“This means nothing to ordinary Filipino women. We do not take pride in having President Arroyo tagged as the 41st most powerful woman in the world.”
Thus said Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza as Forbes magazine released its list of the world’s most powerful women, which included President Arroyo in the 41st slot.
According to Maza, “President Arroyo’s road to power was paved by massive controversies of cheating corruption, extrajudicial killings and abuse. Certainly this is something Filipinos can’t be proud of.”
“Moreover, we find it pathetic that one of the most powerful women of the world is also the most unpopular president the Philippines ever had.”
“The government owes Filipino nurses five years worth of salary increases. RA 9173 or the Nursing Act of 2002 which was supposed to upgrade the basic pay of government nurses from salary grade 10 to not lower than salary grade 15 has not been implemented year after year.”
Thus said Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza as she urged immediate action on House Resolution 724: “Resolution directing the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations and the Committees on Oversight and Health, to conduct an Inquiry in aid of Legislation into the failure of the National Government to Implement the Upgrading of Salary Level of Government Nurses Since the Effectivity of RA 9173, Otherwise known as the Philippine Nursing Law of 2002, and for Congress to Include the Corresponding Budget needed for its implementation in the Annual General Appropriations.”
The present basic pay of government nurses at Salary Grade 10 is equivalent only to Php10,000 monthly. “This is way below the monthly living wage for a family of six which has been pegged by the National Wages and Productivity Commission at Php 894 per day or Php26,820.00 in a month.”
According to Maza, “Congress must make sure that necessary adjustments in the General Appropriations Act are made in order to accommodate the much-delayed salary increase for Filipino nurses.”
“Tens of thousands of nurses are being cheated off their rightful salaries. Do we not want to make sure that our health professionals are properly compensated? This neglect of our nurses compels them to leave the country and it is definitely taking its toll on the delivery of health services in our country”.#
Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Largoza Maza today said the reported increase in the number of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) cases in the country should prod Congress to immediately pass the Reproductive Health Bill.
The Department of Health has announced that an average of 29 HIV cases a month have been reported in 2007 and 2008, compared with 20 cases a month in previous years. “We must work towards bringing these numbers down and Congress can very well contribute to this by passing legislation that will make spread awareness on HIV-AIDS prevention and management, such as the Reproductive Health Bill,” said Maza.
According to Maza, the Reproductive Health Bill pending in Congress contains provisions that mandates HIV-AIDS education thus leading to its effective prevention as well as help combat discrimnation against those infliceted with HIV-AIDS. Moreover, will help spread resources and awareness on safe sex practices and make health facilities accessible to women and children.
Maza further said, “Addressing the issue of HIV-AIDS inevitably entails the implementation of a comprehensive reproductive health and maternal and child care program as envisioned in the RH Bill and in compliance with international standards set by the World Health Organization and the United Nations.”
The Gabriela solon also said edcuation on safe sex practices is likewise provided for in the Reproductive Health Bill. She stressed on the need for education with the latest data revealing that at least 4.9 million Filipino youth, aged 15-27 are sexually active. However, programs that would ensure their safety and help them become more responsible in dealing with their sexuality and relationships remain severely lacking.
The controversial measure is pending in Congress awaiting plenary debates.
Gabriela Women’s Party Representatives Liza Maza and Luz Ilagan initiated today the filing of House Resolution 754 “A Resolution Directing the House of Representatives Committees on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Peace, Reconciliation and Unity to investigate the alleged intrusion of the United States government into the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and use the same as a vehicle for its economic agenda and permanent military presence in violation of the Philippine Constitution and recommend measures thereof.”
“The United States government has no business meddling with internal conflicts in the country. With their interference, it has become clear that they are taking undue advantage of the conflict in Mindanao and the Bangsamoro peoples’ struggle in order to put forward their geopolitical interests in the region,” said Maza.
According to the Gabriela solon, the presence of US Ambassador Kristie Kenney in the aborted MOA-AD signing in Kuala Lumpur as well as the February 2008 report of the United States Institute of Peace betrays the extent and depth of the United States’ involvement in Mindanao.
“The ongoing conflict and negotiations are working to the advantage of the United States. It has become a convenient excuse for the United States military to prolong their stay in the war-torn region, facilitating virtual permanence of foreign military bases despite Constitutional provisions against it. Moreover, the prolonged stay of US military forces in Mindanao has resulted to unresolved cases of human rights violations. Their presence and the conduct of military exercises in the region have been widely opposed. The United States should stop meddling in Mindanao affairs.”
Bayan Muna representatives Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casino as well as Anakpawis Representaive Rafael Mariano have likewise co-authored House Resolution 754.
Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza today called on Congress to stop yielding to Malacanang’s call for Charter Change. “Let us not allow Congress to become the wielder of the wedge that will divide our people further. This is the last thing our country needs.”
Following the turmoil in Mindanao that came in the heels of the lack of consultation in the GRP-MILF MOA-AD, Maza reminded colleagues of the dangers of deciding on whether or not to embark on moves to amend the Constitution despite an utter lack of consultation. “This government is developing an addiction to arbitrariness and autocracy.”
The Committee on Constitutional Amendments is set to vote today on whether there is a need to amend the Constitution.
According to Maza, “Several attempts at Charter Change have been repeatedly rejected by the people. This has been reflected not just in surveys but in massive protest actions. Deciding on whether or not dance the ChaCha should be done after nationwide consultations. Let us all be reminded that we are supposed to be a democracy.”
The Gabriela solon also warned that there will be no stopping moves to amend provisions on term extensions, the presence of foreign military bases and nuclear weapons should Congress allow Charter Change. Maza noted that Article XVII Section 1 of the Constitution states that both the Constituent Assembly and the Constitutional Convention may amend and/or revise the Constitution. Revisions as defined could entail the rewriting of the entire Charter.
“There is no such thing as a surgical amendment. Putting the Constitution under the surgical knife is no different from putting it in a blender.” #
Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Largoza Maza today renewed calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities and bombings in contested areas in Mindanao and for the immediate resumption of peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
“The call for peace is urgent. Intensified militarization will only further erode the mutual confidence required for the resumption of peace negotiations between the government and the MILF.”
“The Arroyo government should make good in proving its sincerity in going back to the negotiating table. Genuine talks for peace cannot resume on President Arroyo’s framework of disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation,” said Maza.
It is estimated that over 220,000 individuals have now been displaced in the provinces of Maguindanao, North Cotabato, Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte. Evacuees composed mostly of women, children and the elderly. Evacuation centers remain crowded amid insufficient food, water and sanitation which now put children vulnerable to diseases.
The Gabriela solon also criticized the AFP’s plans of arming more civilians in the area as the latest proof of the government’s insincerity in the peace process, in addition to its evil agenda of charter change and term extension in the aborted MOA-AD.
“This move courts war and bloodshed, proof that peace may very well be last on the Arroyo government’s agenda in Mindanao. Arming civilians is a sure fire way of escalating the war and is clearly not a step towards the resolution of issues long raised by the Bangsamoro people in their armed struggle.” #
“Its all systems go for the Anti-Cha-cha movement. Charter change has consistently been rejected and it will be rejected once more.” Thus said Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza as Malacanang announced that it’s now “all systems go” for Charter Change.
“We have no doubts that the people’s movement will once more thwart this devious plot. President Arroyo cannot hide behind the cloak of pushing for a federal-parliamentary form of government via Charter Change. Her intention of overstaying further in Malacanang is crystal clear,” said Maza.
The lawmaker also said that not only has the people’s rejection of Charter Change under President Arroyo been consistent, it has also been consistently on the rise. Maza recalls that during the height of the Sigaw ng Bayan people’s initiative and President Arroyo’s pro-charter change rallies survey results showed that even the minority who were satisfied with the government’s performance were not in favor of Charter Change:
> In the first quarter of 2006, 48% of respondents were against Charter Change while 43% were in favor. However, 52% of those who favored Charter Change would not want to have it under President Arroyo.
> In the SWS survey released in the fourth quarter of 2006, 2 out of the 3 or 67% would vote “No” if a plebiscite to approve a proposed new Constitution were held. The survey which had 1,200 respondents, was conducted from September 24 to October 2
> A November 24-29 2006 survey conducted by the SWS showed that the “No” vote on Cha-Cha is 79 percent among those “dissatisfied with the President,” 57 percent among those “neither satisfied nor dissatisfied,” and 54 percent among those satisfied with her performance.
The Gabriela solon further warned, “The unpopular Charter Change under an unpopular President whose popularity rating has plunged to an all time low of negative 38, would be suicide.” #