ALAM Platform of Government

ALAB NG MAMAMAHAYAG (ALAM)

Platform of Government

Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM) as a party-list representative in the House of Representatives was founded on January 25, 2011 at National Press Club Bldg., No. 1 Magallanes Drive, Intramuros, Manila, after Puerto Princesa broadcaster Dr. Gerry “Doc Gerry” Ortega was assassinated on January 24, 2011 as the fifth mediaman killed during the administration of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.
That particular killing served as the tipping point that completely consumed the patience of journalists, starting with the epic proportion of the brutality done when 32 media individuals were killed among the 57 massacred on November 23, 2009 in Sitio Masalay, Municipality of Ampatuan, Province of Maguindanao.
Thus, it is easily seen that justice and press freedom are the top of the agenda when a group of media leaders gathered to reflect on what had happened and what to do.
This was followed suit by nine more killings to date and at least three more attempts to murder journalists in various parts of the country.
            From these grotesque experiences, the members of the press analyzed the situations and tried to identify the root causes of the never-ending killings against members of the press and these are intertwined with each other: Lack of True and Genuine Press and Utter Lack of Justice.
            ALAM also determined that if these two elements are present in the country, everything else that is good follows suit.

Primary Action Plans

True and Genuine Press

            Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM) has resolved to devote most if not all of its manpower, efforts and resources for the establishment of a State where the Press is true and genuine.
            It is only when there is true and genuine liberty of the press that total transparency and accountability in government affairs is achieved. 
And when this is established, there will be equal and fair distribution through fair competition for all the privileges and rights among the small and big businesses, rich and poor entrepreneurs, indigenous peoples and those belonging to the major tribes, Muslims and Christians and people of other religions, and people of all creed or ideology. 
With this transparency and accountability as strong as the Great Wall, it is easily seen that the economy will be active among all classes to promote a number of transactions occurring a thousand times than the present, thereby ensuring more taxes to the government because each transaction entails tax earnings for the State.
And when total transparency and accountability is set on solid grounds, the educated public eyes provide a strong deterrence to discourage public men and women from engaging in any form of graft and corruption, from discriminating against any person, from oppressing any person, from compelling subordinates to commit illegal acts for the bosses to gain, from committing other crimes, and from doing all other illegal or immoral acts.
At the same time, this will grow the moral, decency and delicadeza standards of Filipinos.
It is the urgency of now for the Philippine society to try totally-free press and see the light of day to make the government an ideal government truly for the people, by the people, and of the people. 
To achieve an ideal government is to declare expressly that the State is sacrificing that perceived-but-less-important interests to protect the honor of public officials or employees and making the freedom of expression, of speech, and of the press as a matter of policy, a matter of right, a matter of culture, a matter of tradition, and a matter of norm.
ALAM will work for enactment of laws that remove imprisonment and warrant of arrest for any libel, perceived or otherwise, as part of a broad strategy to achieve a kind of government that is truly for the people, by the people, and of the people.
ALAM will push for laws that imprison persons for any act that restrains or stops the exercise of Press Freedom, especially if these acts are committed prior, during or after the actual intention to exercise the same, or even if these were to be done directly or indirectly.
ALAM will push for substantively huge freedoms to access to all information under the control of the government to reinforce the True and Genuine Press agenda. 
Aside from making the access a solid presumption and for the office concerned to have the obligation to prove that the data sought must be exempt from free access, Alab ng Mamamahayag will push for a total access to all information kept in all offices.
This total access policy includes scrapping even the abused “executive privileges” or “deliberative privileges” upon the principle that Public Office is a Public Trust.
ALAM will also abolish the confidentiality rule between the boss and his confidential employee because history shows that this only breeds contempt, corruption and crimes.
Under this principle, ALAM considers all acts as belonging to the people’s domain, except only those matters that are proven by the clear-and-present-danger proof that it would cause death to any person or an end to the life of the State, matters that pertain to the preservation of the dignity and intrinsic worth of the children and women, and those that clearly endanger the life of secret agents.
ALAM will also push for the free zone of all kinds of information twenty (20) years after they have been kept confidential.  This means, that no matter the confidentiality or secrecy importance, all information that are 20 years old or older must be open to the public.
ALAM will fight any proposal to enact Right of Reply Bill because it will work to restrain or control the exercise of press freedom by any citizen.
ALAM will also fight for the separation of facts from opinions in all published or broadcast items and to push for a law that will make all opinions as ones that cannot be sources of any liability, criminally, civilly or administratively.  This is because ALAM subscribes to the idea that “everybody is entitled to his or her opinion.”  This is also a compliance with the Philippines’ obligation to the United Nations for signing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that commands all states to respect and make free the right to express of their people.

Establishment of People’s Justice System

            There is a need to protect press freedom and any gains that may be had by Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM).
            The best tool that can protect press freedom is when we are assured that justice system cannot be bent to favor the influence peddlers, check abuses and abscesses and assured that there will be speedy dispensation of justice.
            The present justice system sees prosecutor’s offices determined only by one man in the person of the prosecutor and the court determined only by one man in the person of the judge.
            No matter how honest a prosecutor or a judge he is vulnerable to influences, by fear of guns or lure of money. It is very rare to see a person defiant to threats and allure of big bucks.
            To resolve this problem of natural weakness, there ought to be a system that is very strong against influences. One system is one that has been tested by time and has been labeled as “the best tool invented by man” that can assure more that rights and freedoms are so respected, privileges and franchises are given upon merit found after fair competition, and that can effectively check abuses.
            This system is the Grand Jury and Trial Jury System, also called as “layman’s adjudicatory system,” but called by ALAM as “People’s Justice System” or “Hukuman ng Mamamayan.”
            This system has been credited for the eradication of discrimination in the United States of America (USA) and elsewhere where the system of justice is one where the people have most direct way of participation in exercising the power to judge. 
            History shows that countries that have this system have no rebellion, have least incidences of corruption, have records of prosecuting and imprisoning even the most powerful men.
            In this “PEOPLE’S JUSTICE SYSTEM,” it is the people who decide all factual issues through their representatives raffled from them and screened by standard tests with the least human intervention. 
With this principle of giving back to the people that power to judge, ALAM will do the following:
1.      File a bill for the creation of the “People’s Fact-Finding System” in every province or city to decide who should be charged in court and who should be spared, provided that those chosen shall serve for six months as a secret collegial body and will be replaced every six months thereafter; and

2.      File a bill for the creation of Jury Trial where the People through their representatives chosen in the manner stated above will be the one who will collectively try, hear and decide the factual questions as to the guilt or innocence of the accused, where the people involved shall be called “Hukum ng Mamamayan,” and the presiding judge shall be left only with the duty of applying laws on the facts determined by the people’s representatives. 
The problem of the Philippines has been how to ensure that laws are implemented.  No matter how good the laws are, no matter how many the laws are, they are good as nothing when nothing can assure their execution.  The non-implementation is due to the laxity and the ease with which the present justice system can be fixed by money or fear.
And if ever there is implementation of the laws, this is either slow in coming or manipulated to cater to the needs of the favored.
Implementations of laws that do not involve actions by the court are also being delayed because most of the officials involved feel comfortable that they would not be punished anyway because they can easily buy their way out.
Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM) believes that only a strong, firm, fair and speedy justice system can compel all, including the arrogant, the defiant, the greedy, and the wily to behave and obey the laws made by the Congress.
Ergo, the True Justice agenda is at the heart of the plans of action of Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM).
While the dream of People’s Justice System is not yet gaining ground, ALAM will work for a passage of a law slapping automatic fines against judges, fiscals, justices, arbiters, hearing officers, and board members for every day of delay in rendering judgments, decisions, resolutions, or orders, where the delay shall begin to run after thirty (30) days from the day the issues were submitted.  The fines intended shall be Php1,000.00 a day.
 
Secondary Action Plans

Economic Agenda

            As its economic agenda, Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM) will push for the enactment of “Small First Policy.”
 “Small First Policy” means that in any contest for awards of privileges, franchises and permits the presumption is that the award shall go to the contestant that is smaller as long as the bid price or offer is substantially the same and the smaller bidder can do the job, provided that if the smaller one is in second or third best it shall be given the opportunity to match the best offer.
This should not be mistaken for discrimination against those who have better station in life. This is only an affirmative action seeking to place the lowly a little bit higher to even up the playing field.
Along the same policy, ALAM will push that in case cooperatives are involved they shall be given priority in awards, permits, franchises and other forms of privileges if these entities are capable of doing the task at hand or deliver the minimum desired result. 
If the issue on whom to award the privileges and rights is between cooperatives and non-cooperatives, the award shall be in favor of the cooperatives.
In case the same issue is between two or more cooperatives, the one that has the highest number of members shall get the awards.
In implementing the “Small First Policy” in all cases of bidding for the supply of goods and services or leases the bid price shall not be bigger than the lowest price offer, and in all cases of bidding for purchases of materials from any office the bid price shall not be lower than the highest bid price.
This will encourage the spirit of cooperation among all with the end view of fostering closer bond in the greatest number of Filipinos possible.

Labor agenda

            ALAM intends to revolutionize the wage and benefits laws for labor.
First, it will work for scrapping of the short-contract rule for works that are actually continuous.
Second, ALAM will work to establish a law requiring corporations to appoint one director of the board from the union, with the union voting in the form of a resolution of all union members and any intended board resolution cannot be valid without the vote of the union.  Under this setup, the union can withhold their consent or vote until their demand for disclosure of company information is met.
Third, ALAM will also work for the allowance of joint-venture agreements in case workers opt to a sharing system of gross receipts provided this is approved by the Department of Labor, to encourage entrepreneurial spirit among the workers wanting to join hands with capitalists for any business.
Under this idea, the works rendered by labor will be given an equivalent amount in terms of pesos and it will be considered as workers’ contribution to the joint-venture so that when the distribution of gains comes the employees will get their share pro-rated on the total equivalent amount of work rendered at the time of the sharing.  However, there will be a provision that the joint-venture must give sufficient amount as allowances for the daily living of the workers and these allowances shall be deducted as cash advances when the sharing comes.  The sharing shall be based on gross receipts or gross sales.
Joint-venture shall be encouraged in service businesses and in agriculture, fish farming and other forms of farming or husbandry.
Fourth, ALAM will push a law that imprisons employers or any person who violate wage and benefit laws, including delays in giving them.
Fifth, ALAM will push a law imprisoning employers or any person committing acts of unfair labor practice and the case must be filed without first waiting for the decision of the labor arbiters or the NLRC that the actions being referred to are indeed unfair labor practices.
Sixth, ALAM will push a law of standardizing public service wages with that of the private sector workers.  It is ironical for the government to punish acts of giving salaries below the minimum wage law in the private industries yet it violates the same on lowly public workers.
Seventh, ALAM will reduce or loosen the requirements in setting up a union in any bargaining unit and it will seek a law giving right to public employees to engage their agencies in contract bargaining agreements.

Environment

            ALAM will push for a law on tree farming to encourage Filipinos to find careers or businesses with planting trees and harvesting them while at the same time ensuring balanced ecology.
            ALAM will push a law making it a presumption that when there is doubt as to its viability and security to the environment, any mining activity or application shall forthwith be denied. 
If there is doubt, no mining applications must be approved.
ALAM will push for a law identifying geographical areas that are suited for landfills, taking into account the absence of water table and unsuitability of the soil to farming or forest plantation. Outside these zones no such project shall be undertaken.
ALAM will push for a law establishing communities on higher grounds and transfer thereto all people living in flood-prone areas and convert these low areas into forests.
ALAM will push for laws imprisoning persons throwing their garbage or discharging their wastes, including sewerage from residential houses, to water bodies and seas without first cleaning them in filtration plants.
ALAM will push a law requiring all motors, vehicles or otherwise, to install silencers to make the environment free of noise pollution.
ALAM will also push for a law that requires all students and workers, government or private, to plant at least one tree every year as part of their requirements to pass their grade or year level for students and pupils and as a requirement for the release of their 13th month pay for workers.  Proofs of planted and nurtured trees must be submitted by means of videos with front page of a newspaper in the background as validating procedures.  Any approving authorities shall be imprisoned for any form of falsification of compliance therewith.
ALAM will push for priorities in franchises and licenses to all vehicles that do not emit carbons to the air, giving importance as a policy to electric cars and electric utility vehicles.
ALAM will also push for big budget for researches whose purposes are to discover means, ways, devices, and apparatuses that are of significant utility to man but not emitting pollution when operated on.  Inventions that have the same effect shall be funded by the government with loans without any interest for the purpose of mass production and mass use.


Indigenous Peoples

            Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM) will push a law making it mandatory for each town or city or province to provide schools and roads in unreachable mountains to ensure that indigenous peoples in their respective areas are educated, at least knowing how to read and write.  All the elected officials of the local government units concerned who failed in each year to comply with this law shall be banned from seeking any elective posts.
            ALAM will push a law requiring that all Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) contracts required before any exploration, development and utilization of natural resources or any joint venture activity will be considered as valid must be accompanied with pictures of all adult individuals in indigenous communities showing them signing for the FPIC provided that these pictures shall have in the background the front page of a newspaper to ensure truth as to the date of signing.  The newspaper used shall be submitted as part of the compliance procedure.  This is being pushed because many FPICs have been fabricated by NCIP officials due to the motive of big gain, mostly from miners.
            ALAM will also push for a law requiring the government to pay for the geodetic survey requirements for the issuance of Certificates of Ancestral Domain Title (CADTs) or Certificates Ancestral Land Title (CALT).
            ALAM will also push for strict compliance that every town or city or province hosting indigenous peoples must give one seat in their respective sanggunians to be elected by them with the supervision of the Comelec.
           
Energy

            ALAM will push a law that will give priority approval for all applications for construction and operations of electric power plants with the use of renewable sources of energy, particularly solar and wind.
            ALAM will push for a law revoking the oppressive clause of fix payments to independent power providers in order to eradicate manipulation in the grants of IPPs and to give much cheaper electricity for all Filipinos.  All IPPs, present and future, must compete in the spirit of fairness and honesty in business.
            ALAM will also push for a law encouraging individual homes to use stoves and lighting facilities using solar energy.
            At the same time, ALAM will also push a law for the use of CNG (compressed natural gas) among buses and other utility vehicles provided the gas comes from the natural resources of the country, like that one in Malampaya gas field.
            At the same time, ALAM will push a law to encourage establishment of household distribution of natural gas for areas reachable by the Malampaya or other gas fields that may discovered.

Transportation

            ALAM will also push a law overhauling the systems and manning of the present Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to eradicate the prevalent corruption in granting franchises.
            In the conduct of Route Measured Capacity (RMC) surveys used as the bases in granting franchises, it shall be required that all parties, including the oppositors, are present and the conduct shall be videotaped with a newspaper front page in the background to ensure the date of taking of the video footage and the date of the conduct of the surveys.
            ALAM will also push for a law unifying the LTFRB and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) under one department.
            ALAM will also push for a law that will create the Department of Maritime Affairs to increase the standards in approving registrations, licenses and franchises of all vessels, private, for passengers or for cargo and to improve all ports, while at the same time up-keeping the profession of seamen.
ALAM will also push a law that will create the Department of Air Transport to specialize on improving the standards of air travels and air ports.

Housing

            ALAM will also push for a law that will give lands to all residents in blighted communities with government assistance to ensure that the new communities that will be established are complete with all amenities, such as schools, hospitals, markets, water and sewerage systems, electricity and transportation.
It will also include the allocation of funds to be lent to those who would relocate, interest-free, and all incomes earned by those individuals relocating to the new communities shall not be taxed on all incomes for the period of fifteen (15) years. 
It shall be ensured that interest-free funds shall be ensured to be loaned by the government to those who want to invest in transportation, small-scale businesses and industries.
            ALAM will push a law for making the approval as “automatic” for all applications for free patents for housing purposes for all who occupied public lands for at least ten (10) years as residents provided that the area is not greater than 200 square meters and that the lots concerned are free for disposition by the government.
            ALAM will also push a law strengthening the community mortgage program to all residents in rural and urban areas, to make the same free from land-grabbing syndicates.

Cleansing the Registries of Land Titles

            ALAM will push a law to examine and investigate all certificates of land titles kept in the Registries of Deeds and remove from the files all certificates of title that are found to be not supported by patents or supported by patents or court decrees but issued at a time when there was no disposition yet of public lands concerned to alienation and disposition.
            The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), particularly its land investigation teams, the CENRO, the PENRO, the Lands Management Bureaus, and the Land Registration Authority (LRA) shall be constituted as the team that will do these tasks.
            With this, all the fake land titles that found their ways in registries of deeds will be culled out and only those legitimate titles will remain.

Massive agriculture

            ALAM will push for a law that will require land owners of lands suitable for agriculture to plant crops or they will be fined or their lands shall be given for tilling to able and willing Filipinos upon the condition that the landowners shall be given only 20% of the shares in gross harvests.   But if the landowners concerned are absent or cannot be found, the shares from the cropping shall be deposited in trust but which trust funds can be used by the government to loan out to people willing to do the farming.

Political empowerment

            ALAM will push for a law increasing political positions reserved for the minorities, the underprivileged, the underrepresented, and unrepresented.
Foremost among these is the increasing of elective positions for memberships in all levels of sanggunians to give seats to each of all minority sectors, including the indigenous persons, where the representatives shall be chosen by election among the members of their sectors, with the requirement that no ordinances or resolutions shall be deemed as passed without the votes of these minorities taken for or against.
ALAM will push a law relaxing the requirements for the creations of political subdivisions, such as towns, cities, barangays, provinces and regions like ARMM, with the view that the smaller the local government is, the more efficient to be managed and more people will be actively involved in the building of the nation.
ALAM will push to remove from the mayors and the governors that power over the police and provide a security measure against police abuses by creating a CITIZEN’S JURY (People’s Law Enforcement Board) for every town or city or province to have the power to hear and decide cases against police officers. 
The Citizen’s Jury shall be constituted by at least 15 citizens raffled by the computer from the town, city or the province and screened through standards procedures and shall serve for six (6) months to be replaced by another batch every six (6) months thereafter.

Attested to:

BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING
President
Alab ng Mamamahayag




EDWIN R. ALCALA
Secretary General
Alab ng Mamamahayag




HERNANI Q. CUARE
Alab ng Mamamahayag
Board Director
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