Saturday, 25 May 2013 08:00 Published in Headlines
While the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and its Central Luzon chapter the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) are amenable to the government’s farm service assistance on the 6,212 Luisita beneficiaries, the groups rejected the Department of Agrarian Reform’s market dictated block sugar farming and instead asked DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes to respect the collective will of the farmer beneficiaries to pursue their own production endeavor.
According to UMA chairman Lito Bais, Luisita farmworkers have been waiting for so long for government subsidies but the DAR should not get it wrong to think that they will give in to the conditions in return of farm aid.
“We demand service of any kind free of any conditions and obligations. We know how to make our farm lands productive; its’ a matter of resources and sheer political will,” he stressed.
The UMA leader added the “DAR is in no position to tell what is good for us. In fact if they have done their work in the first place; land distribution of Hacienda Luisita has not been at a snail’s pace.
“Indeed we are entitled for services just like all land reform beneficiaries in the country but not on DAR’s terms. The farmworkers will not allow DAR to treat Luisita’s land distribution like a business transaction,” the peasant leader said.
The Supreme Court had earlier ordered DAR to implement the distribution of 4,916 hectares of land controlled by President Aquino’s family for more than five decades.
On February 27, DAR released the list of 6,212 beneficiaries.
UMA slammed the attempt of DAR, Department of Agriculture and the Sugar Regulatory Administration, National Dairy Authority, Agricultural Training Institute and the Land Bank of the Philippines to force a market-driven style program to camouflage the governments’ non-land transfer scheme under Republic Act 9700, or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (Carper) Law.
“The Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support Services (ARCCESS) was designed to promote market-oriented scheme like the Stock Distribution Option, leaseback agreement, contract growing and joint venture; it’s a scheme aim to frustrate actual and physical land distribution of Hacienda Luisita,” Bais added
He also said the farmworkers under Ambala are against block sugar farming because it will only re-concentrate their farm lands back to the Aquino-Cojuangcos or to some other interested parties.
“We don’t want the 4,915 hectares of Luisita farm land be part of the government’s profiteering racket that will deprive farmer beneficiaries of their right to decide on their own planting and cultivation method.”
“If they really want to help; first, they should proceed on the land distribution without any further delay. Second, they should help the beneficiaries to pursue the P1.33billion that the HLI owed to the farmworkers. That is the very concrete way to help us to get social justice and not another scheme that will make surely get us into a compromise spot,” Bais said.
In its decision, the high court ordered Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) to pay P1.3 billion ($31.7 million) to the farm workers for the sale of 200 hectares of land. In 1989, the stock distribution option (SDO) was implemented in the hacienda and the farm workers, as stockholders, are supposedly entitled to get their share from the sale of land, among others. Over the years, parcels of land have been converted and sold, including the 80.51-hectare lot for the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) road network but farm workers did not receive a single centavo.
he Commission on Elections (Comelec) came under fire yesterday for delaying the proclamation of the winning party-list groups while jumping the gun on the proclamation of all 24 senators despite more than 10 million votes still to be canvassed.
Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan said she suspects the Comelec remains indecisive on proclaiming the winning sectoral representatives as there might be “illegal maneuverings” within the poll body regarding the disqualification cases on 12 party-list groups.
Three of the 12 party-list groups have received votes that could qualify them to seats in the House of Representatives.
Ilagan predicted that based on Comelec’s penchant for flip-flopping on its decision, at least “one or two” disqualified party-list groups will be proclaimed in the end.
“Isn’t it suspicious that after undue haste in senatorial proclamations, Comelec suddenly sputters to a questionable delay, raising suspicions of maneuvering?” Ilagan noted.
Ilagan’s comment was anchored on the fact that despite making final its decision to bar the 12 party-list groups, Comelec had dilly-dallied on proclaiming the 58 winners in the party-list vote.
Under the law, disqualified party-list groups have an option to seek a reversal of the Comelec proclamation by running to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) which has exclusive jurisdiction over all post-proclamation protests in the congressional race. Since election laws render Comelec decisions final and executory five days after it was issued, the poll body is enjoined from counting the ballots of the disqualified groups.
Ilagan asked the Comelec to stop flip-flopping and stick to its disqualification decision, saying further delaying the proclamation of winners is not only unfair but also raises strong suspicions of poll fraud.
“We did our own computation of party-list allocation based on the Group Canvass Report of May 20, 2013 using the Carpio formula and without the 12 disqualified partylist groups. Bayan Muna and Gabriela are entitled to at least two seats in the House of Representatives,” the partylist lawmaker said.
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares also slammed the Comelec’s indecisiveness over the issue.
“The delay only raises the possibility of fraud by losing party-list groups,” he warned.
Records show that the Supreme Court (SC) had upheld the disqualification of the 12 groups when it remanded to the Comelec their petitions seeking the annulment of the poll body’s ruling to bar them from the 2013 polls.
Upon receipt of the High Court’s decision, the poll body reiterated its previous decision.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., meanwhile, said the Comelec will issue a comprehensive resolution on Monday for the final proclamation of all 58 partylist seats along with the explanation for the computations they used in determining the winning groups and the disqualification of 12 groups based on a ruling of the Supreme Court.
The Comelec proclaimed yesterday 14 partylist groups that garnered the most number of votes in the May 13 midterm elections.
The poll chief said the proclamation on Monday will not be based on another 44 groups but the number of seats stipulated by the Constitution.
Commissioner Elias Yusoph made the announcement yesterday as he read the National Board of Canvassers Resolution 0006-13 promulgated May 24, 2013 regarding the said winning partylist groups that obtained at least two percent of the votes cast.
Topping the winning party-list groups in the just concluded midterm elections is the El Shaddai backed Buhay followed by A-Teacher, Bayan Muna, 1-Care, Akbayan, Ako Bicol, Gabriela, OFW Family, Abono, Coop Natco, Agap, Cibac, Magdalo and An Waray.
The 14 proclaimed partylists were guaranteed one seat in the House but could gain one or two more seats once all winning groups have been proclaimed.
Brillantes said the proclaimed group have a chance for additional seats if their votes continue to accumulate through the ongoing canvass of votes.
The poll chief said they have yet to proclaim the two additional representatives because it might affect their computations.
The National Board of Canvassers are still canvassing votes and the proclaimed partylist groups were those that obtained at least two percent of the votes cast equivalent to one guaranteed House seat.
Disqualified partylist groups like the Senior Citizens, which obtained the 10th most number of votes, needed to secure a temporary restraining order (TRO) or a status quo ante (SQA) order from the Supreme Court to be proclaimed, since most of them had garnered enough votes to win.
Brillantes said the Senior Citizens group was not included in the proclamation even if they have garnered one of the most number of votes because they were disqualified by the Comelec.
Last Monday, the prescriptive period for the disqualified party list groups to secure a TRO or an SQA from the high court starting from the day they received the Comelec disqualification order will lapse.
Brillantes said they will continue with the proclamation and wrap up the proclamation process unless the Supreme Courts acts on their respective petitions. With Alvin Murcia
Friday, 24 May 2013 08:00 Published in Nation
The Makabayan Coalition Party yesterday called for the immediate proclamation of winning party-list groups, saying that the delay would also open the possibility for fraud.
“Comelec proclaimed the first six senators with only 72 CoCs (certificates of canvass) received, amid questions of legality. Why isn’t Comelec pushing the proclamation of winning party-list groups? With more than 110 CoCs canvassed and more than 28,292,869 party-list votes counted, it is time for the NBoC (National Board of Canvassers) to proclaim the clear winners in the party-list race. The delay only raises the possibility of fraud by losing party-list groups,” Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said.
The Bayan Muna representative explained that the NBoC told them that votes from untransmitted CoCs are very minimal of the total party-list votes and will not affect the current standing of most of the winning party-list groups.
“The Automated Election System Law endeavors to determine the will of the people in an expeditious manner. What is the Comelec waiting for? The commission should allay fears of vote shaving or padding by immediately proclaiming the clear winners in the party-list race,” Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, for his part, said.
Colmenares recalled the 2010 elections where the NBoC proclaimed 61 percent of the total seat allocation for the party-list system pending overseas absentee voting. The uncanvassed votes then were higher.
As for her part Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Emmi de Jesus said that, “We did our own computation of the party-list seat allocation based on the Group Canvass Report of May 20 using the Carpio formula and without the 12 disqualified party-list groups. Bayan Muna and Gabriela are entitled to at least two seats in the House of Representatives.”
Bayan Muna yesterday filed with the NBoC a Motion to Proclaim Winning Party-lists in the May 2013 Elections.
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