Akbayan today joins the nation in commemorating the anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre which claimed the lives of 58 people – civilians, journalists – in a barbaric display of impunity and warlordism.
We are one with the public in demanding that the proceedings are expedited and resolved the soonest. The case against the Ampatuans should be given the utmost attention it deserves and any tactics that seek to delay its resolution should be stopped.
At the same time, the government must exert all efforts to extend the same dispatch with other cases of killings of lumads, journalists, judges and candidates for elections next year – whether they are committed by agents of the state, private armed groups, or rebel forces.
The best antidote to preventing another Maguindanao massacre is to ensure the swiftness in apprehension and conviction of the forces behind these murders. Private armies must be disbanded, their warlord patrons put behind bars.
When violence is taken away as an option -- then and only then can civility reign in our political life, and genuine reforms become possible at all levels of governance. ###
The rare gathering of global capitalist elites in our very backyard should provide Filipinos with an opportunity to reflect and inquire how, in an increasingly interconnected world, our lives are shaped by the actions and decisions of our neighbours. Truly, we do not stand alone and in isolation from other citizens of the world, whether they be highland farmers in Peru, tuktuk drivers in Pnom Penh or informal settlers in the slums of Mexico City.
But do these men and women driving down the special lanes in EDSA genuinely represent these voices? Or are they here as ambassadors of the 1%, the profiteering elites at the top of the global economic food chain?
The APEC agenda asserts the need for inclusive growth and the empowerment of small and medium enterprises, oblivious to the history of the group as one of the platforms through which peoples and small businesses have been excluded in favour of transnational and multinational corporations. APEC, by appropriating progressive catchphrases has descended into a circus for semantic interpretation, a locus of rhetoric and double-speak.
Violence is the language of the weak. The victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris, Lebanon and Baghdad fell to the cowardice of forces that seek to sow mistrust, fear, and engulf the rest of the global community in a downward spiral of hatred and more violence.
Akbayan condoles with the families and friends of the victims in all these cities that were subjected to various terrorist attacks in recent weeks and days. But we also call on the world leaders, particularly French President Francois Hollande, against using divisive rhetoric, promising “pitiless war” in response to these attacks.
Akbayan further reiterates that the migrant refugees, mostly Arabic citizens fleeing the Middle East, must be protected from reprisal and not bear the brunt of outrage and grief right now.
Our response as a global community must be to repudiate war as an instrument of foreign policy – no amount of drone strikes by the global capital elites and their governments will eradicate extremism where it is found. There must be the promotion and defense of all human rights for all, in our communities regardless of religion, regardless of race. Tolerance and respect must emanate from below, and our global leaders must take heed.
Akbayan Partylist expressed its support for the Senate’s resolution stating that the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement or EDCA needs Senate concurrence.
“The agreement provides for basing of military personnel of the United States. Therefore, it is in the nature of a treaty which must first be duly concurred in by the Senate,” according to Akbayan Partylist President Machris Cabreros.
“Our legal case against China’s expansionist project in the West Philippine Sea is at a very critical juncture. We have already scored our first victory when the international tribunal decided that they have jurisdiction over the case,” she said.
“The entry of American military forces in the Philippines will be used by the Chinese government to continue and accelerate their reclamation of our islands and reefs. The US, on the other hand, sees this agreement as a stepping stone for its strategy of strengthening its presence in the Asia-Pacific region,” Cabreros added.
Akbayan party-list today challenged Senator Bongbong Marcos to go beyond soundbites on labor contractualization saying his track record shows he has not initiated any legislation to protect workers’ job security.
“Sen. Marcos is quick to denounce the same government he is a part of but one wonders what he has actually done for workers’ rights,” said Akbayan President and spokesperson Machris Cabreros. “His 6-year stint at the Senate shows he has no track record whatsoever in favour of workers.”
“Instead, Sen. Marcos was nowhere to be found in pushing for the passage of a security of tenure law which has been languishing in the legislative mill for years,” said Cabreros.
“Despite the constitutional provision on security of tenure, there is a need for an enabling law to protect workers from arbitrary job security as existing legislation is weak to respond to endless renewals under the 5-5-5-scheme,” she explained.
“This measure would ensure that workers not only get to keep their jobs, they would also be able to organize and collectively bargain as they need not fear reprisal from employers,” Cabreros added. “rights which, ironically, were dramatically eroded during Martial Law when workers’ strikes and assemblies were violently dispersed in the name of the Bagong Lipunan’s illusory growth.”
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