Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The real reason for DAP

Posted: July 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

A lot has been said about the Disbursement Acceleration Program especially after the Supreme Court came out with its unanimous decision declaring acts and programs under DAP and NBC 541 as unconstitutional.

A lot has also been said about the good intentions of DAP.

But what was the real intent of the DAP? Was it really aimed at stimulating the economy? Think-tank Ibon believes DAP was economically irrational and disputes that claim that DAP was a stimulus program that had a significant impact on the economy.

So if DAP wasn’t all that, what was it for? Why was it introduced by the Aquino government?

From documents submitted by the DBM to the Supreme Court, it would appear that economic stimulus was never really the intent of DAP. Centralizing and controlling funds were. It was never about the economy. It was all about giving the president control and discretion over billions of pesos, using this as his own slush fund to influence other branches of government and to serve as a well of corruption for those in power.

Why do we say this?

Two DBM memoranda issued on October 12, 2011 and December 12, 2011 indicate that the practice of centralizing unreleased appropriations began as early as November 25, 2010 or barely five months into the term of President Benigno Aquino III.

According to the two memos, the President declared as “savings” some P21.544 billion in unreleased appropriations for “slow moving projects and programs for discontinuance” in November 2010. The so-called “savings” were centralized under the office the President and were cleared for use for “other priority projects.” This happened BEFORE there was even a DAP.

The defenders of DAP will argue that such a move was necessary then because there were presumably questionable projects that were part of Arroyo’s enacted national budget. Remember that Aquino took office on June 30, 2010, after the budget had already been enacted.

However, the unconstitutional practice of declaring as “savings” the “unreleased appropriations”, as well as unprogrammed funds, would continue until 2011 and 2012, even under the budget supposedly scrutinized by Aquino and formulated under the ‘daang matuwid’.

So if the presumption was that there were no more anomalous projects under this regime, why not release appropriations for projects? What was the government’s definition of “slow-moving projects” that funds would not be released? Why allow the withholding of funds?

Meanwhile, since billions were not being released for government projects, there were already reports that the government was under-spending. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda even claims that the slowdown in GDP growth was already being felt during the last quarter of 2010 and way into the start of 2011.

When Aquino declared as savings P21.544 billion in unreleased appropriations from 2010, he did not immediately spend the amount even if he approved its use for “priority projects”.

He waited until he could centralize more funds at which time the slowdown would be more pronounced or felt.

On October 2011, Aquino and Abad placed more funds under the control and discretion of the president. This included P12.336 billion from the 2010 unprogrammed funds, P30 billion in unreleased personal services appropriations for 2011, and P482 million in unreleased appropriations for “slow moving” and discontinued projects for 2011. Also placed under presidential control were P7.7 billion for realignment within agencies.

The P30 billion unreleased personal services appropriations could have come from the failure to hire now personnel or the streamlining or firing of government employees. Certain funds for the benefits or bonuses of government workers normally given at the end of the year were centralized and declared as savings.

Towards last quarter of the year, the slowdown and underspending were becoming more apparent and so government thought it was the perfect time to introduce a “stimulus program”.  Nearly a year of government underspending became a convenient justification for DAP

By October 2011 when the DAP was first introduced, Aquino already had discretion over P72.1 billion in DAP funds which he could appropriate for projects not found in the national budget and for augmentation of special purpose funds like the PDAF of lawmakers. The practice would continue for the next two fiscal years as savings would be declared midyear, for projects that were not completed or finally discontinued.

On December 21, 2011, Aquino approved additional projects worth P13.3 billion.

On June 27, 2012, Aquino signed and approved another Abad memorandum seeking the “omnibus authority to consolidate savings/unutilized balances and their realignment. The approved projects amounted to P32 billion, including P2 billion for Tarlac roadworks and another P8.3 billion “various local projects”. Aquino also approved the withdrawal of unobligated balances of NGA’s for “slow moving projects”, declaring them savings and authorizing their realignment.

On September 5, 2012, Aquino signed and approved Abad’s September 4, 2012 memorandum seeking the “release of funds for other priority projects and expenditures of government.” Projects for this period amounted to nearly P6 billion.

On December 21, 2012, Aquino approved the release of P33.3 billion in DAP funds, once again chargeable against “available savings and the 2012 Unprogrammed Fund.” This again included the item “other various local projects” this time amounting to P2.79 billion.

In May 2013, Aquino approved more DAP releases amounting to P10 billion. This included again an item called “various local projects” amounting to P4.6 billion, the biggest item for the period.

Lastly, on September 25, 2013, Aquino approved the release of P10.534 billion in funds for the Task Force Pablo Rehabilitation plan, supposedly for livelihood, resttlement, infrastructure and social services.

From November 2010 to September 2013, Aquino had wide discretion over P177 billion, which included funding projects not identified in the General Appropriations Act as well as funding projects outside of the Executive.

It was only on January 29, 2014 that the Solicitor General and the DBM secretary declared before the Supreme Court tha the DAP was already terminated at the end of 2013, supposedly because the goals of stimulating the economy have already been met. The announcement that DAP was terminated was aimed at declaring moot the petitions filed before the SC.

However, the SolGen and the DBM maintained that the “authority” to declare and pool savings and use such savings for priority projects identified by the President still remained. This simply meant that while there was no more DAP, the program can be resurrected in the future, under different circumstances, but with the same end of centralizing funds under the control of the President and spending these funds as presidential pork. One wonders, had the SC not declared the DAP unconstitutional, a new incarnation would take place just before the 2016 elections, when the President would need to secure the victory of his LP llies.

The real reason for DAP was fund control. All along the chief executive wanted to have discretion over billions of pesos of funds. DAP was no doubt the president’s special all-purpose fund that could be allotted based on the sole discretion of the chief executive. With the DAP, the president usurped the congressional power of appropriation.

The DAP did not meet its own criteria for disbursing projects; namely  their multiplier impact on the economy and infrastructure development, their beneficial effect on the poor, their translation into disbursements. Instead, DAP would end up in projects not at all beneficial to the poor, and with little impact on economic growth. In the worst cases, DAP would end up lining the pockets of corrupt officials, as can be seen in the DAP funds that went to bogus Napoles NGO’s.

There can be no good faith if there was an intent violate the law, all because of one’s bid to centralize funds and usurp the power of a co-equal branch of government.

Whenever the President would speak on DAP, such as on July 14 and in his upcoming SONA on July  28, let us remember one thing: DAP is presidential pork. In order to enlarge this pork fund, government took away funds from other projects and from its own employees from 2010 to 2013. In order to fulfill DAP’s role as pork, it was dispensed as a bribe or incentive to lawmakers and was used to grant favors for local officials and served as a well of corruption for those in power.

The authors and implementors of DAP thus have to be made accountable. The President has to be made accountable. On Wednesday, we will file an impeachment complaint.  ###

 

 

 

noynoyAquino’s much-awaited DAP speech is upon us. The speech will be televised live tomorrow, July 14, 6pm, and can be viewed on all major networks. After disappearing from public view for 10 days after the DAP decision was issued by the Supreme Court, and after rejecting the resignation of Budget Secretary Butch Abad,  Aquino finally decides to address the nation. 

The last time the president spoke on the subject, we were caught by surprise as he interrupted primetime programming without much of a warning for viewers. This time around, we have some time to ready ourselves. 

 

What is the best way to watch such a highly anticipated speech that is expected to focus on the DAP? Here are some ways.

1. Watch it with a group, with your organization, or family. Watching it alone may cause severe anxiety and possible anger management issues.

2. Choose a place. Public viewing let’s you see the spontaneous reaction of the people. Watch it at the jeepney terminal, tindahan sa kanto, covered court, palengke etc. We will be watching at Plaza Miranda by the way.

3. Eat ahead and be ready for possible loss of appetite after the viewing. 

4. Bring a sign. Every time you feel insulted by the speech, raise the sign.

5. Make your opinion heard after the speech is concluded. Wag kimkimin ang galit at sama ng loob. Huwag ding pigilan ang tawa at baka mautot. Ilabas ang tunay na saloobin ng mamamayan. Maudlot man nya ang primetime viewing, nasa atin namang manonood ang huling salita. Tandaan, mahalaga ang opinyon mo. Mahalaga ang pakikisangkot mo.###

Sa gawain ko sa org, minsan din akong napagkakamalang ibang tao. Heto ang ilan sa mga nakakatawa at nakakatuwang halimbawa. #truestory

1. TV/Radio talent – Minsan sa jeep may lumapit at nag-abot ng maliit na papel, “Ser, pakibati naman misis ko sa programa nyo,” sabi nung tao. “Ano po, wala po akong programa,” sagot ko. “Ah hindi po ba kayo si Joe D’ Mango?” sabi nya.

2. “Reporter po ba kayo?” – Madalas mangyari ito. It raw yung Joseph Morong effect o di naman kaya’y epekto lang ng malabong signal sa TV.

3. “Uy, si Teddy Casino” – Marahil dahil si Teddy ay talagang kilalang lider masa, “Teddy Casino” na rin ang generic na katawagan sa ilang mga aktibista. Ika nga, household name.

4. “Si ano yan, sa Anakbayan/ Akbayan / Anakpawis / Bayan Muna etc” – Madalas na reference ang militanteng organisasyon na kinakatawan natin, kahit minsan hindi eksakto yung pangalan ng organisasyon. Nakatatak na kasi sa isipan ng madla ang mga grupo, dahil na rin sa ilang dekadang pakikibaka. Dun lang sa pangalawa ako di matunawan. Isang malutong na “HINDI PO!”

5. “Bakit po wala kayong security? Di ba congressman kayo?” – Hindi po, aktibista lang po.

6. Basketball player – Minsan sabi ng security sa checkpoint ng UP, “Di ba basketball player kayo?” Nasa loob kasi ako ng sasakyan. Kung bumbaba siguro ako, nagbago isip nya.

7.  Sorry po wrong number – Minsan may tatawag para sa interview. “Hello po, pwede po makausap si Fr. Robert Reyes?” Meron ding malupet na “Hello, ito po ba si Chief Justice Renato Corona?”

8. “Magkasama/classmate/kapitbahay tayo sa …” – Minsan may makakasalubong at mag-uusap kayo sa inaakala mong shared experience ninyo. Babatiin ka ng “Uy kamusta na? Dun ka pa rin sa inyo?” etc. Saka mo maiisip na hindi pala kayo pareho ng pinag-uusapan, na hindi pala kayo classmate/kapitbahay/ka-probinsya etc. Awkward.

 

Sa mga pagkakataong ito, isa lang ang magiliw kong sagot. “Sa BAYAN po ako.”

“Ang BAYAN po ay isang alyansa ng iba’t ibang organisasyon. Iba pa po ito sa Bayan Muna na isang partylist group,” ang madalas ding dagdag na paliwanag.

Bukas Mayo 5 ang ika-29 na anibersaryo ng organisasyong ito. Maligayang kaarawan sa Bayan, ang Bagong Alyansang Makabayan!

 

  1. Bakit ba kayo tutol sa presensyang militar ng US? Hindi ba sila makakatulong laban sa panghihimasok  ng China?

Tutol tayo sa presensyang militar ng US dahil labag ito sa soberanya natin, magdudulot ito ng maraming problema, at porma ito ng panghihimasok ito sa ating bansa at tanda ng hindi pantay na relasyon. HINDI ito makakatulong sa atin laban sa China, tulad nang hindi nakatulong ang US Bases para gawing moderno ang AFP matapos ang mahigit 40 taon. Hindi nakatulong ang mga US bases noon kaya nga hindi na pinalawig ang mga ito mtapos ang 1991. Di rin naging moderno ang AFP matapos ang 15 taon ng VFA at mga Balikatan exercises. Ilusyon lang na tutulungan tayo ng US. Pati yung armas at barko na nakukuha natin sa US ay mga pinaglumaang gamit na sobrang magastos ang maintenance. Sa huli, ang pinoprotektahan ng US ay ang sarili nitong interes at ginagamit lang nito ang hidwaan sa China para maisulong ang agenda nito. Gusto ng US na sya ang maging dominante sa Asya, at ginagawa nitong tuntungan ang Pilipinas.

  1. Pero hindi ba mas OK na andyan ang US para matakot ang China?

Paano naman natin masasabing matatakot nga ang China kung andyan ang US? Eh paano kung hindi natakot at lalong lumala pa ang sigalot? Paano kung magpaligsahan sila sa South China Sea? Paano kung ang presensya ng US ay makapagdagdag pa sa tension? Maiipit tayo sa gitna ng 2 nag-uumupugang higante. Wala tayong panalo dun dahil magkaka-iba ang interes na pino-protektahan nila. Mas malaking probelma ang ireresulta ng presensya ng US kung gayon.

  1. Pero hindi ba susuportahan tayo ng US kung umatake ang China?

Hindi. Walang kasunduan sa ngayon ang nagsasabi na obligado ang US na awtomatikong rumeskbak sa China. Ang anumang aksyon ng US ay kailangan pang dumaan sa Kongreso nito. Malabo ding makipag-gera ang US sa China dahil sa laki ng utang ng US sa China na abot $1.28 trillion. Malaki din ang pakinabang ng US sa investments mula sa China, na umabot sa $14 billion noong 2013. Ang daming produkto ng US ang gawa sa China. Di hamak na mas malaki ang economic interest ng US sa China kumpara sa mga pinag-lalabanang isla at dagat sa South China Sea.

Larawan mula sa Anakbayan

 

  1. Eh bakit hindi kayo mag-rally kontra sa China?

Tutol ang Bayan at mga progresibong grupo sa panghihimasok ng China. Katunayan ay ilang ulit na ring nagprotesta ang mga grupo sa konsulado ng China mula pa nang manghimasok ang China sa Scarborough o Panatag Shoal.

 

Larawan mula kay Noel Celis, galing sa http://www.abs-cbnews.com

  1. Hindi ba ang pagkontra sa US ay pagsuporta sa China?

Hindi tamang lohika ito. Para na ring sinabi na pag ayaw mo ng Jolibee, gusto mo ng McDo. O pag hindi ka Kapuso, Kapamilya ka. Ang pagtutol sa isang bully ay hindi nangangahulugan ng pagsuporta sa isa pang bully. Di natin kailangang pumili kung sino mas gusto natin, yung rapist o yung magnanakaw. Ang nais natin ay maging tunay na independent, nagsasarili sa usapin ng patakarang panlabas. Nang sa gayon, maisulong natin ang pinakamabuti para sa ating pambansang interes, hindi yung mabuti para sa interes ng dayuhan.

  1. Kung ayaw nyo sa sundalong Kano, paano sa tingin nyo dedepnsahan natin ang bansa laban sa China?

Una ay may mga larangang internasyunal na pwede tayong gamitin para sa mapayapang pag-resolba ng problema sa West Philippine Sea. Andyan ang International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea, isang larangang legal. Andyan din ang international opinion para kondenahin ang panghihimasok ng China. Kailangang gamitin ang lahat ng paraang diplomatiko para itaguyod ang ating soberanya. Pero sa long-term, kailangang umunlad ang ekonomiya ng Pilipinas para magkaroon ito ng kapasidad na depensahan ang teritoryo nito. Sa pag-unlad ng ekonomya, magkakaroon tayo ng barko at iba pang gamit para depensahan an gating teritoryo. Magagawa lang ito kung tunay na independiente tayo. Hangga’t umaasa tayo sa mga dayuhang kapangyarihan tulad ng US, mananatili tayong mahina. Estratehiya yan kasi ng US, yung panatiliin tayong nakaasa para madali nila tayong nadidiktahan. Kailgangang kumawala tayo sa anumang dayuhang dikta, mula sa China man o sa Amerika.

 

RELATED: 7 things you need to know about the Obama administration 

 

Protesta laban sa pagkawasak ng Tubbataha Reef dahil sa pagsadsad ng barkong pandigma ng US. Hanggang ngayon ay di pa rin nagbabayad ng danyos ang US. (Larawan mula kay Leon Dulce)

nobama     US President Barrack Obama is set to visit the Philippines on April 28-29 to affirm the supposed “special relations” between the two countries. A media friend commented that Obama would very likely be given a “rock star welcome”, being the first US president to visit in 11 years. The visit puts the spotlight on US-PH relations in a time when the Philippines confronts a regional maritime dispute and when the US seeks to establish itself as a Pacific power to arrest its economic decline. It is important to look beyond the pomp and glamour that accompanies state visits. It is important to take note of the context of America’s efforts to rebalance towards Asia as a means of advancing its own economic and security agenda. Before gushing over the soaring rhetoric about “friendship” and “mutual benefit”, it is important to know what the Obama administration really stands for in terms of its economic and military policies.

  1. Obama has authorized internet spying on a level unheard of until NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden came out. The US National Security Agency gathered all forms of computer data, from phone calls to emails, across the globe, and violated the people’s right to privacy. The Obama administration also had no problem conducting surveillance on its own allies, as European leaders eventually found out. Civil liberties have taken a backseat to Obama’s drive to secure US dominance in the world.

 

  1. More than 2,400 have died in the 5 years of Obama’s drone warfare. Three days into his term, Obama authorized his first drone strike in Pakistan against alleged terrorists, killing at least 9 civilians in the process. In a span of 5 years, the Obama administration has launched more than 390 drone strikes. The Bush regime launched 51 in four years. Drone strikes violate international law and the sovereignty of countries targeted with the strikes. Yet as with the NSA global internet surveillance dragnet, US “national security” trumps human rights and international law any day, civilian casualties be damned. A week after Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize, a missile strike hit a tribal region in Yemen, killing at least 21 children and 12 women. The upcoming Agreement on Enhanced Defense Cooperation (AEDC) opens up the possibility of the US prepositioning its drones in the Philippines, making our country a party to the illegal drone strikes the US conducts overseas.

 

  1. Obama has escalated US intervention worldwide by ramping up deployment of US Special Forces all over the world and engaging in covert wars and power projection. Under the Bush regime, US Special Forces operated in some 60 countries. Under the Obama regime, US Special Forces are deployed in 134 countries worldwide, a 123% increase from the Bush years.  The US Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines of the US SOC has been stationed in Mindanao since 2002, 12 years after the US initiated its “war on terror”. They have been stationed in Camp Navarro in Zamboanga under a rotational deployment scheme. Interestingly, the AEDC’s original title was Agreement on Increased Rotational Deployment and Enhanced Defense Cooperation. The “Increased Rotational Deployment” was eventually dropped from the title of the agreement.

 

  1. The US government under Obama still has not paid a single cent for the damage one of its warships caused in Tubbataha Reef as well as the previous toxic waste dumps in former bases in Clark and Subic. On January 17, 2013, a US minesweeper, the USS Guardian, ran aground in a protected marine area known as the Tubbataha Reef, an area declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. No officer of the ship has been made accountable under PH laws. No payment has been made for more than 2,000 square meters damaged by the ship. It is the same story more than 20 years earlier when the US government refused to pay for the clean-up of their former military bases in Clark and Subic, saying that the clean-up of the toxic wastes was not part of the RP-US Military Bases Agreement.

 

  1. The US owes China some $1.28 trillion. Meanwhile, Chinese investments in the US are growing, even doubling in 2013. So that thing about the US going to war with China over some islands in the West Philippine Sea, it’s not likely going to happen. As Sen. Miriam Santiago pointed out in a recent radio interview, it is childish to think that if we are somehow attacked by China, the US will automatically retaliate. The US will base its response on what it deems is beneficial to its own interests and not the interests of its allies, the senator said.

 

  1. More whistleblowers have been prosecuted under Obama than in all of the 20th century. Obama has cracked down on whistleblower such as NSA analyst Edward Snowden, former Army Cpl. Bradley (Chelsea) Manning, and Jullian Assange of Wikileaks. The Obama administration has used the Espionage Act twice as many times as all previous US administrations combined. Whistleblowers who leak information concerning government abuses are considered “aiding the enemy”.

 

  1. The Obama administration is desperately pushing for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement as a means for the US to overcome its own economic crisis. It seeks to tear down any remaining barriers to investments and gives transnational corporations the power to sue governments and undermine their sovereignty. US activists have decried the pact as “NAFTA on steroids”. The push for the TPPA comes at a time when the Philippines is kicking off efforts to change its constitution and remove any restrictions to foreign investments and ownership. The Charter change move now taking place in Congress has been hailed by the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce as a good first step towards the Philippines eventually joining of the TPPA.

PH_nhi_gregorio_del_pilarAt an early age, Filipinos are taught about the “Boy General” Gregorio del Pilar and the Battle of Tirad Pass. Filipino elementary students got to read about this era in Philippine history known as the Philippine-American War. Del Pilar has been known as a symbol of heroic resistance to American colonization. He fought with 60 men against a much superior US force. To younger folks, that’s kind of the equivalent of Leonidas and his brave 300 defending Thermopylae against the advancing Persian army.

Gregorio del Pilar exemplified tremendous courage amid overwhelming odds that favored the enemy. “What I do is done for my beloved country. No sacrifice can be too great,” he wrote in his journal on the eve of the Battle of Tirad Pass. Del Pilar died in that battle, his body reportedly stripped of his personal belongings. He was not buried until after three days. 

It is therefore such a great irony that the  name “Gregorio del Pilar” is used by institutions and objects that are glaring reminders of US colonialism.

Fort Gregorio del Pilar is home to the Philippine Military Academy whose graduates become officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Majority of these officers have embraced increased US military presence and intervention in the country. Lately, the AFP has supported the Agreement on Enhanced Defense Cooperation which will allow the US to put up facilities inside PH facilities and preposition their war materiel in these facilities. The same officers believe that AFP modernization can only be achieved if the country hangs on to the coat-tails of Uncle Sam. Not surprising since the PMA, ironically, follows the tradition of the US Military Academy.

The US Hamilton-class cutter acquired by the Philippines under the Excess Defense Articles and Foreign Assistance Act was named BRP Gregorio del Pilar. The ship was first used in 1967 during the Vietnam war. Prior to being transferred to the Philippine Navy, the ship was stripped of most of its high-tech equipment. The cost of maintaining the ship is greater than the acquisition cost, according the budget hearings of the Philippine Congress.

PF 15- BRP Gregorio del Pilar [WHEC-715] Official sendoff from the United States  1-798727

 

“Gregorio del Pilar” the ship is a prime example of how neo-colonial relations work. The Philippines constantly depends on the US for military aid, while the US provides us with second-hand equipment to keep our armed forces backward and constantly dependent on US support. The Vietnam War era ship is a glaring reminder of how the US puts one over us in the name of “special relations” and “friendship”. The US has no real intention of modernizing the AFP because it keeps our country dependent on US military aid. This is the leverage used by the US to gain the approval of one-sided military pacts like the Agreement on Enhanced Defense Cooperation set to be signed during US President Barack Obama’s visit on April 28-29.

The meaning and significance of del Pilar has been lost on the present and past neo-colonial puppet governments. The current and future generations of Filipino youth should reclaim “Gregorio del Pilar” as a symbol of heroic resistance to US imperialism. Del Pilar reminds us that it is our duty to oppose foreign intervention, even if the odds are not in our favor. Instead of following the colonial tradition set by the US Military Academy, cadets at the PMA should study and emulate del Pilar’s nationalist and anti-colonial stand.

As del Pilar had shown, one is never too young to stand up for national sovereignty.

 

Sa Enero 21, nanawagan ang Bayan ng pagkilos sa harap ng Korte Suprema at sa iba pang mga lugar, laban sa pagtaas ng singil sa kuryente ng Meralco. Panawagan ito sa lahat ng galit sa pang-aabuso ng power industry at sa sabwatang Meralco-Aquino.

Magkaano muli ang itataas ng singil sa kuryente ng Meralco?

 

Sa orihinal na plano, isang one-time P3.44kWh increase ang balak nila. Kung kasama ang VAT, aabot ng P4.14/kWh ang itataas ng singil sa kuryente.

Dahil sa public pressure, at para i-preempt ang House hearing, ginawang staggered ng Meralco ang rate hike. Sumulat ito sa ERC. Spread over 3 months na lang daw ang increase. Sa unang buwan pinakamalaki, aabot ng P2.00/kWh

Inaprubahan ng ERC ang mungkahi ng Meralco na gawing staggered ang increase.

Hindi nagkaroon ng public hearing. Ayon sa Meralco at ERC, automatic pass-on ang increase na ito at hindi na kailangan pang dumaan sa public hearing. Mahalaga ang puntong ito sa usapin ng due process at interes ng mga konsyumer.

Ano ang ginawa ng mga tutol sa rate hike?

Naghain ng petition ang Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Kabataan at ACT Teachers partylist sa SC para hilingin ang TRO sa increase. Kasama sa demanda ang Meralco at ERC. Naghain din ng petisyon ang Nasecore.

Nag issue ng 60-day TRO ang SC kontra sa rate hike bago mag-Pasko. Ipinatigil ang koleksyon ng dagdag singil. PERO MARAMI NA ANG NAKABAYAD. Dapat isapubliko ng Meralco kung gaano na kalaki ang nasingil nito bago ipataw ang TRO at kung nasaan ang pera at kung kumikita ito ng interes.

 Ano ang nangyari sa kaso ng Meralco sa SC?

Pinarami pa ng SC ang sangkot. Kasama na ngayon ang mga generation companies, ang DOE, PEMC (spot market) etc. Nakatakda ang oral arguments sa January 21. Halos buong industriya na ang sangkot.

Bakit nga ba tumaas ang singil sa kuryente?

Tumaas ang GENERATION CHARGE ng Meralco. Ang generation ang pinakamalaking item sa ating electric bill. Ang generation rates, hindi tulad ng distribution, ay deregulated. Sa practice ay ginagawang automatic pass through ang mga increases dito. Ipinapasa ng Meralco ang mga increase sa generation rates direkta sa konsyumer nang hindi na dumadaan sa anumang hearing.

Ano ang dahilan ng pagtaas ng generation charge?

Sinasabing ang scheduled Malampaya shutdown ang naging isang salik sa pagtaas ng gen charge. Ang Malampaya ay dumaranas ng scheduled maintenance shut down kada 3 taon. Ibig sabihin ay predictable ito. Alam na mangyayari ito. Pwedeng paghandaan para mapunuan ang shortfall sa kuryente na ireresulta ng shutdown. 

Nagpasya ang Meralco na i-dispatch ang mga planta ng First Gas, na tatakbo gamit ang liquid fuel sa halip na natural gas. Mas mahal syempre ito nang doble sa natural gas. Nagresulta ito ng P1.04/kWh na increase.

Nangontrata din ang Meralco ng kuryente sa ilang mga gencos. Kumuha din ang Meralco ng 11.5% ng kuryente nito sa WESM. Pero labis na mataas ang presyuhan sa merkado dahil sa mga naganap na unscheduled shutdowns ng ilang planta.

Ang 11.5% na kinuha ng Meraco sa WESM ay nag-contribute ng 70% increase ng generation rates ng Meralco. Napakaliit ng share ng WESM sa kabuuang supply na kuryente ng Meralco pero ito ang nagtatakda ng presyo. Ito ang nagpapataas ng presyo. Yung P2.38/kWh sa kabuuang P4.14/kWh ang galing sa WESM!

Source of power
Contribution to increase
WESM P2.38/kWh
Gas Plants P1.04/kWh
Other plants P0.02/kWh

 

 

Source
Share in Meralco input
October 2013 price
November 2013 price
Total price increase
WESM 11.5% P13.74/kWh P33.22/kWh P19.48/kWh
Meralco IPP’s 41.9% P4.90/kWh P6.35/kWh P1.45/kWh
Meralco Power supply agreements 46.5% P4.44/kWh P5.27/kWh P0.83/kWh

 

Paano nangyari na ang 11.5% na kinuha ng Meralco sa WESM ang syang pinakamalaking bahagi ng rate hike? Paano nangyari na umabot sa P33.22/kWh ang average price ng WESM noong Nobyembre?

Nagkaroon ng mga unscheduled outages, nagresulta ito ng “tight supply”. Kailangang imbestigahan bakit sabay-sabay ang outage ng mga plantang ito. May pagsasamantala ba dahil alam nilang magkakaroon ng shortage sa supply bunga ng Malampaya shutdown? Kaya sinabayan nila ng sariling shutdown na magreresulta ng mas mataas ng presyo sa merkado?

Case Study Therma Mobile- Pag-aari ng Aboitiz

May kontrata ang Therma Mobile (diesel plant) na magsupply sa Meralco ng 0.6% ng power requirements nito. Ang presyo nito para sa Nobyembre, ayon sa kontrata, ay P8.65. Pero ayon sa records ng WESM, ang Therma Mobile ay nag-bid sa presyong P62/kWh nang ilang ulit noong Nobyembre at Disyembre. At ito ang humatak pataas ng presyo sa WESM. Ito ang nagpataas ng clearing price.

Paano nangyari na may bilateral contract sila sa Meralco pero nag-bid sila sa WESM ng napakataas?

Bilang may hawak ng supply contract, ang Meralco ang may kontrol sa bid ng Therma Mobile sa WESM. Ang Meralco ang nag-utos na mag-bid ang Therma Mobile ng P62/kWh sa WESM. Lumalabas na Meralco ang may kasalanan sa mataas ng presyo ng WESM dahil inutusan nya ang Therma Mobile na magbid ng mataas, gayong alam niyang hahatakin nito ang presyo pataas, bukod pa sa kumukuha din ng kuryente ang Meralco sa WESM (11.5% noong Nobyembre).

Nakinabang ba ang Meralco sa mataas na bid? Sasabihin ng Meralco at Therma Mobile na kapwa sila hindi nakinabang sa mataas na presyo sa WESM. Dahil na may kontrata na sila na P8.65/kWh, yun lang ang babayaran ng Meralco sa Therma, anuman ang kalabasan ang presyo sa WESM.

Yung ibang mga planta sa WESM ang nakinabang sa mataas na clearing price. Kaya dapat imbestighan, may iba pa bang planta ang Aboitiz na nakinabang sa mataas na clearing price during that time? May sosyo din ba ang Meralco sa iba pang generators sa panahong iyon? Sa mga plantang nag-shutdown, may iba pa ba silang plantang tumakbo na nakanibang sa mataas na clearing price?

Ang nakakainis dito, walang pakialam ang mga generators at maging ang Meralco sa itataas ng singil sa kuryente, dahil nga automatic pass-on naman ito sa consumer. Kahit pa umabot sa P62/kWh ang generation charge, ipapasa lang nila ito sa consumer. Oo nga pala, tinatayang P17 bilyon ang kita ng Meralco noong nakaraang 2013.

Ano naman ang ginagawa ng gobyerno?

Hindi inimebestigahan ang ERC ang posibleng abuso sa merkado. Inaprubahan ang staggered rate hike nang walang hearing. Hindi inimbestigahan ang kakaibang sirkunstansya ng increase sa WESM. Samantala, wala daw magic wand ang Palasyo para ipatigil ang mga rate hike.

Paano ba naman, makikinabang ang gobyerno sa P3.44/kWh increase dahil may dagdag pa itong 70 sentimos na VAT kada kWH. Ipagpalagay na ang Meralco ay nakakabenta ng 2.8 billion kWh sa isang buwan, ang kikitain ng gobyerno sa VAT sa rate hike ay aabot sa P1.96 bilyon sa isang buwan.

That’s P1.96 bilyon for not doing anything! Parang binigyan pa ng reward yung kainutilan ng gobyerno!

Ano ang magagawa ng mamamayan?

Ang problema ay nasa batas at sa klase ng industriya meron tayo. Privatized na ang halos buong industriya ng kuryente, mula generation, transmission at distribution. Tubo na ang gumagabay na prinsipyo dito. Ang patakarang automatic recovery o automatic pass-on ay nagtitiyak na tutubo ang mga pribadong negosyante sa kuryente, anuman ang sitwasyon o kundisyon. Nagagamit pa nga ito para pumasok sila sa mga kwestyunableng kontrata.

Kumabaga, mandato ng Meralco dapat na maghanap ng supply ng kuryente sa least cost o pinakamura. Pero paano nila gagawin ito kung may pribilehiyo sila ng automatic pass-on sa konsyumer, kung saan kahit gaano ka-mahal ang kuryente, ipapasa lang nila ito sa mga customer nila.

Noong ipinapasa pa lang ang EPIRA, nangako ang gobyerno na bababa ang singil sa kuryente dahil magiging mas efficient ang power sector at mawawala ang kurapsyon na matagal nang bumagabag sa Napocor. Fast-forward 10 years, dumoble ang presyo ng kuryente, at ang industriya ay kontrolado na ng iilang makapangyarihang negosyante. May WESM nga pero ito pa ang dahilan ng arbitraryong pagtaas ng singil sa kuryente.

EPIRA ang ugat ng problema. Ang  privatized at deregulated na industriya, kung saan walang accountability sa publiko ang mga pribadong negosyo, ang nagpapahirap sa mga konsyumer. Ang gobyernong walang pakialam sa kalagayan ng konsyumer ang nagpapanatili ng ganitong bulok sa sistema. Ito ang kailangang labanan at baguhin ng mamamayan. ###

Photo Retuers

The dictionary defines the word “hijack” to mean to take control of a moving vehicle such as a plane. I have been hearing  the word quite often in reference to rallies against the pork barrel system. Every time there is a rally, there seems to be the unfounded fear that the Left would “hijack” the event. I have come across such accusations on social media, on Twitter and Facebook. Some questions are well meaning, while others are just plain malicious with no other intention but to see the mass action fail.

I have tried my best to answer the well-meaning questions on Twitter and FB. I appreciate the efforts of  other netizens who try to put some sense into the discussions, not because they are leftists or anything but because they have enough common sense to know that we need a united front.

I say that the fear is often unfounded because this is hardly ever substantiated by anything other than one’s bias, or by an insidious motive to divide the broad front against pork corruption. One version of this is that the Left will hijack the rally and use it as a platform to attack Aquino. The anti-pork rally will become an anti-Aquino rally.

There are some issues we must answer here. Can the Left indeed hijack a rally such as the one in Luneta or Ayala? So how does one hijack a rally?  And what’s wrong in directing the protest at Aquino?

Yesterday, someone posted that a group of about 500 people at Ayala were hijacking the event by unfurling placards calling for the ouster of Aquino. I personally did not see this group that was being referred to so I doubt its accuracy. But assuming the report was true, I seriously doubt that a group of 500 people can hijack an event, not when there is an organizing committee that takes charge of the program and the conduct of the rally. The Left is part of that organizing committee as it works among the various groups and individuals helping out the event. The program committee is also supported by professional artists. We had an excellent director and various support staff. The program line up was more or less fixed. Unless the so-called 500 people got a bigger stage a, louder sound system and a bigger mobilization than the one that was already in Ayala, they couldn’t really do much in terms of hijacking the event.

Photo Val Rodriguez, Phil Star

The same fear was also raised in Luneta last August 26, that the Leftists with their streamers and placards and loud sound system, would hijack the rally. Well, there wasn’t much to “hijack” during the first Luneta rally since for the most part, there wasn’t even a centralized program as rally organizers did not want to have one. People could basically just do their own thing and find their own spot in the park. Unless you had a crowd and sound system as big as an El Shaddai Sunday gathering, hijacking Luneta would not be possible.

Rallies have organizing committees that prepare the program and conduct of the event. Groups discuss how the rally will take place. The Left is often part of the organizing committee. And the Left has always been upfront with its intentions. For example during the first Luneta rally, we informed other organizers early on that we would be marching to Mendoza after Luneta. We wanted to address our demands straight to the President.

I’ve seen a lot of ridiculous reactions in the run up to rallies, often coming as attempts to divide or scare people.

For example before the first Luneta rally, I got asked regarding the burning of an effigy. Apparently some folks saw a media report on a “pork” effigy which would be brought to Luneta. Some folks started raising the alarm that an effigy would be burned. They made a big deal out of it. When I checked what they were referring to, it turned out to be a papier mache’ of a small pig and it was not meant to be burned. (Some questions were well-meaning but others were just far-out).

Pero may mas OA pang reaksyon.

At the command tent in Luenta, as we were preparing for the rally, one person exclaimed, “Oh no, they’re burning an effigy!” When we looked, it turned out to be a group using incense for a morning prayer. OA di ba? Pero buti sana kung simpleng OA lang ang problema. Making a big deal out of these issues is a calculated attempt to scare and confuse people, a move that would serve the interests of Malacanang and the pork defenders.

A  day before the August 26 Luneta rally, a malicious and anonymous “Ibagsak and rehimeng  US-Aquino”  SMS  started circulating. The text said that the uprising was to start in Luneta and end in Mendiola. The text message was obviously a scare tactic. Bayan had no problem denouncing the SMS since it was never ours to begin with. Other netizens reposted our disclaimer. A similar SMS circulated a day before the Ayala rally, again designed to make it appear that the text came from the Left. Some netizens quickly exposed the scare tactic even before we even had to. (Meanwhile, a tweet by one Leah Navarro, staunch supporter of Aquino, said that that SMS was proof that the rally had already been hijacked. So gets nyo na sino nakikinabang sa mga ganung text?)

Our group has always been upfront with our position on the Aquino regime. We never hid the fact that we are opposed to this regime on many issues such as land reform, human rights, sovereignty, economic development and so on. We hold protests during Aquino’s State of the Nation Address, and that’s no secret. So expect that the participation of the Left in these broad anti-pork rallies will also include a sharper critique of and a more direct message addressed to the President.

And why not? The pork barrel issue clearly calls for it.

Aquino is THE biggest hindrance to the removal of the pork barrel system. We have enumerated the reasons in our previous public statements.

  1. Aquino refuses to scrap the pork barrel system, both the congressional pork and the much bigger presidential pork. In the 2014 budget, while PDAF is no longer there, the funds were merely transferred to other line agencies while lawmakers retained the “right” to nominate their pet projects which will appear as line items in the budget. That’s still pork, no matter how you cook it.
  2. Aquino has asked the Supreme Court to lift the TRO on the release of the remaining 2012 PDAF and the Malamapaya funds.
  3. Aquino has given special treatment to Janet Napoles, threatening to undermine the investigation and prosecution of those involved in the scam. This may lead to selective prosecution.
  4. Aquino has been caught red-handed in disbursing so-called government “savings” as a form of pork and incentive for politicians. Many have pointed out the unconstitutionality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program, yet the Palace is sticking to its defense. Aquino wants to preserve the system of lump sum discretionary funds and the corrupt system of patronage that pork makes possible.

Which brings us to the next point. Why shouldn’t the rally be critical of Aquino? What’s wrong if groups carry placards that say Aquino is the Pork Barrel King? What’s wrong with directing the demand to abolish pork squarely at Malacanang?

(Of course the event itself has a common theme and all participating groups and individuals agree to that. However, the common theme is just that. It’s a common theme but it is not the ONLY call nor is it the maximum demand that some groups  can push. The common theme or call is not a ceiling or a cap. It is the minimum basis of unity for holding the event. )

Now, the usual modus of the die-hard Aquino supporter is this: they spread on social media that the protest against pork will be turned into a venue to attack Aquino. They believe that since Aquino is SO popular, portraying an event as ANTI-Aquino will make the event flop. It will turn off people. Grabe din ang arrogance no?

Now some folks easily fall for this trap for one reason or another. They will make the unnecessary disclaimer that this is NOT an anti-Aquino rally in order to pacify the die-hard pro-Aquino intrigeros on social media who keep saying that an anti-Aquino call would prevent others from joining. They sometimes fail to see that the intention of the intrigue is to force the organizers to say that the rally is NOT anti-Aquino, NOT oppositional to Aquino, in order to blunt the message. So that later on, the President can say that he and the protesters are on the same side. The rally is in fact in support of the Daang Matuwid and the President. The President’s officials are even willing to meet with the rally organizers so they can sit down and discuss alternatives. We’re all in this together. Damay-damay na etc etc. .

Galing di ba? So who’s  hijacking the rally now?

What I also find bothersome and insulting is that in the attempt to appease these so-called “pro-Aquino yet anti-pork netizens”, some protest organizers, wittingly or unwittingly, reinforce the unfounded allegations and biases against the Left.

So what if some groups carry anti-Aquino calls, isn’t that within their right to express themselves? That doesn’t negate the character of the Ayala event as an anti-pork rally. So why make a disclaimer that can be turned and used against the rally organizers? Why make a disclaimer that can be used to attack one of the participants of the rally, particularly the Left?

I saw one accusation, though no direct reference was made, that the Left was “nakikisakay at nanggagamit” and that they are no different from politicians. If indeed it was the left that was being referred to, I would want that person to know what the Left did for the Ayala rally so that the person could be disabused of the notion that the Left was “nakikisakay at nanggagamit”.

The Left brought in people early to the Ayala rally, occupying a huge space that was there when the program was about to start and the Makati employees had not arrived. Kumakalog ang Paseo nung simula dahil wala pang tao. The Left also brought in other allies and anti-pork groups and personalities, some of whom were hesitant to join the Ayala rally because they thought that the message was too soft on Malacanang. (Yes there are those types too.) We mobilized artists, support staff, speakers as well as resources. It was the Bayan forces who stayed throughout the program at Ayala, even when the heavy rains started pouring. They stayed up to the end of the rally. Hindi sila bumitiw.

For those not familiar with organizing rallies, mobilizing people is difficult work. You prepare transportation, food, marshals, placards and stuff. It’s not as easy as writing a press release or making a Facebook meme. And these groups, the workers, the farmers, urban poor, professionals; they all made their own sacrifices to make the event a success by mobilizing their members from the communities and workplaces that were relatively far from Makati.

Contrast the efforts of the workers and farmers say to one Jim Paredes who is noisy on social media but admitted in one of the meetings for the first Million People March in Luneta that he was NOT for the abolition of PDAF (because it can be used for good) but was only supportive of prosecuting Napoles.

Contrast the efforts of the students and urban poor groups mobilizing to folks such as those in the Black and White Movement who during the anti-Arroyo protests only mobilized enough people to fill a van, yet they get to be interviewed all over the place as if they mobilized the entire rally in Ayala. (Ask any of the groups active in the anti-GMA movement and they’ll tell you the same).

The good thing though with these protests is that those actively involved have “leveled-up” so to speak. Hats off to the commitment displayed by netizens, bloggers, artists such as Juana Change and many others, who really worked to make the rally successful. Sila yung totoong nagtatrabaho. Hindi tulad nung nagte-text o retweet lang ng kung anu-anung kabalbalan, kunwari concerned sa kalalabasan ng rally pero sa totoo lang wala naman silang intensyong dumalo ng rally, at ang gusto lang ay manggulo at manghati.

Our understanding of the issue has also developed. The first Luneta rally was expectedly focused on Napoles and PDAF. The succeeding rallies tried to raise the discussion to lump sum discretionary spending. In Ayala, we’ve seen how participants of the rally gained the understanding that pork is not just PDAF. It also includes DAP and other forms of discretionary spending. The call to abolish ALL pork became clearer.

This movement is progressing. This cannot be prevented. The defenders of pork can only hope to divide the movement by attacking the Left, or by arousing some irrational fear of an evil opposition take-over.

The defenders of pork have grown desperate. They will ultimately fail.

Photo Philippine Daily Inquirer

Are survey results being recycled?

Posted: September 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

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We ask this question after news of the “latest” Social Weather Stations survey came out showing that 3 out of 4 Filipinos are satisfied with the performance of the Aquino administration. The +66 net satisfaction rating was called a record high. News of the survey results came out September 19, at the height of the Zamoboanga crisis and the pork barrel scandal. The SWS survey was said to have been conducted between June 28-30.

It just so happened that this is not the first time the SWS survey from June 28-30 was used in a news story. Reports of what appears to be the same survey already came out last July 22, just hours before Aquino was set to deliver his State of the Nation Address. In July 22, Aquino’s net satisfaction rating was pegged at +64 according to SWS.

Are the results released in July and September just based on one survey (June 28-30) with the same set of respondents? And if so, why release the results in two batches, one as a survey  on Aquino’s net satisfaction rating and another as a survey on the Aquino (national) administration’s net satisfaction rating?

More importantly, why are the results of the survey apparently taken last June 28-30 released months apart, with the releases appearing to be timed for crucial events such as the SONA and now the Zamboanga crisis and the pork barrel scandal?

It is clear of course who really stands to benefit from this conditioning of the public mind. Aquino has become desperate as he continues to resist widespread calls for the abolition of the pork barrel system and for the prosecution of all those involved in the pork scam, including administration allies. Aquino just faced his biggest protest last August 26 and the protests are being sustained throughout the country for the month of September. Not many people fell for Aquino’s “abolish pork” speech before August 26. Aquino even tried to make it appear that he and the Luneta protesters were on the same side. The Aquino regime then went on to attack anti-pork protesters, sowing intrigues that made it appear the groups were not united.

By next week, the new pork system would have been passed on second reading by the House of Representatives. It is still pork, just by another name. Tomorrow, groups will commemorate the 41st anniversary of Martial Law as they vow to “level up” the protests and to #neverPORKget.

P.S. : Shout out to PxO for the heads up.

Results of June 28-30 survey released September 19, 2013.

Results of June 28-30 survey released in July 22.

Why protest on September 21?

Posted: September 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

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1. Because the prosecution of those involved in the pork barrel scam is still not complete and can be undermined any time by Aquino himself.

2. Because the Napoles NGO’s comprise only 8 out of the 82 NGO’s COA reported to have questionable transactions involving PDAF. The COA report from 2007-2009 also does not reveal the true extent of systemic corruption. Many more should be investigated.

3. Because Congress plans to retain pork under a new system; that even if there is no longer a lump-sum PDAF, lawmakers will still get to identify and recommend projects to the different implementing agencies (itemized pork). Next week, Congress is expected to pass on second reading the proposed budget, along with the new itemized pork system.

4. Because he who has the biggest pork of all refuses to give it up, while preserving the system of patronage politics in Congress.

5. Because 41 years after Martial Law, bureaucrat capitalism has become even more rapacious under the so-called tuwid na daan. September 21 reminds us how plunderers and rights violators like the Marcoses have largely gone unpunished under a rotten and corrupt system.

Ang gobyerno’y kurap. Ang bayan ay naghihirap. Kailangan ng pagbabagong ganap.