Bawas VATAkbayan protested against the price hike of basic commodities as the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported a 4% inflation rate with the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law taking into effect.

Akbayan party members trooped to Q Mart to lament the rise of prices on basic goods with jacked-up taxes on diesel and petroleum and a 12% Value Added Tax (VAT) on consumers.

“Ang pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin dahil sa TRAIN at ang pagpataw ng 12% VAT ay deadly combination para sa aming mga ordinaryong mamimili. Kami po ang kawawa sa dagdag presyo sa merkado dahil mas maliit na lang ang naiuuwi namin,”  Esmeralda Mendoza of Akbayan said.

Mendoza warned that the price of goods such as chicken has risen to Php 10 and that more products will be inaccessible to the poor with the price hike due to excise taxes on petroleum and diesel. 


As the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments tackled proposals for charter change (Cha-cha) today, Akbayan slammed the House of Representatives’ scheme to extend term limits and give ‘almost absolute’ power to the president.

“Charter change offers no real change. It’s a scam led by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to keep the old oligarchs, trapos and warlords in power,” Akbayan President Machris Cabreros said. “The proposal by PDP-Laban to extend the terms of the President and congresspersons up to 10 years proves that the trapos shamelessly want to cling to their seats longer.”

Akbayan denounced the recently passed resolution for a constituent assembly, made up of Duterte’s supermajority, to change the constitution.

“A constituent assembly of trapos and oligarchs will make sure they have the new constitution bent to their will,” Cabreros said. “By keeping ordinary people out of the process, they can finally delete economic protections, term limits and democratic institutions in the constitution.”

mlReference: Machris Cabreros, Akbayan President

President Duterte’s request to extend Martial Law in Mindanao will only breed more terrorists as human rights abuses and poor economic development will prolong under military rule.

The government is unable to address human rights abuses under Martial Law which will only give powers to terrorist groups to exploit and recruit victims of abuses. The horrors narrated in Congress of Muslim women stripped in evacuation centers, teenagers psychologically tortured during interrogation and civilians without charges rounded up could be exploited by terror groups if not addressed. Extending Martial Law with records of human rights abuses further threatens the safety of Mindanaoans both by terrorists and abusive government forces.

Marawi cannot be rebuilt under a Martial Law extension. The government’s plan to suspend public bidding and allow big-time developers, both local and foreign, to take over rehabilitation efforts could open up more corruption and abuses. A Martial Law extension will send Mindanao years behind in terms of development. This will further disempower people from participating in the rehabilitation process to prioritize their concerns of healthcare, education, housing and jobs.  

Poverty and historical injustices provide fertile ground for terrorist and extremist groups to grow strong. The government should promote peace and just development by prioritizing the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to address the decades of state wrongs. MiniA long-term solution anchored on justice and peace will quell terrorism, not an extension of Martial Law. ###

PNP appThe Philippine National Police’s (PNP) newly-launched human rights mobile app is a laughable solution to protect the public from police abuses. In deadly police operations, no one expects the victims to whip out their phones and orient the police about their rights. The poor, who are usual targets of Duterte’s killings, cannot even afford a smartphone for them to access PNP’s cruel and stupid solution. 

The PNP human rights app is a worthless effort as long as President Duterte and Chief PNP Bato Dela Rosa ridicule human rights for Filipinos. The app is a cruel and stupid excuse for the police to evade accountability from the extrajudicial killings and harassment of civilians, especially those in poor neighborhoods. To solve the human rights crisis, the PNP must install reforms in its system to stop its active role as human rights violators in War on Drugs operations:  

    1. Strengthen human rights training for PNP

    2. Strengthen mechanisms to respond to human rights complaints in operations

    3. Probe cops in War on Drugs operations

    4. Prosecute killer cops

    5. Protection for women and children in operations

    6. Limit use of force

    7. Transparency in police data

Around 3,900 people have been killed in police operations but human rights groups have recorded already 14,000 killed in the course of Duterte’s murderous drug war. PNP’s app can only do little. If they are serious about solving the human rights crisis, the PNP should download some sense, stop the killings and install reforms in its institutions. ###

RevGovPresident Duterte’s threat to declare a revolutionary government reveals the one thing he fears the most: a working democracy.

Duterte’s efforts to wrest control of all branches of government shows his traitorous plan to destroy the democracy the people fought for 30 years ago. He has attempted to condition the public’s minds since his ratings start to decline that groups will be out to overthrow him but it’s clear now that the country’s number one destabilizer is President Duterte himself.   

The government has destabilized the country by killing thousands of its people, persecuting those who speak the truth about his policies and crushing all institutions that are supposed to keep him in check. Duterte has done nothing to probe the PhP 6.4 billion shabu shipment in which his son might be involved in. He has also failed accountability in his office by refusing to answer for the allegations of his family’s hidden wealth and allowing his men in the Cabinet to keep away some records of their wealth from the public.

Duterte’s first year in office is a disaster but Duterte’s revolutionary government will be hell. His plan to totalize power under him has already started by deploying his allies to impeach Chief Justice Sereno and harass Ombudsman Carpio. Last week he again spoke of returning power to the PNP to execute his war on drugs which under the PNP proved to be ruthless only to the poor and the powerless.

When President Duterte has finally removed all protections against his dictatorship, expect more killings, corruption and injustice to ensue.

This is the time to be courageous. We call on all people from all sectors to stand up against Duterte’s authoritarian revolutionary government and continue to shape and defend our democracy.  Let us continue to put people and institutions of power in check that we make democracy work for all especially the poor and marginalized. Let us unite behind a democracy that works to uphold human rights, truth and justice which an authoritarian revolutionary government will certainly not stand for.