July 31, 2011 in Cordillera
By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
BAGUIO CITY — “Walang pagbabago sa panahon ni Aquino,” (There is no significant change in Aquino’s regime).This was the cry of the Baguio multi-sectoral group after the 2nd State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Aquino III today, July 25 at the Peoples park where around 200 people gathered for a public viewing of the president’s delivery of his SONA.
Tracy Dumalo of Anakbayan – Cordillera said PNoy has not done anything that is in favor of the education sector. “Tuluy-tuloy pa niyang binawasan ang budget sa edukasyon kung saan ito ang pinakamalaking paraan kung paano niya sinagkaan ang quality and affordable education,” (He had cotinuously decreased the budget for education which is his way to suppress the quality and affordable education) she added.
She even said that PNoy is probably living in the world of fantasy. This was in relation to PNoy’s statement that his administration has provided 1.4 million jobs since 2010, .8% decreased in unemployment rate and many more. “Nabubuhay siguro siya sa pantasya dahil kabaligtaran naman ng katotohanan ang kanyang sinasabi,” (His statements are contrary to reality) she pointed out.
The first part of PNoy’s speech was on the poverty incidence in the country, he says has decreased by 15.1%. This was met by audience’s disgust indicating that it was a lie.
She explained that PNoy has not correctly addressed the problems in the country. His answer she said to poverty is Public Private Partnership (PPP). This she added is another form of privatizing the industries and basic social services. His answer to unemployment she said is the migration of labor force.
Moreover, she said PNoy’s answer to the peoples call to pull out the military forces in the country sides is the deployment of more state forces. This is evident she added with the map that was displayed that almost in all the provinces of the Cordillera are deployed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Abigail Anongos, the secretary-general of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) said they are recognizing that one year is not enough to address the problems raised by the secrtors however she added that one year is long enough for PNoy to have made concrete actions to take on these problems.
The CPA she said passed last year the so called Indigenous Peoples Agenda where they presented the issues that the Indigenous Peoples not only in the region but entire the Philippines are facing. One of these she said is the Development Aggression. There has not been any concrete actions by PNoy regarding this, she said adding that applications of destructive mining explorations and mineral exploitations, geothermal and others are increasing.
“They are saying that Cordillera is the watershed cradle of the North but what will happen if the said applications will be approved?,” she added.
She recognized that PNoy has promoted tree planting however she said, “Anya aya ti maysa nga kayo nga naimula kompara iti dadakkel nga operasyon ken exploration ti minas?”.
The region she added is deployed by more military forces resulting to more human rights violations. PNoy, she said, is talking about the decrease of carnapping incidents but he has not mentioned any development on the cases of human rights violations.
Despite these, she urged the people to continue asserting their rights.
Health is malnourished
Pamela Patal-e of the Community Health Education, Services and Training in the Cordillera Region (CHESTCORE) said that the health situation in the region is malnourished. Some of the reasons she said is the lack of health services by the government specially to the far flung areas and the decrease of the alloted budget for this basic service.
“Kung titingnan po natin, wala pa pong isang piso ang budget para sa kalusugan ng isang tao sa loob ng isang taon,” (In one year, every Filipino people do not even have a peso alloted for health) she said adding that one peso is not even enough to buy one paracetamol.
She pointed out that the budget for health was decreased while the budget for military increased. This she said is the reason why most of the health workers chose to go abroad because they cannot land a decent job in the country. While in the countrysides she added, do not have even one midwife or nurse to offer them health services.
“Marami po ang namamatay dahil sa simpleng sakit gaya ng diahrrea,” (A lot of our brothers and sisters in the remote areas are dying because of simple diseases like diahrrea) she added. These she said can actually be cured by clean water however, 35 out of 100 households do not even have clean water.
Because of the PPP, Patal-e said “we could no longer afford to buy medicines”. Even public hospitals she said are being privatized because of the budget cut.
Health workers who are sacrificing their better future just offer health services to the people she said are subjected to threats and harassments by the members of the AFP.
“Sa kabila ng mga sakripisyong ito, ilan po sa ating mga community health workers ay nagiging biktima ng extrajudicial killings gaya ng nangyari kay Dr. Leonard Co,” (Despite the sacrifice by our community healthworkers, they are becoming victims of extrajudicial killings like what happened to Dr. Leonard Co) she said.
Co, she said, is a peoples’ doctor who was killed by members of AFP. # nordis.net