Category Archives: Liza Maza

OBAMA’S VICTORY IS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE’S STATEMENT AGAINST THE BUSH REGIME -GABRIELA

Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Liza Maza today acknowledged the determination of the American people in their struggle for change with the historic election of Barrack Obama as the first black US president. “Like the Filipino people, they have been the ones suffering from Bush administration’s bent policies that plunged them into this financial meltdown. They have endured the brunt of the militarist Bush regime that led them into wars of aggression under the pretext of its so called global campaign against terrorism.”

“His strong and vocal opposition against the Bush administration effectively won him the seat in the White House. His campaign rhetoric was indeed translated into landslide victory as he projected himself as the total opposite of Bush,” said Maza.

According to the Gabriela lawmaker, “This much anticipated event has drawn more attention worldwide at this very period when the US economy is at its worst. Undeniably, there is a growing resistance among the American people against the Bush regime that has brought them into the depths of despair.”

“The challenge for President-elect Barack Obama right now is how he could truly provide concrete relief measures that would effectively address the just demands of the American people. It is a matter of making bold decisions that would strategically respond to their quandary. It is a matter of redirecting its policies to provide real jobs and income, basic social services and security instead of pressing forward its warmongering schemes.”

Gabriela Women’s Party likewise poses the challenge for Obama to end all forms of US military intervention in its foreign relations policy, “The pull-out of US troops should happen not just in Iraq but in other countries where US military personnel have permanent or temporary military presence, including the Philippines.”#

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IMPEACHMENT, PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY WILL HELP COUNTRY SURVIVE FINANCIAL CRISIS

“The absence of public accountability in the midst of billion-peso anomalous deals, the impunity with which human rights violations are committed and the penchant for tyranny is never good for the economy, it is never good for our country.”

Thus said Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza as she today joined petitioners in the filing of new impeachment complaint against Arroyo. The lawmaker was responding to claims that filing of a new impeachment complaint was mere politicking in the midst of a global financial crunch. “On the contrary, this new impeachment complaint is a necessary democratic process that will help our country survive the global financial crisis.”

According to Maza, “Those guilty of corruption and the plunder of government funds need to be held accountable. Without transparency and without accountability, the Arroyo government cannot expect to efficiently lead and enjoy the confidence of the people most affected by the crisis—the poor—as well as the business sector.”

“Furthermore, President Arroyo cannot expect to continue to implement the VAT and collect more taxes from the ordinary Filipinos amid the foreseen inflation and joblessness when her administration cannot account for how government funds are actually spent.”

Gabriela Women’s Party, along with other progressive partylists Bayan Muna and Anakpawis will be endorsing the complaint that will be filed by ZTE whistleblower Joey De Venecia and lawyer Harry Roque. “Year after year, we have filed and endorsed impeachment complaints against President Arroyo. There is no reason to stop filing these complaints as none of the issues that have been previously raised were resolved.”

“President Arroyo’s legitimacy remains in question. Allegations of corruption against President Arroyo and her family in multi-million anomalous contracts and government funds from the Macapagal Boulevard to the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani and down to the NBN-ZTE deals remain unresolved. The killings, abductions and disappearances continue,” explained Maza.

Aside from the impunity with which human rights violations are committed under her regime, the impeachment complaint holds President Arroyo culpable for betrayal of public trust for the Northrail rehabilitation project, bribery in the ZTE-NBN deal; and graft and corruption for her administration’s involvement in various irregularities including the P728 million fertilizer scam, P2 billion swine scam and alleged ballot-switching in the 2004 presidential election.#

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GABRIELA SOLON SEEKS FULL DISCLOSURE OF GSIS INVESTMENTS AMID GLOBAL FINANCIAL MELTDOWN

Gabriela Womens Party Representative Liza Maza today renewed calls for the GSIS to fully disclose immediately its foreign investments as the global financial meltdown worsens in the midst of a foiled US bailout.

“The clamor for a full public disclosure of GSIS investments is urgent. The pension of at least 2 million government employees, including public school teachers is at stake,” said Rep. Maza.

“Government employees practically all of whom are GSIS fund owners and legitimate stakeholders all deserve to know what is going on with their money. We have received and continue to receive complaints from several government employees and public school teachers who do not receive their pensions and benefits on time.”

The Gabriela solon added that all GSIS loans for employees of the House of Representatives have been suspended since the second week of September. “All these indicate that there is something wrong with the GSIS.”

According to the Gabriela solon, at least $1B worth of assets for investment have already been released by the GSIS to international fund managers ING Investment Management and Credit Agricole Assset Management late last year.

In November 2007, Rep. Maza, along with fellow Gabriela Representative Luz Ilagan and representatives from Bayan Muna and Anakpawis filed House Resolution 333 which seeks to look into the $1B Global Investment Program. “To date, this resolution has not seen action in any committee.”#

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EO 739 ERASES CIVILIAN AUTHORITY, CREATES POLICE STATE -MAZA

Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza today criticized President Arroyo’s Executive Order 739 as “a dangerous move towards the operationalization of a police and betrays the Arroyo regime’s propensity for totalitarianism.”

According to Maza, EO 739 which reorganizes the National Peace and Order Council places the country, down to the smallest and most isolated barangays under the framework of internal security order (ISO) that poses the risk of further undermining civilian authority. “It portends a human rights catastrophe.”

The National Peace and Order Council has a composition is no different from that of the National Security Council, except that it has, at its helm, DILG secretary Ronaldo Puno. “By virtue of this EO, Puno is virtually at par with the President, with sweeping powers and blanket authority.”

The Gabriela solon also accused President Arroyo of doing a Marcos by raising the communist bogey to implement a creeping Martial Law. “She is laying the groundwork for the perpetuation of her stay in Malacanang.”

Maza also raised concern on the bid to delay the country’s commitment to the Optional Protocol against Torture. “Clearly, this is a regime that does not in any way intend to uphold international human rights doctrines. This delay, along with the EO brings the Philippines nowhere near a resolution to the unresolved extra judicial killings, enforced disappearances and abductions.”#

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REP. LIZA MAZA’S SPONSORSHIP SPEECH ON THE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BILL

Committee Report 1156 Regarding HB 5043
AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A NATIONAL POLICY ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH,
RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD AND POPULATION DEVELOPMENT AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Liza Largoza Maza
September 17, 2008

Mr. Speaker, Distinguished Colleagues

I rise to sponsor Committee Report 1156 on House Bill No.
5043, AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A NATIONAL POLICY ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD AND POPULATION DEVELOPMENT AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

The right to health, which embraces sexual and reproductive health, is acknowledged in various human rights documents such as Article 12 of the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR )where States Parties recognize “the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

It is enshrined in both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which protect the right to life, which includes the right to health.

This is provided for in the Philippine Constitution.
The Beijing Platform for Action adopted by governments during the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 recognizes that women’s right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is “vital to their life and well-being and their ability to participate in all areas of public and private life.”

The Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women ( CEDAW) mandates states parties to take “appropriate measure to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of health care in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, access to health care services, including those related to family planning.

The UN International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994 adopted a rights-based approach to sexual and reproductive health and recognized that if women are empowered and informed and the people’s basic needs for sexual and reproductive health are met, population growth will be stabilized, not by coercion and control but by virtue of choice and opportunity

The proposed bill sees and advances the right to reproductive health as inextricably linked to human rights. This is framed on the overall pursuit of human rights including the right to health. The measure recognizes and guarantees that the advancement and protection of women’s human rights shall guide the efforts of the state to address reproductive health care. The recognition of the indivisibility and interdependence of reproductive health rights to human rights including the right to development is an initial step toward highlighting the need for comprehensive and accessible people’s health care system of which reproductive health care forms an integral part.

Thus, this measure is in line with the Gabriela Women’s Party’s advocacy to advance a national quality health care service that is comprehensive, available, accessible, acceptable, and democratic of which reproductive health and rights form an integral part.

The reality of the Filipino people shows that even basic primary health care services are inadequate if not lacking at the local and national levels. Seven out of every 10 Filipinos die without medical attention. Only 30 percent of the population has access to essential medicine. The average hospital bill is three times the average monthly income. Expectedly, when even the state primary health care remains dismal, the reproductive health care especially of women is in a more depressing state as it is given lesser priority
by the government and the family. Thus, many women’s and children’s lives are endangered because of deteriorating health services in the country. Likewise, the lives of thousands of pregnant women and their unborn children are at risk because of the lack of pre-natal, peri-natal and post- natal care for women. According to the latest data (CWR, 2008) 10 mothers die daily of pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes, while the Philippines Midterm Progress Report (PMPR) on the MDGs, states that the maternal mortality rate in 2006 is 162 mothers per 100,000 live births. Infant mortality is still high at 21.45 per 1,000 livebirths. The leading causes of maternal mortality in the Philippines are hemorrhage, eclampsia in pregnancy, puerperal sepsis, retained placenta, obstructed labor, prolonged pregnancy, and anemia. The major factors underlying the medical causes are the lack of political commitment and inadequate financial and technical input, and poor quality of care.

With the increasing privatization of public hospitals and the economy in general, health services for the poor are drastically diminished shifting progressively the burden of health care including reproductive health care solely to women. Consequently, the prohibitive costs of health services bear its heavy toll on poor women.
When the family has limited resources to avail of social services especially, health services, women are the last to avail of medical attention, and when there is little food on the table, there is even lesser food for women. In a social set-up, where women remain in subordinate position and where women’s role is located in general to the reproductive sphere, the burden of child bearing, rearing and taking care of the whole family rests on them. As our economy worsens, social services become even more inadequate, expensive and inaccessible. Hence, this measure is necessary as this will give poor women relief especially at this time of economic hardships where no adequate, accessible, affordable and proper social services could be availed of.

The Gabriela Women’s Party believes that the worsening poverty, dwindling resources of the country and inadequate social services are rooted in the continuous subservience of our economic and political policies to the dictates of foreign and local elite interests. The root causes of our economic crisis must be addressed to be able to create an enabling environment for human development and development of healthy individuals and families. In the meantime we see the urgency to pass this measure as this will give relief
especially to poor women at this time when there is little or no viable economic alternatives available to them. The bill pushes the government to provide relief measures that will address people’s immediate reproductive health needs and problems. It directs the government to uphold the right to education of the people and the right to make decisions for themselves in accordance with their religious convictions, cultural beliefs, and the demands of responsible parenthood. It seeks to ensure the universal access to information and education about reproductive health.

The right to health including reproductive health must be upheld, promoted and protected by the state. Hence, we call for the immediate passage of this measure.

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P897M IN QUESTIONABLE DA FUNDS RELEASED AT IMPEACHMENT PEAK -MAZA

Gabriela Womens Party Representative Liza Maza yesterday sought clarification from Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap on the Department on Budget and Management’s fund releases amounting to P897M which was awarded to the Department of Agriculture at the height of the deliberation of the impeachment case filed against President Arroyo.

“There may be something fishy going on here. It is highly suspicious that Department of Agriculture received fund allocations which were not part of the budget originally approved by Congress for the department in the GAA,” said Maza

Maza noted the following fund releases in the 2007 Commission on Audit report on the Department of Agriculture:

•    70M released last November 12, 2007 for the Barangay Food Terminal and Bagsakan Center Project.
•    800M released last November 19, 2007 for the Accelerated Hunger Mitigation Program. This fund release did not entail any request from the DA and was automatically transferred to Regional Field Units.
•    27.5M released last November 19, 2007, for the Operational requirements of the Agno River Integrated Project. This was released despite the absence of any fund requests from the DA.

The P897M is but part of a total of P4.3B questionable fund releases from February to December 2007 uncovered by the COA.

The Gabriela solon recalls that the House of Representatives rejected supplemental impeachment complaints meant to add substance to the sham complaint filed by lawyer Ruel Pulido last November 7, 2007. The Committee on Justice dismissed the impeachment complaint against President Arroyo last November 14, 2007 while the plenary voted to reject the same complaint by affirming the Committee report in the plenary on November 26, 2007. “It can also be recalled that it was during this period that cash gifts were reportedly handed out left and right in Malacanang breakfast meetings and LGU consultations.”

“The COA has noted that there was no way for them to validate the actual applications of the fund allocations due to the absence of detailed activities and reports on the project outputs. The DA needs to clarify these fund allocations and report in detail on the regions and provinces where they have been allocated and who actually benefited from these projects. We need to know whether these funds have indeed been used for its supposed purpose.” #

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REVEAL GMA CHACHA WISH LIST IN NATIONWIDE TRANSPARENT PUBLIC HEARINGS

Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Largoza Maza today pushed for nationwide, transparent, public hearings on Charter Change, arguing that the conduct of simultaneous district-level consultations being proposed by the allies of the administration is prone to political manipulation.

“We want nothing less than the conduct of truthful, thorough, transparent public consultations on the issue of charter change.”

“More importantly, Malacanang’s agenda needs to be revealed in the conduct of these consultations. President Arroyo’s Charter Change wish list should be disclosed, from the proposed changes on provisions on term extensions to the changes in foreign ownership, military bases and foreign military presence among several others.”

The House of Representatives Committee on Constitutional Amendments is set to tackle today the conduct of public hearings and consultations on the proposed changes in the Constitution.

Amendments being proposed in Congress by allies of President Arroyo include allowing foreign corporations and associations to acquire 100% ownership of lands. Speaker Prospero Nograles has filed House Resolution 737. “This proposal which smacks of a sell-out of our patrimony should also be subject to a public consultation.”

“We have to allow people to make informed choices. There has to be a widespread information dissemination campaign on the consequences of Charter Change, the provisions that will be open to alteration, as well as the proposed changes to these provisions.”

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