Along the marching days of the first month of year 2016 are events of reprehensible consequences to the poverty-stricken sectors of society. The Aquino government seems to have adopted a New Year’s policy resolution to pursue a series of “killing” attacks against the masses.
First, the official setting up of the coal-power plant in Davao City, putting the population around and near the plant site to continuous health hazards by its deleterious impact to environment, apart from the its contribution to the cumulative worsening of Climate Change. President Noynoy Aquino, in inaugurating the dreaded and unwanted coal plant, chewed and swallowed his words at an international community wherein he pleaded to the industrialized countries to declare a moratorium in the use of ‘fossil fuels’ purportedly to avert those freak natural disasters that indiscriminately kill.
Such actuation deserves to be called “double speak”. It betrays a brand of leadership that dwells on “crass hypocrisy”, bordering on the fatalistic “bahala na” attitude that could consign our country to alarming danger zones.
The next attack Noynoy made was the veto of the legislative bill that proposes to increase by P2,000 the monthly pension of retirees or pensioners. This bill has passed through the proverbial needle’s hole in Congress, worming through the labyrinthine route of the legislative mill for four years, diminishing in size from the original proposal of P5,000 to the now measly P2,000. It could have somehow eased the pensioner’s woes — of advanced age as they are — in their daily medical needs.
But the anti-poor, anti-people nature of a cacique President has no “pakialam” what dire consequence his official act could bring into the lives of the masses. What does it bother him if they perish in their penury?
What concerns him more are the likely diminution of the luxuries that his managers in the State corporations would endure, especially in such agencies as the SSS which, ironically, by its very mandate is supposed to be a pro-people institution.
In spite of his glib loquacity he might have grumbled to himself: “Why worry about those wretched pensioners, they are used to hardships anyway, they can thrive on “ginamos” for their three meals every day! But these dear managers of my government, o my god, they should not endure even a single moment of discomfort for lack of their wonted blissful joys. Yes, I must release with dispatch their allowances and emoluments and bonuses! What’s hundreds of millions or a billion pesos for the pleasures and unli-luxuries they’d enjoy as my frat buddies? I’m sure that’s within the bounds of morality bequeathed to me by my parents.
“And that would be in keeping with my own lifestyle…and Kris’ lifestyle, and to be sure, Mar’s lifestyle too! Hahaha. No, I can’t believe Korina’s revelation that Mar wears tattered shirts at home? That’s absolutely out of character! And my allies in the Senate and Lower House will understand. So, I must kill, kill, kill, this Colmenares bill! It’s not worth living for!”
Almost simultaneous with this unfortunate veto, the next ‘serial killing’ targeted by his government are the human rights victims during Marcos’ martial law regime. Republic Act 10368, (Human Rights Victims Reparations and Recognition Act of 2013) was sponsored by the late Senator Joker Arroyo along with Senator Chiz Escudero and others. It mandates the awarding to the victims of human rights violations the P10 billion Marcos-stolen money the Swiss government returned to the Philippines.
The HRV Claims Board appointed by Noynoy to implement the law—General Lina Sarmiento and eight others—must have been avariciously salivating at the sight of the P10 billion! Their keen accounting acumen soon prompted them to devise ways by which they can scoop up perpetually from the fund throughout their whole life times! And so they requested their Akbayan padrinos in Congress to introduce a bill that purports to amend certain sections of Republic Act 10368. These Akbayan legislators sponsoring HB 6024 could be just as covetous as the HRVCB are only too willing to accede to their whims in the hope that they too might be sprinkled with hefty sums from the prospective largesse. They are representatives Ibarra M. Gutierrez III, Angelina I. Katoh and Jose Christopher Y. Belmonte.
House Bill 6024 proposes amendments to Section 12 of RA 10368, in effect to read as follows:
“Section 12. Rank, Salary, Emoluments and Allowances of the Chairman, Members of the Board and other Officers and Personnel of the Board. The emoluments shall include fees, compensation, pensions and retirement benefits. When a member of the Board shall serve the full term of office provided under Section 29 of this Act, he or she shall automatically be entitled to a lump sum payment of the monthly salary and the allowances that said Board Member was receiving at the time of his or her natural life equivalent to the amount of the monthly salary and other allowances. . .”
Moreover, under Section 4 of the HB 6024, the HRVCB body which will serve for at least two years as stated in the Act, will receive proposed operating budget of up to P75M a year. With this, the P10B fund which is intended for the reparation and recognition of the human rights victims would be decreased by hundreds of millions due to the lump sum retirement benefits of the HRV Claims Board.
What will remain of the amount for the thousands of martial law victims who have patiently waited for just compensation under the Law?
The outcome will be that the HRV Claims Board will be getting benefits much much more than the victims who are the intended beneficiaries of the law!
Sila ang magpasulabi sa dili para nila? Sinuswerte sila! (They would be feasting on what are not due them? What blessed luck they got!)
While these are taking place in the political arena within this near-end of President Noynoy’s term of office, hair-raising incidents happen in the countryside where virtual martial law has prevailed through all the years of incumbency of President Noynoy.
Trigger-happy paramilitary thugs are in the loose, murdering innocent civilians, even children! And within sight of Noynoy’s soldiers! It is only now we realize that the real significance of “tuwid na daan” are the countryside roads and mountain trails that Noynoy’s soldiers have colorified with the blood of Lumads!
(To be continued)