Archive | October, 2012

Bayan resumes sign drive, reminds public of impending LRT, MRT fare hike

Posted on 22 October 2012 by admin

News release
October 21, 2012

Multisectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) today resumed its signature campaign against the impending LRT and MRT fare hike as it reminded the public that the Aquino administration is determined to push through with the huge increases next year as part of its public-private partnership (PPP) program.

Members of Bayan urged MRT commuters at the train’s busy Ortigas station along Edsa to sign the petition opposing what it called unconscionable additional burden to the people. The group timed its protest action with the deadline set by the Department of Transportation and Communication (DoTC) for interested bidders in the privatization of LRT 1 to submit pre-qualification requirements, which Bayan said is tied to the fare hike.

Bayan disputed claims of the DoTC that the LRT and MRT fare hike is needed to lessen the supposed subsidies being spent by government to operate and maintain the trains as well as to improve the quality of their service. According to Bayan, the Aquino administration is aggressively pushing for the fare hike to make it more attractive to potential private investors.

The ₱60-billion LRT 1 privatization is the largest project in the Aquino administration’s PPP portfolio. It involves the extension of the LRT 1 to Bacoor, Cavite as well as the operation and maintenance of the system by the winning bidder.

Among those that expressed interest were the largest business groups in the country with close ties to the Aquino administration such as presidential uncle Danding Cojuangco’s San Miguel, Manny Pangilinan and the Ayalas. By taking advantage of PPP, these groups have entrenched themselves in key infrastructure including power, water, toll roads, and even hospitals, among others. Now, they are also eyeing mass transportation.

Meanwhile, giant foreign companies like Mitsubishi, Hanjin, Sumitomo and Marubeni also bought LRT 1 bid documents. They are likely to partner with the local big business groups. The bidding process is expected to kick off in March 2013.

Bayan said that other than making the LRT and MRT more appetizing to investors, there is no obvious reason to hike the current fares. The group pointed out that the current fares could cover the cost of operating and maintaining the trains while planned expansion should be directly undertaken by the government. In the case of the MRT, Bayan blamed the huge costs to the onerous PPP contract entered into by previous administrations which guaranteed debt payments and profits of the private contractors.

The group said that the people should display the same intensity it showed in the past that forced the Aquino administration to delay the implementation of the fare hike. President Aquino first announced the LRT and MRT fare hike in his 2010 State of the Nation Address (Sona) and was supposed to be implemented last year. Widespread protests, however, compelled government to shelve the plan temporarily. Last September, the DoTC announced that it is pushing through with the fare hike next year but did not say the specific period.

If implemented, fares could go up by as high as 100% depending on a commuter’s starting point and destination. The fare hike will affect more than one million commuters who ride the LRT and MRT every day. It is also estimated that more than 90% of the commuters are students (32%), ordinary workers (49%) and unemployed (10%). ###

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Bayan calls passage of “desap” bill a landmark victory but says assertion of rights remains key

Posted on 18 October 2012 by admin

News release
October 18, 2012

Multisectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) today welcomed the passage of the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012 and asked President Aquino to sign the measure without delay. Bayan described the new legislation a landmark victory for the human rights movement and the result of decades of unwavering struggle by the families and supporters of enforced disappearances.

At the same time, the group reminded that the pending law on anti-enforced disappearance is just a mere scrap of paper and its true value will be realized only through the continued assertion of the people of their human rights and unrelenting pressure on government to uphold such rights.

On Wednesday, Congress ratified the bicameral conference report on the bill that tags enforced disappearance – a practice carried out by state forces – as a distinct crime. “This is a positive development in our campaign against the continuing atrocities being committed by the military against political activists. But before we forget, the Constitution and other laws also guaranteed us our human rights but violations persist with impunity. In other words, the law is meaningless if the people will not assert its proper and full implementation by the government,” said Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes.

Human rights group Karapatan has documented 11 cases of enforced disappearances under the Aquino administration, covering the period July 2010 to June 2012. Under the Arroyo administration, the group has monitored around 206 cases of abduction perpetrated by state forces, including the well-known cases of Jonas Burgos who was abducted in broad daylight inside a Quezon City mall in 2007 and of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan from their house in Bulacan in 2006.

“All these were carried out in the name of government’s counterinsurgency campaign – the Oplan Bantay Laya of Arroyo and now, the Oplan Bayanihan of Aquino. These campaigns tag activists and human rights defenders as working for the CPP-NPA and thus legitimate military targets. Impunity will persist if government continues this violent and repressive military operation against innocent civilians,” Reyes pointed out.

Bayan said that the fight for human rights is far from over even with the impending enactment of the desap bill. “Unless we see Palparan as well as Gloria Arroyo and their cohorts behind bars for grave human rights abuses, unless we see an end to counterinsurgency campaigns that systematically targets unarmed activists, unless the culture of impunity is stopped, the struggle continues for justice and human rights,” said Reyes. ###

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Olalia-Alay-ay case reminds public of Enrile’s role in history

Posted on 17 October 2012 by admin

News release

October 17, 2012

Multisectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) today said that the developments in the controversial Olalia-Alay-ay double murder case should help remind the public on the true role that Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile played in the country’s history during the tumultuous years of the tail-end of the Marcos regime and its immediate aftermath. Bayan noted that Enrile has been on a campaign to magnify his role as a People Power hero, when in fact his motivation in deserting the Marcos dictatorship was selfish political interest as proven by the events as soon as the Cory Aquino administration was installed by People Power.

The group issued the statement as Branch 98 of the Antipolo Regional Trial Court arraigned today Lt. Col. Eduardo “Red” Kapunan for the murder of labor leader Rolando “Ka Lando” Olalia and his companion Leonor Alay-ay.

“Enrile’s campaign of deception must be stopped. The public, especially the young people who have known him only as the senator that presided Corona’s impeachment trial, must be educated that Enrile is far from the hero he depicts himself to be. Lest we forget, Enrile was tagged as among the leading plotters of ‘God Save the Queen’, which claimed the lives of Ka Lando and Alay-ay, as well as former Bayan secretary general Lean Alejandro,” said Dr. Carol Araullo, national chairperson of Bayan.

Araullo was referring to the plan of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) headed by Enrile and Senator Gregorio Honasan to assassinate leftist leaders and top government officials of the Cory administration. The idea was to generate turmoil, unseat Cory and replace the civilian government installed by the popular uprising against Marcos with a military junta headed by Enrile. Coup attempts against the Cory administration in 1987 and 1989 also implicated Marcos’s former Defense minister, who had control over the highly notorious military forces of the dictatorial regime.

On November 13, 1986, Olalia, who was then the national chairperson of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), and Alay-ay were found dead in Antipolo City. Aside from Kapunan, other RAM members who were charged with murder cases were retired Col. Tirso Legaspi, ex-Capt. Ricardo Dicon, ex-Sergeants Gene Paris, Edgardo Sumido and Dennis Jabatan, ex-Staff Sergeants Freddie Sumagaysay and Jose Bacera, ex-Cpl. Cirilo Almario, ex-Staff Sgt. Fernando Casanova, ex-Sergeants Desiderio Perez and Filomeno Maligaya and Gilberto Galicia.

Bayan joined calls made by the relatives of victims and other organizations that Kapunan and other suspects should not be given VIP treatment by the military. “Kapunan should be transferred to a regular civilian jail facility and not enjoy the comforts of the Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio,” Araullo argued.

The Bayan leader vowed that they and their allies will closely monitor the hearings at the Antipolo court and help ensure that Olalia, Alay-ay and their families will finally attain the very much delayed justice. ###

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On Lacierda’s statement on calls to disqualify Akbayan

Posted on 16 October 2012 by admin

Press statement

October 16, 2012

Reference: Renato Reyes, secretary-general

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda does not understand the party-list system when he said that if Akbayan is disqualified, so should Bayan Muna. The two are running under completely different circumstances. Akbayan has become an over-represented group in government with even its party-list nominees being Palace appointees.

Bayan Muna, on the other hand, does not enjoy the vigorous defense of the Palace spokesman, among other Akbayan perks. Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino, in fact, is running as an independent candidate under Makabayan. Is the Palace defense of Akbayan a way of influencing the Commission on Elections (Comelec)? Is this the cue for Aquino’s latest Comelec appointee from the Liberal Party (LP), Grace Padaca, to vote for Akbayan?

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Posted on 12 October 2012 by admin

October 9, 2012 No to Cybercrime Law @ SC Enbank

18 Photos

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Bayan slams planned construction of joint PH-US military base in Subic

Posted on 12 October 2012 by admin

News Release

October 12, 2012

The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today condemned in the strongest terms the planned construction of a new military facility in Subic, Olonggapo, to be jointly used by the United States and Philippine military. The group said that if President Benigno Aquino III allowed this, he would be in violation of the Philippine Constitution.

Originally, officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) want to convert the idle Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) into a tourism and commercial hub. However, the plan would not proceed because the Department of National Defense wants to use the airport as a military base.

“The construction of a new military facility in Subic shows in unmistakable terms the return of US bases in the Philippines. This is an affront to our sovereignty, a reversal of the Senate, rejection of the US bases in 1991, all courtesy of the subservient PH President Benigno Aquino III. Aquino is trying to outdo his predecessor Gloria Arroyo in being the number one US puppet in Asia,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“We have no basing treaty with the US, so why is the US being given basing opportunities in Subic and elsewhere? The Visiting Forces Agreement and the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement are not basing agreements and cannot be invoked to justify US basing in Subic. The DND is lying to the public when it says that these agreement are applicable,” Reyes added.

Bayan believes that the PH and US governments are working overtime to find ways to circumvent the constitutional ban on foreign military bases sans a treaty. It 1991, the Philippine Senate rejected a new basing treaty with the US, thus paving the way for the removal of the US bases in Clark and Subic. Since then, the US has sought to reestablish its presence in the Philippines.

An American private defense contractor is now operating in Subic to service US warships. The company, an affiliate of Huntington-Ingalls, the biggest maker of US nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers, is partnered with Korean shipbuilder Hanjin.

“The US and PH governments are busy finding ways to violate the constitution. First there is the private defense contractor operating in Subic as a front for Washington. Then there’s the recent US announcement that it plans to put a land-based X-band radar system on the Philippines as part of an Asia-wide missile defense umbrella. Now there are plans for a new Subic airbase for joint use by the PH and US military. There may be more plans in the future for the wholesale return of US troops,” Reyes said.

“The moves are clearly part of the US rebalancing towards Asia. Aquino is a willing tool for this insidious plan of the US to strengthen its hegemony in the region,” Reyes added.

Bayan also slammed the DND for invoking AFP modernization as the reason for constructing a new military facility in Subic.

“That’s another patent lie. The AFP did not modernize even when there were US bases in Clark and Subic some 50 years ago. Why would the AFP modernize now with this new facility in Subic? The AFP will never modernize if it’s only getting second hand hardware from the US,” Reyes asked. ###

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Online, offline people power stopped Cybercrime Law implementation – Bayan

Posted on 09 October 2012 by admin

News release

October 9, 2012

Multisectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) today welcomed the Supreme Court (SC) decision which stopped the implementation of the highly controversial Republic Act (RA) 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 as a major victory for freedom and civil liberties.

“Credit goes primarily to the Filipinos who showed people power online and offline, who posted, tweeted, shared and marched to show their opposition,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said.

Reyes added that the fight against Cybercrime Law should continue until the law is eventually junked.

In a unanimous decision, the SC Justices sitting en banc issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Cybercrime Law, which has been broadly criticized for being repressive and violative of the freedom of speech and other human rights.

The High Court decision came amid another protest action led by Bayan and other organizations in front of the SC today pressing the Justices to stop the implementation of the Cybercrime Law.

Using the name #NoToCybercrimeLaw, Bayan and the other groups are among the initiators of some of the 15 petitions filed so far before the SC questioning the legality and constitutionality of the Cybercrime Law.

Aside from the usual speeches, the protest also featured t-shirt printing, cultural and art presentations and Freedom Wall, among others as organizers waited for the decision of the SC which has scheduled an en banc meeting on Tuesday. Some organizers described the activity as an “Occupy-like protest” along Padre Faura St. in Manila where the SC is located. “Occupy” refers to the form of demonstration initiated by activists in New York where they occupied Wall Street in protest against the greedy banks and corporations and government bailouts amid the economic crisis.

Meanwhile, Bayan hit the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) public consultation, also held today, on the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Cybercrime Law, saying that will not correct the deep-seated and fundamental flaws of the new law. The public consultation should have been done before, when Congress was still deliberating the bill, argued Bayan.

In addition to Bayan and its member organizations, other participating groups in today’s protest include Kabataan partylist, Bayan Muna, National Union of Journalist of the Philippines (NUJP), National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL), Filipino Free Thinkers, Computer Professionals Union (CPU), Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA), Samahan ng Tunay na mga Makabayan, Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP),, Pinoy Weekly, Burgos Media Center and Kodao Multimedia. (End)

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Bayan hits Napocor power rate hike

Posted on 08 October 2012 by admin

News release

October 8, 2012

Multisectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) today criticized the reported plan of the state-owned National Power Corporation (Napocor) to hike its rates in off-grid areas. Instead of a rate increase, the group said that the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) should resolve claims of overcharging by another state-run body, the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (Psalm) to immediately bring down power rates.

The ERC announced that Napocor is seeking an average increase of ₱1.6424 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) in off-grid areas (those that are not connected to the main transmission grid) across the country. Napocor said the increase is supposedly needed to allow the Napocor-Small Power Utilities Group (Spug) to recover some ₱1.891 billion in fuel, purchased power and foreign exchange costs.

Meanwhile, the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has accused Psalm of overcharging customers some ₱9.1 billion in transmission line costs. Both created by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira), Napocor-Spug is mandated to undertake the electrification of off-grid areas while Psalm was tasked to oversee the privatization of Napocor.

Bayan said that while the Napocor-Spug rate hike and Psalm overcharging affect two different sets of customers, what is clear is that the Aquino administration seems to promote the trend of further increasing electricity rates instead of seeking ways to lessen the burden of consumers as it pushes for further privatization in power industry.

“Those in off-grid areas are often the poorest communities and it’s just unconscionable that under Epira they are made to shoulder the full cost of power, including adjustments associated with fuel costs, power costs and even foreign exchange,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said.

The group noted that under Epira, the power rates in the Philippines have become top 1 or 2 in Asia. In a January 2011 survey, the Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro) said that Manila and Cebu rank first and third, respectively, in terms of residential electricity rates. In another survey conducted this year by the International Energy Consultants, Meralco rates ranked second in Asia and ninth in the World.

Bayan reiterated its demand to junk the Epira and nationalize the power industry in order to bring down electricity rates and ensure energy security. (End)

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Aquino slammed for arrogance and stubbornness over Cybercrime Law

Posted on 05 October 2012 by admin

Now that it is clear Aquino will not drop the online libel provision form the much-criticized Cybercrime Prevention Act, critics of the law are calling for more protests.  The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, a petitioner in the case before the Supreme Court, called on people to show their disgust over the President’s “stubborn insistence to curtail freedom on the internet”.

“Instead of listening to the people’s clamor, Mr. Aquino has justified to death why he signed the draconian Cybercrime Law. He worries about being impeached if he doesn’t implement the Cybercrime law, but is not worried about the snowballing people’s opposition. He looks at public opinion with disdain and thinks he can get away with the violation of our constitutional rights. That kind of arrogance will be his own undoing,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

The group also decried what it called “Palace deception” as allies of the President have called on critics to just wait for the drafting of the Implementing Rules and Regulations instead of protesting against the law.

Recently, House Speaker Sonny Belmonte said he was not keen on amending the law at this point, preferring to wait for the IRR. Malacanang has also set a dialogue between critics and the Department of Justice on October 9. This is also the date the Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether it will grant petitioners a Temporary Restraining Order against the new law. Ten petitions have so far been filed before the Supreme Court.

“The allies of the administration are all washing their hands over the cybercrime law fiasco and are enticing critics to just wait for the drafting of the IRR, as if this will cure the infirmities of the law. We are being misled to accept the law with minor tweaks, instead of junking the patently unconstitutional provisions,” Reyes said.

“Why set the dialogue on October 9, the same date as the SC en banc where a mass action will also be held? Is there no other date? Or is Malacanang banking on divide and rule tactics against the law’s critics? Malacanang clearly wants to undermine our efforts with the Supreme Court,”’ Reyes said.

Bayan hopes petitioners will band together to press for the resolution of the pending case before the Supreme Court.  Bayan along with National Artist Bienvendio Lumbera and progressive organizations KMU, Courage, Anakpawis, Gabriela Women’s Party, filed their petition last October 1. They are being represented by the National Union of People’s Lawyers. Separate petitions have been filed by Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, bloggers including Tonyo Cruz, the group of Atty. JJ Disini,  and journalists Ellen Tordesillas, represented by laywer Harry Roque.

“We’re still hoping for a TRO on Tuesday. That would be a major victory indeed. Whatever happens to the SC , we have to continue to assert our rights, vigorously exercise our freedoms and hold accountable those who were instrumental in giving life to this law, chief of whom is the president who signed it,” Reyes said.

Bayan also threw its support behind Pixel Offensive, a graphic arts collective which it says is being framed up for the hacking of several media websites including the Manila Bulletin. On October 5, several media websites were redirected to the Facebook account of Pixel Offensive. It was the first time that media sites were hacked. All previous targets were government sites. Anonymous Philippines and other hacktivist groups critical of the cybercrime law have denied involvement in the hacking.

“We support Pixel Offensive. Clearly with this latest hacking, someone wants to pit the media against the critics of the cybercrime law. Who will stand to benefit from that? Certainly not the foes of the cybercrime law,” Reyes said.


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Protests to continue vs Cybercrime Law at October 9 en banc

Posted on 04 October 2012 by admin

News Release

October 4, 2012

Even with Malacanang’s proposal for a dialogue with the Department of Justice, critics of the Cybercrime Prevention Act are not about to let up on protests against the new law.

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, one of the petitioners who have questioned the law before the Supreme Court vowed to return to Padre Faura in Manila on Tuesday, October 9 to call on the court to issue a Temporary Restraining Order and to give due course to the petition.

“The protests continue online and offline and will reach another peak on October 9, when the Supreme Court en banc takes place and the matter of the Cybercrime Law is taken up anew. We do hope the court issues the TRO. All SC petitioners and critics of the law must step up opposition to this measure now that it is in full effect,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“We find no comfort in statements by the Palace spokesman that because the Constitution is there, the people have nothing to fear from the Cybercrime Law. Lacierda seems to be living in a cave. Human rights violations continue despite the constitutional prohibitions.  Libel and other harassment suits persist despite the constitutional guarantees for a free press. There is no assurance that the cybercrime law will not be abused, especially by a government who has a track record of abuse,” Reyes added.

Bayan also rejected calls by Malacanang for critics of the law to also condemn the spate of hacking of websites. On the first day of the implementation of the Cybercrime Law, several government websites were again hacked by groups saying they opposed the new law.

“The critics of  the Cybercrime Law are under no obligation to denounce the hacking of government websites. Malacanang should stop making absurd demands. Pag hindi namin binatikos ang hackers ay wala na kaming karapatang batikusin ang cybercrime law? Ganun ba yun?” Reyes said.

“The Palace is unrepentant while hoping that the opposition to the law will die down. It should be repeated over and over again, that this law was signed by President Aquino. This is Aquino’s cybercrime law. The buck stops with him. And he should be made accountable,” Reyes said.

Bayan said that the Palace proposal for a dialogue with the DOJ is meant to draw attention away from efforts at questioning the law before the High Court.

“Dialogue per se is not bad, but any discussion with the DOJ at this point will still be within the framework of the existing law. That would certainly be limiting and would not address the infirmities of the law. They might just want to defuse the protests,” Reyes said. ###

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