Monthly Archives: November 2007

MEDIA ARRESTS AND CURFEWS: REGIME WITH PENCHANT FOR DICTATORIAL POWERS SENDS OUT CHILLING EFFECT

“Yesterday, the Arroyo regime lost no time in implementing measures worse than what was imposed during Marcos’ Martial Law, with the clear intent of sending out a chilling message to the public. There is no telling what it could do next.”

This was the statement issued today by Gabriela Women’s Partylist Representative Liza Largoza Maza following yesterday’s crisis at the Manila Peninsula, adding that “The random and unceremonial arrest of members of the mass media yesterday is a serious and direct attack against freedom of the press and a violation of the constitutional right to free speech and expression, and the public’s right to information.”

 

 

Rep. Maza further said, the curfew implemented from 12midnight to 5am is unconstitutional because there is no enabling law. “Article 3 sec 6 of the Constituiton guarantees the right to travel and freedom of movement cannot be impaired except as may be provided by law.”

 

Initial reports reveal over 400 individuals have been arrested for violating the illegal curfew in Central Luzon and Metro Manila alone.

 

The GABRIELA solon further stressed that the Arroyo government has a penchant for using dictatorial powers– violating the constitution, impairing the basic rights of citizens, including that or free speech and expression and freedom of movement– in the process of protecting its illegitimate and unpopular rule.

 

“We must not allow the Arroyo regime to get away with these illegal actions and attempts to steal the implementation of Martial Law in bits and pieces. We must continue to assert our civil and political rights and freedoms.” #

Leave a comment

Filed under Human Rights, News Release, Political

ALSTON REPORT AFFIRMS EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS IS POLICY; GLORIA ARROYO, COMMANDER IN CHIEF IS ACCOUNTABLE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS CRISIS -MAZA

“The United Nation’s report has squarely put responsibility on the Arroyo regime for its continued failure to put an end into the extrajudicial killings in the country. Alston has affirmed what we have been saying all along. No less than Mrs. Arroyo, commander in chief of the Armed Forces has to be held accountable for the human rights crisis that we are currently in.”

 

 

This was the statement issued today by Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza following the release of UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston’s 66-page report on political killings in the country.

 

 

“Alston has affirmed the killings as a systematic component of the government’s anti-insurgency campaign– that of dismantling purported legal fronts of the CPP-NPA-NDF. He has specifically pointed out that this regime has failed to persecute perpetrators while persecuting leaders of progressive organizations,” said Maza.

 

 

The GABRIELA solon stressed “It is thus not surprising that this regime continues to fabricate evidence and witnesses to pin down Gabriela Women’s Party, Bayan Muna and Anakpawis legislators and leaders on ridiculous allegations of murder while failing to give justice to victims and their families, even when strong evidence point to the military’s culpability such as in the cases of Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeno and that of Jonas Burgos.”

 

 

“Should this regime be interested in saving its face from international shame and condemnation, it should lose no time in acting towards the UN’s recommendation of abolishing the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group headed by National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales and immediately stop the implementation of its counter-insurgency campaign, Oplan Bantay Laya.” #

Leave a comment

Filed under Human Rights, News Release

GABRIELA SEEKS PROBE ON P14.1B C-5 NORTH EXTENSION PROJECT; DISPLACEMENT OF 40,000 FAMILIES LOOM

Gabriela Women’s Partylist Representative Liza Largoza Maza today led the filing of a resolution seeking to look into P14.1B C5 North Extension project that is expected to demolish the homes of over 40,000 families in 10 barangays in Quezon City, including those in the University of the Philippines, in Diliman.

 

 

According to Rep. Maza, “An initial scrutiny of the C5 North Extension project reveals that this is a potential deathblow to C5 communities.”

 

 

The Gabriela solon explained that according to the SONA technical report P12.77B has been allocated for the C5 North Extension project, aside from this, an additional P1.4B appears to be siphoned into the project from various allocations in the national budget such as “Segment I of NLEX-SLEX connections via C5” and “7 Major Metro Manila roads”, bringing the total allocation to P14.1B. Actual construction is expected to begin by January 2008.

 

 

While the project appears to be in full swing, they have yet to present a concrete program for the relocation of C5 residents. “Our consultation with C5 residents revealed that no social impact assessment was conducted to determine how this project could affect C5 residents. No negotiations have been conducted, and no clear information or program for relocation has been offered to residents. This is a cause for alarm especially since construction is two months away,” said Rep. Maza.

 

 

The GABRIELA solon stressed, “The massive dislocation that looms would have an immense impact on the livelihood of an estimated 40,000 families. This is expected to interrupt the schooling of tens of thousands of children. In projects such as these, rights and welfare of residents should always be considered.”

 

 

Following a consultation held by Gabriela Women’s Party with C5 residents led by the Alyansa ng mga Komunidad Laban sa Proyektong C-5 at Access Roads (AKLAS C-5), Rep. Maza led the filing of a resolution calling on the “Committee on Housing and Urban Development to conduct an inquiry into the impending construction of C-5 North Extension which will result to the demolition of houses and other structures in certain areas of Quezon City AND the displacement of more or less 40,000 families and recommend measures that shall protect the rights and welfare of the people that shall be affected and if warranted, make the necessary action to prevent the construction of the project pending the completion of the inquiry.”

 

 

The resolution was likewise signed by Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan, Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran and Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casino.

 

 

“We intend to put this project to a halt until such time that issues surrounding its impact on residents is properly addressed and resolved. We urge Congress to take urgent action on this resolution to investigate the C5 North Extension.” #

Leave a comment

Filed under News Release, Resolution

SAVE MARILOU RANARIO

Gabriela Women’s Partylist Representative Liza Maza today joined militant group Migrante as they reiterated calls for the release of Filipina domestic helper Marilou Ranario who had been sentenced to death in Kuwait. The final decision of the Kuwaiti Court of Cassation on the fate of Ranario will be released today, November 27.We also call on the Philippine government to exert all efforts in saving Ranario and all other Filipino workers in death rows abroad. We join her family in calling for a thorough re-investigation on her case especially since there are questions and various conflicting issues on the allegations against her. We do not want another Flor Contemplacion,” said Maza.

The 35 year old Ranario allegedly killed her employer after the latter repeatedly insulted and abused her. Kuwaiti Lower Courts convicted Ranario despite her appeal and the letter of forgiveness given to Ranario by her employer’s family.

Gabriela Representatives Luz Ilagan and Liza Maza along with Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casino (Bayan Muna) and Rep. Crispin Beltran (Anakpawis) have filed a resolution for the House of Representatives to support and look into the cases of Ranario and other women OFWs that have been sentenced to death abroad.

House Resolution 185 filed last August 29 calls on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to immediately address the plight of Overseas Filipino Workers who are in death row and languishing in jails all over the world by allocating funds for their legal assistance and services, urgently asking host countries to put into halt the execution of their death sentences and working towards their vindication or the commutation of her sentences to a lesser degree.

According to Maza, “We need to know what measures this government can take in order to ensure that our workers abroad are protected. At the very least we need to make sure that they are given the needed legal, medical and financial support when facing a predicament such as that of Marilou Ranario’s. That Ranario shares this fate with over 34 other Filipino migrants, and that 5 others have already died is indicative of this government’s disservice to overseas Filipino workers whose remittances keep the economy afloat.” #

Leave a comment

Filed under News Release

MANIFESTATION ON THE COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE REPORT ON THE PULIDO IMPEACHMENT CASE vs. PGMA

The House of Representatives today deliberated on the report filed by the Committee on Justice on the  impeachment complaint against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Being a sham complaint designed to immune Mrs. Arroyo for a year, members of the minority opted to disengage from the proceedings.

The following is the manifestation delivered by Rep. Liza Maza prior to the plenary deliberation on the committee report.

 

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a manifestation concerning the Committee on Justice Report on the Pulido Impeachment case against President Arroyo.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to manifest that I am refraining from participating in the deliberation of the committee on Justice Report on the Pulido Impeachment case against Mrs. Arroyo because the Gabriela Women’s Party believe that what Atty. Pulido filed was a sham impeachment complaint designed to immune the President from any other impeachment complaint for one year. It is so fake and devious that even the Committee on Justice did not go to the extent of deliberating on the substance of the complaint.

The Pulido impeachment complaint has robbed the Filipino people the opportunity of filing a real impeachment complaint against the President.

Mr. Speaker, on November 12, 2007, a new impeachment complaint was filed against President Arroyo by people’s organizations and known personalities for her culpable violations of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust and other high crimes by explicitly and implicitly conspiring , directing and abetting, tolerating with impunity as a state policy and rewarding extrajudicial executions, involuntary disappearances, torture, massacre, illegal arrests and detentions and other systematic violations of human rights; for her culpable violations of the constitution, graft and corruption and betrayal of public trust when she abetted and/or tolerated the commission of a crime in regard to the anomalous ZTE National Broadband Contract, and when she abetted, allowed and countenanced the distribution of bribe money to members of congress in exchange for the hasty referral of the Pulido Complaint to the Committee on Justice to prevent the filing of another substantive complaint. In the new impeachment complaint she was also charged by the concerned citizens of culpable violations of Constitution and when she abused her authority to suppress freedom of speech, expression, the press and the people’s right to information and curtailing legislative power to inquire on matters relating to the electoral fraud committed in the 2004 presidential elections.

The House practically silenced the voice of the people when this new impeachment complaint was rejected and returned to the complainants by the Secretary General, who we believe has violated the Constitution and the Rules of the House of Representatives as his function was just to refer such to the Speaker of the House.

Mr. Speaker, we have done a great injustice to the Filipino people when the House allowed the referral to and the subsequent hearing of the Committee on Justice of the Sham Pulido complaint. We have done even a greater injustice when we did not allow the referral of a genuine and substantive impeachment complaint to the Committee on Justice.

The Gabriela Women’s Party will not in any way be a part of this injustice!

Leave a comment

Filed under Statement

JOINT STATEMENT: Militant Solons Criticize GMA for Leaving People Defenseless Against Oil price Hikes; Push for the Passage of 3 House Bills

We militant legislators of Anakpawis, Bayan Muna and Gabriela Women’s Party criticize the Arroyo administration for rendering the Filipino people defenseless against the continued oil price increases. The oil price shocks happening worldwide are pushing more and more Filipinos into abject poverty. 

 

The Arroyo regime only puts up a show of blaming monopoly oil companies and says it cannot stop oil prices from skyrocketing. This shows that Arroyo is beholden to the interests of the oil cartels and is not prepared to address the energy crisis we are facing.

 

Since the oil industry was deregulated by the Ramos government in April 1996, oil companies have hiked pump prices of all petroleum products by around 535%. 

 

To add to the festering problem, oil companies and even Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have already announced that fuel prices will still go up by P4 a liter before Christmas, and there may be more hikes to come in 2008, saying government cannot do anything outside of ineffective measures such as an automatic tariff mechanism that does not stop the price hikes nor ensure fair price adjustments.

 

We are therefore pushing for a 3-bill package that shall give government the teeth to loosen the tight grip of foreign monopoly oil companies on oil prices and to provide the people the much needed relief from incessant oil price hikes.

 

We call on consumers and various sectors of the public to support these following proposed measures that are tangible, long-term solutions that will mitigate the impact of skyrocketing oil prices:

 

House Bill 3029 An Act Regulating the Downstream Petroleum Industry and for Other Related Purposes;

 

House Bill 3030 – An Act Instituting Centralized Procurement of Petroleum in the Country; and

 

House Bill 3031 – An Act Renationalizing Petron Corporation.

 

Filed on November 6, these 3 bills are bold and concrete steps to address the problematic oil industry squarely and regulate oil price increases in the country if immediately passed into law.

 

The United Nations has noted that the Philippines is among the countries that are most vulnerable to oil price shocks because it is heavily dependent on imported oil. To provide the appropriate legal environment to effectively cushion the impact of increasing global oil prices, HB 3029 will repeal the Oil Deregulation Law (RA 8479) that allows oil companies to automatically hike oil prices. HBs 3030 and 3031 on the other hand, will mandate government to have centralized procurement of oil products from the cheapest sources available in the world and the re-acquisition of a majority government stake in Petron, respectively. #

 

Some Relevant Data:

 

Ø      With the latest round of increases last November 17, our compatriots will have a bleak Yuletide season. Gasoline prices have been hiked 16 times this year for a P10 total hike this year alone. Premium unleaded gasoline prices are now priced between P42.73 and P46 a liter.

 

Ø      Diesel and kerosene prices have been raised 13 times. A total increase of P6 a liter has been added to diesel that pegs it at between P34.43 and P37.53 a liter Kerosene now costs P39.15 to P41 a liter for a total increase of P7 a liter.

 

Ø      LPG prices rose 13 times for a total of P9.96 a kilo but also went down seven times for a total of P3.36 a kilo, including VAT. An 11-kilogram LPG cylinder now costs P528.40 to P582.32.

 

Ø      All these price hikes in fuel carry wide-ranging effects on the economy always incur greater damage on ordinary wage earners, farmers, small entrepreneurs, drivers and their families among other sectors.

 

Ø      Other solons are presenting varying measures to cope with the oil price hikes but are open to supporting the proposed measures of the militant partylist representatives

 

Ø      If this government wants to address this major problem confronting the nation, it should immediately enact House Bills 3029, 3030 and 3031 into law. #

1 Comment

Filed under Statement

Women in Cordillera insist Batasan bombing is a diversionary tactic

BAGUIO CITY (Nov. 15) — While condemning the Batasan bombing Tuesday night, a Cordilleran sought an urgent and impartial investigation saying the blast might be a tactic to divert public attention from issues involving the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) administration.

Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) Flora Baniaga-Belinan, 3rd nominee in the last party list elections, said the bombing could be intended to divert the people’s attention on hot issues including the impeachment moves, the alleged cash-giving at Malacañang, the Glorieta bombing and extra-judicial killings.

read more http://www.nordis.net/blog/?p=1855

Leave a comment

Filed under News Release

$1B OF MEMBERS’ FUNDS FOR GLOBAL INVESTMENT; GABRIELA SEEKS PROBE INTO GSIS INVESTMENT PROGRAM

The women’s partylist group GABRIELA today sought an investigation into moves of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to invest $1B of its pension funds into a global investment program that will entrust the handling and management of the pension funds to private international fund managers.


In a resolution filed by GABRIELA Representatives Liza Maza and Luz Ilagan, Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casino and Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran, the militant solons insisted that the investment of funds should not come before financing the claims of members and pensioners.


“Instead of investing the $ 1 billion in the international market, GSIS should meet its current responsibilities to its members by utilizing the pension fund to increase the dividends, retirement pay, and pension of government employees and former government employees, reduce the interest rates and loan surcharges, and invest in their employees’ training as well as search for ways to attain improved services,” they said in the resolution.


“Several complaints of members and pensioners, have been brought to our attention, such as those of the Iloilo Council of Personnel Officers’ Association (ICPO) who had claimed that some non-mandatory retirees only received 50 percent of what is due them. Several government employees continue to report underpayment of or delayed premiums. Until these problems are addressed GSIS has no business getting into financial arrangements such as the global investment program,” said GABRIELA Representative Liza Maza who led the filing of the resolution.


Just last week GSIS President Winston Garcia announced that they have already awarded ING Investment Management and Credit Agricole Assset Management (Singapore) the mandate to manage $1B worth of funds in its global investment program.


“The GSIS charter provides that it may pursue such investments into the international market only if these funds are not needed to meet the current obligations of GSIS. Is the GSIS board violating its own charter?” asked Maza.


Meanwhile, members of the Confederation for the Unity Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) trooped to the House of Representatives to express their support for the resolution.


“Certainly, there is a need to look into the financial status of the GSIS, to ascertain whether it can and should venture into these investments. We need to make sure that government employees and pensioners will not see themselves in the losing end.” said Rep. Maza. #

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

PNP HAD CASE SOLVED BEFORE IT EVEN STARTED

The women’s partylist group that sustained a fatality and three casualties in Tuesday’s bombing of the Batasan complex said they were not at all convinced at the PNP’s findings on the Batasan blast following the raid in Payatas, Quezon City.

“From day one of the investigation, it was clear that they already had a working theory that already discounted angles other than that it was perpetrated by Rep. Akbar’s political rivals. It was a case of the conclusion coming before the evidence. The case was solved even before the blast,” said Gabriela Women’s Partylist Representative Liza Maza.

“A thorough and fairly decent investigation would at the very least question eyewitnesses, identify vehicles caught on the Congress’ south wing security camera, as well as its passengers. What the PNP done in this investigation except issue statements and produce evidence to match their theory,” said Maza.

For Representative Luz Ilagan who sustained a leg injury in the blast, “Everything appears so contrived, it’s ridiculous. The manner with which they conducted their investigation is an insult. The PNP owes it to the victims and our families, as well as to the House of Representatives to have a decent, impartial and acceptable investigation on this tragedy. Without a genuine investigation on the blast, the PNP is doing the victims an injustice.” #

Leave a comment

Filed under News Release

PNP SHOULD CONSIDER ALL ANGLES ON CONGRESS BLAST

We at Gabriela Women’s Party criticize the Philippine National Police for virtually ruling out other angles by drawing conclusions according to their working theory that Rep. Wahab Akbar is the target of the blast, discounting other possibilities including that of Gabriela Women’s Party being a target of the November 13 Congress bombing.  

Two days after the tragedy, the PNP has not obtained thorough and full accounts from Rep. Luz Ilagan and members of our staff — Lorraine Gallegos, a staff of Rep. Ilagan and Ismael Lim, driver of Rep. Liza Maza, who were present and are in fact victims of this bombing.

pic-111506402207581.jpg

 

The sketch that has likewise come out in the media has identified the van of Rep. Luz Ilagan, closer to the blast than that of Rep. Wahab Akbar’s. This should logically make Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Luz Ilagan and even Rep. Liza Maza as plausible targets especially since Rep. Maza’s vehicle is almost identical to that of Rep. Ilagan’s. 

Gabriela Women’s Party is a staunch critic of this adminstration and Reps. Ilagan and Maza are both endorsers of the genuine impeachment complaint which includes the ZTE controversy, the bribery attendant to the ZTE deal, the payment in Malacanang, extra judicial killings and human rights violations and election fraud. Gabriela Women’s Party has been targets of political persecution, abduction and extrajudicial killings under the Arroyo administration.

We shall continue to push for a thorough and independent probe on the Novemebr 13 congress bombing. We are open to participating and fully cooperating in any investigation that is impartial.

 For Reference: REP. LIZA LARGOZA MAZA 0920-9134540;   REP. LUZ C. ILAGAN 0920-9213221

Leave a comment

Filed under Statement