard China, head of FAO’s Policy division, said in a statement.

Aquino says Filipinos’ innate talent fuels nation’s progress | Manila Bulletin

MANILA, Philippines, Jan. 27 (PNA) — President Benigno S. Aquino III cited the innate talent among Filipinos, particularly their creativity which, he said, fuels the progress of the nation. In his keynote address during the 13th Cycle Philippine Quality Awards (PQA) Conferment Ceremony on Thursday at the Rizal Hall of Malacañan Palace, the Chief Executive noted the Filipino workers’ natural talents that make them exceptional among others in the world.

Aquino should take opportunity for Charter change — Marcos | Manila Bulletin

By MARIO B. CASAYURANJanuary 27, 2011, 7:00pmMANILA, Philippines — President Benigno S. Aquino III has all the chances of seeing the 1987 Constitution amended during his six-year term with the people believing he is not personally interested in any changes after stating he won’t run for office again, according to Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

Bishops will fight HIV, but won’t endorse condoms | Malaya

ARCHBISHOP Angel Lagdameo, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, yesterday said the Church has told the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) that it would be lending a hand in the fight against the disease by focusing mainly on the social aspect of the problem.

Transcript of BSAIII's answers at Youth 2010: Bumoto Para sa Pagbabago

Transcript of Sen. Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino’s answers at Youth 2010: Bumoto Para sa Pagbabago, ANC Presidential Youth Forum, January 29, 2010, De La Salle University-Manila

Transcript of Answers at the DLSU Youth Forum

Question from Ingga Bianca Sobreikerri of St. Scholastica’s College

Ingga Bianca Sobreikerri: Senator, kayo po ba ay sang-ayon sa Reproductive Health Bill at paano po ninyo ilulunsad at ipaliliwanag sa ating mga kababayan ang ganitong batas gayong ang inyong pamilya ay kilala bilang maka-Diyos?

Senator Noynoy Aquino: Ang posisyon po namin ay tinatawag na responsible parenthood, ang statistics po namin ay ganito, ang sabi po kanina ng isa nating katunggali wala po tayong population problem. I think we will all agree that if you at one parameter for instance education, there is a problem in classrooms anywhere from 20 to 40 thousand, we are not already able to meet the needs of the people who are already here and that responsible parenthood basically says each parent should be reminded, ipaalala natin sa bawat magulang may dinala kayong anak sa mundong ito, mayroon kayong obligasyon na paaralin, pakainin, may tirahan na maayos, damitan at iba pa.

Hindi po puwdeng bahala na kung ano ang mangyari dun sa anak, yun lang po ang minumungkahi namin. Ngayon po, ano ang solusyon po diyan? Mayroon po tayong educational campaign na ipapaalala po itong mga responsibilidad na ito, yung paghuhubog ng konsensiya at yung values po, iniimbitahan po natin ang bawat isang simbahan na maki-lahok at ibahagi yung kanilang mga pagtu-turo para maliwanagan yung paghuhubog ng konsensiya, nasa atin pong Saligang Batas na mayroon pong separation of Church and State, tayo ay isang demokratikong bansa, hindi po marapat na ang gobyerno po natin ay magdi-dikta sa sinoman kung ilan ang anak na dapat nilang dalhin sa mundo, kung paano nila pa-planuhin ang kanilang pamilya, pero mayroon pong obligasyon nandiyan po sa Saligang Batas na ang gobyerno, ipaalala sa bawat isa na mayroon po tayong tungkulin sa pamilya na nagiging “nuclear family” o susi sa lahat ng pagre-resolba sa lahat ng ating problema.

Huling paalala lang po, noong EDSA po, mayroon tayong humigit kumulang 50 milyon katao,ngayon po ay nasa 93 hanggang 97 ang tinatayang mga mamamayang Pilipino. Geometric ang progression sa population at kung tayo ay parang walang nakikita, walang sasabihin at walang naririnig, siguro po yung mga bata na hindi na nagkakaroon pagkakatong matunghayan ay lalong hindi magkakaroon ng pagkakataon kung tayo’y patuloy na mananahimik.

Questions from a panel of De La Salle University-Manila students

Panel member: Sa pagpasa ng batas ukol sa contractual employment sa mga kumpanya, paano po ninyo ire-resolba ang mga issue ng security of tenure o employment sa ating bansa?

Senator Noynoy Aquino: Yun nga po ang problema, contractualization does not have security of tenure that there will be mutually exclusive, ang tanong nga po dito, mayroong kontrang isyu po dun yung comparative advantage natin versus other countries, labor lang po for the most part ang ating dear value added, tapos we’re pricing ourselves out of the market, yung aming plataporma, stresses education and education enhances the skills, the skills and job potentials that will open up because of an enhance and more skill full labor force hopefully will ensure the tenure and potentials for having meaningfull and dignified jobs here in the country and as well as abroad.

Gusto kong sugpuin ang “contractualization” at the same time ayoko namang patayin yung mga negosyo na kakaunti na lamang nandiyan na ang dami na nga pong lumikas sa ating bansa, wala naman ho talagang makikita sa solution sa extreme positions, saan ba yung happy compromise dito? Natutugunan yung kapakanan ng mga manggagawa, natutugunan din naman yung pangangailangan ng mga negosyo para maka-compete sa global market, huwag po nating kalimutan malapit na po tayong ma-obliga under various treaties na magbukas ng ating mga pinto sa dayuhang mga kalakal at mga produkto, so kailangan na po tayong maka-laban sa ating domestic market at mangyayari po yan, kung talagang naka-focus, yung isa po saking mga panukalang batas yung kung paano ibalik yung konspeto ng bawat kompanya na ang pananawa dapat ay hindi kayo o kami kapag nagtutugunan at nag-uusap ang management at labor pero bumalik tayo dun sa tayo, kompanya natin ito, paano natin palalaguin ito? Ang mga minungkahi natin dito ay yung productivity incentive.

Panel member: Sinabi po ninyo sa inyong palatastas na hindi po kayo magnanakaw, pero paano naman po ang ibang opisyal? Ang taong ko po, mayroon na po kayong nagawang kongkretong mga paraan bilang isang mambabatas para siguraduhing mahuli at mapanagutan ng mga ahensiya o mga opisyal na napatunayang nagnakaw sa kaban ng bayan o naging kasama sa katiwalian?

Senator Noynoy Aquino: Salamat sa tanong mo, palagay ko naman hindi ka absent nung nandoon tayo sa mga ZTE hearing, nandoon tayo kasama sa impeachment, nagtatanong tama ba yung paratang dun sa hello Garci, among other things, kasama ako sa impeachment for that matter, sinubukan narin nating iwasto yung sistema, doon sa AFP, DND budget, pagka-tagal tagal, 1974 pa po, hindi po subject to public bidding yung kanilang paggugol ng budget na yun, isang taon po ay umabot ng P1.8 billion ang tinatayang savings is between 5 to 10 percent, we could have saved a hundred and 80 million and devoted it to something else. Pero ang dulo po nun, I think I have proposed an amendment accepted to GAA for something like 9 or 10 budget seasons already kaya lang pinapalusutan at ginagawaan ng paraan para magkaroon ng failure of bidding, ang dami pa po nating ginawa, na hindi lang tayo naging interesadong itaas yung sarili nating bangko dahil tumutugon lang po ako sa ipangako ko na paglilikungkuran ang taong bayan, hindi ko na kailangan pang ipagmalakihan pa kung ano iyong ating nagawa.

Questions from Ted Failon, host of the forum

Ted Failon: Mayroon bang nagawa si Pangulong Arroyo na dapat niyang panagutan pagkatapos ng kanyang term?

Senator Noynoy Aquino: Sa akin po pananaw, YES. Ang problema po dito….

Ted Failon: Kung YES sa paano pong paraan?

Senator Noynoy Aquino: Dapat po magkaroon tayo ng closure sa lahat ng issues, ang issue nga po dito yung kulang ng transparency, mayroon po tayo for instance yung fertilizer scam na kalian naimbestigahan, 4 years after the crime was committed, kailangang may katiyakan sa kaparusahan, kung tao po ay hindi mamamansin dito sa mga issues na walang closure, para narin nating sinabi na ituloy natin itong sistema na mali sa atin pong palagay. Paano natin hahabulin yan? Nandiyan po ang ating mga korte, nandiyan po yung ating mga investigative arms, pero may obligasyon din naman tayo na protektahan ang karapatan ng lahat, dahil sabi nga po ng aking ama, yung pagtatanggol sa karapatan lalo ng kalaban mo ang talagang batayan kung talagang may demokrasya o wala, yun po ang hahabulin natin. Pangako ko po ay closure on all of the issues, kailangan pong magkaroon ng resolution kung sino ang may kasalanan ay kailangang may tiyak na kaparusahan.

Ted Failon: Ginoong Aquino, ano po kaya ang pinakamabigat na isyu na dapat nyang panagutan?

Senator Noynoy Aquino: Napakahaba po ng listahan, baka kulangin po tayo.

Ted Failon: Isa lang po.

Senator Noynoy Aquino: I think she has destroyed a lot of institutions that we have replied upon to have a vibrant and functional democracy. Ang dami na hong nagkwestiyon. Pati simbahan kinukwestyon. Pati ang ating mga korte nakukwestiyon. Dulo po nito, may gagawing kasalanan, sasabihing sagot pulitika lamang at parati hong nabibinbin na malaman natin ang katotohanan. Tuloy yung dapat mali ay tila sa ating pananaw ay naging sistema na. Naging syang palakad at kalakal po sa ating bansa na talagang nagpapahirap sa ating mga kababayan.

Closing statement

Senator Noynoy Aquino: Magandang hapon ho sa lahat. Ako’y nagpapasalamat sa pagkakataong ito. Palagay ko po ang pinuno, klaro ang mga posisyon sa lahat po ng isyu. Mahirap po sundan kung pabago-bago o naliligaw paminsan-minsan at bumabaliktad ang kanyang mga desisyon. Sa katanungang mayroon bang kasalanan si G. Arroyo, dapat mayroon tayong paninindigan. Tama o mali ikaw ang mag didikta sa buong gobyerno kung uusigin o hindi. Pag tayo po ay sasagot na nakakakaba ng konti, bakit ang unang papasok sa ating kaisipan ay hindi ko idedepensa ang sagot ng isang katunggali. Bakit ho depensa kaagad kung gayong nasa oposisyon sya? Kailangan ho suriin natin kung ano ang pinanggalingan natin, dahil sinasabi ng lahat, marami ang mali sa kasalukuyang sistema. Tayo ho ba ay nagpanatili sa sistemang yun o tinututulan natin yung mali? Pakitingnan po ang aming mga record. Maraming salamat sa lahat.

[Archived from the official campaign web site of President Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III]

BSAIII action plan on peace and development in Mindanao

Aquino-Roxas Mindanao Peace and Development Agenda

Action Plan on Peace and Development in Mindanao

Peace and Security

Transparent and consultative peace process

Workable peace is possible only if supported by a broad, active and informed peace constituency.

  • I will assume direct responsibility for the revival of the peace process with the MILF.
  • I will reconstitute the peace panel with men and women of integrity who will directly report to me. There was a time when the peace process was doing well until the Arroyo Government began to use the peace negotiation as prop to political survival. I will see counsel from peace advocates like former OPAPP Secretary Deles, Peace Panel Head Afable and former Notre Dame University President, Fr. Mercado to put back on track the credibility needed in the peace process.
  • I will ensure the participation of various Mindanao stakeholders – Muslims, Lumad, Christian settlers – in the negotiating panels and working groups;
  • I will create a niche for the participation of other Muslim “gatekeepers” particularly traditional and LGU leaders, MNLF, the Ulama, Bangsamoro civil society.
  • Request the Bishops-Ulama Conference to submit a report on the results of the consultations it conducted in the aftermath of the failed MOA-AD; likewise with all known civil society organizations and academic institutions which undertook similar consultations or researches in the past year, such as the University Network on the Mindanao Question led by the UP School of Law, the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, the Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy, and the Al Mujadilah Foundation.

The results of all these processes should be collated, with key points of agreement and contention identified for inputting into the peace mechanism, as appropriate. On this basis, a mechanism should be devised for these groups to participate in the continuing dialogue on and monitoring of their recommendations.

MNLF

  • I will immediately convene the Oversight Committee on the Organic Act on Muslim Mindanao (RA 9054) and complete a review and assessment of the implementation of the law. I will issue an Executive Order reviving/extending the function of the Oversight Committee, which was last convened before 2004 and which never completed its task, and impose a deadline for the completion of its work.
  • I will order the Department of Foreign Affairs, with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), to give a report on the tripartite review of the GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement and cull the “immediate doable” measures that government can undertake.
  • I will order an inventory of the backlog on assistance to MNLF rebel returnees, as the basis for determining the requirements and timetable for addressing the gap and closing the existing program, while a new program is crafted in cooperation with concerned LGUs and approximating the international standards on DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization and Rehabilitation) of former combatants.

Indigenous People

  • We will review the recent appointment of the Commission to ensure they are in accordance with the law and rationalize the NCIP plantilla to professionalize the bureaucracy to do its mandate under the law, including the delineation of ancestral domains (AD) and support the development of the Natural Resource Management Plan (NRMP).
  • I will work with IP communities and all land and resource-management related agencies for a thorough review of all Certificates of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADTs), Certificate of Ancestral Land Titles (CALTs), and Certificates of Free Prior and Informed Consent (CFPICs) issued towards weeding out those issued defectively, fast-tracking decisions on all pending applications, and providing support for development and implementation of the ADRMP for areas covered by CADTs.
  • I will ensure basic education, health, and sanitation facilities and services for IP communities.
  • I will look into the immediate situation of security of IP communities in areas of ongoing armed conflict.

Internally Displaced Families

Families displaced by conflict will receive full support to be able to return to their communities of origin, if they so desire.

  • I will put up a compensatory fund which will provide shelter, food and livelihood assistance to enable the estimated 30,000 internally displaced families to return to their homes.

Lawless and Criminal Elements

I will dismantle private armies and take a firm hand against all forms of lawlessness

  • I will ensure the prosecution of all identified perpetrators of the Ampatuan massacre. I am aware that the families of the victims and witnesses of the crime are vulnerable to harassment as well as bribes to weaken the case. I will ensure that families of the victims and witnesses of the crime will receive adequate protection and support as they work for justice.
  • The Maguindanao massacre was not just a local Maguindanao problem. It was abetted by the national government with government policies and resources. DND should submit immediately the result of its investigation and inventory of the arms and ammunition confiscated from the Ampatuans and identify civilian and military leaders responsible for the build up of arsenal of the Ampatuans.
  • I will revoke EO546. Never again will public funds be used to support and maintain a private security force.
  • KFR incidents are national security concerns. I will commit full budgetary support to PACER in establishing and implementing an anti-kidnapping strategy in Mindanao; provide full support for the filing of charges against suspected perpetrators, including full protection for released victims and their families.
  • Under my watch, I will ensure that all security forces will be insulated from partisan politics. I will implement the Defense Reform Program started by former DND Secretary Nonong Cruz which aimed to build a professional AFP. A professional AFP along with a professional PNP committed solely to defend the constitution and uphold the law is the key to the dismantling of private armies and implementing the gun control. All forms of excuses for self-protection can be abandoned only when citizens trust state security forces.
  • We will aim to improve the ratio of security forces to our growing population.
  • All appointments in the AFP and PNP will be based on merit and performance.
  • Forces on the ground will be provided with adequate provisions, equipment and training to be able to discharge their duties effectively.

Governance

Performance Incentives

Setting National Policy: Performance- and outcome-driven over-investments in education, health, and employment interventions.

  • I will match every peso invested by 4th and 5th class LGUs in basic education, maternal and child health care and potable water and latrines.
  • Moreover, I will provide additional support to performing LGU’s so they can fast track filling the gaps in attaining targets for their education, health and sanitation programs. In education I will support LGU efforts to attain 100% basic education enrolment, lowering dropout rates and increasing completion rates.

Transparent and proper use of public funds

I will ensure that all fund releases to all LGUs will be transparent and its utilization fully accounted for.

  • I will support DBM’s effort started by former Secretary Emilia Boncodin in regularly publishing and disseminating all releases to the LGUs.
  • I commend COA for their fearless reports which exposed politically sensitive cases such as the Jocjoc Bolante fertilizer scam. I will ensure adequate support to state auditors for proper and accurate audit reports. And their reports will not end in filing cabinets. The OP will take the necessary action on irregularities in the COA reports.

Free and honest elections

I will ensure free, honest and orderly elections.

  • I will release the Mayuga Report to make public the findings on the role of the military in the controversial 2004 elections.
  • On the next ARMM election in 2011, I will install measures that will hold paramount the will of the people of ARMM. The military and the police will remain strictly politically neutral. They will ensure that the election is clean, orderly and peaceful.

Development

Infrastructure

To transform Mindanao into modern agricultural center and the nation’s food basket.

I will address infrastructure gap in farm to market roads, irrigation and post harvest facilities.

Corollary to this, to substantially reduce post-harvest losses, post-harvest facilities will be provided to Mindanao corn, coconut and rice farmers while processing facilities will be made available to coastal fishers and aquaculturists.

Additional irrigated farms will raise cropping intensity and hence productivity contributing in the process to the attainment of the goal of self-sufficiency for specific commodities and bolstering export-competitiveness for others.

  • During my term, I will improve its total road network by bringing its current paved road ratio closer to the national average. This will lower transport costs and post-harvest losses.
  • Corn driers will be priority of DA under my watch. Every 1,000 hectares of corn land will be serviced by at least 1 corn drier.
  • Irrigation coverage will be expanded. Mindanao has about 700,000 hectares of farms that need irrigation. We will expand irrigation facilities to service half of the area by the end of my term, subject to sound cost-benefit analysis.

Public Investment

In areas of Mindanao where private investors are hesitant to invest due to high risk and uncertainty, my administration will establish state enterprises that will partner with potential private investors or extend guarantees to them to spread the risks. The purpose is to generate investments in these areas as a way of jump-starting economic activities and providing employment opportunities so direly needed in these communities. This will be the government’s direct assault on breaking the vicious cycle of lack of jobs, resulting to greater poverty, in turn partly fuelling the conflict, leading to lack of investments and lack of jobs.

  • Among my priority will be government investment in the development of the Halal Industry. This, first and foremost, will answer the essential need of Filipino Muslims for access to food and non-food products that is consistent with their faith. This will also enable local producers, Muslims and non-Muslims, to partake of the multi-billion dollar world halal market.
  • I will encourage investments in our energy sector to tap more diverse sources of power and lower the cost of energy in the long term. In the short term, I will support moves to mitigate the effects of the power crisis such as:
    • Leasing power barges
    • Contracting additional generating capacity through cooperatives and private utilities
    • Allowing the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines to use ancillary services such as the contracting of back-up generating capacity
    • Promoting demand side management

[Archived from the official campaign web site of President Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III]

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