Negros Business Forum shall be a college of
a cross section of Negros business, economic, and social leaders with the
media meeting weekly to provide a forum for an exchange and analysis of
current economic and business conditions to forecast parameters that affect
the lives and circumstances of the citizens of Negros Occidental.
Membership shall be by invitation. The Forum, as it will be alternatively labeled, limits its membership to private persons and professionals.
The Forum sets itself apart and distinct to those who are in political office or the public sector whether elected into public office or in the employ of the government. These are personalities who are currently holding elective positions, appointed executives of government departments or agencies and those who are currently incumbent in political positions.
Any member of the Forum who desires political
office or accepts an appointment to any government departments or agencies
shall be automatically considered resigned. Likewise, any person
who has held an elective position or any person who served the government
in any of its departments and agencies co-terminus with an elected official
or appointment with unresolved graft cases is inadmissible to the Forum.
Direct sanguinary relatives of an elected or appointed official with unresolved
graft cases is inadmissible to the Forum. This stipulations intends to
dissuade any use of the Forum for political purposes and maintain the aims
and positions of the Forum inviolate of political overtones be it personal
or from any political party.
To study and promote the development of Negros through medium and long-term planning in the framework of local, provincial, regional social and economic parameters consistent with Philippine national economic policies. These issues shall be thoroughly discussed and refined to a unanimous stand to be presented to the executives of government or lawmakers for enactment and implemented as a law or policy. To promulgate policy initiatives that will result in comprehensive solutions to recurring and traditional problems that relate to the ever deteriorating situation in food security, employment, quality of education, standards of living and health care.
AGRICULTURAL SELF SUFFICIENCY AND FOOD SECURITY
In particular, to pursue with utmost priority an agricultural policy through proper planning and allocation of resources which will lead to food security resulting inventories of staple foods, by utilizing all abandoned lands, currently idle due to lack of financing or a lack of incentives given to encourage agricultural productivity and efficiency.
In this respect, while the Forum supports land reform, the government policies and agencies directing effective implementation are want of support. Government should inventory all voluntary surrendered lands and those that have already been granted emancipation land certificates. These micro agrarian enterprises deserved and should be properly financed and supported with technical support with the very important harvest and post harvest activities of harvesting threshing and drying machineries, price supports, transport and storage, warehouse financing and marketing. The Forum believes that all these are featured and embodied in the Comprehensive Agricultural Reform Law of 1986, however wanting in government support and implementation due to a bias in National Economic Policy towards industrialization.
While, the Forum supports the CARL as law of the land, the government should not rush the implementation should it be short of manpower and resources to implement land reform in all its purposes and intents. Failure of the implementation of this law will give farmer beneficiaries false hopes and the rightful owners leaving their lands idle. This will result in government intervention to production. This stand-off has created disincentives and let to disinvestment in agriculture. The Agricultural output of the contry for 1998 is the worst of the past 20 years according to Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
While the Forum is not against industrial development, it believes, government should study the negative effects it has done to land and water resources, pollution and environmental degradation, urban congestion; let alone the low value added, low local content usage, a heavy dependence on imported machinery and equipment coupled with a lateral dependence on foreign technology and imported raw materials; as a result of pursuing industrialization, abandoning agriculture sans, a masterplan as to what industries are safe and beneficial to the people.
We believe that their is enough financing available as evidenced by the repetitive annual support to unproductive and efficient Government Controlled Corporations, the grossly and scandalous entitlements, perks and prerogatives of government executives in the Executive departments; to support agricultural productivity particularly the upgrading of the irrigation network from the current 25% of rice lands to 100%. This wasteful use of government funds and resources is hidden from the public in violation of Sec. 28 of Article 2 of the Philippine Constitution title Declaration of Principles and State Policies which reads "Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest."
UPGRADING THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION
The Forum believes that the modernization of the Armed Forces and moneys currently appropriated and transacted for the acquisition of imported unnecessary items such as supersonic jets, helicopters, electronic gears, war materials and ammunitions should not take precedence over the stipulations of Sec. 17 of the Philippine Constitution that declares "The State shall give priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total human liberation and development". These objectives have given rise to secret negotiations which result in scandalous commissions kept hidden from the public in wanton disregard of disclosures stipulations of the Constitution.
Policy should modernize education before upgrading the Armed Forces. By giving our future generations substandard and a mediocre education and facilities, the government is robbing them of human development to find out that they shall not be equipped with the education to survive the 21st century. A nation cannot rise above the quality of excellence and standards it provides its citizens through its educational system.
The Forum believes that the President and Congress read Sec 9 of the Philippine Constitution that reads "...to free the people from poverty and policies that provide adequate social services, promote full employment, a rising standard of living and improved quality of life.
MAINTENANCE OF THE PRESENT FORM OF GOVERNMENT
The Forum believes that the present constitution should be maintained. There are enough evidence that statutes of the Constitution are grossly ignored and violated that no further amendment or revisions will change the course of our social, economic and political direction for the better unless the politicians and their political parties influencing government, respects the ideals and aspirations and promote the common good to secure for Filipinos and their posteritys to come, the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law, in a climate of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace as embodied in the thoughts of the Constitution of the Republic of Philippines.
The Forum emphasizes this because there has
been a constant attempt to by entrenched traditional interests, to subvert
the principles of term limits, which is a deterrence against attempts to
monopolize power and influence.