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[ 15 Sep 2017 | Comments Off on ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio on possible declaration of martial law nationwide: ]

PRESS RELEASE
15 September 2017

 

Over the past few days, Pres. Duterte has been hinting that he may declare nationwide martial law if the protest actions planned by various groups on September 21 become violent.

Similar statements were echoed by Defense Secretary Lorenzana in a press conference today.

On one level, the pronouncements are intended to counter the growing opposition to Pres. Duterte’s increasingly tyrannical rule, cow citizens outraged by the rising death toll due to tokhang and martial law in Mindanao, and dissuade them from participating in rallies.

Beyond that, Pres. Duterte’s recent pronouncements are clearly laying the rhetorical groundwork for the declaration of nationwide martial law. He is insidiously conditioning the public to accept that “massive protests” and “fighting in the streets” are sufficient justification for declaring martial law, conveniently ignoring that the Constitution allows for martial law only in cases of invasion or rebellion.

Massive protests critical of government or government policies, such as the Million People March against Pork Barrel during the previous administration, are not new. Without exception, they have taken place peacefully. The planned protests next week are calling for an end to extrajudicial killings. By no stretch of the imagination can they be construed as acts of rebellion. Even in the highly unlikely event that there would be “fighting in the streets,” such would fall under what the Constitution calls “lawless violence,” not rebellion, and would not warrant martial law.

For the President to claim that such would justify martial law would lower the bar to ridiculous new lows and undermine the Constitutional safeguard against the abuse of the martial law power by a would-be dictator.

However, Pres. Duterte’s pronouncements pertaining to security matters tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies We warn against any. provocateurs, including state agents, who would initiate acts of violence that could be used as a pretext for declaring martial law.

Let us raise our voices against extrajudicial killings and rising tyranny on September 21. Let us do so with utmost vigilance. #

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[ 14 Sep 2017 | Comments Off on Makabayan Bloc bolts the House Majority ]

 

September 14, 2017

Today, we, seven party list representatives of the Makabayan Bloc, declare our separation from the Majority Coalition in the House of Representatives to intensify our opposition to the Duterte administration that has now fully unraveled as a fascist, pro-imperialist and anti-people regime.

At the opening of the 17th Congress last year, we joined the Majority consistent with our stand to support the promise of change of Pres. Duterte. Back then, we were encouraged by his reformist and populist actions and pronouncements on a range of issues, including: resuming the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), releasing political prisoners, ending neocolonial ties with the US and pursuing an independent foreign policy, addressing the roots of the Moro rebellion, ending labor contractualization, increasing government support to farmers, putting a stop to destructive mining practices, reducing income taxes of rank and file employees, and increasing social pensions, and prioritizing basic social services over infrastructure.

His unprecedented decision to appoint leftists and activists to crucial cabinet posts – Judy Taguiwalo at the DSWD, Gina Lopez at the DENR, Liza Maza at the NAPC, and Rafael Mariano at the DAR – provided openings for pursuing such reforms.

Nevertheless, our decision to join the Majority was premised on the condition that we would oppose and challenge, as we have done, the Administration on issues where we fundamentally disagreed with Pres. Duterte – his neoliberal economic policies, his disdain for human rights especially in his war on drugs, anti-crime and counterinsurgency campaigns, his rehabilitation of the former dictator Marcos, and his propensity for strongman rule.

Thus, from the very start, we consistently opposed the Administration’s anti-people bills and policies to the point that we were stripped of our committee chairmanships due to our stand against the death penalty bill. Despite one disappointment after another, we persisted in the Majority in the hope that some socioeconomic and political reforms could be achieved, if not through Congress, then through the GRP-NDFP peace talks.

The peace negotiations with the NDFP have been practically terminated due to Duterte’s insistence of a bilateral ceasefire agreement prior to any talks. With Marawi being bombed to the ground and its resulting humanitarian crisis, the Moro peace process is spiraling downward. Under these circumstances, martial law threatens to turn Mindanao into an even more violent land of strife and lost promises.

Pres. Duterte has turned back on his promise to “separate” from the US, even as he has allowed China to continue occupying the West Philippine Sea. His “independent foreign policy” has turned out to be a farce. He is now as dependent as ever on the US for national security and has practically abandoned our valid and internationally-recognized claims of sovereignty and territory in the West Philippine Sea in exchange for China’s promises of aid and investments.

Pres. Duterte’s little concessions to farmers, workers, and the urban poor have been reduced to populist posturing in the face of his overwhelmingly neoliberal economic policies that favor the oligarchs and foreign powers he claims to disdain.

Worst of all, his “war on drugs” has turned into a campaign of mass murder of the poor, for which he shows no signs of turning back.

As representatives of the poor and marginalized sectors in Congress and as nationalist and progressive legislators, it would be a violation of our duties and principles to remain with a Majority that enables and defends the fascist, pro-imperialist and anti-people policies of the Duterte regime.

Since its formation, Makabayan has consistently fought for the people’s interests as the progressive bloc in Congress. In the 17th Congress, we consistently opposed the Duterte administration’s pro-business and pro-war budget; its efforts to rehabilitate the Marcoses; the reimposition of the death penalty; its use of extrajudicial killings against poor, suspected criminals and rebels; defunding of the Commission on Human Rights; its anti-poor tax reform package; its modified public-private partnership scheme; the national ID system; the privatization of health services; redefinition of public utilities to allow foreign ownership; and other anti-people policies and measures.

Now that Pres. Duterte and his allies are embarking on efforts to undermine the very institutions that serve as a check on his Executive powers, now that he is pushing for an insidious revision of the Constitution, now that he has revived his threat to declare martial law nationwide and impose a revolutionary government, we resolve to intensify efforts to defeat the emergence of a new dictatorship.

As an independent bloc in Congress, we will continue to pursue meaningful reforms and oppose measures that harm our nation and people. We shall build alliances based on issues that truly matter to our people and their demand for change. We shall fight the fascist US-Duterte regime and hold it accountable for its gross violations of human rights and the further oppression and impoverishment of our people.

 

Rep. Antonio Tinio
ACT Teachers
Rep. France Castro

ACT Teachers

 

Rep. Emmi de Jesus
Gabriela Women’s Party

 

Rep. Arlene Brosas

Gabriela Women’s Party

 

Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate

Bayan Muna

 

Rep. Ariel Casilao
Anakpawis

 

Rep. Sarah Elago

Kabataan

photo_2017-09-14_15-07-32

 

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[ 29 Aug 2017 | Comments Off on ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio on Pres. Duterte’s remarks regarding the possible return of wealth by the Marcos family: ]

PRESS RELEASE
29 August 2017

 

The President’s remarks were vague and should be further clarified. Are there ongoing negotiations between Malacañang and the Marcos family for the return of plundered wealth? Does it involve all the plundered wealth or is the amount negotiable? Is the President suggesting that the Marcoses will not be held criminally liable? There should be transparency regarding these and similar concerns.###

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[ 18 Aug 2017 | Comments Off on Solons condemn tokhang slay of Grade 11 student ]

PRESS RELEASE
18 August 2017ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio and France Castro hit the killing of a 17-year old public school student by Caloocan police during the “One-Time, Big-Time” operation or Oplan Galugad of the PCP-7 Drug Enforcement Unit Thursday night.

“We condemn this most deplorable killing of a child on the incredible pretext that he was a drug suspect and ‘nanlaban’—the modus operandi of elements of the PNP in the Duterte administration’s war on drugs,” said Tinio.
“This is yet another proof that Tokhang is a fascist, anti-poor tool in the guise of an anti-drug campaign. Kian Loyd was a child whom police tagged then killed as a drug suspect, a student from an OFW family who sold candy in front of his school just to have baon,” said Castro.

“This so-called war on drugs is actually a war against the people, mostly the poor, who are being killed on mere suspicion and say-so of police.”
The CCTV footage of the scene showed police dragging the victim to a dark place where he was shot. He was wearing sleeping clothes and closing their store at the time of the killing.  Witnesses also said that the men dragging De los Santos were forcing him to hold a gun and shabu, later on found on his body.
The solons fear that the drug testing directed by DepEd and CHEd will claim more lives and give greater license to police to conduct tokhang-like operations involving students, teachers, and personnel and in schools.

 

“Children are already being made victims of tokhang even without the drug testing.  What more if it is fully implemented in our schools, against our students and teachers?  They say it’s for rehabilitation and prevention but in an anti-drug campaign such as this, no rehabilitation and prevention at all will happen.” ###