February 16, 2012
Excerpts from Kapihan sa Senado
Q: I understand you are pushing for some reforms on climate change?
Guingona: As we all know, dati pinagyayabang ng mga taga-Mindanao na kami ang bread basket ng Pilipinas sapagkat walang bagyo sa Mindanao. In the morning, may sunshine, in the afternoon, may ulan, tapos sa gabi wala na, okay na. Ganun 'yung cycle. Maganda ang klima para sa mga tanim. Pero ngayon, 'yung tinatawag nilang climate change, nandito na, totoo na, at nakaka-apekto na.
First issue is that Mindanao cannot have a disaster risk reduction master plan na kanya-kanya lang. Hindi pwedeng Cagayan De Oro lang, hindi pwedeng Davao City lang o Zamboanga City may kanya-kanyang disaster plan. Kailangan buong isla ng Mindanao meron isang disaster risk reduction plan. Why? Because Mindanao is not as big as Luzon, and everything is connected lalong-lalo na kung sa tubig. For example, 'yung nangyari sa Cagayan De Oro, 'yung tubig na 'yun, galing sa Bukidnon, 'yung katabing probinsiya. Sa Iligan City, ang nangyari, ang tumama sa mga bahay, hindi lang tubig at putik. Meron pong kasama na 8,000 na troso. Tumama sa mga bahay, tumama sa mga sasakyan at sa mga tao kaya grabe ang pagkamatay ng mga biktima sa Iligan, dahil sa tinamaan sila ng troso. 8,000 na troso. Where did those troso come from? They were cut from the neighboring province of Lanao Del Sur which is from the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Pagka lumaki ang tubig sa Pulangui River sa Bukidnon, anong epekto? Yung Rio Grande sa Cotabato nago-overflow, at nagbabaha ang Cotabato City.
Pag 'yung tubig sa San Fernando, Bukidnon lumaki, ang epekto nago-overflow at binabaha 'yung mga barangay sa Davao City. Everything is connected. Therefore, it is time na dapat may disaster risk reduction plan para sa buong isla ng Mindanao.
Natutuwa ako na si Senator Koko ang nanguna dito na magkaroon ng disaster risk reduction summit para sa buong isla ng Mindanao.
Q: Perhaps we can ask Senator Pimentel to walk us through? Ano po ang mangyayari during the Summit? What do you hope to achieve at the end of the summit?
Pimentel: Number one, sinu-sino po ang aming inimbita rito to be the participants? Of course, all of the decision-makers of the island of Mindanao. These would be the governors, the congressmen and the city mayors, as well as the municipal mayors of the places na already identified na geo-hazard areas. Of course, marami din palang NGOs on the environment operating in Mindanao. We have river basin councils, kasi sinabi ni Senator TG, konektado 'yung aming mga water systems doon, marami. Marami ang river basin councils and then we also have watershed councils existing in Mindanao. These are all NGOs, private organizations, inimbita rin po namin sila to listen to the talks of our speakers. Ang aming speakers, mga experts po ito. We have requested our speakers to be scientific in their approach, so ang topic po natin ay loaded with scientific subject matter. Para hindi po opinyon ito na based from nowhere, opinion based on data and analysis and studies.
Guingona: Napakahalaga po lalung-lalo na 'yung tinatawag na best practices. Nandiyan nga si Joey Salceda, para sa akin 'yan ang expert sa disaster management, sapagkat lahat ata ng mga disasters natikman na ng Bicol at saka they have this learning experience. Just to give you an example, when the Mayon Volcano was erupting in 2009, I was able to go there and one of their experiences is syempre, since the volcano is erupting, you evacuate the communities. Common sense, you evacuate. Pero sa gabi, bumabalik 'yung mga tao sa communities. Hindi na dapat bumalik. Kaya nga pina-evacuate kayo, bakit kayo bumabalik? 'Yun pala, something so simple was overlooked, na 'yung mga inevacuate 'yung mga tao, pero 'yung mga farm animals nila, hindi na-evacuate so bumabalik 'yung mga tao para pakainin 'yung mga hayop nila. So, they now have an evacuation plan for the people and for the animals as well. Otherwise, babalik nga 'yung mga tao at mapapasok sa peligro. 'Yung mga ganun lang, simple lang. Very basic pero you need to go through the learning experience. 'Yung insights ni Governor Salceda will be very helpful.
Pimentel: Actually, ang structure po ng summit is back to basics talaga. Ang kinatatakutan ko kasi is that kunyari once in 10 years lang tatamaan ang Mindanao nito, ang problema doon wala nga daw kaming institutional memory kung ano ang gagawin. Kaya kailangan talaga namin ng mga experts from Bicol, na halos every year tinatamaan at nai-implement nila 'yung program nila. We need their inputs to make a plan kasi wala kaming institutional memory. Importante yung back to basics kasi po kung nabasa ninyo last week na 'yung tent city number two sa Cagayan De Oro, binaha. Binaha ng halos three feet of water. So, back to basics. Sana na marealize nung ating mga decision-makers in disaster incidents that the relocation site itself, whether transitional relocation site or permanent relocation site, must also not be a geo-hazard area. Ang nililipat mo na, nanggaling sa geo-hazard area, wag naman natin ilipat sa isa pang geo-hazard area. Kawawang-kawawa na po ang ating mga kababayan so ito po sana ang mga basic ideas na gusto ko sanang matutunan para pag-uwi ng mga participants sa Mindanao Summit sa kanilang mga lugar, at least naka-ukit na 'yun sa kanilang mga pag-iisip o sa kanilang mind talaga na wag naman tayo magkamali ng ganong ka-basic.
Q: Hanggang master plan lang ba tayo? Hindi na natin kailangan gumawa ng batas?
Pimentel: We are also there to learn. Kung lumabas sa master plan ang gusto ko ngang makita sa master plan, executive action, ano 'yung pwede nang gawin, legislative action, tapos non-governmental action. Kung meron po lumabas doon sa legislative action, i-share po namin ni TG sa mga participants na Senador dito pagbalik namin. Kikilusan namin 'yun pag may lumabas na legislative action. Kung tutuusin, meron na. Doon pa lang sa UP Padayon program, sa forensics, sa pag-identify ng mga patay, may nakita na ako agad na pwede sa city health officer na additional duty niya, which is to be prepared for forensic pathology. Once disaster strikes your LGU, dapat marunong din pala sila on how to identify the dead bodies. Isa 'yun. Kung kailangan ilagay natin into law 'yan, sa Local Government Code. I do not know kung ano pa po ang pwedeng lumabas.
Guingona: There is a new law, the disaster risk reduction management. That is why 'yung dating disaster risk council, pinalitan 'yung pangalan. Pero besides pinalitan 'yung pangalan, this new law makes a paradigm shift. Dati kasi 'yung approach ng gobyerno sa disasters, from recovery, rescue, rehabilitation. Ang ibig sabihin, nangyari na 'yung kalamidad at magrerespond ka. Ngayon itong bagong batas, itong DRRM, ang shift is to preparation and mitigation. Para lang sa ganun, 'yung amount spent for rescue, recovery and rehabilitation will be very minimal. For every one peso of prevention and mitigation, study show sa UN that you save on P7.00 worth of rescue. 'Yan ang importante ngayon. Ngayon, kung bago na 'yung batas, bakit nandoon pa rin tayo sa rescue mode? Number one, bago pa lang 'yung batas at ang pinaka-importante sa batas na yung disaster risk reduction plan will come from the community. Hindi pwede galing sa Camp Crame, sa NDRRMC for every community. Hindi na pwede yung top-down. It has to be from the bottom. Let's start from the very basic, the purok, the sitio, the barangay. They know what the hazards are. What is important now is we educate the local officials with the new paradigm so that they can come up with a disaster plan made by the people who stay in the community.
Pimentel: It's a disaster plan made by the people who stay in the community. Paradigm shift from 1) rescue, rehabilitation and recovery to prevention and mitigation. 2) planning of the disaster management plan is not from the top-down but from the community, so it's a bottom-up approach.
The Mindanao Summit is to prepare our Mindanao decision makers for all sorts, all types of disasters and calamities. A disaster does not only come from typhoons and storms, it can strike anywhere and anytime. Tignan niyo 'yun sa Cebu, unknown fault line hindi ba?
'Yung ARMM leaders are invited but as participants muna and perhaps they can join the two scheduled workshops and of course, in the plenary. In the case of the MILF, we didn't specifically invited them but of course they can join us if they want. The results of the Summit will be disseminated all over Mindanao so aabot din ito sa kanila. This is the initial step, the second Summit will have more details and of course, more participation.
Guingona: The vice mayor of Cotabato is also a leader of the MNLF so in that way, the MNLF is already invited. However, the MILF should be included because they also have great contribution to this, especially in the marshlands where they have a strong following.
Pimentel: There was a Sendong hearing last Monday and preliminarily lumabas na 'yung scientific explanation kung ano nangyari. Nagpausapan na rin natin kung anong relevance of the warning system of PAGASA--that radars and other devices are capable of measuring the volume of rain fall brought by storm clouds. It's time for PAGASA to review its warning signal system not only warn us of wind speed but to warn us of the quantity of rainfall.
I suggested to PAGASA to make their weather bulletin more understandable to the public and not too technical. I don't know how PAGASA is going to do it. They should study it first but the weather bulletin should not be too scientific.
Guingona: That is right. The weather bulletin should be understandable to the masa, something like first warning, "get your things because a storm is approaching." Maybe the second warning should read, "get out of the house" or something like that. In disasters, the hardest hit are poor. You must remember the two most poorest regions in the country are the Caraga region and the ARMM in Mindanao. So it's very important that Mindanao has a disaster management plan.
Pimentel: I have asked the NDRMMC to explain under the new law kung paano ba hahatian ang responsibility. Whose responsibility it is to 1) tell the people that they are in harm's way and 2) get them out of harm's way. Sabi ang NDRMMC mukhang sa local daw kasi their responsibility is to train and prepare the people but sa aksyon, 'yung local daw talaga.
Depending on the result of the Mindanao Summit, which I believe will be positive, I am willing to bring this kind of a Summit to the other parts of the country. Bacolod has already contacted me on this, and that is even before the earthquake. So tutuloy na talaga kami nitong March. Then we will be in Naga City on April.
Guingona: It is time that the whole country starts to shift its paradigm when it come to disaster--from rescue recovery, rescue and rehabilitation to preparedness and mitigation because if we are prepared, there will be very minimal human lives that will be lost.
ON IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS
Pimentel: So far, so good. Pero nababagalan ako lately. There are eight articles so if we tackle one Article in a month, the impeachment trial will last for eight months, potentially. Pero, hindi naman siguro kasi Article II is supposed to be the prosecution's most important article so baka kaya natatagalan tayo dito. Sa other articles baka naman one week lang tayo. Hopefully, hindi na tayo tatagal ng eight months.
Kaya ako nababagalan kasi hindi tayo umaandar sa ibang issues. Naghehearing kami pero hindi kami na umaasenso sa main issues kasi we pursue other issues. Kung mayroon critical number of senators na interesado doon, kailangan irespeto sila and i-pursue 'yung issue. I must respect their interest in the issue.
Legal ethics yan, code of professional conduct. As an officer of the court ang abugado, huwag na huwag niyo i-attach ang fake na documents. Kayo ang initial na taga-sala niyan. Ngayon, kung duda ka fake, iattached pa ba? Pag lumabas na fake 'yan, dapat silang kaparusahan. Actually, ang attitude ko dapat lahat sila parusahan. Kung fake document 'iyan dapat parusahan ang prosecution, 'yung press con naman ng defense, dapat parusahan din sila doon for trying to influence the decision of the court.
Guingona: Ako din nababagalan ako. Sana we could pay more attention to other matters which are equally more important. I hope we can finish this as soon as possible but as we know, it is not in our hands but in the prosecution and the defense.
I read the pleading submitted by the chief justice to the Supreme Court (SC). Ang nakalagay doon ay because lang of my manifestation on my belief that the SC does not have jurisdiction on the Impeachment Court. 'Yon lang. That was a matter of principle, that was something I believe in, that was not something on the merits of the case. Ang sinasabi ko lang ay ang Impeachment Court is independent, a class of its own. Hindi pwedeng makikialam o hindi pwedeng papasok ang Korte Suprema. 'Yun lang. Ngayon, tapos na 'yun. It has been voted. It's quite unfortunate that he sees it that way. After all, I am for the truth and for accountability.
Guingona: Senator Koko, ano raw sanctions (for submitting fake documents)?
Pimentel: Ang sanctions diyan collective judgment, anywhere from a mere warning, censure, reprimand, fine, to suspension from appearing before the court. Hindi disbarment 'yun pero sa amin wag ka na humarap.
Guingona: We must remember hindi pa naman fully established kasi dadalin pa naman 'yung dokumento para mag-compare. Although the witness, the president, is saying that it is false, pero wala pang substitute to look at what was there and what was in the original. We have to wait talaga.
Pimentel: Kung hindi siya fake, di walang sanction. Pero kung fake, dapat may sanction. Kung hindi siya fake, tsaka na kami mag-decide kung ano ang value niya. Ang akin lang diyan is sanctioning the prosecution, did you use fake documents? If yes, may sanction. If no, then proceed na tayo.
Unang-una sa lahat, kung illegally acquired document, kung may violation ng law, doon na 'yan sa proper agency 'yung pag-file ng kaso. Kami, we are supposed to try the case of the Chief Justice, guilty ba or not guilty. Dun na kami nakatutok dapat.
When it is not genuine, when it was not really executed by the people concerned, that is a fake document.
Q: 'Yung position ni Congressman Tupas, in good faith daw 'yung pag-submit ng "fake" documents...
Pimentel: Basta ako, kapag ang abogado nag-submit ng fake document, may sanction. One vote lang ako.
Q: Sir, napanood ko kanina, sabi pakikialaman ng Malacañang 'tong impeachment process although the Senate has taken cognizance of the case...
Pimentel: Ewan ko kung paano siya makikialam. Hindi ko alam. Nagkokomentaryo sila, alam ko. Kung hindi naman kami magpapaapekto sa komentaryo, walang value 'yung kanilang komentaryo. Ang challenge sa amin, wag kami magpapaapekto sa komentaryo ng ibang tao. We will have to make our own decision based on the evidence.
Q: Paano 'yung demand ni President Aquino that the Chief Justice bare his dollar accounts?
Pimentel: Silang dalawa ang nag-uusap through the media. Walang epekto sa amin so hindi ko masabing nakikialam.
Q: Sir, may impression kasi na 'yung mga senators ang bilis umaray kapag 'yung comments are coming from the defense when they held the press conference pero quiet daw especially 'yung mga pro-administration when it comes to the President and his spokesperson talking about the merits of the case...
Pimentel: 'Yung ginawang presscon ng defense, iba 'yun. Sinabi nila na nasuhulan ang mga senador so they can only vote one-way. Dalawang choices, A or B, pag pinili ng senador ang A, nasuhulan ang mga 'yan so therefore B lang ang dapat desisyon nila. That is a contemptuous pronouncement para sa akin. If you comment on the case, you just violated the sub-judice rule. If somebody makes a motion for violating the sub-judice rule, iba lang 'yun. The parties, everybody, is encouraged not to talk about the merits of the case so that the people who read or hear your comments are not misled. Pero 'yung isa, accusing the decision-makers, the senators, of accepting bribes or having been offered bribes so that they can only decide one-way, kung ginawa nila sa Supreme Court 'yun, wala ng ibang resulta 'yun kung hindi contempt.
If somebody files a motion, then we will take it up but no one among us seems to be affected that much. 'Yun ang nangyari but 'yung akusasyon ng depensa, talagang we care about that. Dapat malaman natin ang katotohanan tungkol dun so we can sanction who needs to be sanctioned.