News At A Glance

Farmers’ group wary of reported SDO junking

The militant peasant organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), together with the Alyansa ng Manggagawang-Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA), Aug. 26 dared the Department of Land Reform (DLR) to show copy of any official decision regarding the scrapping of the stock distribution option (SDO).

KMP secretary general Danilo “Ka Daning” Ramos said that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, through the DLR, “is just using the issue to gain some ‘pogi points’ and to get back at Cory (Aquino, former president) but this would not work.” He stressed that “the call of the farm-workers in Hacienda Luisita is still ‘OUST GLORIA!’” and that “no amount of bribery or concessions can change that.”

Ramos added that more than Macapagal-Arroyo’s scheme for “pogi points,” “the SDO should be junked because it is extremely unjust to farm workers” for years.

Meanwhile AMBALA president Rene “Ka Boyet” Galang challenged the government to start the pull out of the military in all the barangays (villages) in the hacienda “if indeed that the administration is sincere in junking the SDO.”

Galang said that since the end of the International Solidarity Mission (ISM) last Aug 17 which probed into alleged human rights violations under the Macapagal-Arroyo administration, the strikers and Barangay Balete have been subjected to almost daily harassment by the military. (

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Solon wants intelligence fund removed

Optimistic that regime change would take effect on or before next year, Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano urged Congress Aug. 25 to configure the country’s budget to be well-suited for the next government.

He said that the next administration “should prioritize basic services like health and education, instead of debt payments which interest payments alone reportedly swallow P931 million a day and military and war spending which gets the third largest chunk in Malacanang’s proposed outlay.”

Mariano also called for the immediate removal of the intelligence funds of the Office of the President estimated at P1.2 billion which the president, he said, utilizes “as bribe money and to beef up Malacanang’s war chest.”

The intelligence fund was retained in Malacanang’s 2006 budget proposal.

“The worsening political and economic crisis clearly suggests the need to oust President Macapagal-Arroyo,” Mariano said, stressing that “Congress should now consider that the budget could be readily adopted by the next regime.” (

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‘Rats’ gear for Arroyo visit to NY

Filipinos in the United States have formed Rapid Action Teams (Rats) that will follow and hound President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during her visit for the 2005 United Nations World Summit in Manhattan on Sept. 15 and 16.

Dubbed as “Gotta-Go-Glo,” the hounding tour which is a joint effort led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-USA and the local NYC for Gloria’s Ouster Coalition will begin upon the president’s arrival in New York a week before the UN summit.

“It befits Arroyo to have Rats follow her around the city wherever she goes,” said Bayan-USA’s Berna Ellorin. “Rats, characteristically, smell and are attracted to what is rotten in our society. Arroyo has proven the rotten and heinous nature of her administration and now must heed the people’s call for her to step down.”

Among the other protest events organized in NYC are RAGE 2, or Rock Against Gloria, an all-Filipino rock concert on September 3, at the C-Note located on 157 Avenue C and 10th St. 7pm in the East Village. The first RAGE concert was held late 2000 titled “Rock Against Erap.” (

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Ocampo to file omnibus bill on oil industry

Responding to widespread demands for immediate and long-term relief from oil price increases, Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo said Aug. 24 that he will file an omnibus petroleum industry bill that will repeal the Oil Deregulation Law and restore state control on the highly important product.

The highlights of the bill will include: the setting up of a regulatory body similar to the former Energy Regulatory Board (ERB) that will receive and hear applications for oil price increases with public consultations; formation of a centralized oil procurement mechanism which shall direct the government to look for the cheapest possible sources of petroleum products from abroad; buying back of Petron from Aramco by reallocating a portion of principal or interest payments for Philippine foreign debt; and the aggressive research, development, and promotion of alternative fuel sources.

“The people demand a reprieve from the excesses under the regime of deregulation,” said Ocampo. “Price hikes have become too frequent, while rollbacks are few and far between.”

Ocampo also said that the “State should also check and stop the exploitative practices of the oil cartel like transfer-pricing, overpricing and over-recoveries.” (
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Int’l peasant group slams call for Chavez’s assassination

In its recent executive committee teleconference, the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC), the largest peasant organization in Asia, condemned Aug. 24 the statement of Pat Robertson, a known U.S. televangelist, calling for the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

“This is the peak of hypocrisy for a so-called man of God calling for the assassination of anyone let alone, a popular president who was elected and defended by his people,” said APC secretary general and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) chair Danilo “Ka Daning” Ramos stressing Chavez’s “sweeping reforms for the improvement of the lives of his people, particularly the workers and peasants.”

Meanwhile APC treasurer Dr. Irene Fernandez, a Malaysian human rights advocate who is also a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, said that “the 700 Club should be banned from airing and Pat Robertson should be stopped from spewing his venomous pronouncements.”

She also challenged George W. Bush to condemn Robertson’s statement and do a decisive action against him and his show. “If Bush does not do this and if anything untoward happens to President Hugo Chavez, then we will also hold him accountable for this.”

The APC is composed of more than three million peasants from the Philippines, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. (

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