akbayan2014Babalik tayo sa EDSA hangga’t mailap ang hustisya.

Justice for the poor and marginalized whose interests have been neglected and abused will always make the commemoration of People Power 1986 not only a necessity, but a duty.

In the face of increasing repression and the culture of violence and death that the Philippines faces under the Duterte administration, fulfilling this duty is not only crucial and immediate – it is literally a matter of life and death.

With more than 7,000 poor people ending up dead in the streets in the name of an insane campaign against illegal drugs, human life has been cheapened and rendered disposable by no less than the government, while big time crime lords and plunderers are accommodated and privileged.

akbayan2014We are alarmed that the issuance of a warrant of arrest against Sen. Leila de Lima signals an administration deploying strong arm tactics against its critics. De Lima's impending arrest is the administration's way of flexing its power by using state machinery against those who oppose its policies.

It is therefore in our collective interest to defend our democracy against this bullying and brazen abuse of power. We must resist tyranny whether it is exercised against one, or many.

We reiterate that the cases against Sen. De Lima are hearsay and have no basis in fact. It is political persecution, nothing more., nothing less.

We call on all freedom-loving citizens to guard against the excesses of those in power who meet principled dissent with terror and violence. If this persecution can be leveled against a duly elected official, it can be repeated against anyone.

rep tom villarinThe Philippines stands to lose over $12B dollars in trade benefits and over 200,000 jobs if Congress passes HB 4727 reimposing the death penalty, warned Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin in his interpellation during plenary debates on the controversial measure.

Villarin said the country, which enjoys zero tariffs for its exports to EU countries, for abolishing the death penalty and signing the 2nd Optional Protocol plus 26 other international agreements on human rights, labor and trade union covenants, among others, will lose such economic privileges.

"Why will we let go of such gains when the perceived benefits of reimposing the death penalty is non-existent?" said Villarin.

The GSP+ status gives zero tariffs to 6,274 Philippine products exported to EU countries. In 2013, the Philippines has already a total of $12.8-B worth of trade with EU. At least $1.6B of customs duties are saved because of our GSP+ status, according to data from World Bank.

Many of the country's exports to EU come from agriculture and manufacturing, mostly outside Metro Manila especially Mindanao where industries such as tuna, fruits, coconut oil, carrageenan, and other products abound.

"It will only worsen the peace and order situation in Mindanao, which will be greatly affected by such policy. Death penalty will kill industries, jobs, and livelihoods of the poorest people in our country--a tragic irony of unfathomed proportions," Villarin said.
 
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that in 2014, the year the Philippines signed the GSP+ trade agreement, tariff-free exports amounted to $6.73B.

It rose to $7.17B in 2015 and will eventually cover the total trade to EU which comprises around 12% of our country's exports. ##

liela de limaAkbayan denounces the filing of cases against Sen. Leila de Lima as a desperate attempt to stifle principled dissent, a sexist obsession to put down a vocal critic of government. Her impending arrest will make her a political prisoner, persecuted under false pretext of trumped up drug charges.

For being outspoken and critical, she is facing hasty, vindictive persecution while the likes of Jack Lam, Peter Lim and Janet Napoles are being accommodated and freed.

Akbayan calls on the public to remain vigilant and not allow due process and the rule of law to be sacrificed for the sake of political vendetta. Akbayan supports the call of the people for justice and fairness, and accountability from the malevolent forces behind the demonization of a human rights defender. 

There are people who belong behind bars but Leila de Lima is definitely not one of them.

vote for dignityAkbayan partylist today trooped to the House of Representatives to call on legislators to scrap the death penalty biĺl ahead of scheduled plenary voting this week.

“We all know the death penalty only hits the poor, and in 3 of every 4 cases, an innocent,” said Akbayan President Machris Cabreros. “Legislators have to remember that a vote for death penalty is therefore a vote against the poor.”

“We urge Congress to resist and scrap this priority administration bill for being anti-poor, whose utter cruelty only promises violence and not the certainty of justice,” added Cabreros.

Instead, Cabreros said, solons should vote for the dignity and the rule of law and justice for the poor by thumbing down the death penalty bill. “Strengthen our laws and let them apply to all, without exceptions to the likes of Peter Lim, Jack Lam and Janet Napoles.”