Wednesday, December 17, 2008

CARP and its demise, the struggle continues

After several months of convincing, persuading and rallying for the legislators to hear the voice of the rural poor sector-- of the people who feed the nation yet continue to be impoverished, our legislators decided to defer voting again due to lack of time and never-ending debate on continuing agrarian reform.

House BIll 4077, the consolidated Bill for the extension and providing provisions to reform the current law, our very own House Speaker Nograles and his landed cohorts in Congress wanted to push for "perfecting amendments" to have a "win-win" law.

How can they say it's "perfecting" and a "win-win solution" if the other negotiating party , the farmers are at the losing end? Time and again, the legislative body especially the House of Congress showed where its loyalty is. Certainly not to the farmers and farmworkers that fuel our agricultural economy.

How can these legislators who have been voted by the people to be their voices, betray them again? They have their own agenda to take care of, of course. Make so many critical laws pending and make them wait, beg for a compromise.This is bullshit.

But we, the advocates remain steadfast. Enact HB 4077 without Compromise!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

FACTS about LAWS

A SINGLE law now costs the Filipino people about P148.94 million. That’s based on the budgetary allocation given to the present (14th) Congress, which is P12.51 billion, and the number of laws it has passed so far, which is 84. Compared to its immediate predecessor, the 13th Congress had an allocation that was bigger by P1.27 billion. Yet it is 89 laws short of the accomplishments of the 12th Congress, which had posted the lowest output since the restoration of a bicameral legislature.



We almost have 4, 000 Republic Acts!

And now we know why every legislator are trying to enact laws how unreasonable or lowly it is--money is attached on it. For concrete example, search the site of our House of Representatives and look at the pending laws, bills or resolutions. Majority of the pending laws in COngress are laws concerning the change of the nomenclature of a bridge, street, school..name it.. For heaven's sake! What we need are laws thatwould benefit the majority of our countrymen. Not a compromise. Also, strong implementation of the laws is needed. And for our majority practicing lawyers- legislators, a review of the conflicting laws i.e. Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and Local Government Code (LGC) must be done.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Boxing and Family Bonding

Just after the family celebration, what's the best way to spend your Sunday afternoon with the rest of the dominant male in the family?

I stayed at my grandparents house in Lagao, General Santos yesterday trying to get some sleep while the rest of the world eagerly awaits for the international pound-for-pound dream match between Oscar dela Hoya and Gensan's very own Manny Pacquaio.


Even though my eyes are trying to close its lids, my uncle would not let me sleep. he keeps on talking and trying to analyze the possibilities if Manny wins or be defeated at the match. His enthusiasm was infectious. I was trying to persuade him that we would have to make our grocery and stroll in the mall--- the Generals (residents of General Santos) are surely glued on their TV seats, you know so no traffic, no hassle! But my uncle cum driver could not be persuaded. Even though our relative from the States who have watched the match through pay per view have spoiled the result, my uncle insists that he needs to see how Pacman defeated one of the finest pugilist, de la Hoya.

At first, I think Oscar was too slow for Pacman. Pacman definitely have improved his footwork and defense. Oscar has a powerful left jab too, and as Tyson warned our own boxer, "Be very careful." But I did not see Oscar using it on Pacman. or was Pacman just too fast for his fist? He seems at loss for energy even on the first three rounds.



Pacman keeps on punching him on his left cheek and as the blood were already visible like he was slapped by the elephant, he conceded defeat and saved his face. Manny Pacquiao won by Tehcnical Knock Out (TKO) and once again made a record.

But my Uncle has a different view of the fight. He thinks it was just so unlikely of Oscar to let Pacquiao beat him. He did not immediately respond to the simultaneous punch he got from Pacman; it's as if he was letting Pacman beat him. Or maybe Oscar lost his energy because he had to loss weight for the match?


Some rumors would say that Oscar got a bigger share than Pacman.That it was lutong Macau . I have some doubts too. *shrugs* But what's important, Manny emerged victorious and once again showed that Mindanao has produced not only export agricultural products but one of the best fighters of this times.

Besides, watching his fight is one of the best family bonding we have.





yatah!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mindanao rural sector urge legislators to pass HB 4077 without amendments



Farmer leaders and beneficiaries calling for CARP Extension without 'Killer' Amendments.








DAVAO CITY— Civil society composed of farmers’ peoples organization., non-government organizations and religious sector unite and urge Congress to pass House Bill 4077 without the amendments being proposed by House Speaker Prospero Nograles and Representative Luis Villafuerte that would only weaken agrarian reform implementation.

House Bill 4077 is the consolidated bill which aims to extend the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program for another five years from 2009 to 2013 with a total budget of P100 billion, being supported by most agrarian reform advocates and farmers' organizations nationwide. The salient features of the said bill are: extension of land acquisition and distribution, funding for support services, liberalized terms on agricultural credit facilities and gender-responsiveness to women beneficiaries.

The group marched from Freedom Park, Roxas Blvd. and passed through Speaker Prospero Nograles' Congressional Office in Quirino Avenue then proceeded to block the newly constructed Gov. Generoso Bridge in Bankerohan to highlight the plight of the small farmers and farmworkers. The marchers chose the bridge which to many symbolizes the rise to power of Cong. Nograles, who became House Speaker just right after the inaguration of the said bridge.

“Kinahanglan pa ug mga hilabihan nga kalihukan susama sa pagbarikada sa dalan aron lang mahibaw-an nila ang among kahimtang. (There is a need for extreme actions such as blockading the bridge for them to know our demands),” Manang Lita Tandag from Compostela Valley lamented.

With little time and different controversial laws pending in Congress, the group is alarmed that the two proposed separate amendments by Speaker Nograles and Rep. Villafuerte will be incorporated with House Bill 4077 that is now up for plenary.

Villafurete proposal seeks to stop the Land Acquisition and Distribution aspect of the program and gives emphasis on the validity of implementing Compulsory Acquisition only for lands issued with notices of coverage on or before June 30, 2008. Furthermore, only lands offered before December 31, 2008 under the Voluntary-Offer-to-Sell scheme will be valid. In short, under the Villafuerte amendment land distribution will no longer applicable after 2008.

House Speaker Nograles on the other hand proposed House Resolution 737 which proposes allowing foreign investors to operate and own vast tracts of agricultural lands. Also, plantations which are under labor administration, cultivated, and developed for exports crops will be excluded from CARP’s Compulsory Acquisition scheme.

“Our House Speaker decided to have a ‘win-win’ solution by including these amendments. But we see it as another compromise disfavoring our small farmers,” May Capili,advocacy officer from Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao (AFRIM) expressed.

The group also vowed to make the anti- agrarian reform legislators especially representatives of their respective provinces accountable to the people. “We will make sure that Mindanao’s rural poor sector will remember their names especially now that election is fast approaching. The people have voted them to be their voice in the legislature but they are doing otherwise,” Rosauro Tapal, secretary-general of UNORKA-Mindanao warned.

The Mindanao Coalition for Agrarian Reform is composed of Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao (AFRIM), Builders for Rural Empowerment and Human Rights Advocates Networks (BRETHREN), Mindanao Farmworkers Development Center (MFDC), Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), Ugnayan ng mga Lokal na Nagsasariling Organisasyon ng mga Mamamayan sa Kanayunan (UNORKA) and with the support of the Dioceses from Davao, Digos, Tagum and Mati.##

 

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