Bayan Muna-Southern Mindanao Region expressed fears that the P1.06-trillion 2006 budget, now in the Senate for approval, will be used by Malacañang allegedly for the charter change drive.
Bayan Muna-SMR spokesperson Jeppie Ramada criticized what he described as the “state’s propensity to consume the national budget for its personal gains.” He also recalled Election Commissioner Resureccion Borra’s statement that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has no funds to support the verification of the signatures for the people’s initiative which would cost to as much as P1 billion and the plebiscite on charter change that would amount to about P2.6 billion.
Ramada also cited Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya who affirmed that Malacañang could use the contingency fund and savings in the reenacted budget to finance the plebiscite in case there is no sufficient fund for such measure.
“Arroyo is deadset in circumventing the law and conducting massive plunder of people’s funds to rewrite the charter and perpetuate her stay in power,” Ramada said.
Ramada also refuted Macapagal-Arroyo’s statement that the 2006 budget would propel significant economic and political growth, saying “her claim is at odds with her anti-poor programs and prioritizations in the national budget.” (Bulatlat.com)
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Media groups hit Valencia mayor’s order to close radio station
Local media groups in Mindanao have criticized Mayor Jose Galario of Valencia City, Bukidnon for his moves to close the Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) station. They likewise denounced the death threats hurled by Galario against Joas Dignos, anchorman of RMN dxVM radio station in Valencia City.
In a statement, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said there were witnesses who said that Galario was brandishing his firearm outside the radio station on April 5 after Dignos refused to comply with the mayor’s closure notice. The notice was sent at 8:30 a.m. of April 5.
Anna Lyn Somoza, a staff of RMN, told the NUJP she heard Galario shouting at Dignos, “Gawas dire kay patyon ta ka (Come out and I will kill you).” But Somoza said the mayor’s men got the tape recorder they placed on the wall of the toilet to record Galario’s threats.
Galario told the NUJP that “the said broadcast continued to malign the duly constituted authority and destroys the moral and welfare of the people. He (Dignos) has been using press freedom as his decoy for his political agenda.”
Galario also sent notice to the First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative to cut the electricity of DXVR. Somoza, however, said the electric cooperative declined the mayor’s notice because the radio station has been paying its electric bill.
Lawyer Butch Bagabuyo, counsel of DXVR, told the NUJP that it has been “unfortunate” for Galario not to know that only the National Telecommunications Commission can close down a radio station and only Congress can revoked the franchise of the station.
Meanwhile, the Alsa Media Dos, Cagayan de Oro Press Club Inc. (COPC), and Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasters ng Pilipinas (KBP or Philippine Broadcasters Association)-CDO, slammed Galario for allegedly trying to intimidate the media to yield to his will.
Dignos, who bravely continued his program on air despite that day’s tension outside, said he would file charges against Galario.
“No local government can stop airing a legitimate broadcast and we will look into the legal action against him,” Bagabuyo told the NUJP. (Bulatlat.com)
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