The plenary today was chaired by the Vice Speaker of the National Parliament Vicente Guterres with the agenda comprising of political statement of KOTA and discussion on the draft law N. 35/II on the “Appropriations “ and on the Draft Law N. 35/II on the “Immovable Financial Fund”. The first draft Law N. 34/II on the Special Regime on the Definition of the Ownership of Immovable was approved on last Wednesday with 28 in favor, 5 against ( 1 from AMP and 4 from Fretilin, and 1 abstained (Fretilin).
Statement of KOTA by Manuel Tilman
Tilman pointed out that Timor Leste is a pluralistic society which has many ethnic groups and languages, and religious, therefore it requires capable leadership to adopt and implement democratic values in their policy and decision making. TL has abundant natural resources that have to be properly utilized for the well being of the nation and people. The PF money has to be properly invested for the development of the country and not to spend it without expected results. This government has spent around $5 Billion over the past 5 years but has achieved little. Despite recognizing that the electricity sector has absorbed $ 1 Billion and has set up the Power Plant, Tilman regretted that blackouts continue happening. He also regrets that other sectors are underdeveloped, for instance the education sector, in particular the school feeding program that remains daunting and problematic. Moreover he said that many schools are in poor condition and do not have facilities to operate properly. In the health sector, he said that there is lack of hospitals and medicines to respond to the needs of the people.
Therefore he suggests to have more integrated and balanced development process between sectors and regions to pave the way for achieving economic growth and social justice. He also said that mutual respect and respect for the natural resources are important to ensure sustainable development.
Teresa (ASDT) disagreed with the policy of 1 year pension for civil servants, because it is far from enough and is really unfair as comparing to other countries like Portugal which is currently providing entire life pension for its former civil servants. Teresa also questioned about the condition and construction of road route Maubise- Turiskai with the budget amount of $500,000 in 2011 that has only started but has never finished the work.
Joao Adriano (PD) concerned that the Commission for Veterans has not performed as required. He alleged that some members of this committee tend to choose their family members, friends, instead of those that really meet the criteria.
Natalino Santos (CNRT) was deeply concerned about the dengue fever spreading out in the territory and is becoming a tremendous threat to the people’s life. Unfortunately the national hospital is facing lack of medicines to cope with it. The problem is being deteriorated by the overload of the Dili National hospital and the growing number of patients who are seeking treatment assistance. He suggested the MoH to coordinate with the private clinics to overcome the problem.
Commenting on the criticism of Manuel Tilman on the Central Power, Natalino appealed to look at the situation from the perspective of proportionality, positive thinking and patience. This AMP government has made many and extraordinary achievements, so it is not true if Tilman says that the government has only achieved little with lots of budgets. He hopes that KOTA will win the elections and do much more than AMP without flaws.
Mateus Jesus (independent) informed that the Kailaku bridge is damaged and not passable. Also the road route Maubise- Turiskai has not finished yet. Mateus regretted that the emergency road works are being concentrated during the dry season instead of wet season as people expected. According to his recent experience some roads are repaired under initiative of local communities, hence any traveler trespassing in the area has to pay certain fees to be allowed to pas. He also informed that the road Ermera-Letefoho was repaired in 2009 with $900,000 but was only finished 50%; in 2011 another amount of $500,00 was allocated but only achieved half of the volume. The road Railaku-Gleno was rehabilitated in 2011 with $250,000 but the quality of project is bad. In 2011 a budget of $450,000 was allocated for the rehab of Leboloa bridge but it has never been not executed.
Augusto Tara suggested that the roads upgrading (widening) is important to facilitate the population’s movement, however he suggested to have dissemination and consultation process with local communities prior its commencement to avoid certain misperceptions of people.
Inacio Moreira stated that the rehab of roads during the wet season is futile and just wasting money like what is happening in front of the Dili Port. He also criticized the mini-markets which are constructed closed to the roads are causing traffic problems in many places. Regarding government debts totaled $54.1 million, he said that it is result of conspiracy and inefficiency. The worst is that to overcome debts in PNTL, the SES is reducing the ration budget to reimburse /pay off the debts.
Teresa (PSD) informed that she had bad experience when she travelled from Baucau to Dili, during which groups of vandals and criminals are operating during night time in deserted areas. She asked the government to intensify the PNTL/security operations and capture the criminals.
Adriano Nascimento (PD) said that despite some technical weaknesses due to lack of capable human resources, the AMP government has started strategic development projects and made significant accomplishments. Regarding veterans issues he said that he is afraid that some people are using the opportunity to create factions within the veterans and later destroying the veterans and ultimately creating instability. Concerning government debts he suggests not to only blaming the AMP government because the country is learning by doing; he hopes that the future government will be able to resolve it or avoid it before such kind of mal practices are institutionalized by certain interests groups. That is homework for all Timorese, in particular the future government.
Rui Menezes addressed the statement of Manuel Tilman and appealed not to use the Parliament as a ground for personal campaign interest. Responding to the criticism on the quality of roads, he defended that all or most of the roads projects are designed and constructed by Timorese and not foreigners, in accordance with their knowledge and skills that they have. Therefore, he said, if the technology applied by these Timorese engineers and contractors and the quality of its results does not comply with the expected quality standards or do not respond to the typology and condition of the soil in TL, he hopes that the future government, in particular those who always criticizes the AMP government will have better expertise to overcome the TL typically fragile soil as depicted above. Regarding government debts, Rui said that the current “systems” being applied is one of the root cause of debts.