New Yorkers Welcome P-Noy With Human Rights, VFA Concerns,

Ask "Whose Is The Hand That Rocks the Philippines?"

 

New York cityI

 

September 23, 2010

 

 

   
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Photos courtesy of Jonna Baldres / BAY AN  USA
           
           

 

News Release
September 23, 2010
Reference: Christina Hilo, BAYAN USA Northeast Coordinator, email: ny@bayanusa.org

New Yorkers Welcome P-Noy With Human Rights, VFA Concerns, Ask "Whose Is The Hand That Rocks the Philippines?"

NEW YORK, NY-- Approximately 50 people stood in front of Manhattan's Philippine Consulate yesterday to welcome Philippine President Benigno "P-Noy" Aquino III with concerns mainly over continuing human rights abuses, and the growing US military presence in the country.

P-Noy is in New York City this week to attend the scheduled annual General Assembly of the United Nations, and to meet with US President Barack Obama, where he will sign-off on the Millennium Challenge Compact Agreement, officiating the transfer of an economic grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to the Philippines worth $434 million under the auspices of poverty-reduction and development. The MCC is a US government-run foreign aid agency.

The current grant amount is the largest single grant amount given by the US goverment to the Philippines, which many are concerned will be used to bankroll Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), the national counter-insurgency program extended by P-Noy last month.

"The Arroyo government left the Philippines with an acute human rights crisis, at the root of which is OBL," states Garry Labao of the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP). "We want to know if President Aquino plans to sincerely address this with a solution to the ongoing problem of assassinations, abductions, torture, and illegal arrests-- all of which are symptomatic of OBL."

Labao further exposed that in less than 100 days of P-Noy's term, over 13 cases of assassinations have been documented by human rights group Karapatan, while over 300 political prisoners remain detained all over the country, including the mass arrest of the 43 community health workers whose medical training seminar in Morong, Rizal was raided by Philippine police under a faulty warrant last February.

Donning yellow headbands, the multi-ethnic contingent also called on P-Noy to prosecute known human rights abusers in the Philippine military, especially its former commander-in-chief, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA).

"We have a gruesome history of counter-insurgency here in the US against progressives that actually never ended, most illustrated in the 1960's and 1970's with COINTELPRO and the US government's clandestine offensives against the Black Panther Party," stated African-American leader and trade unionist Brenda Stokely in front of the consulate. "We stand in solidarity with the Filipino people because the US government is funding the same thing in the Philippines."


The contingent in front of the Philippine Consulate also called for P-Noy to fulfill his campaign promise for a review of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which many believe to be grossly unequal, unconstitutional, and should be scrapped all together.

"With big money from Washington DC falling into Malacanang's hands and a growing US military presence in the country, whose is the hand that rocks the Philippines?," states Bernadette Ellorin of BAYAN USA. "The big foreign aid benefactor with its big bad military, or the Filipino people? Only the key policies P-Noy is pushing these days-- OBL and VFA-- provides us with the answer."

Among the other organizations represented in yesterday's contingent at the Philippine Consulate were Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), Anakbayan New York/New Jersey, Gabriela USA, the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), Philippine Forum, the Independent Workers Movement (IWM), Sisa Pikari Labor Center, Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), Peoples Organization for Progress (POP), the Jornaleros Unidos de Woodside, Million Workers March Movement, Union de Vendedores Ambulantes de Queens, the International Migrants Alliance, and the International League of Peoples Struggle. ###
 
New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
www.nychrp.org
email: nychrp@gmail.com
 

     
 
     
           
     
     
     

 

Laos na ang White Lady
by Pia Montalban

September 12, 2010


Laos na ang White Lady sa Balite,
Mas deadly ang ika'y makasaksi
nitong Matandang Binatang nakadilaw,
sa Palasyo ng Malakanyang, sa ati'y tumatanglaw.

Hindi siya tumatawid sa kalsada.
Kunyari'y takot na mabangga't makabangga.
Ngunit kahit anong hugas kamay ang kanyang gawin
imortal ang mga dugong dalisay na di kailanman aanurin.

Sa Numero mo kami nililinlang,
Sa Numero din kami magbibilang--
(At di na isasali ang ambag ng Ama't Ina):
May Pitong magsasaka sa panahon ng welga,

Pito ding kaibigan nila, ilang araw at buwan kapagdaka.
Tapos ngayo'y Walong banyaga
sibilyan at inosente sa ating dalita,
saka Isang kalahing may tampo sa pamamahala
nitong nabubulok at papasabog na sistema.

At ang panggigipit sa Badyet!
At batayang mga Serbisyong Panlipunan!

Ang pondo sa Edukasyon, bawasan
Ang pera ng LAF* para sa OFW, kaltasan
Ang pondo sa Sandatahang Lakas, dagdagan
Ang pamasahe sa MRT at LRT, taasan
Ang mga kawani ng pamahalaan, isama sa tanggalan
Ang puwit ni Sam, IMF at World Bank, dilaan-halikan
Ang mga utang kahit hindi napakinabangan, bayaran
Si Arroyo, ang mga Ampatuan at mga gahaman, pakawalan
Ang Morong 43 sa karsel nabibilang, huwag kakalagan
Ang lupa ng Hacienda Luisita, huwag pakakawalan
Ang magsasaka sa buong bayan, panatilihin sa kamangmangan!

At wala ka pa sa iyong unang 'sandaan?

Laos na nga ang White Lady sa Balite,
Mas deadly ang masilaw sa iyong baluti
ikaw na Matandang Binatang nakadilaw,
sa Palasyo ng Malakanyang, sa ami'y tumatanglaw,
kaiingat, pagkat maaga palang ay hinahasa nang balaraw
nang sama-samang pagkilos ng mamamayang iyong gikuyaw
hinimok humakbang sa gabay ng pulang araw!

 


 

     
     
     
           

 

News Release
September 19, 2010

On eve of US trip
Bayan calls on Aquino to address issue of unequal ties with US

The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said that it’s not enough that President Benigno Aquino III bring a lean entourage and spend less for his United States trip. The group said that outstanding issues on RP-US relations should also be addressed during the trip.

“Malacanang has announced that a lean entourage will go with Mr. Aquino to the US and that there will not be a repeat of the Le Cirque scandal of Mrs. Arroyo. But more on than the cost-cutting for the trip, we expect that the Philippine president will somehow address the issue of the unequal relations between the US and the Philippines,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“The historic first trip should be an opportunity to address the outstanding problems with the Vesting Forces Agreement. National sovereignty should not be sacrificed just because the Philippine government will be asking for more foreign investments and grants from the US,” Reyes said.

Bayan said that among the issues they will be monitoring in the US trips would include:

1. The VFA and US military aid for the Philippines
2. US aid such as the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s $434 million RP grant
3. A possible RP-US Free Trade Agreement
4. Foreign investments

“The VFA is one proof that RP-US relations are unequal. It’s time the Philippine president stand for national interest and abrogate this one-sided pact. It is time the Philippine president demand the withdrawal of US forces in Mindanao. We support moves by the Philippine Senate, including a resolution filed by Sen. Miriam Santiago, calling for the termination of the VFA,” Reyes said.

As for the signing of the $434 million MCC grant, Bayan warned of the neo-liberal economic impositions that go along with such grants.

“The MCC was created and funded by the US government under George W. Bush. It is a foreign policy instrument that promotes discredited neo-liberal economic policies for third world countries in exchange for so-called aid. Its current board chair is the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton,” Reyes said.

According to its website, the MCC “partners only with countries that can show measurable support for a free and open political system with access to open markets. Only countries with proven track records in anti-corruption, civil liberties and the rule of law may partner with the MCC in crafting a development program unique to their local conditions.”

“These grants and so-called aid are used to advance US economic and political interests in the guise of promoting democracy and good governance. This is true now especially because the US economy is in crisis. In exchange for such grants, the US wants us to further open up our country, even to the point of a possible bilateral free trade agreement. The MCC grant in effect will only reinforce unequal and disadvantageous economic ties with the US,” he added.

On the issue of jobs and investments, Bayan cautioned that the US economy remains in a deep and prolonged recession. It questioned the tact of trying to seek more investments and jobs from a country already reeling from recession.

“There are limits to the investments and jobs available for the Philippines, especially now that the US economy itself is in crisis. It is strange that the Philippine government continues to pin its hopes on the US economy in spite this economic crisis. The Philippine government should be exploring ways to strengthen and develop our domestic economy and national industries, and decrease our dependence on foreign investments,” Reyes said. ###
 

     
     
           

 

Apart from cost-cutting, Aquino’s US visit not much different from previous presidential trips
News Release
September 18, 2010

Apart from cost-cutting, Aquino’s US visit not much different from previous presidential trips

The cost may have changed but the agenda for Benigno Aquino's US trip follows the same trend as other presidential trips.

The observation came after Malacanang announced that Aquino will be spending P25 million for his trip and that there will not be a repeat of the lavish dinners done by former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Aquino is set to leave for the US on September 20.

“While its fine that Malacanang plans to spend a relatively smaller amount for this trip, and that there won’t be a repeat of Arroyo’s Le Cirque scandal, the agenda of the trip apparently remains similar to past presidential visits. Only the entourage and the cost have changed,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“Aside from his official function of attending the United Nations meet, Aquino’s trip will again be about getting foreign grants, aid and investments, while trying to avoid controversial issues like the Visiting Forces Agreement. If you look at the agenda, it’s not unlike previous trips done by Arroyo,” Reyes said.

Bayan expressed reservation over the signing of the $434 million Millenium Challenge Corporation Compact Agreement. The signing is expected to be one of the highlights of Aquino’s trip. The group warned of the MCC’s agenda for giving out aid.

“The MCC was created and funded by the US government under George W. Bush. It is a foreign policy instrument that promotes discredited neo-liberal economic policies for third world countries in exchange for so-called aid. It’s current board chair is the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton,” Reyes said.

According to its website, the MCC “partners only with countries that can show measurable support for a free and open political system with access to open markets. Only countries with proven track records in anti-corruption, civil liberties and the rule of law may partner with the MCC in crafting a development program unique to their local conditions.”

“These grants and so-called aid are used to advance US economic and politcal interests in the guise of promoting democracy and good governance. This is true now esepcially because the US economy is in crisis. The US will likely intensify its extraction of profits from countries like the Philippines,” he added.

“For example, we are receiving a huge grant despite the current government’s continuing inability to hold Arroyo and her cohorts accountable for large-scale corruption. In exchange for the grant, the US government expects the Aquino admin tp promote more trade and investment liberalization, privatization and deregulation,” Reyes said.

Bayan said that the Philppine government should take a more critical look at foreign aid. However, it noted that in just his first week in office, Aquino already wrote the US government seeking the approval of the MCC Compact Agreement.

“The Philippine government must realize that real development comes from developing the domestic economy and the local forces of prouction and not from an over-reliance on foreign investments and loans. Years of addiction to foreign aid, grants and loans have not truly got us out of our Third World status,” Reyes said. ###
 

     
     
           
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Mr. Aquino, some terms you may have failed to know the meaning of...

by Ayie Montalban on Monday, September 27, 2010 at 11:24am

 

 

This is what our people put us in power for. This is what the world expects of us as leaders—to be exemplars of what it is to be compassionate human beings, and vanguards of hope for our common humanity.

 

For so many times in our history, my people have shown that, united, nothing is impossible. We called it People Power. It is my earnest hope—and in the greatest interest of humanity—that we harness the energies of dialogue, solidarity, and communal responsibility, so that a global People Power toward equitable progress may be achieved.

 

--Noynoy Aquino, before the 65th General Assembly of the United Nations

http://www.scribd.com/doc/38103668/President-Noynoy-Aquino-Speech-Before-65th-General-Assembly-of-the-United-Nations

 

 

Mr. Aquino, you have time and again amazed me, with the stench of your words. May I remind you of certain words, you have used, but may have failed to fully understand its implication?

 

For one, what for you, Mr. Aquino, is common humanity?

 

Isn't it, that irrespective of gender, ethinicity, religion and creed, colour, physical and mental abilities, sexual preference, all human beings share a common humanity and irrepressible dignity? And isn't it, that the recognition of inherent dignity of each human being would be of little meaning if each person's right to food, shelter, clothing, basic health care, education, work and justice is not equally and effectively recognised?

 

Now, Mr. Aquino, how have you been a vanguard and hope for common humanity, in light of the Hacienda Luisita issue?

 

Are the people of the Hacienda, human beings and therefore have the inherent dignity of human persons and share equal and inalienable rights as members of the human family? Isn't it, that respect for of such rights is the foundation of freedom, justice, conflict resolution in the world? Isn't it unjust and immoral, that a vast track of land, the size of two major cities in the metropolis (Makati and Manila combined) be owned by just one family, while the strong 6,000 and more farmer-beneficiaries have no right to the same piece of land they have toiled and tilled, with sweat and blood? That these same strong 6,000 and more farmer beneficiaries are being kept as poor as they can be for further exploitation, in your family corporation's unjust labor deeds and usurpation? 

 

 

Where is common humanity in that, Mr. Aquino? And you, a vanguard, is an equally stench-filled repungent statement, Sir.

 

Secondly, Mr. Aquino, how do you define compassion?

 

To give financial assistance that is but a mere pittance, to the farmers who have sowed the billions your azucarera have reaped? Ah, Compassion it is, Mr. Aquino. Compassion it is, to give one peso as a gift of gratitude for the twenty long years of service. Commendable compassion, Mr. Aquino. If you, and your family, be exemplars of what it is to be a compassionate human being, I defer to wonder anymore its implications, for fear of nightmares.

 

And lastly, the nerve you got, Mr. Aquino! It pales down the nerve that Hitler had.

 

Calling for a global people power that would usher us towards the achievement of equitable progress is a cute touch of humor. Equitable progress, is progress shared by one and all. Grounded in equality, equitable progress, takes into consideration an entire society's progress towards genuine fundamental social change. The very essence of people power is to effect such change. People power is apt only for toppling a fascist, anti-people government. People power is for pushing for genuine agrarian reform. People power is for your Hacienda to be finally distributed to its farmer-beneficiaries.

 

And if may quote:

 

“The people power we know is the democratic exercise of the people to call for fundamental change and fight oppression and exploitation, not the fascist use of government forces to massacre those who protest and exploit farmers to keep them impoverished. Aquino is an advocate of poverty of peasants, he has no moral right to call for a people power against poverty,” Axel Pinpin, KASAMA – TK Secretary-General said.

 

“The very struggle of Hacienda Luisita farmers are the model of people power, converting sugarlands into farms of food crops such as rice, vegetables and fruits. Their organized and united effort such as the ‘bungkalan’ (cultivation) is the concretization of the spirit of people power, poor Filipinos finally benefiting from their struggle, not the high-faluting macro-economic babble Aquino’s apologists are chattering about,” he added.

 

Nice try, at lying Mr. Aquino. The People now knew better. The luster of your yellow coat is now revealing its stains. Hacienda Luisita will never be history. No sugar-coating will ever erased our memory.

 

     
     
     
           

 

IBON Media Release / 23 September 2010
IBON Foundation, Inc., IBON Center 114 Timog Avenue, Quezon City Philippines
Phone: (632) 927-6986/927-7060 to 62|Fax: 929-2496| E-mail: media@ibon.org | http://www.ibon.org

AQUINO SIGNING OF MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE ACCOUNT PAVES WAY FOR MORE PROBLEMATIC POLICIES

Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino is set to witness the signing of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) during his US visit, but research group IBON warns that the agreement is biased against national interest and gives way for more erroneous policies that have eroded the local economy.

The MCA, a US$434-million compact grant agreement of the US government’s Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC), requires the Philippines to meet certain indicators such as open trade, economic freedom, good governance, adherence to human rights, etc. to continue receiving the aid. To qualify for support, recipient countries are required to implement neoliberal economic and political policies approved by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), and neoconservative US think-tanks Heritage Foundation and Freedom House.

According to IBON, the requirements to meet the indicators for trade policy, inflation and fiscal policy are exactly the same policy measures contained in the discredited World Bank structural adjustment programs and IMF stabilization programs of past decades. They seek to completely open up the economy to foreign capital at the expense of real domestic development, and to promote fiscal austerity to be able to keep repaying debt. These policies are designed to benefit mainly US commercial and strategic interests and not development or poverty reduction in the country. Moreover, the MCC indicators are inconsistent with real asset and wealth redistribution in the domestic economy.

The requirements for the indicator on “regulatory quality” for instance are about further shrinking the capacity of government to intervene in the economy in the greater social interest. This is a rehash of the old 1980s ‘minimalist state’ approach that the recent global financial crisis has exposed as grossly inadequate in terms of national development. Even the indicators on anti-corruption, rule of law and government effectiveness are more concerned about creating a stable and consistent business environment for US firms to operate and profit than on improving the people’s welfare.

The indicators on political rights and civil liberties also appear little considered with the real state of human rights in the country. Meanwhile, the supposed poverty alleviation projects (US120-million for the Kalahi CIDSS) has been proven by experience to momentarily disguise poverty causes and divert from the need for basic structural economic reforms.

IBON adds that MCC is also a tacit endorsement of the failed Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) which enshrines ‘just compensation’ rather than ‘free distribution of land to the tiller’ as the cornerstone of agrarian reform. This is likely one of the measures for the indicator on land rights.

IBON stresses that the MCC is about promoting the US’s preferred version of neoliberal free market democracies– democratic in form but severely undemocratic in their outcomes. As clearly shown in how the last decade of the most rapid economic growth in the country has been accompanied by rising poverty, these policies have excluded the majority of Filipinos from the benefits of growth. (end)

IBON Foundation, Inc. is an independent development institution established in 1978 that provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues.
 

     
           
     

 

IBON Media Release / 20 September 2010
IBON Foundation, Inc., IBON Center 114 Timog Avenue, Quezon City Philippines
Phone: (632) 927-6986/927-7060 to 62|Fax: 929-2496| E-mail: media@ibon.org | http://www.ibon.org

WILL RP GAIN FROM AQUINO U.S. VISIT? TRIP MAY CAUSE MORE HARM THAN GOOD, SAYS GROUP

Research group IBON today warned that the much-hyped US visit of Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino may result in more harm than good, as the group expressed serious concern that his first official foreign trip may further deepen the implementation of economic policies long discredited for undermining national development, destroying local industries and jobs, and marginalizing the poor.

The group issued the statement as President Aquino leaves for the US today for a week-long visit to attend the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York, meet with US investors for his administration’s public-private partnership (PPP) projects, and witness the formal signing of a US$434-million compact grant agreement under the US government’s Millennium Challenge Account (MCA).

IBON said that the financial assistance from the MCA will put additional pressure on the Philippines to further open up its economy to more imported commodities and foreign capital. It added that MCA is a highly conditional aid, noting that the MCA requires the Philippines to maintain so-called economic freedom to continue receiving the aid. Other MCA requirements include fighting corruption, public investment on education and health care, etc.

Economic freedom means business freedom in reality, as it spells the least possible government intervention in the operation of businesses that entails dismantling barriers to the free flow of trade and investment through liberalization; elimination of government regulatory functions through deregulation; and dismantling of state monopoly over certain economic activities through privatization. IBON noted that conservative US think-tank and staunch advocate of free market and limited government, the Heritage Foundation, designed the index used to measure a country’s so-called economic freedom to become eligible for MCA funding.

The US has repeatedly raised the issue of barriers to US trade and investment in the Philippines through the annual report of the US Trade Representative (USTR), among others. In its 2010 report, the USTR reiterated its long-standing position that certain provisions of the 1987 Constitution represent barriers to US trade and investment such as the constitutional ban on foreign ownership of land as well as foreign equity limits on utilities, telecommunication, mass media, etc.

IBON said the MCA gives the US more leverage to pressure the bankrupt Philippine government to address these issues. It also added that with renewed commitments from both countries to negotiate a bilateral free trade deal, the MCA funding could be used to compel the Philippines to agree to a one-sided agreement.

Meanwhile, IBON said that Aquino’s plan to step up his privatization efforts by aggressively inviting US investors to participate in his PPP campaign in his US visit ignores almost three decades of experience with privatized utilities and infrastructure. The country’s experience with the privatization of the power and water sector as well as toll roads, for example, has only resulted in exorbitant user fees while deepening the government’s fiscal woes.

The group urged the Aquino administration to seriously rethink its economic policies if it sincerely wants to bring about change that will benefit the country. Otherwise, the President’s visit to the US will do more harm than good and will result in more of the same problems that the economy has faced for decades. (end)

IBON Foundation, Inc. is an independent development institution established in 1978 that provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues.

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

Cheap labor, cheap lives on sale in Aquino’s US trip

While the Aquino government proudly proclaims that the president’s first trip to the US will cost less than his predecessor’s overseas trips, we maintain that its effects will cost so much for the Filipino workers and people. It is clear from Noynoy’s statements, entourage, and itinerary that he will be selling cheap Filipino labor and cheap Filipino lives to US corporations and in this trip.

Claiming that the trip will create more jobs in the country, Noynoy said that he will “try to make the country even more attractive” to foreign investors. Previous governments have also done this, yet we have always ended up with the same results: chronic unemployment, low wages, contractual work, and violations of trade-union rights. A change in the country’s plight lies right here in the country, not abroad – in junking long-standing neoliberal policies that favor foreign and big local corporations.

It is clear from the Aquino government’s mendicant attitude towards the US that Noynoy’s trip will affirm, and even expand, the highly-unequal Visiting Forces Agreement. While the cost of Noynoy’s short trip to the US may be cheap – and it should be cheaper, since most of the businessmen and politicians in his entourage can pay for their trips, anyway – the cost of the permanent stay of US troops in the country has been running sky-high for the Filipino people. Our Constitution, sovereignty and laws have been trampled upon and our people’s safety and rights have been violated by the VFA.

Noynoy’s US trip may have been scheduled by the government in the aftermath of its disastrous handling of the bloody August 23 hostage crisis, in an effort to recoup lost “political capital.” The Aquino government’s continuing subservience to the US, however, will erode its “political capital” quickly and more dramatically in the long run than any hostage crisis or any such crisis. A government that treats its labor and people cheap will surely and in no time lose much-valued “political capital” among the Filipino workers and people. #



Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson, 0908-163-6597


 

           
           

 

Noynoy using Gloria’s magic trick to cover up widespread unemployment – KMU

In his first press conferences as chief executive, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III not only vowed to be different from former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, he also vowed to study the data on the state of the nation, which his predecessor distorted. Three months after, the National Statistics Office under his leadership released the most recent employment data. But such data were arrived at using the same old magic trick that Gloria did – which is to exclude from those who are considered “unemployed” people who have been discouraged from finding work precisely because of the chronic lack of job opportunities in the country.

When the resolution was first used in April 2005, the country’s unemployment rate dropped from more than 12% to just above 8%. The unemployment rate was reduced not because the Arroyo regime offered ample employment opportunities but because it manipulated employment data. This is what the present government is continuing – which shows that, just like Arroyo, Aquino is more concerned with putting up a glowing, and false, picture of the situation of the Filipino workers, than actually facing the facts and addressing the causes of the widespread lack of jobs and employment in the country.

The NSO even brags about their method of determining who is considered employed. Those who work, no matter what kind of work it is, for at least one hour a week are already considered employed by the government.

The Aquino government, very much like his predecessor, also banks on the informal economy to prop up employment figures. Even the “GRO” profession is officially recognized as employment.

But we do not need more news and boastings on employment figures, we need real, stable, and decent jobs. We have already exhausted all sorts of ways to earn a living, done all possible sidelines, and entered into all kinds of hardships, precisely because of the gross lack of jobs. And with the current administration’s very distorted view on providing jobs to its people, we know that real change will not come from it. #

     
           
     

 

League of Filipino Students

PRESS RELEASE
Sept. 26, 2010

LFS slams $434-M US grant to RP

"The new $434-M compact grant given to the Philippines by the US government-sponsored Millennium Change Corporation is nothing but a carrot stick to further Washington's greater inroads into the Philippine economy under President Aquino." This was the statement of Terry Ridon, national chairperson of the League of Filipino Students in reaction to the elation of the Aquino government over the receipt of such funding, supposedly for the building of roads and other social services.

He said that such grants are no different from the infamous 'structural adjustment programs' of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund that compelled developing nations like the Philippines to drastically remove pro-people economic policies in exchange for development aid.

He feared that the Aquino government would view this new grant as an incentive to further open the economy for US interests and capital without regard to the public's concern over plunder of natural resources and national patrimony.

He said that Pres. Aquino's general economic plan towards public-private partnerships is clearly in line with the demands of the US government to allow heightened US investments in the country as among the requirements for inclusion in the MCC.

Ridon said that instead of relying on foreign loans with unjust conditionalities to supposedly develop the nation, the Aquino government commit to the immediate distribution of agricultural land to the country's landless and poor farmers, as in Hacienda Luisita.

In recent years, the passage of the 12% Value Added Tax is among the many examples where international funding institutions required the Philippines to change its laws in order for the latter to continue availing foreign loans and grants.

Reference: Terry Ridon, LFS Chairperson, 09155310725

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League of Filipino Students
PRESS RELEASE
September 21, 2010

LFS tells P-Noy as he leaves for the US

RP is not for sale

"We serve a word of warning to the President - the country is not for sale to the United States. He better not sign trade and other executive agreements that would makes our people worse off."

This was the statement Terry Ridon, national chairperson of the League of Filipino Students as President Benigno Simeon Aquino III left for the United States today to attend the United Nations General Assembly and to meet with US President Barack Obama.

Ridon said his group is fearful that Aquino's Washington state visit would provide opportunity for the United States to reassert its military and economic cooperation with the Philippines, many of which had been deemed unfair and disadvantageous to the Philippines.

Ridon challenged Aquino to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement upon meeting with Obama in the White House.

"For once, President Aquino should stand in defense of our people when he meets with the US government. He should tell Obama to withdraw their troops from the Philippines immediately. They left Iraq but remain embedded in Philippine territory."

“More than a decade of injustice and a trampling of our national sovereignty is enough. To continue the VFA is to abandon the triumphant national victory against US interventionism in 1991, when the Philippine Senate voted for the rejection of the continuation of the RP-US Bases Agreement.”

The student leader also warned against the signing of trade and executive agreements in the White House.

"It should not be forgotten that many executive agreements with the US were signed secretly, like the VFA II agreement which remained a secret document until its constitutionality was challenged in the Supreme Court."

He also said that there are reports that the US government is bent on signing a comprehensive free trade agreement with the Philippines, with little protection for Philippine goods.

Reference: Terry Ridon, National Chairperson, League of Filipino Students, 09155310725

           
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Halina at sumama,
Manindigan, makibaka!
Hinding hindi aatras ang bayan nating lumalaban
Lalo at dumadami ang hanay nating naninindigan
Hinding hindi tayo susuko sa ating pakikibaka
Ang tunay na pag-unlad ay makakamit lang kung ang bayan ay mapalaya!

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