”Now we’re old and grey Fernando
And since many years I haven’t seen a rifle in your hand
Can you hear the drums Fernando
Do you still recall the frightful night we crossed the Rio Grande
I can see it in your eyes
How proud you were to fight for freedom in this land”
– Some memorable lines from the song, Fernando, as sung by ABBA
THE song, FERNANDO, sung by ABBA sends patriotic ripples down my spine every time I hear it. It is so passionate and moving you cannot help imagining yourself like Fernando, fighting for freedom in our land – shades of Robert Jordan in Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”
It is a battle with a difference – it is a fight to win since defeat is not an option.
In my column last Saturday, September 10, 2015, I promised to reveal the specifics of the program of the Constitutional Transition Government (CTG). Here they are, for the people to examine and analyze. After examination and analysis, everyone has to make a choice since neutrality is to be abhorred and condemned. In the struggle to change the face of the country for the good of everyone who lives in this land, neutrality is a crime. Its name is treason, for one should not stay neutral when the country is burning. One should not wait till he is starting to get burned in the process.
The CTG program
So here is the program of the CTG, part of which I revealed in the CITIZEN’S SONA published by the Manila Times at the time when the current President Benigno Simeon Aquino 3rd delivered his last SONA this July 2015.
On Education and Health:
1. Free education for the poor and the middle class in the public school system.
1.1. Terminate the K-12 formula of education and instead install a proposition oriented approach to education with elementary education in 5 years, high school education for 3 years, preparatory courses before graduate school for 2 years, except medicine which should be for 3; reorient and reorganize the school curriculum with emphasis on values and character formation and adequate skills training for expertise in various fields.
1.2. Re-orient and re-educate our people for the development of proper values and character, and for love of country.
2. Free hospitalization, medicines and medical services for the poor and the middle class in the public health system.
On parliamentary and federal system
3. Erase and terminate the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB), Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) and the proposed Basic Bangsa Moro Law (BBL) with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and, instead establish a parliamentary and federal system with 15 or 17 states for a beginning with a unicameral Parliament with only 3 representatives from every state.
3.1. As a basic reform under a federal system – abolish all provinces and combine 5 to 6 towns into cities for effective management and to save money by limiting the number of local officials in government.
3.2. Terminate the practice of hiring casuals which is a method to accommodate partisan employees of politicians and their cronies.
3.3. Abolish the Congress of the Philippines and utilize its budget for education, health, housing and modernization of the armed forces of the Philippines.
On graft and corruption
4. Punish the grafters, the corrupt and criminals based on the standard of the word Exile. Those who are mild offenders should be exiled in designated islands to reform; serious offenders should be exiled in jail to reform; and the very serious offenders exiled 12 feet underground to reform or be sent to Hell.
4.1. Confiscate the ill-gotten wealth of all grafters, the corrupt and criminals to be used for national development.
On socialized housing
5. Put up socialized high rise building for the poor and the middle class and educate all of them in the proper use of the units within a period of one month before occupancy.
5.1. The mode of payment shall be for 25 years.
6. Nationalize all public utilities, systems of transportation and communication.
6.1. Terminate the privatization of government institutions like hospitals and those that are organized for public or service purpose.
On justice and the judicial system
7. Evolve a judicial system that would finally terminate cases in all courts within a defined time frame by limiting the number of justices in the Supreme Court to 5 with exclusive and original jurisdiction on constitutionality, validity of treaties and death penalty; limit the number of divisions in the court of appeals with appellate jurisdiction only from cases emanating from original jurisdiction in the regional trial courts; all cases emanating in municipal courts should end at the regional trial court; eliminate court trials and hearings and instead have all cases submitted on pleadings and draft decisions without extensions in the filing of pleadings; disband the IBP and instead create 3 voluntary bar associations – one each from Visayas, Mindanao and Luzon; organize one day in each month seminar on values and value systems and love of country for lawyers, judges, prosecutors and justices.
7.1. All criminal complaints should be acted upon by the prosecutors or chief of police, with cases filed in court not later than 20 days from the date of filing, with no appeal to the DOJ or any other institution of government.
On US visa and national defense and security
8. Demand from the United States an automatic visa for Filipinos to enter and stay in the US for 59 days on the principle of reciprocity and the most favored nation clause and a NATO-type defense treaty, otherwise we terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
8.1. Should the US refuse the demand for automatic visa, require all citizens of the USA seeking to come to the Philippines to line up at our embassies and consulate and require all of them to comply with stringent regulations for visa grant.
13. Develop our agriculture along the lines of Masagana 99 with subsidy to our farmers and industries in all fields of development.
13.1. Encourage the planting and growth of bamboos, palm oil and other high value crops, with easy loan terms from government banking institutions for the growers of such products.
13.2. Develop self-contained agricultural communities with schools, medical clinics facilities, housing, and parks, with easy access of products to the marketing centers.
On labor and overseas workers
14. Living wage for our laboring class and workers in government.
14.1. Ten (10%) percent share of the workers of the profits of the company at the end of each calendar year and representation of the workers on the Board of Directors of every corporation or in the management team of a company which is not a corporation.
14. 2. Impose heavy fines on companies and corporations violating labor laws.
14. 3. Exile the officers of companies and corporation which violate labor laws.
14.4. Hiring of overseas workers should be through the POEA only, with directive to simplify the requirements for overseas workers and no cash payments of any kind for overseas workers to be hired.
14.5. Create a legal office in every embassy or consulate in countries where there are overseas workers with sufficient lawyers who are ready to protect OFWs.
14.6. Allow OFWs to bring whatever they want when they come home or send articles to their loved ones, without taxes, except cars and other vehicles which should be taxed at the minimum rate, they should not be allowed bring home or send to their loved ones drugs, weapons and other prohibited materials.
There are more specifics which I will enumerate in the coming weeks but to give everyone time to examine these proposals, I will give myself some rest on CTG and do the following subjects on the succeeding weeks – the citizenship of Senator Grace Poe and the “alternative truth” that PNOY mentioned last week about Marwan’s death in Mamasapano.