Category Archives: News Release

Persecution Geared to Keep Gabriela Out of 2010: Gabriela Women’s Party Poised to Defend Leaders, Members, Women, Against State Attacks

Militant women’s partylist group Gabriela has vowed to defend itself against escalating state-instigated attacks and political persecution on progressive partylist groups and militant organizations nationwide.

Gabriela Women’s Party national president and partylist representative Liza Maza said that in the partylist organization’s recently concluded National Council meeting, they have adopted resolutions to combat head on the systematic political persecution against their partylist organization.

“We have documented several cases of illegal arrest, filing of fabricated cases, vilification campaigns and harassment against Gabriela Women’s Party and other progressive organizations nationwide, especially in Southern Tagalog and Negros island.”

Maza specifically stated the fabricated cases of arson, conspiracy to commit rebellion, multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder filed against Gabriela Women’s Party 5th Nominee and Gabriela Southern Tagalog Secretary General Helen Asdolo, Gabriela Women’s Party provincial coordinator for Cavite, Amy Sto. Tomas and 70 others from Southern Tagalog. They have been accused of participating in a raid conducted by the NPA in March 3, 2006 in Puerto Galera, Mindoro Oriental.

In Negros, Gabriela staff and volunteer Mary Grace Delicano, was illegaly arrested for her alleged participation in a raid conducted by the New People’s Army in Bgy. Malasibog, Escalante City in 2006. Similarly, Emilia and Marycris Quirante have been arrested after a .38 caliber pistol was purportedly found in an unspecified area of their home in Bgy. Trinidad in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental.

Yesterday, Maza filed a resolution directing the House Committee on Human Rights to conduct an inquiry into the political persecution and pending arrest of Gabriela Women’s Party leaders in Southern Tagalog and 70 other activists including 18 other women on fabricated charges against them.

Maza further said, “we have also received reports that in meetings and forums conducted by the military in communities, they continue to identify Gabriela Women’s Party as a communist front and villify our leaders as terrorists.”

“We have faced similar attacks since the 2007 elections. It appears that this early in the electoral game, as Arroyo’s camp and her allies prepare their candidacies, they are likewise preparing to keep us out of 2010. They are bound to fail.”

 

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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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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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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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GMA’S DISSOLUTION OF THE PEACE PANEL IS A DECLARATION OF WAR -MAZA

“It can be seen as no other way. The dissolution of the peace panel is tantamount to a declaration of an all-out war against the Bangsamoro people. The Arroyo government’s obstinacy, all the while ignoring the legitimate demands of the Bangsamoro does not bring the conflict anywhere near resolution.”

Thus said Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza today as Malacanang dissolved the peace panel negotiating with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The partylist lawmaker also said this move by Malacanang does not bode well for the hundreds of thousands of Mindanaoans internal refugees, mostly women and children who have fled their homes and livelihood because of the conflict.

“The AFP’s increased deployment of troops and the arming of civilians, President Arroyo’s DDR approach of disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation to the resolution of conflict and finally this dissolution of the peace panel, all speak clearly of the Arroyo government’s militarist solution to the ongoing conflict in Mindnanao.”

“We renew our calls for the immediate resumption of the peace process, for productive negotiations addressing the demands of the Bangsamoro people for recognition and ancestral domain as well and the calls to address poverty in Mindanao.”

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