Akbayan Partylist lawmakers Senator Risa Hontiveros and Congressman Tom Villarin on Monday presented the Gawad Aksyon at Solusyon to Ailyn Martinez, a former officer of Barangay Payatas as a testament to the positive impact of rehabilitative shelters for children in conflict with the law (CICL). The awarding comes on the heels of the Senate debate on a bill to make 12 year old children criminally liable.

Martinez worked for 5 years in Barangay Payatas as a desk officer for Violence against Women and Children (VAWC) concerns where she has helped children access the services of private shelters in partnership with the local government. 

"Isang malaking karangalan ang makatanggap nito. Sana ay mas makilala pa ang papel ng barangay sa pangangalaga sa mga kabataan. Hindi natin kailangan ibaba ang edad ng mga nakukulong, kailangan itaas ang bilang ng mga barangay children's shelters at suporta sa mga workers kagaya ko," Ailyn Martinez said. (It's a huge honor to receive this award. I hope we will soon recognize the important role of barangays for our children's welfare. We don't have to lower the age of those we jail but increase the number of children's shelters and support to barangay workers.)

“Pensyon para kay lola at lolo, hindi kulong para kay apo”

This was the call of a panel of youth and children’s rights advocates and senior citizens groups in a press conference on Monday, supporting the bill to provide universal social pension for senior citizens.

Akbayan Partylist spokesperson Gio Tingson, the Coalition for the Services of the Elderly (COSE), and several other groups urged congress to prioritize support of Senate Bill No. 2138, or the “Lingap Para kay Lolo at Lola Act” filed by Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros, instead of lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

“Imbes na ibaba ang minimum age of criminal responsibility sa bansa, ang dapat atupagin ng kongreso ay itaas ang benepisyo ng ating mga senior citizens sa pamamagitan ng isang universal social pension fund,” Gio Tingson, who was formerly the National Youth Commission chair, said.

If passed into law, the bill seeks to create a social pension system which grants a monthly stipend to all senior citizens, unlike the current means-based system where only those considered as indigent senior citizens can receive government assistance.

Akbayan Partylist lauds the House of Representatives (HOR) for unanimously passing the Safe Spaces bill which seeks to penalize gender-based harassment in public places on third and final reading on Monday.

"The time is up for catcallers. Once this will be signed into law, the Safe Spaces bill will provide protection for our family members from sexual harassers in public places," Akbayan partylist spokesperson Gio Tingson said.

The Safe Spaces bill, principally authored by Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin, will go through the bicameral conference as the Senate passed its counterpart bill on October 2018.

"Women and LGBT+ advocates took action to shepherd this bill through both chambers. This is our solution to stop the alarming cases of our sisters and our children being harassed in the streets," Tingson said.

The bill seeks to punish catcalling and other forms of sexual harassment with penalties ranging from community service, imprisonment and fines up to PHP 500,000.### 

Privilege speech of Akbayan Partylist Rep. Tom Villarin

January 14, 2019


Mr. Speaker, I rise on a personal and collective privilege.  

Last January 8, 2019, Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines, a South Korean shipbuilding company based in Subic port, Zambales, filed for bankruptcy leaving some US$412-M in outstanding loans with local banks in limbo. This also places some 22,000 workers and their jobs in peril as well as loses to the local economy.

A report claimed that the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), the state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines, Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. (Metrobank), Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), and BDO Unibank, Inc. are now working together to cover their combined loan exposure to the Korean conglomerate. These banks are among the top 10 banks in the country and the biggest lenders to business.

Despite the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)’s pronouncement that its impact in the banking system is negligible, stock prices of three of the listed banks fell in the wake of the news. Shares at RCBC suffered the steepest blow as it dropped by 9.12% on Friday, while Metrobank and BPI stock prices went down by 4.82% and 4.76%, respectively. BDO shares, though steadied from the initial shock, have the least exposure among the Hanjin lenders.

The lenders are said to be working to take control of Hanjin’s property in Zambales, with assets estimated at $1.6 billion.

On Bonifacio Day, workers and Akbayan members raised their worn out umbrellas filled with holes symbolizing the dismal state of workers’ welfare in the Philippines plagued with low wages, no security of tenure, and a short maternity leave for working mothers.

“Each problem represents a hole in the protection of Filipino workers. Until these holes are patched up and fixed, our workers will remain highly vulnerable to economic risk,” said Machris Cabreros, President of Akbayan.

It can be recalled that Akbayan Partylist has pushed for the passage of three bills to shield workers from various health and economic risks, such as high inflation plaguing the whole country for months now, and is perceived to have caused additional burden to an already struggling working class.

These are the Expanded Maternity Leave Bill that is now awaiting the President’s signature; the Security of Tenure or Anti-ENDO Bill that was already passed in the lower House; and most recently the bill abolishing all 17 regional wage boards and replacing them with just one wage-fixing body to set a decent and acceptable minimum wage nationwide.

“All Filipino workers are getting impatient in waiting for these concerns to be resolved and for those bills to get passed. Unless the maternity leave is expanded, labor-only contracting is stopped, and decent wages are provided, our workers’ welfare will always be festered with holes,” Cabreros added.