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. #
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
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
Posted on Nov 14 by Office of Rep. Satur Ocampo
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
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,"
“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
“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
"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
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
“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.#
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,'"
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. #