Sunday, September 25, 2005

NR0925:Constant vigilance against martial law; govt takeover of firms doubtful

From the office of Anakpawis Rep.Crispin Beltran
News Release September 25, 2005


Solon calls for constant vigilance against creeping martial law; expresses incredulity over reported government plans of take-over of vital industries

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that the strongest vigilance and watchfulness are necessary to defend Filipinos’ democratic and civil rights against any and all attempts of the beleaguered Macapagal-Arroyo administration. He said that the denials of the various Malacanang spokespersons that Pres. Arroyo has no intention of imposing martial law should not be accepted at face value.

“We cannot trust the word of this government much less it’s highest official who has already been caught cheating and lying again and again, but still refuses to resign from office,” he said. He pointed out that the spokespersons of the former Marcos dictatorship also fell all over themselves telling the public that there will be no martial law, but only a few days later, martial law was declared by then president Marcos.“Pres. Arroyo will say and do anything to remain in power. The greed for power is so strong in her that she will lie through anything to stay in Malacanang.”

Beltran said that the attempts of Malacanang to pacify the public will not work because already Malacanang has declared a virtual crackdown on street protests and similar democratic forms and expressions of legitimate political dissent. “This has all the makings of martial law. In regions surrounding the NCR, participants to rallies are already being blocked by police and military forces and their leaders harassed. Only last September 22, a ranking leader of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) in Southern Tagalong, Diosdado Fortuna was killed, and the perpetrators are strongly suspected of being from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).”

In the meantime, Beltran expressed incredulity for the explanations of Justice secretary Raul Gonzales and Malacanang spokesperson Ignacio Bunye that it’s not martial law Pres. Arroyo plans to implement but a government take-over of private firms such as those in oil and electricity.

“Let them out their money where their mouths are. We challenge them to impose a swift and decisive take-over of Petron and Meralco, and immediately reverse the deregulation and privatization policies in vital industries in the economy. Will they defy big business and foreign investors for the good of the national economy and consumers? It not likely that Macapagal-Arroyo will do this. Her biggest supporters come from the ranks of big business, and it’s also to them that she promised imposing a crackdown on protests and amendments to the Philippine Constitution,” he said.

In any case, Beltran challenged Pres. Arroyo to order Congress to fast-track bills repealing the oil deregulation law and nullifying the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) and immediately put Meralco and Petron under a nationalization program wherein both companies will be completely operated and managed by the national government. He said that progressive party-lists Anakpawis, Bayan Muna and Gabriela Women’s Party have already filed pills on the same concerns. “Petron and Meralco should be the first to be nationalized, and the prices of oil products and rates of electricity immediately brought down. Nationalist economists and research institutions already have prepared blueprints for a nationalization program of both companies and the industries they belong to as well. The repeal of oil deregulation and electricity privatization policies have long been the demand of consumers, but Malacanang has refused point blank to act on these demands,” he said. #

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