(On the celebration of the World Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Akbayan Representative Kaka J. Bag-ao discusses the repercussions of mining to our indigenous peoples, and the need to legislate the Minerals Management Bill or House Bill 3763 in Congress.)

I rise on a matter of personal and collective privilege.

Mr. Speaker, the World Indigenous Peoples Day, which we commemorate today, should be a celebration of multiculturalism and mutual recognition of rights amidst diversity and adversity. While the Philippine Constitution and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) recognize the rights of indigenous peoples, our vibrant ethnicity also chronicles the unromanticized tale of cultural communities who are historically marginalized by our very own state policies.

The policy, which this representation is referring to, is the state perpetrated plunder of our national patrimony which we commonly refer to as the “Philippine Mining Act of 1995.”

AKBAYAN Party today lauded the Aquino government’s resolve to pursue peace in Mindanao, particularly the administration’s recently concluded high level meeting with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Tokyo, calling it a ‘strong commitment for a just and sustainable peace in Mindanao.’

“There is no higher priority than peace, no enduring legacy than giving justice to the Bangsamoro cause,” said Akbayan Rep. Arlene Bag-ao, who hails from Mindanao.

Hontiveros said utak wangwang is also utak-pork barrel

Akbayan Party today branded the decision of the minority bloc in the House of Representatives to boycott the proposed P1.8-trillion 2012 national budget in protest over the delay in the release of their pork barrel funds as irresponsible.

The progressive political party also said the boycott sends the wrong signal to the public. Akbayan said it only depicted the minority, many of whom are allies of former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, as self-serving.

Anti-corruption advocates say new Ombudsman’s first task is to prosecute Gloria and other “utak-wangwangs”

Even before newly appointed Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales could step in her new office, anti-corruption advocates already have an important assignment for the new chief of the anti-corruption body.

A day after the 2nd State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Simeon Aquino, Akbayan Party Spokesperson Risa Hontiveros, former Brigadier General Danilo Lim and social activist Jimmy Regalario filed plunder and malversation charges against former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and several others concerning their alleged misuse of P325-million intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

They said the prosecution of Arroyo and other “utak wangwangs” is the first important undertaking Carpio-Morales must accomplish.