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[ 5 Dec 2017 | No Comment ]

PRESS RELEASE
05 December 2017

Solons condemn killing of progressive priest, escalating attacks

ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro condemned in the strongest possible terms the killing of Fr. Tito Paez in Nueva Ecija yesterday evening, December 4 and the increasingly worsening state of human rights in the Philippines under the Duterte administration. Both solons hold President Duterte accountable for the increasing number of human rights defenders harassed, attacked and killed under his administration.

Another killing of a human rights defender was reported last night. Fr. Tito Paez, former parish priest in Guimba and currently coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines in Central Luzon, was shot at 8pm last night while driving his vehicle at San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija. He died a few hours later at the hospital. Earlier that day, Fr. Tito assisted in facilitating the release of political prisoner Rommel Tucay who is detained at the BJMP jail in Cabanatuan. Fr Tito was also a founding member of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) in Central Luzon.

This was after the killing of Pastor Lovelito Quiñones last December 3 in Sitio Anapla, Brgy. Din Pedro, Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro and the shooting of a fact-finding mission which caused the death of Elisa Badayos, Karapatan Central Visayas coordinator last November 28 in Negros Oriental.

“This is part of the crackdown against progressive organizations which Duterte vilifies as in a ‘conspiracy’ with the CPP-NPA-NDFP. Human rights defenders are being harassed, attacked and killed left and right under the Duterte government,” Tinio stated. “Fr. Tito Paez has been fighting for the people’s rights since the time of Marcoses. We are saddend and deeply angered by his killing.”

“How could the Filipino people sleep comfortably in their homes when we hear news of the killings of human rights advocates everyday by state agents who should be the main protector of the people’s basic human rights?” Castro said. “It is very ironic that as we near the commemoration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this coming December 10, the state intensifies its attacks against human rights defenders, with Duterte tightening his fascist dictator’s hold on the government.”

“State security forces and their proxies are shooting and killing activists as part of Duterte’s crackdown,” Tinio added. “We hold President Duterte directly accountable for the further worsening state of human rights in our country from the thousands killed under his drug war to the killings of activists, critics and defenders of human rights.”

“The people will not allow another dictator to rule our country,” Castro added. “The people will resist this fascist rule and will continue to fight for their rights.”###

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[ 10 Nov 2017 | No Comment ]

PRESS RELEASE
10 November 2017

Trump visit to yield more anti-people policies – solonsFB_IMG_1510284624739ACT Teachers representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro will join the series of protest actions against US President Donald Trump who is set to arrive in the Philippines on November 12 .

The ASEAN and East Asia Summit to be held in the Philippines on November 12-14 and will serve as occasion for the imperialist powers to project their military and political power in the Asia-Pacific region and draw out further liberalization policies from the Philippines and other backward economies.

“US President Trump has been welcomed with protests wherever he goes all over the world and he will also be met with protests in his visit here in the Philippines for the ASEAN Summit,” Tinio said. “His visit in the Philippines will bring more harm than good as he represents the worst of imperialism which subjects the struggling people to worsening forms of oppression and exploitation.”

“US President Trump also represents a fascist and racist leader that brings wars,” Castro said. “He approves of Duterte’s war on drugs, counter-insurgency operations and Martial Law in Mindanao. Duterte, in return, would allow to increase US military presence in the Philippines with agreements such as VFA and EDCA. President Trump wants to involve the Philippines with the US conflict with North Korea.”

“Both US President Trump and President Duterte side with the interests of the rich few with their tax reform packages that cater to big businesses while cutting the budget for social services like health,” Tinio said. “Also the unfair neoliberal treaties and agreements with the US and alliances like ASEAN are the reasons why our salaries remain low, education system remains flawed.”

“We urge the people t join the series of protests against US President Trump and President Duterte and to strengthen our fight against the unequal and anti-people relations of the US and the Philippines,” Castro ended.###

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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.###