Akbayan Partylist is outraged at the bloodbath in the wake of police and military operations in Negros Oriental killing 14 farmers alleged to be linked to insurgents as well as the arrest of an Akbayan woman peasant leader in Vallehermoso, Negros Oriental. 

Akbayan also condemns the arrest and detention of Ana Maria Dayoha, a peasant leader of the Bagawines Ulay Cabulihan Farmworkers Association (BUCFWA) in Vallehermoso, Negros Oriental. She was arrested for illegal possession of firearms after a pre-dawn raid was conducted in their office. BUCFWA is a recognized agrarian reform beneficiaries organization seeking for the installation of their members in DAR-awarded lands.

"The PNP raiding team obviously planted firearms and a rifle grenade inside the premises of their office in the early hours of Sunday morning. Why will a legitimate farmers organization be subjected to such harassment in the guise of anti-insurgency operations?," said Akbayan party list solon Tom Villarin.

Akbayan Partylist Chairperson Emeritus Etta Rosales commended the Supreme Court decision ordering the government to release all Oplan Tokhang police reports.

"Making police data available to the petitioners is a huge step in exacting accountability from the perpetrators of the crime through the release of facts and figures related to the commission of the crime," Etta Rosales said. "We will need this data to probe the police's claims that protocols were observed, especially when multiple reports from survivors indicate otherwise."

"For the first time, victims of the drug war and human rights groups will know crucial details on these deadly police operations. They will be receiving the names of the police officers in those operations, operation plans and investigative reports. These are important and relevant information needed to probe deeper into investigation where no stone is left unturned," the former Commission on Human Rights chairperson said.

‘Bawal Bastos’ Bill to lapse into law on April 21


Graffiti artists and Metro Manila student councils on Sunday unveiled a mural with the ‘No dress code for rape’ call as a stand against forms of sexual harassment in the streets. 

"This artwork is our way of taking back the streets. Every street or alley should be spaces free from sexual harassment," Imi Espina of Akbayan Youth said. Produced by graffiti artists led by Bacolod-based artist Gila Inefable, the mural is located along one of the jeepney terminals in Quiapo and near Manila’s university belt.  

Espina also called for the passage of the Bawal Bastos Bill or the Safe Streets, Public Spaces and Workplace Act into law which penalizes catcalling, wolf-whistling, leering, stalking, and other forms of sexual harassment that take place in public spaces. “Ensuring that cities are safe spaces shouldn't be optional,” Espina added.  

This morning’s arrest of Rappler CEO and TIME Person of the Year Maria Ressa demonstrates the Duterte government’s targeted harassment of critical journalists and the free press, according to Akbayan Partylist in a statement released on Friday.  

“We strongly condemn the government’s action to cripple the exercise of press freedom and to move the country more towards authoritarian rule,” Akbayan Partylist Spokesperson Gio Tingson said.  Akbayan Partylist also said that the arrest sends an ominous message to all journalists critical of the Duterte administration. “The President wants to paralyze freedom of the press as part of his authoritarian project”, Tingson remarked.  

Ressa was served her second arrest warrant as she arrived in NAIA on a case filed by the government for alleged violation of the Anti-Dummy Law.  “The government’s diligence in filing a string of cases against Maria and Rappler clears any doubt that selective justice is hard at work”, Tingson also said.  

Akbayan Partylist pointed out the ‘government’s hypocrisy in serving arrest warrants’. “The government is inutile in serving arrest warrants for criminals and bigtime drug lords. It is out arresting journalists while bigtime druglords remain free”, Tingson added.  

Akbayan is asking the public to express their collective support behind Maria and Rappler. “Free press is fundamental to any democracy. The people must hold the line against the President’s authoritarian wishes”, Tingson concluded.

Members of Akbayan Partylist and fisherfolk leaders trooped to the gates of the Department of Finance (DOF) in a serenade protest against the possible seizure of Philippine natural resources as collateral to the loan agreements with China.

The protesters sang songs to the tune of The Coconut Nut of Smokey Mountain, of which Asec. Tony Lambino was a former member, to criticize the onerous deals with China. 

“Aanhin ang bilyon-bilyong perang pautang kung aangkinin lang din naman ang ating mga likas na yaman? Walang saysay ang isang dam para sa isang daang taong nakatali tayo sa Tsina dahil hindi tayo makabayad sa utang at interes”  Emman Bibandor, Akbayan fisherfolk leader said.

“Mamanahin ng ating mga apo ang gabundok na utang sa Tsina at ang kawalan ng kontrol sa ating mga teritoryo. Hindi na makatarungan yun,” Ka Emman added. “Kailangan balikan ang mga pinirmahang utang sa Tsina at dapat handa ang DOF na tanggalin ang mga nakakatakot na probisyon.”