Tag Archives: GMA

IMPEACHMENT, PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY WILL HELP COUNTRY SURVIVE FINANCIAL CRISIS

“The absence of public accountability in the midst of billion-peso anomalous deals, the impunity with which human rights violations are committed and the penchant for tyranny is never good for the economy, it is never good for our country.”

Thus said Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza as she today joined petitioners in the filing of new impeachment complaint against Arroyo. The lawmaker was responding to claims that filing of a new impeachment complaint was mere politicking in the midst of a global financial crunch. “On the contrary, this new impeachment complaint is a necessary democratic process that will help our country survive the global financial crisis.”

According to Maza, “Those guilty of corruption and the plunder of government funds need to be held accountable. Without transparency and without accountability, the Arroyo government cannot expect to efficiently lead and enjoy the confidence of the people most affected by the crisis—the poor—as well as the business sector.”

“Furthermore, President Arroyo cannot expect to continue to implement the VAT and collect more taxes from the ordinary Filipinos amid the foreseen inflation and joblessness when her administration cannot account for how government funds are actually spent.”

Gabriela Women’s Party, along with other progressive partylists Bayan Muna and Anakpawis will be endorsing the complaint that will be filed by ZTE whistleblower Joey De Venecia and lawyer Harry Roque. “Year after year, we have filed and endorsed impeachment complaints against President Arroyo. There is no reason to stop filing these complaints as none of the issues that have been previously raised were resolved.”

“President Arroyo’s legitimacy remains in question. Allegations of corruption against President Arroyo and her family in multi-million anomalous contracts and government funds from the Macapagal Boulevard to the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani and down to the NBN-ZTE deals remain unresolved. The killings, abductions and disappearances continue,” explained Maza.

Aside from the impunity with which human rights violations are committed under her regime, the impeachment complaint holds President Arroyo culpable for betrayal of public trust for the Northrail rehabilitation project, bribery in the ZTE-NBN deal; and graft and corruption for her administration’s involvement in various irregularities including the P728 million fertilizer scam, P2 billion swine scam and alleged ballot-switching in the 2004 presidential election.#

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P897M IN QUESTIONABLE DA FUNDS RELEASED AT IMPEACHMENT PEAK -MAZA

Gabriela Womens Party Representative Liza Maza yesterday sought clarification from Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap on the Department on Budget and Management’s fund releases amounting to P897M which was awarded to the Department of Agriculture at the height of the deliberation of the impeachment case filed against President Arroyo.

“There may be something fishy going on here. It is highly suspicious that Department of Agriculture received fund allocations which were not part of the budget originally approved by Congress for the department in the GAA,” said Maza

Maza noted the following fund releases in the 2007 Commission on Audit report on the Department of Agriculture:

•    70M released last November 12, 2007 for the Barangay Food Terminal and Bagsakan Center Project.
•    800M released last November 19, 2007 for the Accelerated Hunger Mitigation Program. This fund release did not entail any request from the DA and was automatically transferred to Regional Field Units.
•    27.5M released last November 19, 2007, for the Operational requirements of the Agno River Integrated Project. This was released despite the absence of any fund requests from the DA.

The P897M is but part of a total of P4.3B questionable fund releases from February to December 2007 uncovered by the COA.

The Gabriela solon recalls that the House of Representatives rejected supplemental impeachment complaints meant to add substance to the sham complaint filed by lawyer Ruel Pulido last November 7, 2007. The Committee on Justice dismissed the impeachment complaint against President Arroyo last November 14, 2007 while the plenary voted to reject the same complaint by affirming the Committee report in the plenary on November 26, 2007. “It can also be recalled that it was during this period that cash gifts were reportedly handed out left and right in Malacanang breakfast meetings and LGU consultations.”

“The COA has noted that there was no way for them to validate the actual applications of the fund allocations due to the absence of detailed activities and reports on the project outputs. The DA needs to clarify these fund allocations and report in detail on the regions and provinces where they have been allocated and who actually benefited from these projects. We need to know whether these funds have indeed been used for its supposed purpose.” #

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SUBSIDIES, DOLE-OUTS FAIL TO SUGARCOAT REAL HUNGER, WORSENING POVERTY IN GMA’S SONA -MAZA

“Nakakasuka na. What with lies as your staple and empty promises for dessert. President Arroyo’s SONA is replete with fake economic gains and band-aid solutions to the worsening poverty.”

Thus said Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza who, in contrast to the glitter of gowns and jewelry, donned her faded maong jeans and rubber shoes on Congress’ red carpet, walking out of the Batasan after attending the morning session.

“The situation of Filipino women and our families have been downhill since President Arroyo assumed power in 2001. And as the crisis takes a turn for the worse, subsidies and cash transfers give no hope for reform or relief,” said Maza.

According to the lawmaker self-rated hunger is now at 16.3% or 14.5M Filipinos, a far cry from the 9.8% when President Arroyo first delivered her SONA in July 2001, with those experiencing severe hunger now reaching 4.2% from 3.7%. She also noted that latest statistics reveal that 2.9M Filipinos are unemployed while 6.62M are underemployed. The NSO has likewise pegged food inflation rates at 17.4% in July 2008, which is almost 15 points higher than last year’s 2.6%.

“The worsening unemployment amid rising inflation showcases this administration’s incompetence. This has made it so much more difficult for families to cope with the crisis. This is the reality felt by every Filipino family, the reality that subsidies cannot sugarcoat,” said Maza

The Gabriela solon said “these subsidies are mere dole outs that fail to give President Arroyo and her VAT the much needed spin. VAT collections were never meant for the poor. Fact is, the Arroyo government collects more than it gives back with the VAT. Malacanang already had P1B in its pockets before it gave out P500 subsidies to lifeline users.”

Maza explained that studies conducted by Bayan, AGHAM and POWER reveal that the national government may have collected as much as P1.8 billion in VAT from Meralco’s 1.7M lifeline customers. The one-time P500 power subsidy doled out last month totaled P852 million. “If this government sincerely wanted to allay the impact of the crisis, it could very well let go of its VAT collections.”

“Hunger mitigation programs and subsidies that President Arroyo showcases in her SONA provide no solutions, not even relief. Long term policies toward genuine agrarian reform and agricultural development, job creation and a national policy for healthcare and education should be pursued. Until then, her removal from office remains the only alternative that women and our families must pursue for a better life.”

Maza, along with fellow Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan and members of the progressive partylist bloc from Bayan Muna and Anakpawis, opted to be among the thousands protesting outside the Batasan as President Arroyo delivers her 8th SONA. #

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Rice Prices soared 100% under GMA; REAL SONA SHOWS HUNGER, POVERTY AT ALL TIME HIGH

“President Arroyo can claim to have successfully achieved her SONA targets year after year but the fact remains that rice prices have soared 100% since she first came into power in 2001. Gabriela Women’s Party holds the Arroyo leadership personally responsible for the widespread hunger and poverty that our country has sunk into.”

Thus said Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Largoza Maza noting that rice was sold at an average of P17.00 per kilo when President Arroyo first delivered her SONA in 2001. “Today, the cheapest commercial rice is at P34-36.00 per kilo.”

Rep. Maza also criticized the National Food Authority as it announced its intent to limit the access to cheap NFA rice by September. “How else will our people cope with the unending increase in the prices of rice, oil and basic commodities?”

“The economy has been downhill since President Arroyo assumed office in 2001. The price of gasoline and diesel in January 2001 was at P16.56 and P13.82 respectively. Today it has increased by as much as 380-420% and is pegged at P62.00 and P58.00. Seven years ago, the daily cost of living for a family of six was at P420, today it is at P894,” Maza lamented.

The lawmaker joined fellow Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan and representatives from Bayan Muna and Anakpawis in announcing their intent to boycott the coming State of the Nation Address and instead join street protests this coming Monday.

“This year’s SONA, we predict, will be a litany of lies, a parade of fake economic gains.”#

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