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Makabayan bloc opens 18th Congress with 67 bills, resos

The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives (HOR) got off to its usual running start and filed 67 bills and resolutions on the opening day of the 18th Congress Monday.

While their colleagues, including other party list representatives, are busy with infighting for the speakership of the HOR, the Leftist lawmakers submitted both new and their old legislative measures and made sure they are among the first to file them.

Makabayan legislative staffmembers were among the first to line up at the HORS’s Bills and Index Service office very early yesterday morning to increase their chance of an early first reading of their measures and referral by the Speaker to their appropriate committees.

Bayan Muna filed 30 bills and resolutions ranging from agrarian refom, human rights, social pension, lowering of prices of basic commodities, wage increases, social services to political reforms.

ACT Teachers Party filed 17 bills and resolutions ranging from salary increases, social services, government services reforms to freedom of information.

Kabataan Party for its part filed 10 bills, mostly on youth and student rights.

Gabriela Women’s Party for its part filed 10 bills and resolutions that the group said seek to uplift women from economic woes and abuse.

Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas said their party prioritizes the repeal of the Rice Tariffication Law due to its disastrous impact on farmers and poor households, as well as measures that seek to end violence against women and children.

“Rice tariffication law sets forth the sharp drop in the farmgate prices of palay which threatens the livelihood of our farmers, as well as the phaseout of the cheaper NFA rice which poor Filipino families rely on. That’s why we want to immediately repeal the law to provide relief to millions of Filipino families,” she said.

“As an alternative, we have filed the Rice Industry Development Act previously filed by Anakpawis Partylist to ensure sufficient support for Filipino farmers and to mandate the identification of rice zones across the country to boost local rice production,” she added.

ACT Teachers Party Rep. France Castro for her part revealed that their 17 bills are bannered by their teachers salary increase bill she said is long overdue.

“We strongly urge the incoming House Leadership to immediately hear and pass the bill increasing the salaries of teachers and other government employees. Similarly, we call on our fellow legislators in both houses of Congress to champion this cause,” Castro said.

This morning, Bayan Muna filed its 31st measure, a resolution calling for an investigation on the violations of labor rights by detergent manufacturer Peerless Products Manufacturing Corporation, following the series of bloody attacks company guards inflicted on its striking workers.

List of bills

Bayan Muna:

1. Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill
2. Human Rights Defenders Bill
3. 2nd Tranche of SSS pension increase
4. Increasing Social Pension
5. Genuine Partylist Group and Nominee Act
6. Repeal TRAIN Law
7. Renationalization of Petron
8. Investigation of the Recto Bank Incident
9. Unbundling of Oil Prices
10. ₱750 National Minimum Wage
11. ₱16,000 Minimum Wage for Government Employees
12. Anti-Privatization of Health Services
13. Free Hemodialysis
14. Anti-Political Dynasty
15. Investigation on Water Privatization
16. Investigation on the Killings in Bicol
17. Investigation on Electoral-Related Harassments
18. Security of Tenure and Substitute Civil Service Eligibility
19. No VAT in Electricity
20. No Vat in Systems Loss
21. People’s Mining Bill
22. Genuine Small Coco Farmer’s Fund
23. Investigation on impacts of agribusiness to agrarian reform beneficiaries
24. No VAT in Water
25. Manila Bay as Reclamation-Free Zone
26. No Mining Zones
27. SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression) Bill
28. Investigation on HRVs related to Memo 32 
29. Investigation on Kaliwa Dam Project
30. Moratorium on Coal-Fired Power Plants

ACT Teachers Party-List:

  1. HB 219 – salary increase for public school teachers and other government employees
  2. HB 220 – The Teacher Protection Act of 2019
  3. HB 221 – lowering the optional retirement age of government employees
  4. HB 222 – The Teaching Supplies Allowance Act of 2019
  5. HB 223 – mandatori na mga yunit ng Filipino at Panitikan sa kolehiyo
  6. HB 224 – Act Mandating Free Health Services for the People
  7. HB 225 – exempting from taxation all amounts granted to persons rendering election service for national and local elections
  8. HB 226 – The Freedom of Information Act
  9. HB 227 – The Public School Class Size Law
  10. HB 228 – The Revised GSIS Act of 2019
  11. HB 508 – shorter probationary period of teaching and non-teaching personnel in private schools
  12. HB 509 – guidance counselors in public schools
  13. HB 510 – repealing the anti-professional CPD Act of 2016
  14. HB 511 – The COMELEC Reorganization Act
  15. HB 512 – expanded paternity leave
  16. HB 513 – National Education Support Personnel Day
  17. HR 20 – inquiry in aid of legislation into the status of implementation of the K to 12 Program

Kabataan Party:

  1. Students Rights
  2. Campus Press Freedom
  3. University Services
  4. Human Rights Education
  5. Anti-No Permit No Exam
  6. FQS Day and FQS@50
  7. National Youth Day
  8. Mandatory Bonifacio Subject
  9. National Filipino Youth Museum
  10. Philippine Cinema Appreciation

Gabriela Women’s Party:

  1. Repeal of the Rice Tariffication Law
  2. Rice Industry Development
  3. Magna Carta for Daycare Workers
  4. Amendments to the Solo Parents Welfare Act
  5. Repeal of VAT on oil and other products
  6. Resolution seeking to review the concession agreement of the MWSS
  7. Amendments to the Anti-Rape Law 
  8. Electronic Violence Against Women and Children (EVAWC) 
  9. Repeal of the Human Security Act (HSA)
  10. Divorce bill

The progressive parties said the 67 bills are just their initial submissions. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Makabayan bloc set to win 6 seats

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.

Relentless attacks

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)

Neri says he will not concede defeat to ‘abnormal elections’

Makabayan senatorial bet Neri Colmenares said he will not concede defeat in the face of massive fraud in Monday’s national polls.

Citing “brazen” illegal partisan activities by the police and military against Makabayan’s national and local bets, Colmenares said he remains undefeated by the elections that are “not normal.”

“How can I concede to a rotten electoral exercise that has basically deceived, bribed, intimidated and manipulated our people into electing the worst kinds of leaders imaginable? I cannot,” he said.

“It would have been easy to concede had I lost in a fair and honest elections. But this year’s elections were hardly fair or honest. Besides, this is no longer about me but about giving our people a fair chance to exercise their constitutional right to suffrage,” Colmenares explained.

The former Bayan Muna representative, who has remained at the 24th spot since the start of the canvassing, accused Rodrigo Duterte government of unleashing intensified, tokhang-style police and military operations in Bicol, Eastern and Western Visayas that are known progressive bailiwicks meant to prevent Makabayan supporters from voting.

Northern Dispatch also reported that Makabayan supporters received death threats to dissuade them from campaigning and voting in Cagayan Valley.

In addition to Mindanao still languishing under Martial Law, the massive human rights abuses also resulted in at least two massacres and a state of terror in communities during the campaing period, Colmenares said.

The activist candidate also said the Philippine National Police were caught red-handed distributing black propaganda materials against Makabayan in various polling centers in Metro Manila on election day.

‘Duterte as first violator’

Colmenares said it was President Duterte who led in the violation of various election laws.

“We saw how the President, using his presidential platform, led the vilification of the opposition and progressive candidates, dishing out insults and lies at every opportunity. This year, honesty as a qualification for public office was openly thrown out the window. And vote buying was justified by the highest official of the land,” Colmenares said.

He added that Duterte and his allies threatened and intimidated local politicians into supporting their candidates and denying the opposition and progressive candidates the opportunity to campaign at the grassroots.

“I have never seen so fearful a set of local politicians than now,” he revealed.

Colmenares also cited how the Duterte administration used government resources, funds and facilities to promote pro-Administration candidates, especially those favored by the President.

Widespread violations by administration candidates

Colmenares said pro-administration parties and candidates openly broke election rules that should not have been allowed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec)

“We saw how the rules – from postering and other campaign activities to widespread vote buying – were being flouted with impunity up to election day, and the Comelec blind or helpless about it,” Colmenares said.

He said he saw how candidates were already campaigning, spending hundreds of millions on TV and radio advertisments prior to campaign period.

“But that was nothing compared to the deluge of ads during the campaign period, skirting whatever limits we’re supposed to have on campaign spending and advertising,” Colmenares said.

Machine failure

There were unprecedented failures in the vote counting machines and SD cards used to run those machines on election day itself, Colmenares said.

He also cited the withholding of transmitted results from the public for seven hours Monday evening on “some flimsy technical glitch that had never happened in the past three automated elections.”

“Many of us slept and woke up to the TV screen showing 12 winning senators, not knowing what happened,” he revealed.

He also recalled that he filed resolutions to investigate election fraud in the automated election in his three terms in Congress as Bayan Muna representative.# (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Protesta ng mga aktibista kontra sa malawakang pandaraya sa halalang 2019

Nagtungo sa Commission on Elections o COMELEC ang iba’t-ibang grupo para magprotesta kaugnay sa naganap na dayaan sa nakaraang eleksyon noong Mayo 13.

Ayon sa Bayan Muna, dapat ipaliwanag ng COMELEC kung bakit madaming pumalya at nagka-aberya na precint count optical scan o PCOS machine sa ibat-ibang presinto. Marami ring reklamo ng vote buying, pananakot at paninira laban sa mga progresibong partylist at kandidato.

Nais nila na managot ang COMELEC dahil sa kapalpakan nito sa pangangasiwa ng eleksyon. Hinayaan din umano nito na makapamayagpag ang administrasyon at magbuhos ng rekurso ng taumbayan para manalo lalo na sa Senado.

Nauna namang nagprotesta ang mga kabataan sa Philippine International Convention Center o PICC noong Mayo 13 dahil sa napaulat na paninira ng PNP sa mga progresibong partylist. Iniulat na namamahagi ng babasahin ang ilang pulis sa mga botante na laban sa mga nasabing partylist. (Bidyo ni: Joseph Cuevas/ Kodao)

PNP, abala sa paninira sa mga progresibong partylist sa araw ng halalan

Nagpamigay ng newsletter ang mga kagawad ng Manila Police District ng official newsletter ng Philippine National Police na Pulis Serbis Balita na naglalaman ng paninira sa mga partidong kasapi ng Makabayan bloc sa mismong araw ng halalan.

Pinuntahan ng Kodao Productions ang mga mga polling center kung saan ipinakalat ng mga pulis ang kanilang diyaryo.

Noong tinanong, itinuro na lamang ng mga pulis ang Kampo Crame upang sagutin ang maaring kaso ng partisan election activity na kanilang isinagawa laban sa grupo ng Makabayan.

(Ulat nina Jola Diones-Mamangun at Marya Salamat; camera ni Ipe Soco; editing ni Jo Maline D. Mamangun. Libreng background music mula sa https://www.fesliyanstudios.com)

Police and Army reservists lie about Makabayan’s disqualification, fact check group reports

Police and Philippine Army reservists did not let up on its campaign against progressive parties seeking re-election in today’s polls.

The Facebook page of the Iloilo City Police Office and multiple Facebook accounts of Army reservists in Mindanao shared May 12 a post that falsely reported that the Commission on Elections has disqualified six partylist groups under the Makabayan bloc— Bayan Muna, Anakbayan, Anakpawis, ACT-Teachers, Gabriela and Anakbayan, poll fact checker Tsek.ph reported early Monday morning.

Tsek.ph said the post, published by the Facebook page Diego Pagbabago at 2 p.m. that day, appeared about four hours later on the Iloilo City police’s Pulis Icpo Serbisyo Publiko page.

The group said social media monitoring tool Crowdtangle identified six other Facebook accounts that posted the false claim as the 8th Infantry “Dependable” Battalion, Philippine Army; Ask Jay Lee; Joint Reserve Task Force “Metro Davao”; CMO 11rcdg; 1st Metro Davao Ready Reserve Infantry Battalion Philippine Army; and 1105th Ready Reserve Infantry Battalion Peace Keepers.

“Diego Pagbabago’s status states that six partylist groups were disqualified but its headline reads, ‘Comelec disqualifies five partylist, days before election,’” it added.

The full text of the post:

Disqualified. Yan ang hatol ng Comelec sa Partylist na tatakbo sana ngayong halalan 2019. Ang kadahilanan ng Comelec sa pagsuspendi sa limang Partylist ay dahil sa aktibo nitong pakikilahok upang pabagsakin ang gobyerno. Ang pagdisqualify ay ugat sa isang petisyon na inihain ni Angel Aguilar sa Comelec upang kanselahin ang rehistro ng anim na Partylist Bayan Muna, Anak Bayan, Anakpawis, Act-Teachers, Gabriela and Anakbayan Partylist (Disqualified. That is the decision of Comelec on Partylist running in the 2019 election. The reason Comelec suspended the five Partylist is they are involved in overthrowing the government. The disqualification stems from a petition by Angel Aguilar before the Comelec to cancel the registration of the six Partylist Bayan Muna, Anak Bayan, Anak Pawis, Act-Teachers, Gabriela and Anakbayan Partylist).

The Comelec has not decided the petition filed against the six groups on April 26 by one Angela O. Aguilar, Tsek.ph said.

Siegfred Deduro, vice chairman of Makabayan in the Visayas, said in a statement to the Iloilo media that the disqualification claim is not true.

“Our partylist groups remain (to be) legitimate candidates under the partylist elections and (they) maintain their high honor and prestige as gamechangers in the House of Representatives,” Deduro, former Bayan Muna Representative, told Tsek.ph.

Bayan Muna is among the top partylist groups in Pulse Asia’s latest pre-election survey.

The post is no longer accessible at Diego Pagbabago and the other accounts.

Tsek.ph is fact-checking project for the Philippines’ 2019 elections that counts the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, and De La Salle University as its academic partners as well as media outfits. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Makabayan Coalition holds final gathering before polls

Idinaos ng Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan o Makabayan ang kanilang Miting De Avance noong Mayo 7 sa Plaza Miranda sa Quiapo sa Maynila.

Dumalo ang mga tagasuporta, organisasyon at kasaping mga partylist sa ilalim ng Makabayan. Kabilang na dito ang Bayan Muna, ACT Teachers, Gabriela Women’s Party, Anakpawis at Kabataan.

Inihapag ng mga partylist ang kanilang plataporma para sa susunod na kongreso kabilang na dito ang tuluyang paglaban sa TRAIN Law, tunay na reporma sa lupa, ganap na libreng edukasyon, pag-giit sa mataas na sahod at pagbasura sa kontraktwalisasyon.

Ayon sa Makabayan, sa kabila nang matinding atake ng administrasyon, kawalan ng pondo at paninira mula sa mga kalabang partido, naitaas nila ang laban sa elektoral na pakikibaka sa nakalipas na mga buwan.

Muling ipinakilala at hiniling ng Makabayan na suportahan ang 11 kandidato nito sa eleksyon sa Mayo 13. Ito ay sina Atty. Neri Colmenares, Atty. Chel Diokno, Atty. Florin Hilbay, Erin Tañada, Leody de Guzman, Atty. Sony Matula, Senador Grace Poe, Senador Nancy Binay, Senador Bam Aquino, Samira Gutoc at Serge Osmeña.

Ayon sa Makabayan ito ang magiging “Independent Senate” na siyang tunay na magsusulong ng interes at kagalingan ng taumbayan. (Bidyo nila Maricon Montajes, Carlo Francisco at Joseph Cuevas/ Kodao)

Tributes pouring in despite PNP vilification vs Malayao

Tributes to Randy Malayao are still pouring in on the eve of the slain National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant’s burial in the old town of San Pablo, Isabela, his hometown.

Despite apparent efforts by the Cagayan Valley Philippine National Police to malign him, local and international progressive organizations continue to hail Malayao as a genuine peace worker.

“We got to know Randy during the peace dialogues that took place in Europe and we saw his commitment to the struggle for peace and the rights of the Filipino people,” the Rome-based Italian Migrants Committee said in a statement.

The Italian-Filipino Friendship Committee—likewise based in Rome—also expressed its solidarity with Malayao’s relatives and the NDFP.

“The Committee asks the movements and the anti-imperialist and pacifist Italian parties to support the cause of the NDFP and asks the Italian State to commit itself to a just peace in the Philippines in all the international fora, starting with the European Parliament,” it said in a statement.

OFWs in Belgium held a candle-lighting ceremony in front of the Philippine Embassy to protest the killing of Randy Malayao.

In the Philippines, College Editors Guild of the Philippines alumni said they are proud of Randy who “use(d) his intelligence, political acumen, good character, kindness, humility, wit, and good disposition wherever his commitment brought him.”

“We absolutely admire him as an outstanding propagandist, tireless organizer, and an exceptional builder of consensus. He had this awesome ability to bring people from different background (and even in difficult circumstances) together and forge unity towards a common cause,” the group said.

Makabayan chairperson and senate aspirant Neri Colmenares also heaped praise on Malayao when he visited the fallen Bayan Muna regional coordinator’s wake.

“Randy is a hero of the people who spent his life always working for genuine peace and betterment of the Filipino people,” Colmenares said as he urged the PNP to “stop spreading intrigues against him because they are just exposing their true colors.”

In seeming response to ongoing vilification campaigns by the regional PNP and the other anti-Leftist groups against Malayao, NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison and NDFP Negotiating Panel member Julieta de Lima said they only have fond memories of the victim.

“What immediately struck us as soon as he introduced himself to us was his amiability, cheerful mien, quick sense of humor and deep sense of optimism,” the couple said from their asylum base in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

“In the course of working with him we came to respect him for his revolutionary integrity, intellect and diligence in the discussion of issues and drafting of documents and his desire for a just and lasting peace,” they added.

Sison and de Lima pointed out that in slandering Malayao, those who murdered him are unwittingly rendering him the highest honor even if in the vilest form of slander.

“It is a good thing to be attacked by the enemies of the Filipino people’s revolutionary cause of national and social liberation. The attacks unwittingly verify who are the heroes of the Filipino people,” they said.

Sison and de Lima said Malayao is “contributed his best to the struggle for national freedom, democracy, genuine development, social justice, cultural progress and just peace.”

“He will live forever in the hearts and minds of the people, while his contributions are indestructible energy within the growing and advancing revolutionary movement,” they said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Makabayan files bill seeking exemption of journalists from anti-drug ops

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)

Neri Colmenares files certificate of candidacy for the Senate in 2019 polls

Neri Colmenares filed his certificate of candidacy at the Commission on Elections on Thursday, October 11, vowing to continue his advocacy for people’s rights and interests if elected.

The official candidate of the Makabayan Coalition of progressive parties, Colmenares vowed to fight against measures that contribute to the people’s poverty, such as the Duterte government’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law.

Instead of anti-people laws, Colmenares said there should be more pro-people measures, such as those that would ensure permanent jobs, lower prices of commodities and free social services, especially for the poor.

Colmenares is the author of the law that increased SSS pensions, as well as measures against electricity and water hikes.

He also pushed for passenger rights, anti-torture, free hazard warning through mobile phone services and many others. # (Video by Joseph Cuevas)