By Maguayen Marino
Billions spent in obsolete, decommissioned equipment and war materiel
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate scored the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for spending billions of pesos for obsolete and decommissioned equipment and war materiel under the supposed modernization of the armed forces.
During, the ongoing plenary debates on the 2015 national budget, it was revealed that from 2000-2013, a total of P53.166 billion has already been released during the first phase of the AFP Modernization Program. Last year, another P5 billion was also additionally released for the same purpose.
“To date the only notable purchases made by the AFP were the obsolete and decommissioned equipment mostly from the US, like the two (2) coast guard Hamilton class cutters and 22 vintage armed personnel carriers (APCs). These were all in fact purchased by the AFP in violation of their own modernization law and now they are asking for an additional P20 billion more,” said Rep. Zarate.
The AFP Modernization law Section 4 (b) states that “capability, materiel, and technology development – The AFP Modernization Program entails the development and employment of certain capabilities that can address the assessed threats: Provided, That the acquisition of air force, navy and army equipment and materiel of such types and quantities shall be made in accordance with the need to develop AFP capabilities pursuant to its modernization objectives: Provided, further, That the acquisition of new equipment and weapons systems shall be synchronized with the phase-out of uneconomical and obsolete major equipment and weapons systems in the AFP inventory: Provided, even further, That NO MAJOR EQUIPMENT AND WEAPONS SYSTEM shall be purchased if the same are not being used by the armed forces in the country of origin or used by the armed forces of at least two countries: ,Provided, furthermore, That only offers from suppliers who are themselves the manufacturers shall be entertained: Provided, finally, That no supply contract shall be entered into unless such contract provides for, in clear and unambiguous terms, an after-sales services and the availability of spare parts.”
“The defense department and the AFP should be held accountable for this; Congress should dig deeper further into how funding for this modernization program is being spent,” ended Rep. Zarate.
Davao City’s women’s rights champion Representative Luz Ilagan and her Gabriela Party-list are in the forefront of a campaign to send to jail Davao City Police director Vicente Danao for violation of Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) Act of 2004.
We laud Rep. Ilagan and Gabriela for their energy to make Mr. Danao answer for a crime presumably in violation of RA 9262, that was fanned by a video uploaded in YouTube of him in domestic quarrel with his wife.
But the efforts to protect womanhood of Rep. Ilagan and Gabriela by cutting the head of Mr. Danao we see as selective and nothing but a publicity stunt to justify people’s money spent for Gabriela as a party-list in the House of Representatives.
Last week, Davao City’s news and public affairs television programs reported about an unidentified American national dragging a Dabawenya Commercial Sex Worker (CSW) to a police station to complain about allegedly being shortchanged in a ‘blow job’ contract in a seedy motel.
The video showed the filthy American slapping and kicking the poor woman who was helplessly sitting on a bench while undergoing the brutality inside the San Pedro Police Station.
The mauling of the woman was carried out right in the presence of policemen, including the police duty officer, who did nothing to stop this filthy American from the cruelty inflicted on a resident of Davao City.
We are supposed to believe that there is equality in law.
If Mr. Danao violated RA 9262 in the confines of his home, this filthy American trampled on women rights right before the eyes of government law enforcers, inside a government building (police station), his brutality in blatant violation of RA 9262 shown to the public in a news report with nobody, after the fact, doing nothing about it including Rep. Ilagan and Gabriela and San Pedro Police Station commander Roland Lao, who could have immediately ordered an investigation if he is not ignorant about RA 9262 or Davao City’s own VAWC ordinance.
This insult should not be allowed to pass.
The Davao City Police trumpeting about having VAWC desks in every police station is a fluke if we take as a sad experience the case of the filthy American mauling a Dabawenyo CSW right inside a police station.
Let the Danao case proceed and the police officer made to suffer if he is guilty. But this filthy American should not be allowed to go scot-free in fairness to Mr. Danao and our laws aiming to protect women’s rights.
The winner in the Danao case, if the police officer is convicted, is his wife who has complained before police authorities about alleged violation of VAWC, and Rep. Ilagan and Gabriela for the credit they would earn for sending Mr. Danao to jail.
The loser would be M R. Danao and his career, and the Dabawenyos served for years and set to be served for many more years by this able police officer, who unselfishly offered himself and his career to make Davao City peaceful.
If there is a winner in the case of the American who complained about his aborted sexual orgasm, it is no other than the American himself (he could be a tourist who had already left the city) who went scot-free despite kicking and slapping a Dabawenya right inside a police station in full view of police officers, in this city which prides itself to the high heavens about having its own VAWC ordinance to protect its women.
The losers, in the case of the filthy American not being made to answer for his crime, are aplenty: the poor CSW, police credibility to enforce a law, and also Rep. Ilagan and Gabriela for selectivity in choosing which case merits their attention.
In the instant case, Rep. Ilagan and Gabriela lost credibility for selectivity in fighting for women rights, by riding only on high-profile cases like the Danao case, while letting go a blatant violator of RA 9262 by closing their eyes on the case of a filthy American kicking and slapping a woman right inside a police station in full view of police officers with the brutality captured on video and shown in television reports.
The despicable act of this filthy American should not be allowed to pass. (Immigration and police we are sure have his name; the video of this brutality can be provided by ABS/CBN and GMA.)
This filthy American, to give an example to other foreigners who due to their status think that they have a license to harm and insult Dabawenyas, should be brought to court asap for insulting Davao City and its ordinance to protect its women; in fairness to Mr. Danao; and as opportunity for Rep. Ilagan and Gabbriela to restore their credibility as champions of women’s rights.
In behalf of the Dabawenya, we pose this “Do-It-Right’ Challenge to Rep. Ilagan and Gabriela, and to Davao City Councilor Leah Librado, a Gabriela stalwart and chair of the City Council Committee on Women and Children Welfare, to go after this filthy American.
Failing this, their claim as champions of women’s rights has no merit.
They say Freedom of Information is not a sexy subject. Some veteran and award-winning photojournalists responded to this challenge and contributed their photos for free to help the public learn and understand the impact of FOI to every Filipino.
Can you help us share these photos? We created a Facebook album where you can share your favorite photo to friends who may not have heard of our FOI campaign. Feel free to tag them. We hope this will attract more people to sign and make our petition bigger.
We have two weeks left until the People’s FOI Now Coalition delivers all our signatures to Pres. Noynoy Aquino in time for his State of the Nation Address.
We believe that with more signatures, we can show the President thatpublic clamor is only getting stronger and there is no better time to pass FOI than now.
Chair, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
People’s FOI Now Coalition Member
MAKE PUBLIC THE BTC-SIGNED BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW; THE PEOPLE, NO LESS, DESERVE TO KNOW
The Mindanao Peoples Caucus along with kindred civil society organizations and grassroots communities in Mindanao strongly urge President Aquino to release to the public the signed BTC version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law and the comments thereon of the Malacanang legal team.
Invoking the acclaimed government policy on transparency and inclusiveness, it is high time that the draft BBL must be released to the public so that all stakeholders for peace will be assured that this remains faithful, compliant and consistent with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
Unhealthy speculations are running high about the fate of the peace road map agreed upon by both the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in a bid to settle over four decades of Moro rebellion in Mindanao. The longer these speculations persist, the greater the chance of eroding the public’s trust on the GPH-MILF peace process.
To be successful, the peace agreement that the parties forged through a 17-year negotiation must earn the widest public acclaim. We are therefore alarmed that the parties are seemingly doing nothing to stave off the erosion of public confidence on the viability of their political settlement.
We would like to emphasize here that the biggest stakeholders of the peace process are Mindanao’s grassroots communities and peoples who have suffered the most during the long periods of war. Let us not fail their expectations of finally enjoying normalcy in their lives by showing our resolve to defend the gains of the peace process, particularly the integrity of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
These unhealthy speculations are bred by the continuing unavailability to public scrutiny of the Bangsamoro Basic Law drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC). We note that it has been more than two months since the BTC submitted the full text of the draft Basic Law to the Office of the President. And until today, the public is yet to know the contents of this historic document.
When enacted, the Basic Law will serve as charter of the new autonomous entity in Mindanao that expectedly embody the attributes of meaningful self-governance for the Moro people. As such, it will be among the principal measures that will make the letter and spirit of the CAB come to life.
In the process of writing the Basic Law, the BTC asked the public, especially the grassroots communities and sectors, to provide inputs and share their thoughts and sentiments. With the Basic Law now drafted by the BTC, the public deserves to know how much of their hopes and dreams for a fresh social order are embodied in that instrument. In light of this, we appeal to President Aquino to reveal to the public the full text of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
We feel that enough time has passed for a thorough review of the BTC draft; it is also about time to give the public, especially the Bangsamoro constituency, the opportunity to examine the document. In the spirit of transparency which is the avowed policy of the administration of President Aquino, we urge the BTC to release to the public the text of the Basic Law it drafted. We also urge the Office of the President to immediately release its comments to the BTC’s draft Basic Law even before a ‘revised’ draft is submitted to Congress by July 28.
All these processes must be transparent to all stakeholders in Mindanao and the country. We trust that President Aquino heed this appeal in the greater interest of transparency and of maintaining public trust and confidence in the peace process.
MINDANAO PEOPLES CAUCUS
July 1, 2014
June 20, 2014
We acknowledge the apology made by Davao City Police Director Senior Superintendent Vicente Danao on his outburst on three reporters. The apology was prompt coming from widespread criticism from fellow media and the public.
We also commend the three reporters: SunStar Davao’s Ivy Tejano, Mindanao Times’ Maria Cecilia Badiang and Edge Davao’s Armand Fenequito for being courageous amid in the face of brazen intimidation.
But we should not just stop there. We journalists and the public should demand that more steps should be done to make media free from intimidation, coercion and unfair treatment.
We demand this because we cannot accept the outburst incident was simply due to lack of sleep or stress from probing high-profile cases.
Not when we journalists have seen the quality of the city’s law enforcement agency and the whole Davao City police personnel who treats the media in the same manner they treat arrested suspects and criminals. You can call this irresponsible treatment, insensitivity, arrogance or disrespect.
This attitude comes from the assumption that journalists just stick their noses and ask scrutinizing questions on matters such as criminalities, killings, peace and order, and human rights. They think such nosiness derails or challenges their role, and thus, they treat media with disdain and intimidation.
We need to remind officers that journalists, like them, are bound by duty to serve the public. Issues such as criminality have increased lately, and the general public especially victims are concerned about the latest updates on cases.
We journalists act on that interest to let the public to know how the cases are progressing. So we ask, probe, go around police precincts and other places to come out with facts. At times, we may even beat the police in finding leads on the cases. At times we reveal information in the pursuit of constitutionally guaranteed right to information.
The media profession is an expression of public trust; hence delivery of relevant news is an act of public service, bestowed by a people who rely on non-government/private institutions for facts. The media does not work with and for government and its establishment, but works for and on behalf of the people. Never are we to be treated as extension of the government’s public relations tool that only takes official statements.
After Danao’s apology there is a challenge on the city’s law enforcers. The general view that investigations are always stalled, dismissed as love triangles and petty squabbles; while law enforcers are often seen to first abuse and disregard human rights in which some in our media profession have been victims too such as the assaults on photojournalists Karlos Manlupig from Philippine Daily Inquirer and Barry Ohaylan from Pinoy Weekly, and the interrogation of Radyo ni Juan Tagum reporters.
It is not surprising why killings of journalists and ordinary citizens are happening, or when the people suspect police and militaryofficers are behind some crimes. Impunity is occurring because of the lack of improvement in the criminal justice system.
The NUJP Davao City Chapter implores our fellow journalists not to be cowed by such incidence where persons of authority stepped over us. Let us continue our task to cover and uncover the truth and battle impunity in our midst.
NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES (NUJP)
Chair, NUJP Davao City
The New People’s Army (NPA) said it has nothing to do with the ambush-killing of Laak Mayor Rey Navarro of Compostela Valley province despite the mayor’s involvement in illegal logging.
“While Navarro was part of the Big 4 in Agusan-Comval-Davao del Norte forests, the NPA has not considered him an enemy that warrants …. a death sentence. Navarro’s track record did not make him a legitimate military target, thus, no revolutionary punishment was executed against him, “ said Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesman of the NPA Operations Command in Southern Mindanao, in a statement emailed to durianburgdavao today, May 29.
“The New People’s Army Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command condemns the killing of Mayor Reynaldo Navarro and offers condolences with his family and colleagues,” said Sanchez.
Navarro was shot dead Wednesday morning in Asuncion town by motorcycle-riding gunmen. He was in the lead car of a two-vehicle convoy when waylaid around 8:30 AM. His security escorts engaged the gunmen in a firefight killing two of them.
Media reports had quoted Lt.Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the Army’s Eastern Mindanao Command based in Davao City, as blaming the NPA for the ambush of Navarro, a former Compostela Valley vice governor and on his last term as Laak mayor.
In accusing the NPA of Navarro’s ambush, the 10th Infantry Division-Eastern Mindanao Command-AFP shows that it is poised to agitate and conscript Navarro’s Lumad supporters and followers, said Sanchez.
Sanchez said that as a politician. Navarro had “cooperated” with the NPA and “demonstrated actions that point to his recognition of the revolutionary cause.”
Navarro had been warned and cautioned against his involvement in illegal logging but he has no “grave offenses” that would warrant a Death penalty, said Sanchez.
Sanchez denial of NPA involvement in Navarro’s death came even as the mayor had earlier been tagged as a “legitimate target” by another NPA unit.
In a statement emailed to durianburgdavao on May 22, a week before he was killed, the NPA-Comval-North Davao South Agusan Sub-regional Command said Navarro is a member of the “Big 4 logging lords” operating in Laak.
The statement was supported by video footage of cut logs strewn along roads that, according to the NPA, proved “logging is rampant in Laak villages.”
“For as long as local reactionaries like Navarro continue to make big business out of the remaining forest resources, the NPA will impose measures to protect the environment and peasants, Lumads and masses who suffer from the effects of rampant logging. Fascist troops who continue to violate human rights of peasants while plundering the forests are legitimate targets, said Ka Aris Francisco, spokesperson of the NPA sub-regional command.
May 29, 2014
Navarro’s track record did not make him a legitimate military target
The New People’s Army Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command condemns the killing of Mayor Reynaldo Navarro and offers condolences with his family and colleagues in Laak, Compostela Valley.
While Navarro was part of the Big 4 in Agusan-Comval-Davao del Norte forests, the NPA has not considered him an enemy that warrants a standing order or a recipient of a death sentence. Navarro’s track record did not make him a legitimate military target, thus, no revolutionary punishment was executed against him.
As a long-time politician whose area covers territories of the People’s Democratic Government in Compostela Valley, Navarro has cooperated with comrades and in many ways have demonstrated actions that point to his recognition of the revolutionary cause.
In the last few years, however, his business interest in logging and agribusiness expansion has increased. Comrades have repeatedly warned him of his increasing anti-people activities.
Navarro had merely ignored these warnings, thus, forcing the NPA Comval-North Davao South Agusan Sub-regional Command to caution him publicly against wanton logging, militarization and the attendant human rights abuses that occur during these operations.
In the midst of these warnings, there are no strong grounds showing Navarro’s grave offenses against the revolutionary movement that would necessitate the People’s Democratic Government to hand down the maximum penalty of capital punishment.
In accusing the NPA of Navarro’s ambush, the 10th Infantry Division-Eastern Mindanao Command-AFP shows that it is poised to agitate and conscript Navarro’s Lumad supporters and followers to become its new lackeys and bandits under the Oplan Bayanihan counterrevolutionary campaign.
The masses in Laak should see to this latest anti-people machination and must struggle against fascism.
Rigoberto F. Sanchez
NPA-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command
May 23, 2014
Mayor Navarro is lying as logging is rampant in Laak villages in video footages
Laak Mayor Rey Navarro is misrepresenting himself when he denied being part of the Big 4 logging lords. Raw footages taken by comrades (see attached) showed rampant logging in several interior roads in Brgy. Ampawid and Brgy.Andap–proof that actual logging is taking place in Laak town. Navarro attempted to absolve himself by saying that Laak was merely a transit point of trucks coming from the boundary of agusandelsur, site of logging operations.
Indiscriminate cutting of trees were also monitored in Brgy. Titoy and Datu Davao. Navarro even ordered village officials in Datu Davao to fix interior roads to facilitate logging activities which he sponsored, according to the officials themselves who reported to the New People’s Army of Navarro’s direct participation in the logging activities.
The recent capture and the humanitarian release of prisoners of war, Sgt. Jeric Curay of the 72nd Infantry Battalion and Cpl. Rogelio Rosalesof the 60th IB, thus, showed the earnestness on the side of the New People’s Army, particularly the Comval-North Davao South Agusan Sub-regional Command, to impose the People’s Democratic Government’s total log ban.
For as long as local reactionaries like Navarro continue to make big business out of the remaining forest resources, the NPA will impose measures to protect the environment and peasants, Lumads and masses who suffer from the effects of rampant logging. Fascist troops who continue to violate human rights of peasants while plundering the forests are legitimate targets.
(Sgd.)Ka Aris Francisco
NPA- Comval-North Davao South Agusan Sub-regional Command