handshake projectYouth leaders led by the Akbayan Youth and the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) earlier today conducted a creative "social experiment" to contribute in eliminating stereotypes against Filipino Muslims brought about by the Mamasapano tragedy. 

Dubbed as the “Handshake Project”, the youth groups which converged at Ortigas, Mandaluyong City encouraged passers-by to show their respect and solidarity to Filipino Muslims by asking them to shake their hands and/or write messages of support on their “peace cards” in a bid to fight the growing anti-Muslim sentiment and promote greater peace, sobriety and understanding.

"We are deeply alarmed with the growing Anti-Muslim sentiment brought about by the tragic Mamasapano incident.  Today, we thus rally our fellow youth leaders against Islamophobia in all its forms through various symbols of solidarity--a handshake, a hug or a message of peace for our fellow Muslim Filipinos who for decades have been struggling for peace, justice and equality." said Akbayan Youth Vice Chairperson for Mindanao James Alih.

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edsa-shrine-rally-20150222-1This week, the nation observes the 29th year of the 1986 Edsa People Power uprising that resulted in the ouster of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the start of democratization process in the Philippines. As we rise from the aftermath of the Mamasapano tragedy, it is crucial for the nation to remember what Edsa truly stood for: the power of the people to defend democracy, justice and peace.

Unholy but expected alliance

Unfortunately, our commemoration of the spirit of Edsa’s is marred by the intention of a current crop of political opportunists and vultures to exploit it. In the mold of former defense secretary Norberto Gonzales, rogue religious leaders infamously known as the “Mitsubishops,” Peping Cojuangco, Kit Tatad, the extreme left, and the recent addition, widely discredited Ed Kabalu and alleged MRT extortionist Al Vitangcol, this unholy but expected alliance of Arroyo and Napoles minions, hypocrites, fraudsters, and political has-beens are shamelessly hijacking the people’s grief, anger and confusion over the Mamasapano tragedy. Under the promise of “transformation” and “transition”, they take advantage of the unfulfilled promises of Edsa by calling for a “new people power.”

We in Akbayan Party urge the people not to yield the spirit of Edsa to the perversion of those who intend to use it for their own selfish aspirations for power. Akbayan also caution the people to exercise vigilance and not to let their rightful indignation over the Mamasapano incident be disrespected and abused by those who want to pursue narrow ends.

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jennifer laudeAkbayan LGBT Statement on the Arraignment of US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton

“For the Jennifer Laude murder, this is a classic case of justice delayed is justice denied.”

Akbayan LGBT collective today warned against the dilatory tactics of the camp of US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton in the Jennifer Laude murder case. "Any further delay will work against the pursuit of justice for our transgender sister Jennifer. From the first day of the trial, the clock is ticking because of the 180 day period for the trial to be completed.”

“It is only through a speedy trial that justice could be rendered. We expect the Pemberton camp to let this case drag on until the prescribed period has lapsed. This is the challenge to our judiciary where legal processes move at a snail pace. It cannot be business as usual. There ought to be a commitment from our courts to beat the deadline.”

The Akbayan LGBT collective reiterated the call for greater sensitivity in the coverage of the case. "The victim is a transgender woman. Her name is Jennifer. Please respect her."

macros 2The President's signing the Joint Resolution No. 03 into law is an important victory for the families and victims of human rights violations during the Martial Law period, granting them the full opportunity to file their claims for reparation and recognition, under Republic Act No. 10368, otherwise known as the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.

It is evident that when the filing of application for claims lapsed last November 10, 2014, an estimated 25,000-50,000 legitimate claimants, particularly those from the far-flung areas of the country, were untimely divested of the opportunity to file their application of claims for reparation and recognition.

With the newly-enacted law, the period for filing of claims will be extended for another period of six (6) months, effectively moving the deadline from November 10, 2014 to May 2015. This extension provides all victims and their families the opportunity for redress and recognition for the sacrifices and sufferings they endured in defense of individual rights and liberty and the nation's democracy while laying down the crucial first step towards national healing and renewal.####

On 17 February 2015, President Aquino signed into law Joint Resolution No. 03 extending for six months the period for filing of claims for reparation of human rights violations victims, under Republic Act No. 10368, otherwise known as the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.

View PDF - Joint Resolution No. 03

mrtAkbayan today raised concerns over the planned MRT shutdown to fix the system's tracks, arguing that while there seems to be no other option than to regularly shut down the MRT for maintenance, the government should "take bolder action towards full management and ownership of MRT to prevent the gross mismanagement by the private sector and establish clear mechanisms of accountability."

"This planned shutdown of the MRT is like changing the old tires of a car whose engine has gone bust. To reverse the dangers of years of neglect and irresponsibility on the part of MRT Corporation (MRTC) and its maintenance subcontractors, it is high time that the government takes full ownership, control, and management of the MRT," Akbayan Representative Walden Bello said.

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