Akbayan party today described the Chinese government’s statement protesting the trip of five lawmakers to Kalayaan in the West Philippine Sea as the "height of absurdity and arrogance."  

Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello, who is the head of the trip dubbed as the “peace and solidarity mission” said Kalayaan, particularly Pag-asa is not a disputed place.

Former Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros today urged Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to take a leave from Congress to insulate the House from the dishonor that the inquiries on poll fraud and PCSO corruption would bring upon the former President.

“As Congress and other government bodies start looking into the mega-anomalies that happened during the previous administration, it would be prudent for Rep. GMA to take a leave from Congress. These controversies are clearly linked to the former President, and new testimonies would attest that GMA herself has a direct hand on these anomalies. As a member of Congress, it is her right to avail of the privileges accorded to a lawmaker, but that would undoubtedly besmirch the reputation of the 15th Congress,” Hontiveros said.

 

We in the House of Representatives are very apprehensive about developments in the West Philippine Sea.   Recent news about incursions by naval and air craft belonging to the People’s Republic of China into Philippine territorial or maritime waters, including harassment of a research vessel commissioned by the Department of Energy doing exploration work off Reed Bank, are a grave cause for concern.

We are glad that the President and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs have responded firmly to these provocations.

Before the end of the last session of Congress, Congresswoman Kaka Bag-ao and I filed House Bill 1350, which proposed renaming the South China Sea the West Philippine Sea in order to disabuse people of any legal or subliminal notion that this body of water belongs to the People’s Republic of China.  We are glad that the executive accepted our recommendation and renamed that body of water accordingly.

Akbayan Party condemns in the strongest possible terms the Supreme Court’s decision on the Hacienda Luisita case. We particularly convey our extreme disappointment over its confusing decision to disapprove the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) only to mind-bogglingly call for a referendum among Hacienda Luisita farmers to help them “decide” whether they want the Stock distribution option (SDO) or land distribution.  

The decision is perplexing and can only be described as a travesty of justice. While the Supreme Court has nullified the SDO, the accompanying decision to call for a referendum is out-and-out deception. It only allows the estate’s elite incorporators to salvage their plans to keep Hacienda Luisita and to end any chances of the land ever being distributed. It will only serve to split the ranks of the beneficiaries, expose them to landlord machinations and force them to squabble over leftovers.

Akbayan Party today called on President Aquino to deliver on his promise of signing an executive order calling for a national moratorium on forced demolitions and to create a national framework for in-city, on-site relocation.

Akbayan also launched a national signature campaign to collect support for such measures to address the problems that face informal settler communities.