rodrigo duterte xi jinpingAkbayan party-list today sounded the alarm over reports that some of the companies involved in the megadeals committed after President Duterte's trip to China are tainted with corruption.

"If the MOU Pres. Duterte signed is non-binding as claimed by the BCDA then why announce it as if it were a done deal?" asked AKbayan Rep. Tom Villarin. "How much investments did we really get out of this China trip?"

"Despite the BCDA's pronouncements that these projects are only covered by an MOU, this still begs the question: why ink an agreement that entails the services of tainted companies?"

"We challenge Pres. Duterte to look more closely at the bag of goodies he brought home from China," urged Villarin. "China Harbour Engineering and CCCC Dredging Company both identified in the itemized list provided by DTI Sec. Ramon Lopez, are involved in anomalies in projects they undertook elsewhere." he said.

dutertenarcolistAkbayan party-list today reminded the Duterte administration to decisively put a stop to the extra judicial killings of suspected drug users after reports came out undermining the veracity of numbers being used by the Duterte administration to justify its war on drugs.

"Figures from the Dangerous Drugs Board shows that the extent of drug use in the country have actually gone down between 2004 to 2012," said Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin. "From 6.7 million to 1.3 million, or a total decline of 81% in 8 years, contrary to Pres. Duterte's often repeated number of 3.7 million."

"Even if we take into account the underreporting, clearly there remains a worrisome inconsistency between the latest available data and official policy," added Villarin.

"This becomes a problem when local police and barangay officials run out of target surrenderees they need to produce to meet the 3.7 million target of this government," warned Villarin. "where will they turn to produce their watch lists?"

tom villarinRally your supermajority. Pass a coco levy trust fund bill.

This was the message of Akbayan partylist Rep. Tom Villarin to the Duterte administration, who should be hard at work in ensuring the release of the P72-billion coco levy funds by enacting it into law.

Villarin pointed to several bills pending (wag languishing -  4 months palang kasi) in both houses of Congress, including a version he authored under House Bill No. 2833 or An Act Establishing the Coconut Farmers Trust Fund and Providing for Its Management and Utilization.

"Our coconut farmers need the funds back, not more excuses," he added.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Sec. Manny Piñol reportedly said that the farmers were "barking up the wrong tree," claiming that the government's hands were tied due to the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court on former President Noynoy Aquino's executive issuances that authorized the utilization of the coconut levy funds to benefit coconut farmers (EOs 179 and 180).

akbayan2014None of the above. This was Akbayan's challenge to  Pres. Duterte following his pro-China statements while dissing the US after visiting Beijing.

"A truly courageous foreign policy is one where we do not depend on either side while at the same time nurturing relationships based on mutual respect," declared Akbayan President Machris Cabreros.

"Duterte is toying with the country's sovereignty to curry favor with China for questionable investments, even if we enjoy the high ground due to the favorable UNCLOS Tribunal decision," declared Machris Cabreros today.

"Duterte's high-heaven praises for China, specifically his statement that "China has never invaded any part of the Philippines" is grossly ignorant of facts on the ground," added Cabreros.

akbayan2014As above, so below.

Pres. Duterte's rhetoric of violence gives a cue to security forces emboldening them to get away with brutality. The dispersal at the US embassy on Wednesday was but a manifestation of this culture of impunity.

We challenge Pres. Duterte to frame the investigation he ordered not only along the lines of who were directly responsible, but how the Manila Police District failed to uphold the rights of the protestors by violently cracking down on them.

The state, by the nature of its superior machinery and brute force is subject to higher standards of restraint and maximum tolerance while upholding the right to peaceably assemble and seek redress for grievances.

But when the leader of this country divides with his words, rather than unites, it becomes easier to demean and brutalize others, whether it be protestors on the streets or suspected drug addicts.

So while we support penalizing the police forces responsible for the attacks on the protestors, Pres. Duterte also needs to realize the implications of his reckless oratory, because as the embassy dispersal incidence shows, they have the ability to literally roll over people and their human rights.

Quote: Machris Cabreros, President