“Ang simpleng sinasabi ng gubyerno, ‘Sila po ay mga NPA. Sila ay mga sympathizers, mga front ng NPA.’ Magsasaka, abogado, taong simbahan, guro, principal, at maging ang isang taong gulang ay front ng New People’s Army. ‘Yan po ang kaisipan ng gubyernong ito.”—Ariel Casilao, Anakpawis national vice president
The Makabayan bloc may still get as many as six seats in the House of Representatives as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) is set to proclaim the winners of the party list race tonight.
Despite relentless harassment and vilification by the military and police throughout the campaign period up to election day last May 13, the progressive parties amassed a total of 2,236,155 votes that may give the bloc up to six seats in the 18th Congress, just one less than its current number of representatives.
Bayan Muna is set to have three seats after garnering 1,117,403 votes representing 4.01% of all party list votes cast.
It placed second behind high-spending ACT-CIS Party, the only other party to win three seats.
Gabriela Women’s Party placed 12th in the race, garnering 449,440 votes representing 1.61% of all party list votes cast and winning one seat.
ACT Teachers Party came close behind at 15th place, with 395,327 votes representing 1.42% of all party list votes cast and winning one seat.
Gabriela Womens’ and ACT Teachers’ each have two sitting representatives in the current 17th Congress.
Both groups are the only parties in their respective sectors elected to any legislature in the entire world.
At 51st place and the last group to win a seat is Kabataan Party, garnering 196,385 votes representing 0.70% of all party list votes cast.
Anakpawis, however, failed to win a seat, placing at 62nd place with 146,511 votes representing 0.53% of all party list votes cast.
The NBOC is set to proclaim all 51 winning parties at seven o’clock tonight at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
Gabriela Womens’ Party has two seats, ACT Teachers Party has two more while Bayan Muna, Kabataan and Anakpawis have one each in the current 17th Congress.
The bloc lost one seat in May 13’s elections.
Earlier, the Makabayan Bloc complained of threats and harassments of its campaigners, members and supporters by the military and police.
A massive “zero vote” was also launched in Mindanao prior to the elections while Davao City mayor Sara Duterte openly called on her constituents not to vote for Makabayan parties.
Makabayan members also suffered two massacres in Negros Island and arrests of supporters in Bulacan and Bohol whiles its supporters were prevented from voting in several regions across the country.
On election day last May 13, Philippine National Police officers distributed newsletters tagging Makabayan parties as communist fronts.
“Despite many reports of fraud, the Rodrigo Duterte regime cannot defeat the people’s will,” Bayan Muna second nominee Ferdinand Gaite earlier told Kodao. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)
The Makabayan Bloc at the House of Representatives filed a bill seeking the exemption of journalists from acting as witnesses in police anti-drug operations.
House Bill 8832 was filed Wednesday by ACT Teachers’ Party Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro, Gabriela Reps. Arlene Brosas and Emmi de Jesus, Anakpawis Party Rep. Ariel Casilao, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate and Kabataan Party Rep. Sarah Elago together with National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) officers.
The bill seeks to amend Section 1 of Republic Act 10640, otherwise known as “An Act to Further Strengthen the Anti-Drug campaign of the Government,” which orders that journalists act as “optional witnesses” to drug operations.
The law amended section 21 of Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,” which earlier ordered that journalists act as mandatory witnesses to the police inventory of seized items in drug operations, along with elected officials and members of the National Proecution Service.
HB 8832 stemmed from an ongoing NUJP campaign against ordering journalists to as witnesses to police anti-drug operations.
According to the NUJP, journalists throughout the country report that law enforcement units continue requiring them to sign on as witnesses, often as a condition for being allowed to cover anti-drug operations.
“Worse, there are reports that they are made to sign even if they did not actually witness the operation or the inventory of seized items,” the NUJP’s “Sign Against the Sign” campaign said.
Journalists who decline can find their sources or the normal channels of information no longer accessible, the media group added.
HB 8832 said that aside from the obvious coercion and attempts to control information of vital interest to the public, the media’s opposition to this practice also stems from the fact that it unnecessarily places journalists at risk of retaliation from crime syndicates, on the one hand, and exposes them to prosecution for perjury and other offenses in the event of irregularities in the conduct of anti-drug operations, on the other.
The proposed measure said that journalists must be protected from harm and the anti-drug laws must help ensure that reportage on the government’s anti-drug operations must remain objective and factual.
Rep. Tinion said the Makabayan Bloc will ask Committee on Public Information chairperson Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar to schedule a hearing on the bill as soon as possible.
The NUJP for its part will ask Senate Committee on Public Information chairperson Senator Grace Poe to file a counterpart in the Senate. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)
The Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan o MAKABAYAN held its fourth National Convention at the Quezon City Sports Club last September 25, unanimously voting to again field former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmanares in the 2019 Senate race.
Themed “Bagong Pulitika, Demokrasya Hindi Diktadurya,” Makabayan said it aims to win not only in the next elections but also defeat Rodrigo Duterte’ s looming dictatorship and tyranny.
MAKABAYAN also presented nominees from its member parties—Gabriela Womens Party, ACT Teachers Party, Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Kabataan.
It also announced Newly formed member parties—Manggagawa Party, Aksyon Health Workers Party, and Peoples Surge Party. (Video and report by Joseph Cuevas)
Hundreds of farmer-activists from Bicol complained of harassment when members of the Quezon Province police blocked their caravan on its way to Manila Sunday night.
The Provincial Public Safety Company-6th Maneuver Platoon of the Philippine National Police (PNP) blocked Lakbay Paraoma’s 28 buses, a jeep and a van at around 7:30 last night led by a certain Major Morillo in Barangay Talipan, Pagbilao in Quezon province.
Lakbay Paraoma is the Bicol Region contingent of the ongoing nationwide Lakbay Magsasaka to Metro Manila for a series of events demanding genuine agrarian reform.
In the convoy was the vehicle of Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao who joined the peasant caravan from Bicol to Manila.
The PNP issued traffic violation tickets against the 28 caravan bus drivers who they alleged were not wearing seatbelts.
Two bus drivers signed the tickets and were fined PhP5,000 each while the others refused, saying they were wearing seatbelts.
Bus driver Dude Villareal admitted he was not wearing a seatbelt but insisted it was harassment to derail the caravan.
“We will continue to fight for the rights of the farmers. The PNP will always find ways, such as issuing bogus violations to silence the protesters,” Bert Author, chairperson of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bicol (KMB-KMP), said.
While negotiations were ongoing, caravan participants cooked dinner and threatened to stage an impromptu rally should the PNP refused to let them through.
The PNP subsequently revoked the traffic violation citations, saying it was a mere misunderstanding, alternative media outfit Baretang Bikolnon reported.
The caravan arrived at Calamba, Laguna past midnight where they spent the rest of the night.
They will join the farmers from Mindanao at the protest camp-out at the Department of Agrarian Reform before their major protest rally at Mendiola on October 25. (Raymund B. Villanueva/With reports from and photo by Baretang Bikolnon)
To be able to freely oppose the “fascist Rodrigo Duterte regime,” the Makabayan bloc announced Thursday it is bolting from the majority coalition in the House of Representatives.
The group’s sitting representatives and other leaders said in a press conference said they will henceforth be an independent bloc in Congress.
“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 unravelled as a fascist, pro-imperialist and anti-people regime,” Makabayan said.
Makabayan is composed of Bayan Muna, ACT Teachers, Anakpawis, Kabataan, and Gabriela Women’s parties.
The group said it joined the Majority last year after being encouraged by Duterte’s reformist and populist actions and pronouncements on a range of issues.
Makabayan cited Duterte’s promise to resume the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), release of political prisoners, ending of neo-colonial ties with the United States of America government, 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 as among the reasons for entering the coalition.
“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 Government of Republic of the Philippines-NDFP peace talks,” the group explained.
Duterte has failed on his promises, Makabayan said.
“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,” the group said.
Earlier, Malacañan said it hoped Makabayan would keep it ties with the Duterte government.
“We hope the Makabayan bloc will stay with the administration and the House majority,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said at a palace briefing last September 8.
Abella said the palace hoped the progressive solons would continue to work with the administration on certain issues, even if they decide dissociate themselves from the Duterte.
“However, if they do decide to go, we wish them well and we hope that they will remain open to working together with others on issues of shared interest,” Abella said.
Makabayan in its announcement today however said the die is cast.
“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,” the group said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)
Peasant groups from all over the Philippines and their supporters marched to Mendiola in commemoration the first anniversary of the shooting of protesting farmers in Kidapawan City last March 31.
Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao challenged President Rodrigo Duterte to show the same compassion to farmers killed by government troops as he usually does when visiting the wake of soldiers killed in encounters with the New People’s Army.
The groups also called for justice for all farmers killed under the Duterte government.
The Peasant Movement of the Philippines led the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Mendiola Massacre with a rally at the site of the bloody incident.
Families of the seven killed on January 22, 1987 called on President Rodrigo Duterte to reopen the investigation to give justice to the victims.
Workers and government officials commemorated late labor movement icon and progressive legislator Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran’s 83rd birth anniversary at Plaza Miranda in Manila on January 7, 2016. ILPS Philippines Chair Elmer Labog led the ceremonies supported by the City of Manila represented by Ms. Flordeliza Villaseñor. In his speech, Labog challenged 2016 national and local elections candidates to emulate genuine and pro-people leadership that Beltran exemplified all his life.
Ka Bel served as chairperson of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS). He was KMU’s longest-serving leader and was cited as one of the country’s best legislators several times.
(Overlapping audio is from the Quiapo Church service across the plaza.)