zeroAkbayan party-list today reiterated its call for the enactment of urgent reforms to address and stave off incidence of hunger across the country.

"What the Kidapawan incident tells us is the urgency of taking immediate action to ensure the issue of hunger is addressed at its roots," said Akbayan nominee and Mindanaoan activist Tom Villarin.

"The problem is structural -- while the local government has the primary responsibility to respond to disasters and manage agriculture services as a devolved function, there should be concerted efforts to make sure LGUs can perform these functions effectively," said Akbayan Rep. Angie Katoh, also a Mindanaoan and long-time organizer.

"National government agencies need to work together to deliver sufficient and adequate food supplies down to the community level," added Villarin. "Further, national government should build up capacities of LGUs to respond to food shortages."

"A policy framework is needed to provide a point of convergence for national and local governments to do this," added Katoh. "The Right to Adequate Food bill, filed February 2014 would provide this framework."

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akbayan2014Akbayan wishes to expresses its sorrow over the tragedy that befell the protest action of farmers and activists in Kidapawan that resulted in a number of unnecessary deaths and dozens of injuries.

Akbayan demands a speedy, impartial investigation to ascertain the circumstances that led to the bloodshed, and from there, determine accountability.

We implore that this process be attended with a somber appreciation of the facts. That this be insulated from the electoral agenda of all candidates, including of those who organized the blockade.

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bbmAkbayan party-list today slammed Bongbong Marcos’s comic book circulated as campaign propaganda as the biggest joke of the 2016 elections.

“We were hoping the comic book was a prank, however the punchline is lost on us,” said Mindanaoan activist and Akbayan partylist first nominee Tom Villarin, “for the outright lies and deceit that it contains.”

“Bongbong is living in his own world,” added Akbayan Youth leader and partylist nominee Paeng David. “a world fictionalized by his comics, where Martial Law never happened, and his family were victims of EDSA 86.”

“It would be laughable if it weren’t dangerous,” added David. “The lies have gained traction and the public might be electing a liar responsible for billions of pesos of public funds stolen during Martial Law.”

According to Villarin, “Bongbong Marcos was an appointed official by his father, to Philcomsat, a known milking cow of his father during Martial Law. Bongbong had a hand in trying to withdraw millions of dollars in stolen money from Swiss bank accounts held under his father’s name.”

“ Bongbong was not an innocent bystander during Martial Law – he wanted to storm Crame at the height of EDSA 86,” stressed Villarin.

David said the public should be more discerning against claims that life was better during Marcos’s time. “Kleptocracy was the name of the game, Marcos and cronies were getting rich while the country sunk into debt that we are still paying for today.”

“Reject Bongbong as Vice-President and restore sanity to politics,” Villarin pleaded. “If another Marcos is elected into higher office the joke will be on us.”

imagesAkbayan joins the rest of the nation in mourning the loss of former Senator Jovito Salonga, a true patriot who stood on the right side of history with the vast majority of the poor and marginalized.

Akbayan owes a lot to Jovito Salonga. His candidacy for the 1992 Presidential elections served as a venue for some activists, NGO workers and community organizers to work together and form lasting bonds. Those activists harnessed the lessons from Salonga’s candidacy with a greater appreciation for the importance of electoral work. They eventually banded together to form Akbayan.

Salonga ranks among the few nationalists who upheld the interests of the nation. He stood as a human rights fighter against the excesses of Martial Law. He defended Philippine sovereignty against the continued presence of US bases in the country. He sided with the people to defend the Constitution against several attempts at premature Charter Change. He used his stature to go after the Marcos ill-gotten wealth with the PCGG.

Ka Jovi may have left us, but he leaves a legacy of statesmanship to which other public servants must aspire. In his departure, may we continue to find inspiration from Ka Jovi, and the ideals he fought for.

bukoAkbayan Party-List today scored Senators Grace Poe and Chiz Escudero for recent controversial remarks delivered calling out the government for its failure to distribute the coco levy to coconut farmers, while at the same time exculpating Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco. Akbayan supported and campaigned for the Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund Bill that was passed in the House of Representatives, but languished in the Senate.

“It is not possible to call for a just and speedy distribution of the coconut levy, and almost in the same breath, defend Danding Cojuangco, who is the epicenter and ground zero of this decades-old scam,” said Akbayan President Machris Cabreros.

“20% of the coco levy largesse is owned single-handedly by Danding. Danding as San Miguel Chairperson also earned more than 50 billion from the conversion of coco levy shares from common to preferred. Now that Danding’s party backs Sen. Poe, has it not occurred to the Senator that while she goes on and on about coconut farmers, her campaign might have been bankrolled by their sweat?” asked Ka Rene Cerilla of the Kilusang Magniniyog (KM71).

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