Kaamulan rescheduling meant to accommodate Duterte – Gov. Zubiri

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/01 April) — The decision to move the Kaamulan street dancing competition to an earlier date was meant to accommodate Davao City Mayor and presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte, Bukidnon Gov. Jose Maria R. Zubiri Jr.

Duterte was scheduled to speak before the announcement of winners of the competition.

The street dancing contest, the climax of the month-long Kaamulan, was scheduled on April 2 but was reset to April 1 to suit Duterte’s itinerary. Reports said the mayor was set to visit Cagayan de Oro City on April 2.

Zubiri said that in a survey among elected officials of Bukidnon, Duterte emerged as the top preference for the presidency.

He added Camarines Sur Rep. Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo, the administration’s vice presidential bet, was their choice for vice president.

The governor endorsed both Duterte and Robredo during the Provincial Women’s Summit on March 29.

Kaamulan is Bukidnon’s annual ethnic festival, which the provincial government has promoted as the gathering of the province’s seven tribes.

Earlier this week, Zubiri said the Office of the President was yet to respond to his request to declare April 1 as a non-working holiday in the province.

He blamed politics as behind the reason why the request was not approved.

In at least two recorded announcements, Zubiri explained that the Office of the President endorsed their request to the National Historical Commission, which forwarded it to a legal team.

On Tuesday, Zubiri told reporters there was no indication it would be approved.

But he still told mayors and barangay officials to allow personnel to witness the festivity despite the absence of a holiday declaration.

In a memo posted on the Facebook account of the Provincial Public Affairs Information and Assistance office, Zubiri asked the mayors to allow employees to attend “on official time” maintain a skeletal force “so as not to hamper office operation”.

This is the first time in Kaamulan’s 39-year history that the street dancing contest would not held on a non-working day, Zubiri said. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)

  • alexander lean daloga-og

    DUTERTE SHINES BEST AMID GOVERNMENT NEGLECT and INCOMPETENCE

    SINCE the peasants’ carnage on Friday, Pres. BS Aquino has let his spokespersons do the talking for him. Isn’t it his paramount duty as Head of State to act on the issue instead of simply conjuring up pro-Left conspiracies behind the legitimate demands of the hungry farmers?

    LAST time I checked, Congress has appropriated P43.3 billion for the Department of Agriculture (DA). Another P19 billion of the 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA) is supposed to mitigate the long dry-spell as PAG-ASA warned two years ago, plus P2.06 billion more as supplemental budget for the agriculture department.

    YES, the local government units, in particular the drought-inflicted areas, may use 30% of their respective calamity funds to respond to contingencies involving El Nino and in fact many of these LGUs have already withdrawn such funds to address the issue since last month. Yet, we know too these allocations are insufficient, hence the creation of DA’s Quick Response Fund (QRF) amounting to P500 million for the affected farmers in the country.

    BUT why the LACK of response from DA? Folks, there is NO response at all because the agriculture department CANNOT allocate funds which the Aquino government has NOT front-loaded to the concerned department. Any reason? Because DBM Sec. Florencio Abad is YET to look for funding sources out of government savings! I wonder what the aggregate savings under the custody of our national treasury amounting to P700 billion for? Why subject a PRESSING concern of our nation’s farmers to DILATORY machinations of our national government? Or why allocate such item of expenditure in the national budget IF there is NO intent to release it in the first place?

    THE WANTON disregard of the farmers’ plight in Kidapawan City is just symptomatic of the government’s callousness to address the problems of NOT only the agriculture sector BUT land reform in general that the Aquino administration pays lip service to even during the height of the country’s much-hyped democratic icon Pres. Cory Aquino’s regime after the counter-elite revolutionary invention dubbed as EDSA.

    SO is this the kind of anti-peasant government that Liberal Party candidate Mar Roxas intends to lead? The rural poor comprise at least 70% of the country’s population and, as an agriculture-based economy, 66% of them belong to the peasantry. This farming sector contributes to at least 10% of the national output or GDP yet the government seems to act CRIMINALLY negligent about the farmers’ heart-wrenching welfare conditions. The Social Weather Survey (SWS) on the nation’s state of hunger couldn’t be truer than what the Kidapawan-based farmers have shown.

    DURING the first CDO presidential debate, the GMA-7 moderators cited the same survey results which bared that 2.6 million Filipinos are extremely poor. They live a hand-to-mouth existence that is as deplorable as can be imagined possible. Certainly these hungry mouths could be what Sec. Roxas’ running-mate Leni Robredo referred to as the marginal Filipinos who live outside the fringes of our society. These crucial chunk of the population must be truly hungry to demand the most fundamental right of all – FOOD!

    DENIAL of such basic of all human rights truly IMPEL our fellows to commit drastic actions. Former Pres. Erap Estrada’s crude wisdom comes to mind: “A hungry stomach knows no law.” Still, the 6,000-strong Kidapawan farmers observed legal niceties. They had their 3-day permit secured before staging the rally to express their just demands: 15,000 sacks of rice to eat, free vegetable seedlings to tend to in their cracked-out lands, and a little financial subsidy to tide them over until the dry-spell is gone. But the 3-day permit had lapsed; still, the local government units failed to come out any acceptable solutions JUST because the concerned LGU officials couldn’t negotiate personally right in the middle of the picket line.

    WHEN the first burst of live bullets hit the barricading farmers, they scampered like animals sensing mass slaughter. The armed apparatus of the State led the carnage. The much-ballyhooed protectors of the people opened fire. Not even the rules of engagement were considered. These had gone off the window when both the law enforcement and military operatives decided rather SENSELESSLY to waste the lives of unarmed and undoubtedly harmless farmers.

    THE funny thing is, the ruling administration bet is just less than a hundred kilometers away from the scene of massacre. Sec. Roxas was out there in Koronadal City campaigning while the bloodbath started to claim lives and inflict unnecessary wounds to the hungry farmers. And as expected, all he could issue is a PRESS release demanding a thorough probe and re-establishing a semblance of civilized law and order.

    ALL presidential candidates followed suit calling for investigation and denouncing an otherwise free exercise of constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and seek redress for valid grievances. No one, EXCEPT Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, ever thought of resolving the humanitarian side of the crisis. Satiate the hungry farmers’ families first before any negotiations could start. He recently pledged to commit funds from his city government TO BUY rice, the least that he can do to assuage the needy peasants.

    INSTEAD of rebutting incendiary remarks from the feisty mayor and nitpick on his popular socialist leanings, why CAN’T Pres. Aquino level with and apologize, if so warranted, to the Filipino people for his department officials’ BLATANT failures to address the farmers’ issues? Agriculture Sec.Proceso Alcala promised RICE SUFFICIENCY by 2013; yet almost full six years of the president’s term are used up, we are STILL importing rice from other neighboring ASEAN countries! The constitutionally infirm presidential pork barrel called DAP had been discontinued; yet all DBM Sec. Florencio Abad could say, in view of the farmers’ basic demands, is that he is STILL trying to figure out where among items of government savings he can OUTSOURCE to mitigate the drought-laden pleas of the country’s farmers!

    EXACTLY these lapses of fiscal governance are what Mayor Duterte has in mind when he advocated for GREATER devolution of power among the local government units. Being Davao City’s foremost chief executive, he truly knows whereof he speaks. There is too much centralized power that URGENTLY needs to be dispersed. Federalism may yet address this controversial concern of severely INADEQUATE fiscal empowerment among the lower tiers of government. If the national officials are inept and weak, practical policy solutions can HARDLY be implemented. In times like these, there is too much finger-pointing at the top while simple problems create uncalled-for deadlocks below. As the farmers’ lives were wasted in Kidapawan City, Pres. Aquino is nowhere in sight to direct the immediate release of funds IF only to prevent a mole hill from becoming a mountain of irreversibly critical humanitarian concerns.

    THERE had been agrarian unrests before, when our Commonwealth Pres. Manuel L. Quezon, direly predicted a government being run like hell by the Filipinos. Presidents after him TRIED but FAILED to establish a genuine agrarian reform under a governmental STRUCTURE that lodges so much powers in the hands of the president. But let me pose this modest QUESTION: What IF the incumbent president is a BLUNDERING policy moron, a CERTIFIED weakling or just SIMPLY not up to make CRUCIAL executive decisions?

    WILL the rest of the polity take the brunt of suffering -for SIX years! – on account of the HEAD of government’s GROSS incompetence? In our recent history, the Aquino-Cojuangco families often figured in senseless peasant massacres employing the full security apparatus of the State to carry out the task of quelling agrarian dissent. In January 22, 1987, fresh from the wave of people power, Pres. Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino refused to honor her campaign promise to distribute land to the peasants. The farmers marched in protest but the lady president, upon the wise counsel of her land-holding cacique friends in Congress, did not relent an inch. Across Mendiola, proximately near the palace, the protesters were massacred. Thirteen farmers lay dead while 51 others were seriously wounded.

    BUT time never healed the injuries inflicted to the peasantry. Almost 17 years later in November 16, 2004, another massacre of rallying peasants shocked the nation. This time, the blood of violence dripped along the doorsteps of the Aquino-Cojuangco’s Hacienda Luisita. A dozen farmers, including 2 children, died in the hands of the military operatives while hundreds more were severely wounded.

    HACIENDA Luisita was a prized purchase of the Cojuangco-Aquino’s clan USING public funds on the PRETEXT of social justice. The tenant farmers were supposed to own the lands after 10 years; but then, some legal contract magicians thought it wise to introduce amendments to the terms so that when Pres. Ferdinand Marcos demanded for their distribution to the farmer-beneficiaries, the Cojuangco-Aquino family JUST told the government that Hacienda Luisita has no tenants at all, hence there is NO ONE to give back the lands to. To date, the CARP which used to be the centerpiece program of the first Aquino government remains hollow – pregnant in noble intent for agrarian reform BUT no FORCE and EFFECT!

    WHAT kind of government have we, as a people, installed that RETURNS hails of bullets when ONLY food on the hungry farmers’ tables is demanded? What kind of president have we, as electorates, chose to wield the reins of power who could SLICE a pittance in the national budget ONLY to take it back when so BADLY needed? What kind of leader MUST we, as voters, elect to breathe TRUE CHANGE and marshal the sordid affairs of our State? IF government FAILS, where can the poor peasants turn to for redress?

    FOR justice, there is one potent power that we can assert together. It is lodged freely in us as citizens. It can be sold to the highest bidder under duress of severe necessity. BUT if we can hold on to it no matter the circumstances, THAT power to CHOOSE the next STRONG president may yet make all the difference between selling our souls for a day’s ration or KEEPING our principles for a life-time of DECENT survival for all. Those peasants who braved the line of fire will be HONORED more in death if we keep the faith and survive to tell their story…

  • alexander lean daloga-og

    DUTERTE SHINES BEST AMID GOVERNMENT NEGLECT & INCOMPETENCE

    SINCE the peasants’ carnage on Friday, Pres. BS Aquino has let his spokespersons do the talking for him. Isn’t it his paramount duty as Head of State to act on the issue instead of simply conjuring up pro-Left conspiracies behind the legitimate demands of the hungry farmers?

    LAST time I checked, Congress has appropriated P43.3 billion for the Department of Agriculture (DA). Another P19 billion of the 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA) is supposed to mitigate the long dry-spell as PAG-ASA warned two years ago, plus P2.06 billion more as supplemental budget for the agriculture department.

    YES, the local government units, in particular the drought-inflicted areas, may use 30% of their respective calamity funds to respond to contingencies involving El Nino and in fact many of these LGUs have already withdrawn such funds to address the issue since last month. Yet, we know too these allocations are insufficient, hence the creation of DA’s Quick Response Fund (QRF) amounting to P500 million for the affected farmers in the country.

    BUT why the LACK of response from DA? Folks, there is NO response at all because the agriculture department CANNOT allocate funds which the Aquino government has NOT front-loaded to the concerned department. Any reason? Because DBM Sec. Florencio Abad is YET to look for funding sources out of government savings! I wonder what the aggregate savings under the custody of our national treasury amounting to P700 billion for? Why subject a PRESSING concern of our nation’s farmers to DILATORY machinations of our national government? Or why allocate such item of expenditure in the national budget IF there is NO intent to release it in the first place?

    THE WANTON disregard of the farmers’ plight in Kidapawan City is just symptomatic of the government’s callousness to address the problems of NOT only the agriculture sector BUT land reform in general that the Aquino administration pays lip service to even during the height of the country’s much-hyped democratic icon Pres. Cory Aquino’s regime after the counter-elite revolutionary invention dubbed as EDSA.

    SO is this the kind of anti-peasant government that Liberal Party candidate Mar Roxas intends to lead? The rural poor comprise at least 70% of the country’s population and, as an agriculture-based economy, 66% of them belong to the peasantry. This farming sector contributes to at least 10% of the national output or GDP yet the government seems to act CRIMINALLY negligent about the farmers’ heart-wrenching welfare conditions. The Social Weather Survey (SWS) on the nation’s state of hunger couldn’t be truer than what the Kidapawan-based farmers have shown.

    DURING the first CDO presidential debate, the GMA-7 moderators cited the same survey results which bared that 2.6 million Filipinos are extremely poor. They live a hand-to-mouth existence that is as deplorable as can be imagined possible. Certainly these hungry mouths could be what Sec. Roxas’ running-mate Leni Robredo referred to as the marginal Filipinos who live outside the fringes of our society. These crucial chunk of the population must be truly hungry to demand the most fundamental right of all – FOOD!

    DENIAL of such basic of all human rights truly IMPEL our fellows to commit drastic actions. Former Pres. Erap Estrada’s crude wisdom comes to mind: “A hungry stomach knows no law.” Still, the 6,000-strong Kidapawan farmers observed legal niceties. They had their 3-day permit secured before staging the rally to express their just demands: 15,000 sacks of rice to eat, free vegetable seedlings to tend to in their cracked-out lands, and a little financial subsidy to tide them over until the dry-spell is gone. But the 3-day permit had lapsed; still, the local government units failed to come out any acceptable solutions JUST because the concerned LGU officials couldn’t negotiate personally right in the middle of the picket line.

    WHEN the first burst of live bullets hit the barricading farmers, they scampered like animals sensing mass slaughter. The armed apparatus of the State led the carnage. The much-ballyhooed protectors of the people opened fire. Not even the rules of engagement were considered. These had gone off the window when both the law enforcement and military operatives decided rather SENSELESSLY to waste the lives of unarmed and undoubtedly harmless farmers.

    THE funny thing is, the ruling administration bet is just less than a hundred kilometers away from the scene of massacre. Sec. Roxas was out there in Koronadal City campaigning while the bloodbath started to claim lives and inflict unnecessary wounds to the hungry farmers. And as expected, all he could issue is a PRESS release demanding a thorough probe and re-establishing a semblance of civilized law and order.

    ALL presidential candidates followed suit calling for investigation and denouncing an otherwise free exercise of constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and seek redress for valid grievances. No one, EXCEPT Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, ever thought of resolving the humanitarian side of the crisis. Satiate the hungry farmers’ families first before any negotiations could start. He recently pledged to commit funds from his city government TO BUY rice, the least that he can do to assuage the needy peasants.

    INSTEAD of rebutting incendiary remarks from the feisty mayor and nitpick on his popular socialist leanings, why CAN’T Pres. Aquino level with and apologize, if so warranted, to the Filipino people for his department officials’ BLATANT failures to address the farmers’ issues? Agriculture Sec.Proceso Alcala promised RICE SUFFICIENCY by 2013; yet almost full six years of the president’s term are used up, we are STILL importing rice from other neighboring ASEAN countries! The constitutionally infirm presidential pork barrel called DAP had been discontinued; yet all DBM Sec. Florencio Abad could say, in view of the farmers’ basic demands, is that he is STILL trying to figure out where among items of government savings he can OUTSOURCE to mitigate the drought-laden pleas of the country’s farmers!

    EXACTLY these lapses of fiscal governance are what Mayor Duterte has in mind when he advocated for GREATER devolution of power among the local government units. Being Davao City’s foremost chief executive, he truly knows whereof he speaks. There is too much centralized power that URGENTLY needs to be dispersed. Federalism may yet address this controversial concern of severely INADEQUATE fiscal empowerment among the lower tiers of government. If the national officials are inept and weak, practical policy solutions can HARDLY be implemented. In times like these, there is too much finger-pointing at the top while simple problems create uncalled-for deadlocks below. As the farmers’ lives were wasted in Kidapawan City, Pres. Aquino is nowhere in sight to direct the immediate release of funds IF only to prevent a mole hill from becoming a mountain of irreversibly critical humanitarian concerns.

    THERE had been agrarian unrests before, when our Commonwealth Pres. Manuel L. Quezon, direly predicted a government being run like hell by the Filipinos. Presidents after him TRIED but FAILED to establish a genuine agrarian reform under a governmental STRUCTURE that lodges so much powers in the hands of the president. But let me pose this modest QUESTION: What IF the incumbent president is a BLUNDERING policy moron, a CERTIFIED weakling or just SIMPLY not up to make CRUCIAL executive decisions?

    WILL the rest of the polity take the brunt of suffering -for SIX years! – on account of the HEAD of government’s GROSS incompetence? In our recent history, the Aquino-Cojuangco families often figured in senseless peasant massacres employing the full security apparatus of the State to carry out the task of quelling agrarian dissent. In January 22, 1987, fresh from the wave of people power, Pres. Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino refused to honor her campaign promise to distribute land to the peasants. The farmers marched in protest but the lady president, upon the wise counsel of her land-holding cacique friends in Congress, did not relent an inch. Across Mendiola, proximately near the palace, the protesters were massacred. Thirteen farmers lay dead while 51 others were seriously wounded.

    BUT time never healed the injuries inflicted to the peasantry. Almost 17 years later in November 16, 2004, another massacre of rallying peasants shocked the nation. This time, the blood of violence dripped along the doorsteps of the Aquino-Cojuangco’s Hacienda Luisita. A dozen farmers, including 2 children, died in the hands of the military operatives while hundreds more were severely wounded.

    HACIENDA Luisita was a prized purchase of the Cojuangco-Aquino’s clan USING public funds on the PRETEXT of social justice. The tenant farmers were supposed to own the lands after 10 years; but then, some legal contract magicians thought it wise to introduce amendments to the terms so that when Pres. Ferdinand Marcos demanded for their distribution to the farmer-beneficiaries, the Cojuangco-Aquino family JUST told the government that Hacienda Luisita has no tenants at all, hence there is NO ONE to give back the lands to. To date, the CARP which used to be the centerpiece program of the first Aquino government remains hollow – pregnant in noble intent for agrarian reform BUT no FORCE and EFFECT!

    WHAT kind of government have we, as a people, installed that RETURNS hails of bullets when ONLY food on the hungry farmers’ tables is demanded? What kind of president have we, as electorates, chose to wield the reins of power who could SLICE a pittance in the national budget ONLY to take it back when so BADLY needed? What kind of leader MUST we, as voters, elect to breathe TRUE CHANGE and marshal the sordid affairs of our State? IF government FAILS, where can the poor peasants turn to for redress?

    FOR justice, there is one potent power that we can assert together. It is lodged freely in us as citizens. It can be sold to the highest bidder under duress of severe necessity. BUT if we can hold on to it no matter the circumstances, THAT power to CHOOSE the next STRONG president may yet make all the difference between selling our souls for a day’s ration or KEEPING our principles for a life-time of DECENT survival for all. Those peasants who braved the line of fire will be HONORED more in death if we keep the faith and survive to tell their story…

  • alexander lean daloga-og

    DUTERTE SHINES BEST AMID GOVERNMENT NEGLECT and INCOMPETENCE

    SINCE the peasants’ carnage on Friday, Pres. BS Aquino has let his spokespersons do the talking for him. Isn’t it his paramount duty as Head of State to act on the issue instead of simply conjuring up pro-Left conspiracies behind the legitimate demands of the hungry farmers?

    LAST time I checked, Congress has appropriated P43.3 billion for the Department of Agriculture (DA). Another P19 billion of the 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA) is supposed to mitigate the long dry-spell as PAG-ASA warned two years ago, plus P2.06 billion more as supplemental budget for the agriculture department.

    YES, the local government units, in particular the drought-inflicted areas, may use 30% of their respective calamity funds to respond to contingencies involving El Nino and in fact many of these LGUs have already withdrawn such funds to address the issue since last month. Yet, we know too these allocations are insufficient, hence the creation of DA’s Quick Response Fund (QRF) amounting to P500 million for the affected farmers in the country.

    BUT why the LACK of response from DA? Folks, there is NO response at all because the agriculture department CANNOT allocate funds which the Aquino government has NOT front-loaded to the concerned department. Any reason? Because DBM Sec. Florencio Abad is YET to look for funding sources out of government savings! I wonder what the aggregate savings under the custody of our national treasury amounting to P700 billion for? Why subject a PRESSING concern of our nation’s farmers to DILATORY machinations of our national government? Or why allocate such item of expenditure in the national budget IF there is NO intent to release it in the first place?

    THE WANTON disregard of the farmers’ plight in Kidapawan City is just symptomatic of the government’s callousness to address the problems of NOT only the agriculture sector BUT land reform in general that the Aquino administration pays lip service to even during the height of the country’s much-hyped democratic icon Pres. Cory Aquino’s regime after the counter-elite revolutionary invention dubbed as EDSA.

    SO is this the kind of anti-peasant government that Liberal Party candidate Mar Roxas intends to lead? The rural poor comprise at least 70% of the country’s population and, as an agriculture-based economy, 66% of them belong to the peasantry. This farming sector contributes to at least 10% of the national output or GDP yet the government seems to act CRIMINALLY negligent about the farmers’ heart-wrenching welfare conditions. The Social Weather Survey (SWS) on the nation’s state of hunger couldn’t be truer than what the Kidapawan-based farmers have shown.

    DURING the first CDO presidential debate, the GMA-7 moderators cited the same survey results which bared that 2.6 million Filipinos are extremely poor. They live a hand-to-mouth existence that is as deplorable as can be imagined possible. Certainly these hungry mouths could be what Sec. Roxas’ running-mate Leni Robredo referred to as the marginal Filipinos who live outside the fringes of our society. These crucial chunk of the population must be truly hungry to demand the most fundamental right of all – FOOD!

    DENIAL of such basic of all human rights truly IMPEL our fellows to commit drastic actions. Former Pres. Erap Estrada’s crude wisdom comes to mind: “A hungry stomach knows no law.” Still, the 6,000-strong Kidapawan farmers observed legal niceties. They had their 3-day permit secured before staging the rally to express their just demands: 15,000 sacks of rice to eat, free vegetable seedlings to tend to in their cracked-out lands, and a little financial subsidy to tide them over until the dry-spell is gone. But the 3-day permit had lapsed; still, the local government units failed to come out any acceptable solutions JUST because the concerned LGU officials couldn’t negotiate personally right in the middle of the picket line.

    WHEN the first burst of live bullets hit the barricading farmers, they scampered like animals sensing mass slaughter. The armed apparatus of the State led the carnage. The much-ballyhooed protectors of the people opened fire. Not even the rules of engagement were considered. These had gone off the window when both the law enforcement and military operatives decided rather SENSELESSLY to waste the lives of unarmed and undoubtedly harmless farmers.

    THE funny thing is, the ruling administration bet is just less than a hundred kilometers away from the scene of massacre. Sec. Roxas was out there in Koronadal City campaigning while the bloodbath started to claim lives and inflict unnecessary wounds to the hungry farmers. And as expected, all he could issue is a PRESS release demanding a thorough probe and re-establishing a semblance of civilized law and order.

    ALL presidential candidates followed suit calling for investigation and denouncing an otherwise free exercise of constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and seek redress for valid grievances. No one, EXCEPT Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, ever thought of resolving the humanitarian side of the crisis. Satiate the hungry farmers’ families first before any negotiations could start. He recently pledged to commit funds from his city government TO BUY rice, the least that he can do to assuage the needy peasants.

    INSTEAD of rebutting incendiary remarks from the feisty mayor and nitpick on his popular socialist leanings, why CAN’T Pres. Aquino level with and apologize, if so warranted, to the Filipino people for his department officials’ BLATANT failures to address the farmers’ issues? Agriculture Sec.Proceso Alcala promised RICE SUFFICIENCY by 2013; yet almost full six years of the president’s term are used up, we are STILL importing rice from other neighboring ASEAN countries! The constitutionally infirm presidential pork barrel called DAP had been discontinued; yet all DBM Sec. Florencio Abad could say, in view of the farmers’ basic demands, is that he is STILL trying to figure out where among items of government savings he can OUTSOURCE to mitigate the drought-laden pleas of the country’s farmers!

    EXACTLY these lapses of fiscal governance are what Mayor Duterte has in mind when he advocated for GREATER devolution of power among the local government units. Being Davao City’s foremost chief executive, he truly knows whereof he speaks. There is too much centralized power that URGENTLY needs to be dispersed. Federalism may yet address this controversial concern of severely INADEQUATE fiscal empowerment among the lower tiers of government. If the national officials are inept and weak, practical policy solutions can HARDLY be implemented. In times like these, there is too much finger-pointing at the top while simple problems create uncalled-for deadlocks below. As the farmers’ lives were wasted in Kidapawan City, Pres. Aquino is nowhere in sight to direct the immediate release of funds IF only to prevent a mole hill from becoming a mountain of irreversibly critical humanitarian concerns.

    THERE had been agrarian unrests before, when our Commonwealth Pres. Manuel L. Quezon, direly predicted a government being run like hell by the Filipinos. Presidents after him TRIED but FAILED to establish a genuine agrarian reform under a governmental STRUCTURE that lodges so much powers in the hands of the president. But let me pose this modest QUESTION: What IF the incumbent president is a BLUNDERING policy moron, a CERTIFIED weakling or just SIMPLY not up to make CRUCIAL executive decisions?

    WILL the rest of the polity take the brunt of suffering -for SIX years! – on account of the HEAD of government’s GROSS incompetence? In our recent history, the Aquino-Cojuangco families often figured in senseless peasant massacres employing the full security apparatus of the State to carry out the task of quelling agrarian dissent. In January 22, 1987, fresh from the wave of people power, Pres. Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino refused to honor her campaign promise to distribute land to the peasants. The farmers marched in protest but the lady president, upon the wise counsel of her land-holding cacique friends in Congress, did not relent an inch. Across Mendiola, proximately near the palace, the protesters were massacred. Thirteen farmers lay dead while 51 others were seriously wounded.

    BUT time never healed the injuries inflicted to the peasantry. Almost 17 years later in November 16, 2004, another massacre of rallying peasants shocked the nation. This time, the blood of violence dripped along the doorsteps of the Aquino-Cojuangco’s Hacienda Luisita. A dozen farmers, including 2 children, died in the hands of the military operatives while hundreds more were severely wounded.

    HACIENDA Luisita was a prized purchase of the Cojuangco-Aquino’s clan USING public funds on the PRETEXT of social justice. The tenant farmers were supposed to own the lands after 10 years; but then, some legal contract magicians thought it wise to introduce amendments to the terms so that when Pres. Ferdinand Marcos demanded for their distribution to the farmer-beneficiaries, the Cojuangco-Aquino family JUST told the government that Hacienda Luisita has no tenants at all, hence there is NO ONE to give back the lands to. To date, the CARP which used to be the centerpiece program of the first Aquino government remains hollow – pregnant in noble intent for agrarian reform BUT no FORCE and EFFECT!

    WHAT kind of government have we, as a people, installed that RETURNS hails of bullets when ONLY food on the hungry farmers’ tables is demanded? What kind of president have we, as electorates, chose to wield the reins of power who could SLICE a pittance in the national budget ONLY to take it back when so BADLY needed? What kind of leader MUST we, as voters, elect to breathe TRUE CHANGE and marshal the sordid affairs of our State? IF government FAILS, where can the poor peasants turn to for redress?

    FOR justice, there is one potent power that we can assert together. It is lodged freely in us as citizens. It can be sold to the highest bidder under duress of severe necessity. BUT if we can hold on to it no matter the circumstances, THAT power to CHOOSE the next STRONG president may yet make all the difference between selling our souls for a day’s ration or KEEPING our principles for a life-time of DECENT survival for all. Those peasants who braved the line of fire will be HONORED more in death if we keep the faith and survive to tell their story…

  • alexander lean daloga-og

    EXCELLENT choice Gov. Zubiri! DUTERTE will be the FIRST president from MIndanao ever!