china get outAkbayan Partylist today called China’s so-called “reclamation activities” in the West Philippine Sea as “forcible encroachment which is just one step short of outright invasion.” This was after the 80 Filipino fishermen were water-cannoned and aggressively driven away by a Chinese vessel from Panatag Shoal off the coast of Zambales in the West Philippine Sea.

Akbayan Representative Barry Gutierrez said the Chinese government has no business reclaiming territories, which has no basis before the international law, much less harassing Filipino citizens who have legitimate rights over the area.

“Lest China forgets, territorial disputes cannot be separated from international law, because its basis is on the law of government borders, and since its resolution relies on the international law and court. However, instead of going to the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) and challenge the legal case the Philippine government filed against them, China resorted to occupying our reefs, destroying marine life and other resources in order to transform them into garrisons and man-made islands" said Gutierrez, who is also a former University of the Philippines law professor and Director of the Institute of Human Rights.

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barry gutierrezAkbayan's bill seeking to provide 'viable and sustainable' resettlement plans for  informal settler families (ISFs) from 'arbitrary' and forced evictions was cleared without objection by the House panel.

"The proposed measure is a step in the right direction in providing viable and sustainable resettlement to the homeless and less-privileged ISFs living in danger and high-risk areas," Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez said.

"We are happy with the passage of the consolidated bill that would provide the appropriate safeguards to ensuring these families access to decent housing and shelter," he added.

The Housing Resettlement Rights Bill was introduced by Gutierrez who also chaired the Technical Working Group (TWG) that consolidated all related resettlement bills referred to the Committee on Housing and Urban Development.

According to Akbayan, the proposed measure will benefit an estimated 1.4 million informal settler families, or an estimated 8.5 million persons, mostly living in dangerous waterways and high-risk areas across the country.

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barry gutierrezThe perpetrator of the gruesome media slay must be promptly arrested, prosecuted and convicted to the 'fullest extent of the law' said Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez.

The statement occurred following the reported death of former Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) journalist Melinda "Mei" Magsino by a gunman riding in pillion on a motorbike in a village in Balagtas, Batangas City.

"We urge the government to undertake the immediate and necessary actions to bring the perpetrators to justice and to put an end to the continuing violent attacks on media workers," Gutierrez said.

Speedy investigation

Gutierrez urged the Department of Justice (DoJ) to launch a speedy investigation of the case and to prosecute and bring to justice the perpetrators of the killing.

The Secretary of Justice heads the Inter-Agency Committee on Extra Legal Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture and Other Grave Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of Persons, which has been tasked with coordinating all government efforts to address media and extra-judicial killings and related cases since 2012.

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barry gutierrezBalesin's yaya meals highlights deep-seated nature of economic inequality and the disparity of opportunities for the haves and the have-nots in the country, said Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez.

The statement came after former Binibining Pilipinas-World and fashion designer Maggie Wilson-Consunji revealed the 'offensive' practice of Balesin Island Club, a members-only luxury resort in Quezon province, which serves “yaya (nanny) meals.”

The "yaya meals" is a menu option for the nannies or employees of the members of the club.

In a statement posted on the resort's Facebook page, Balesin Island Club CEO and Island Director Mike M. Asperin clarified that the club's guests such as the members' employees are not barred from ordering and having any meal they like as long as permitted by their employer.

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AY-Kenya-148Akbayan Youth joins the international community in its condemnation of the brutal massacre of 148 people, mostly students and young people, inside Garissa University in Kenya last Thursday. Those who carried out this attack against defenseless civilians must face the full extent of justice and pay for their crimes.

Our sympathies and prayers also go out to the families and friends of the victims of this atrocity. We extend our solidarity with the people of Kenya who are living through this horrifying ordeal and mourn with them for the young lives lost.

This despicable act is not only senseless and deplorable; it is symptomatic ofthe growing hatred and disdain among nations of peoples, of a world were terror becomes a popular alternative for peoples who have been radicalized by persisting injustices, prejudices and inequalities.

Thus, as we call for the full extent of justice for the young victims of this bloodbath, we also strongly urge restraint and more understanding in this time of deep grief in Kenya. It is time not only for exacting justice, but also for healing, where understanding and solidarity is sown, not hatred and retaliation against peoples of other religious belief or ethnicity.

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