wang-wangMANILA, Philippines – The Freedom from Debt Coalition expressed appreciation to President Benigno S. Aquino III for his use of the Filipino language, and the symbolic use of “wang-wang” (blaring siren) against corruption and impunity of government officials in his second State of the Nation Address.

However, FDC also expressed dismay over the selective reference of “wang-wangs,” as there are many more and bigger ones other than “former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her cohorts.”

“Thank you very much, Mr. President, for a SONA which was easily understood by all,” said FDC president Ricardo Reyes, adding: “Thank you very much for your campaign against the ‘wang-wangs’ in government, the economy and in the minds of every Filipino. The privileged and abusive ones should be removed and be held to account.”

“But we thank you only up to that point.” said Reyes.

“It is not only former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her cohorts who are the ‘wang-wangs’.  It is not just their corrupt ways and wrong policies. There are many more, bigger ones, including your supporters and allies, if they are not already inside your administration,” he added.

President Aquino should also focus his personal campaign against ‘wang-wangs’, especially those who monopolize the important sectors of our economy, according to FDC.

“President Aquino should also focus on big-time corporations and monopolies. Many Filipinos find it difficult to go into business.  Because they are monopolies, they are able to artificially manipulate the supply and prices. They earn super-profits and give super-cheap wages,” said Reyes.

According to FDC, these other “wang-wangs” that should be dismantled are:
• Rice cartel. “They manipulate the supply—imported and domestic to raise prices and to earn large profits.  Their collaborators are the corrupt ones from the National Food Authority and Department of Agriculture;  
• Sugar magnates, big-time coco traders and hacienderos.  “They are obstacles to the reforms of sugarcane and coconut lands, in their productive development and they are collaborators with the corrupt in NFA, DA, the Philippine Coconut Authority and CIIF;”
• Voltage 5 or those big players in the power industry – the Lopezes, the Aboitizes, Danding Cojuangco, Henry Sy and Manny Pangilinan, because “nobody can control their increase of electricity rates and they have already erased business competition in relation to generation, transmission and distribution;”
• Owners of supermalls, such SM and Robinsons chains, which eat into local commerce and that weaken the public markets;
• Giant real estate developers that started land conversions and appropriate lands away from socialized housing;
• The owner of Philippine Airline who blocks unionism and labor rights;
• The ones who do not want to redistribute the lands of Hacienda Luisita to its farmers and who do not want to return the stolen coco-levy funds back to the small coconut farmers; and,
• The political dynasties that are widespread throughout the country.  

“How can corruption, the abuse of political power relationships and nepotism be eradicated if the one sitting in government is a relative or an associate of business firms that always seek a favor from government?” asked Reyes.

“Why are they also not included among the wang-wangs that should be dismantled?” added Reyes. -30-

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