10 years of struggle and victories:

Bayan Muna's 5th National Convention

 

Bahay ng Alumni, UP Di8liman campus

 

November 12,   2009

 

 

Video Clips

 

 
   
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xSatur wary over establishment of police-military security centers for 2010 polls
Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo today expressed concern over reports that the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be putting up joint security centers beginning January 2010 to reportedly “oversee security measures in provinces, down to the city and municipal levels.”

This early, Ocampo said a categorical statement from the PNP and AFP commands and the Department of National Defense (DND) that the joint security centers will not harass or disrupt the activities of progressive parties Bayan Muna, Garbriela Women's Party, Anakpawis, Kabataan, COURAGE, Katribu & ACT Teachers Party.

"We are for free, honest and violence-free elections in 2010. We urge the PNP and the AFP to make a public assurance that the joint security centers will not be used to harass the progressive parties that will participate in the party-list elections and to respect the civil, political and human rights of our supporters," Ocampo said.


He added, "Armed attacks against our organizations and their members, that occurred in previous elections, must not be repeated, because these are criminal acts that also violate our civil n political rights."

PNP chief Jesus Verzosa said these security centers, called the Joint Security Coordinating Centers (JSCC) will be put up on January 2010, and will cover security efforts against terrorism and criminality.

The establishment of the JSCC was made with the signing of an agreement with AFP Chief of Staff General Victor Ibrado on Wednesday.

"We have reason to be wary of these joint security centers, being initiatives of the police and the military. This may yet be another mechanism to harass the progressive partylists and to hinder our efforts to secure seats in the 2010 elections. Many of our supporters, members and officials have fallen victim to various forms of harassment at the hands of the police and military; neither have we been spared from acts of abduction and extra-judicial killings," Ocampo said.

Ocampo, who recently proclaimed his intent to run for the Senate in 2010, said that he expects that his campaign will not be exempt from harassment.

Bayan Muna has the largest number of victims of extrajudicial killings with 136 leaders and members slain by state security forces since 2001. #
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Posted on Nov 14 by Office of Rep. Satur Ocampo

     
           
     
     
     

 

Satur hits Norby appointment to Defense portfolio

It appears that Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has scraped the bottom of her reserve for Cabinet replacements and could only come up with her bumbling National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales for Department of National Defense (DND) secretary.

Gonzales is linked with the policy, under Oplan Bantay Laya, of lumping legal mass organizations with the CPP-NPA, and making its leaders and members targets for extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. As DND head, Gonzales is given more leeway to continue this murderous policy.

As head of the defunct Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG), Gonzales coordinated the preparation and filing of rebellion charges against us (the “Batasan 6”) in 2006 that the Supreme Court found spurious and ordered dismissed.

Sometime ago, Gonzales and his partner in the phantom Partido Demokratiko Sosyalista ng Pilipinas (PDSP), Fr. Romeo Intengan, tried to subject AFP units to the politico-ideological orientation of his party but retreated after he was exposed by Senator Rodolfo Biazon and his son, Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon. Will Gonzales try to do that now that he is DND secretary?

Posted on Nov 14 by Office of Rep. Satur Ocampo

           
           
     
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Satur: Congress can impeach Pres. Arroyo as a Christmas gift for the Filipino people
 

Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo lauded the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee for coming out with a report stating that Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should be held liable for the corruption-laden US$329-million National Broadband Network (NBN) deal with China’s ZTE Corp. The report recommended Arroyo's impeachment for conspiring with other officials to defraud the government.

"There could have been no other credible result to the Senate investigations in the ZTE scam. It would have been a great disservice to the Filipino people's continuing campaign against corruption in government had the senate Blue Ribbon Committee declared Macapagal-Arroyo innocent. The committee report all the more substantiates and justifies the call from various sectors that Pres. Arroyo be put on criminal trial as soon as she is out of office and no longer has immunity," Ocampo said.

The fourth impeachment complaint against Arroyo was filed on October 13 last year and dismissed on November 26, 2008.

"The House of Representatives is given the opportunity to give the Filipino people a great Christmas gift by initiating impeachment proceedings against Pres. Arroyo, and the chance to impeach her before the end of the year. All the evidence and testimonies have been presented already so a repetition of the investigations need not be made. All that's necessary is strong and determined political will," Ocampo added.

Ocampo said that if impeachment proceedings are not begun against Arroyo at this point, the initiation of criminal charges against her and husband Mike Arroyo should be a top priority for the next administration.

“What matters is that those responsible for the ZTE scam should not be allowed to go scot-free. It speaks much about the government's level of commitment to pursue justice against corrupt officials if no one is punished over this over-the-top-scandal," Ocampo said. #
 

Posted on Nov 14 by Office of Rep. Satur Ocampo

     
     
     
           

 

Satur says upcoming Clinton visit a reminder that Philippine sovereignty and independence are illusions
 

Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo today said that the upcoming visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was no reason to rejoice. "We are again reminded that the Philippines has no genuine political or military independence and that our sovereignty as a republic is but an illusion," he said.

“Malacanang's elation over Clinton's visit is both tragic and pathetic. Yet again, the executive is eager to prove that the Philippine government remains comfortably under the thumb of its super power master. It shows that the Macapagal-Arroyo administration will never make any assertions on behalf of the Philippines as regards the severely cock-eyed trade and diplomatic relations with the US. Based on the statements of various Palace spokespersons, the administration is primarily focused on assuring the US of its loyalty and undying support, even at the expense of national sovereignty,” Ocampo said.

The patriotic solon said that “it is doubtful that Sec. Clinton is unaware that there is a nationwide clamor for the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the pull-out of US troops from the Philippines.”

“Through this visit, the Obama administration seeks to be assured that the VFA will remain in effect and US military forces will continue to have the Philippines as a monitoring post in the Asia-Pacific," Ocampo said.

Ocampo opined that “it was possible that the Obama administration is also gauging its options among the presidential contenders and seeking to know their stands on Philippine foreign policy with regard to evolving US interests. Already, the US has secured the promise of Defense Sec. and administration bet Gilbert Teodoro that if he wins in 2010, the VFA will continue and so will all other aspects of relations between the US and the Philippines.”

"Teodoro’s position on the VFA retention is a compelling ground to ensure his losing the presidential race, as much as it is a challenge to the opposition candidates to engage hum frontally by taking an adverse stand on the VFA," Ocampo concluded. #

Posted on Nov 14 by Office of Rep. Satur Ocampo

           
     
    Gabriela Rep. Luz ilagan and Sen. Pia Cayetano
           

 

Bayan Muna shocked over government refusal to stop debt payments as debt servicing pegged at P549 billion in from Jan-Sept


Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño today decried reports that the Macapagal-Arroyo government spent a total of P549.016 billion to service its debt from January to September this year. The amount is two percent higher than the P537.352 billion it released last year for the same purpose. Some P235.283B of the total went to interest payments, slightly higher than last year’s P234.706 billion.

“After the devastation caused by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng worsened by the lack of government preparedness, it is shocking that the Arroyo administration still refuses to declare a moratorium on debt payments. These so-called ‘financial obligations” are nothing compared to government’s obligations to the Filipino people, millions of whom are worse off than they were previously because of the calamities,” Casiño said.

He also castigated the government’s refusal to reorient the remaining section of its programmed payments for financial obligations for the rest of the year. For 2009, government aimed to allot a total of P698.5 billion for debt payments, 8.7 percent higher than the actual payout of P612.7 billion in 2008.

“It is an endless source of outrage that the Philippine government refuses to drop its debt payments when there are undoubtedly more urgent needs that should be attended to and provided for,” Casiño said.

“A debt moratorium is of utmost importance, as more funds are needed to hasten the rehabilitation are devastated areas and enable victims and survivors to get themselves back on their feet. The billions going to international banks and creditors should be given instead to local service infrastructure repair and creation,” Casiño pointed out.

Based on current data from the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr), the government released P61.277 billion for debt payments in September alone, higher by 1.87 percent from last year’s P60.149 billion allocation.

Interest payments to local lenders and foreign creditors were also exorbitant, with the former receiving P132.635 billion during the nine-month period, and the latter getting P102.648 billion from P93.379 billion paid out in the same period last year, an increase of 9.9 percent.

Principal payments amounted to P313.733 billion, or 3.66 percent higher than the P302.646 billion disbursed in 2008 during the same period. #

 

     
           
     
   
  Registration of delegates
           

 

‘Gibo a warmonger’ - Satur
 

COMPOSTELA, COMPOSTELA VALLEY -- Makabayan senatorial bet and Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo called administration bet and Defense Secretary Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro a warmonger before a crowd of 2,000 during the Makabayan convention here yesterday.

“Gibo speaks of change. Pero ang panawagan niya sa paglaban sa insurhensiya ay ang dagdag na budget sa military, dagdag na mga gamit pang-digma,” Ocampo said.

“Gibo is a warmonger. Kung siya ang magiging presidente mas malala pa kaysa kay Arroyo ang magaganap sa ating bayan,” Ocampo said.

Speaking about the issues of militarization and rights abuses assailing the farmer and lumad communities of Davao Del Norte, Ocampo vowed that Makabayan as a coalition of progressive partylists will be at the forefront of seeking justice for the victims of human rights abuses.

Ocampo added that a lot of politicians are speaking of change, but genuine change is that of empowering the people through genuine land reform, providing their basic needs such as pro-people education, health, housing and other basic services.

The Makabayan senatorial bet for the 2010 elections asserted the need for the progressive group to gain more representation in the government, in order for the peoples' voices be heard in the legislative body.

“Mas higit na maililinaw natin sa mamamayan kung ano ang pulitika ng pagbabago na dala ng mga progresibong partylist na simula pa lamang noong Partido ng Bayan na lumaban sa diktadurang Marcos ay dala-dala natin hanggang ngayon,” Ocampo said.

Makabayan aims to field candidate from national down to the local positions. Yesterday, Makabayan has announced the running of its local bet Belen Galleto for the Municipality of Pantukan, Compostela Valley.#
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Posted on Oct 30 by Office of Rep. Satur Ocampo

 

     
     
     
   
     
           

 

Satur calls for House investigation on Pfizer vs Unilab row over heart drug

Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo today said that the House should look into the brewing conflict between Philippine drug company United Laboratories, Inc. (Unilab) and transnational pharmaceutical firm Pfizer Inc. over the production of a maintenance drug for patients afflicted with cardiovascular diseases.

Unilab filed last July 9 a petition with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) for the cancellation of Philippine Patent No. 29149 for Atorvastatin being marketed by Pfizer under the brand name Lipitor. Pfizer’s patent prevents the creation and marketing of any similar drug and essentially gives the company a monopoly hold over the maintenance drug.

“There is basis to say that Pfizer’s application for a patent in the Philippines is exploitative as it tends to abuse the patent system. Pfizer may be unjustly extending its monopoly on the drug by introducing minor modifications just to extend the life of its patent, a practice known as 'evergreening,'" Ocampo said.

He stressed that by seeking to monopolize the production and sale of a maintenance drug that is crucial to the survival of many Filipinos with heart diseases, Pfizer is doing a great disservice to the people. "It wants its own product Lipitor to be the only product on the market, but Lipitor’s exorbitant price is enough to cause heart attacks,” he said.

Lipitor costs P34.45, P39.13 and P50.50 per 10, 20 and 40 mg tablets, respectively. Since Lipitor is to be taken at least once daily, the average cost to a patient is at least P34.45-P50.50 a day. In the meantime, Unilab is marketing Avamax, its generic version of Atorvastatin at a price 30% cheaper than Lipitor: 10 mg for P25.00; 20 mg. for P30.00; and 40 mg. for P35.00.

Ocampo said that the issue falls under the jurisdiction of the Cheaper Medicines Act which was enacted specifically to bring down prices of medicine and make it more accessible to the public. The law, which Ocampo co-authored, also aims to put an end to patent abuse in the industry.

“This is a case involving a local drug company and a transnational firm: a David vs. Goliath case. It’s a test of the government's determination to reduce drug prices. It also has serious implications on the country’s economic sovereignty and how our own industries hold out against foreign competition, and how all this impacts on the public,” Ocampo said.

According to industry reports, Lipitor was the largest-selling drug in the world in 2006, earning its producers US$12.9 Billion in sales the same year alone. In the Philippines, it earned more than P850 Million in sales within the period of May 1, 2008 – April 30, 2009. In 2008, Lipitor sales internationally were at US$13 billion, with about US$15 million coming from the Philippines. Since the time it was launched in the country, Lipitor sales have been at US$162 million.

“Congress should also investigate reports that Pfizer and Warner-Lambert have threatened many local drugstores not to carry such medicine other than theirs. This is predatory business practice that without doubt could mean the life and death of many Filipinos suffering heart ailments. If there is truth to these reports, sanctions should be laid down against Pfizer Inc.,” Ocampo said. #
 

Posted on Oct 30 by Office of Rep. Satur Ocampo

 

     
     
           
   
VIDEO CLIPS
     
   
   
   
   
   
   

BONUS TRACKS

Kids at the Bayan Muna national convention

     
     
   
     
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