akbayan2014Akbayan Party’s Statement of Congratulations and Solidarity with the Greek People

We in Akbayan Party extend our congratulations and solidarity with the Greek People in their overwhelming rejection of austerity in their recently concluded national referendum. We laud their government, led by the political party Syriza and their Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, in standing with their people instead of taking the easy route of surrender and acceptance of the bailout package proposed to them by their creditors.

The Greek people have spoken. They have made it clear that they will not bear the humiliation of more privatizations and deregulations. These measures are not the answer to the country’s debt crisis. Instead, these measures have crippled the country’s economy and worsened the crisis.

Their decision to reject the terms of the bailout package proposed to them by the infamous troika of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank is a reiteration of their consistent opposition to the neoliberal policies imposed on them. They had already made clear that they reject the punishing economic measures forced on them by electing an anti-austerity party, Syriza, into power. That mandate remains.

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angie katohAkbayan today joined farmers and agrarian reform advocates in celebrating the initial installation of coconut farmers at Hacienda Matias in Bondoc Peninsula in Quezon.

“This is a major victory for the farmers. This represents agrarian justice and this represents hope. Agrarian justice, for, after scores of human rights violations and abuse in the hands of the landed elite, the farmers now have ownership and complete access to the lands that they have long tilled. Hope, that the farmers now have the chance to improve their lives as they work on their lands for no one but themselves and their families.  And hope, even more, for the completion of agrarian reform across the countryside ,” Akbayan Representative Angelina Ludovice Katoh said.

The hacienda was petitioned for agrarian reform coverage in 2004 but was subject to various efforts of the landlords to exempt it. These efforts ranged from exploiting legal loopholes, to the physical harassment of farmers and their families. After the installation on July 2, there remains over 280 families to be installed.

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mrt safetyMembers of Akbayan and Akbayan Youth today trooped to the MRT GMA-Kamuning station and donned safety gears such as knee pads and elbow pads and carried placards demanding safer rides in the MRT to illustrate the danger posed by riding the poorly maintained MRT 3. The youth group said the MRT management should prioritize passengers’, especially students, elderly and PWDs, safety and that they arrive at their destination on time.

Akbayan Youth Chairperson Rafaela David said, “Huwag na dapat hintayin ng MRT management na kakailanganin pa ng mga pasaherong gumamit ng safety and protective  gears. tuwing sasakay ng tren. Safety and better service should be a top priority of the MRT management and the DOTC.”

“Ang pagsakay ng MRT ay parang pagsali sa extreme sports. High chance of injury but without the fun.  Hindi dapat parang “Buwis Buhay” ang pagsakay sa MRT.” David stressed.

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risa hontiverosPresident Benigno Simeon Aquino III today administered the oath of former Akbayan partylist representative Risa Hontiveros who was appointed as one of the directors of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) representing the health care providers’ sector.

Hontiveros, a known healthcare advocate, vowed to use her post to push for more important reforms in the health sector.

She said the important gains won by the healthcare sector under the Aquino government, such as the passage of the Sin Tax and Reproductive Health Laws, must be matched with a more vigorous push to realize more reforms and make healthcare accessible to all, especially in the final months of the administration.

“As the Aquino government enters its final months in office, there has to be a significant push to make healthcare reforms one of the lasting legacies of this administration,” Hontiveros said.

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barry gutierrez“Why fix what ain’t broke?”

This is the question that Rep. Ibarra “Barry” M. Gutierrez III of Akbayan, is asking the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to answer following reports that it has signed a 10-year contract worth P8 billion with the APO Production Unit to produce the country’s e-passports.

“For the last several years, Philippine passports have been printed at the security plant complex of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas since it is the only government-owned printing facility that has the capability and the necessary security features required in producing such vital travel documents,” Gutierrez said.

“So why did the DFA suddenly agree to transfer the production of the country’s passports to the APO Production Unit, a private firm that has no established track record for printing security documents?”

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