Tuesday, September 20, 2005

NR0920:2 releases on the budget of the office of the VP; Sept 21 protests

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release September 20, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff

Solon slams Office of the Vice-President’s moves to increase “Happy-Happy Funds” while allocations for urban poor housing and related needs are slashed in proposed 2006 GAA

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today questioned the Macapagal-Arroyo administration’s proposal for the 2006 budget, saying that in the proposed GAA, the funds for the Office of the vice-president is being increased by 54.98% compared to the budget it has for 2005 (2005:P84.38 M, P130.78M). He said that the Office of the Vice-president’s budget allocation for Ceremonial Functions and Technical services have also been increased by almost 100% (2005: P47.5M, for 2006, P93.29M). “There’s also a whopping P6M being allotted to the Office of the VP for confidential and intelligence expenses,” he said.

“What is vice-president Noli de Castro intending to do for the next year if he remains vice-president – throw a lot of parties and other society functions? Considering that the budget for housing and community development for 2006 is only 0.26% of the proposed GAA (P2.75B), why does he get to spend P93 M just to hold banquets and parties?. As for the intelligence and confidential fund, it’s unfathomable how Mr. de Castro would use such a large amount.”

The veteran labor leader said that Mr. de Castro is supposedly in charge of the government’s urban poor housing affairs, “but judging from the budget being allotted for this, it doesn’t seem like the vice-president is all that eager to do a good job and provide the country’s millions of homeless and disenfranchised with decent homes,” he said. “Even now, the country’s urban poor are demanding his immediate resignation on the grounds of incompetence when it comes to serving their needs, but high efficiency when it comes to negotiating with big land developers and private real estate agencies.”

At first glance, the allocations for housing and Community development grew by 58.29%; but this increase is mostly going to the funds for general administration and support services, along with the computations for the P21.90 M fund for Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund and Compensation adjustment for government employees, and the P1 B for the funds for the Home Insurance and Guaranty Corporation which should have been released long before. The budget for the programs of he Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) was slashed by P0.63%. Worse, the budget for its housing projects were decreased by P30.40% -- from P23.68 M for 2005, the budget for 2006 has been reduced to P16.48M. Over-all, the budget for the HUDCC which de Castro heads has decreased by 9.81%. (2005: P70.34 M, proposed in the 2006:P63.44M).

“Over-all, the allocations for urban poor housing and other related concerns are being slashed left and right. The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) is getting only P49.29M for 2006. While there appears to be an increase of 0.41% in the GAA, the truth is that the Total Available Appropriations for the agency has decreased by 8.9%, because its allocation under Automatic Appropriation has decreased, and it has nothing under Continuing Appropriations,” he said.

Beltran also pointed out that the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor ‘s (PCUP) budget has also been decreased by 1.96% (decrease in the Total Available Appropriations). The agency is only getting P47.53M. “What is even more infuriating apart from the budget cuts is that agency’s have been reduced to being facilitators and clearing houses for demolition operations against urban poor communities instead of providing assistance for the shelter security needs of the residents of said communities,” he said. #

PGMA’s human rights violations the same quality of those perpetrated by the Marcos dictatorship; imposition of anti-terror measures and compromises with ex cronies and heirs of the dictator grave injustice against Filipinos

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that he will join tomorrow’s nationally-coordinated protests directed against the increasingly worsening fascist character and political repression of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration. Tomorrow also marks the anniversary of the declaration of martial law on Sept. 21, 1972 .

Beltran, a former political prisoner imprisoned during the height of the Marcos dictatorship, said that Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has succeeded in following the footsteps of Marcos. “As commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), her record of human rights violations is almost on par with Marcos. Thousands of urban poor, workers, farmers and human rights and political activists have been harassed, illegally abducted and killed in cold-blood under the administration of Macapagal-Arroyo, and not a single one of these victims and their surviving families have been given justice. None of the direct and immediate perpetrators of the these brutal human rights violations have been arrested much less punished. Pres. Arroyo has said and done nothing regarding these killings.”

He also said that none of the victims of the Marcos dictatorship have also been given just indemnification, much less official state recognition. “Despite Malacanang’s denials, it’s evident that there have been various compromises with the Marcos cronies and heirs, particularly with the widow Imelda and tycoon Danding Cojuanco,’ he said.

The veteran labor leader turned legislator said that the poised railroading of the anti-terrorism bill in Congress and the imposition of the national ID system were added proof the increasingly militarist attitude of the administration vis-à-vis confronting the political and economic crisis. He said that Malacanang aims to quash the protests directed against the corrupt and illegitimate presidency by using both brute police and military force coupled with legalized political repression.

“The anti-terrorism bill is nothing but an excuse to justify increased control over the so-called democratic space and put narrow limits of what remains of Filipino civil, political and human rights,” he said. “Both the proposed anti-terror law and the national ID system are throwbacks to the time of the Marcos dictatorship, apart from being measures being imposed by the meddling US government in the name of its racist and chauvinist war against terrorism,” he said.

Beltran said that Filipinos are now gearing for protests to remove Pres. Arroyo from Malacanang. “There are just, moral and even legal grounds to demand her removal from office. The sorry state of human rights in the country alone is enough basis to call for her resignation. That, coupled with the speedily deteriorating economic welfare of the majority should be enough reason for Filipinos to unite against her and call for her ouster,” he concluded.#


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