Tag Archives: United States House of Representatives

[Press Release] Porky solons missing the point of labor group -PM

Porky solons missing the point of labor group

pmLogo1

Perhaps solons are suffering from pork overdose they totally missed the point raised by Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) on MRT-LRT subsidy, the group’s spokesman said in a statement. The group is opposing the proposed P10 fare hike in the MRT and LRT systems.

Administration allies in the House of Representatives led by Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, and House Deputy Majority Leader Sherwin Tugna, ganged up on PM, describing as “ridiculous” and “misplaced” the group’s assertion that VIPs in government led by the President and members of Congress and the Judiciary enjoy hefty travel allowances compared to the P13 per day subsidy allotted for MRT-LRT commuters.

“They completely missed our point. Our message was very simple: Why remove the subsidy being enjoyed 460 million times in a year by millions of poor MRT-LRT commuters when few VIPs enjoy a much bigger travel subsidy from taxpayers? The issue is inequality,” said PM spokesman Wilson Fortaleza.

PM disclosed earlier that based on the General Appropriations Act of 2012, P344 million was allotted for the Office of the President or equivalent to P943,000 per day. The Vice President’s travel subsidy was P16.52 million or P45,000 per day; the 23 senators P311.69 million or P854,000 per day; the 278 congressmen, P618.26 million or P1.7 million per day; the 15 justices of the Supreme Court, at least P143.29 million or P392,000 a day.

Defending the President’s travel perks, Fortaleza said, was perhaps a solon’s strategy of defending himself who’s House now burns in pork scandal.

Fortaleza explained further that social inequalities reflected in the economy are tightly connected with prevailing State policies, specifically on the issue of subsidies.

PM believes that subsidy is not a bad thing if it is in pursuit of social objectives. “Inequality occurs when millionaire politicians and rent-seekers in business complain about subsidies being allocated to the poor when they themselves are heavily subsidized by taxpayers,” lamented Fortaleza.

Citing media reports, Fortaleza pointed to the 2012 Statements of Assets Liabilities and Networths (SALN) where 98% or 271 out of 278 members of Congress were declared millionaires, wherein each of the top 29 netted at least P100-M.

Likewise it is only Bro. Armin Luistro of DepEd who is a non-millionaire in PNoy’s official Cabinet.

“We fully subsidize their travel. Yet they complain of the subsidy they appropriate to the poor commuters,” concluded Fortaleza.

NEWS RELEASE
Partido ng Manggagawa
17 August 2013
Contact: Wilson Fortaleza
09178233956; 09053732185; 09225261138

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[In the news] Advocates urge lawmakers to pass FOI bill before 15th Congress ends -GMA News

Advocates urge lawmakers to pass FOI bill before 15th Congress ends
by Gian C. Geronimo, GMA News
January 19, 2013

gmanewsonlineWith just only nine session days left for the 15th Congress before going on break for the campaign period, champions of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, including several congressmen themselves, urged the House of Representatives to pass the legislation.

In a press conference on Friday, members of the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition reiterated their call for the passage of the FOI bill which they believe can still be done even with the limited time of the remaining Congress sessions.

“We challenge the members of the House of Representatives who continue to resist the passage of the FOI bill to cast their personal fears aside and take a stand for the FOI,” according to the coalition’s statement, signed by more than 100 people representing various organizations.

The statement said should the FOI bill die in the 15th Congress and meet the same fate such as in the previous one, its death would be “indictment” of how legislators treat measures that could affect their “perks and prerogatives.”

Read full article @www.gmanetwork.com

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[People] The historic RH vote: How a democracy manages conflict over values By Walden Bello

The historic RH vote: How a democracy manages conflict over values By Walden Bello
INQUIRER.net
December 15, 2012

Walden Bello word.world-citizenship.orgWhen the presiding officer, Rep. Lorenzo Tanada III, arrived at my name and asked for my vote during the historic House of Representatives’ vote on the Reproductive Health Bill last Wednesday night, December 12, I replied in the affirmative and walked towards the rostrum to explain my vote.

He then posed the standard question, “What is the pleasure of the gentleman from Akbayan?” To which I replied, “I hesitate to answer that question since ‘pleasure’ has become a controversial word during the last few days’ debate.”

It was my attempt to inject some humor into a proceeding that had become like a tense basketball game, where one team maintained a slight edge but could not quite pull away owing to the tenacity of the other side. Some of the other statements that evening drew more laughter than my intervention, probably because they were inadvertently funny, as when Rep. Thelma Almario of Surigao del Sur expressed her sanguine wish that “in my lifetime we will have enough Filipinos so we can ‘Filipinize’ the whole world.”

Or when Congressman Dong Gonzalez of Pampanga hoped his parents would know he had fulfilled their dying wish that he vote against the RH Bill “in case they’re now flitting around in this hall.”

Conflict of Values

Apart from such moments of light humor, the situation was deadly serious, and much of the country stayed glued to the voting via television or the internet. To many on both sides of the RH debate, the outcome of the vote would either be a national triumph or national tragedy. Unlike other major legislative encounters in the last few years, the RH debate was not over national security. Neither was it about clashing economic interests, nor about different political visions about the future of the country. It was about a clash of values or beliefs on key social relationships: the relationship of the state to the family, the relationship of the church to the state, and the responsibility of the State towards its citizens.

Many of the anti-RH legislators rose that historic evening to express the deep beliefs that informed their scorched earth efforts to block the bill till the very end. Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro and Rep. Pablo Garcia of Cebu claimed it was anti-constitutional because in their view, it was against life, the right to which is protected by the constitution. Rep. Amado Bagatsing said that between a church that was over 2000 years old and a state that was just a few decades old, he was taking the side of his church. Earlier in the RH debate, Bagatsing earned the distinction of claiming that “contraception is abortion.”

Yet the debate showed that conservatism on the use of contraceptives has its roots not only in religious conviction, but in personal circumstances. Not a few members recounted how they were part of poor large families—in the case of Congressman Dong Gonzalez, 12 siblings—where parents and children pulled themselves up by the bootstraps. Their message was if they could do it through hard work, why couldn’t other poor families, why should the state promote smaller families via the provision of contraceptives?

On the pro-RH side, the articulation of fundamental values was equally impassioned. These were the values mainly of the liberal tradition. For Rep. Edcel Lagman, whose 14-year-long leadership in promoting the bill will be remembered as a legislative epic, the key principle was the state’s right to “benignly intervene” in the reproductive area, as in other dimensions of individual and social life, to promote the collective interest. This intervention was being done in the service of free choice. Providing access to contraceptives to the poor was the liberal state’s way of assuring that couples could in fact exercise free and informed choice in deciding the size of their families and the spacing of their children.

Rep. Emmeline Aglipay of party Diwa spoke for many on the pro-RH side when she said she was casting her vote “for reason and against ignorance.” For Rep. Linbelle Ruth Villarica of Bulacan, the bill was a necessary step forward in the struggle for women’s rights and women’s welfare. Rep. Angelo Palmones said that by the time the legislators finished voting for the measure, another 14 women would have died owing to the maternal health complications addressed by the bill. Several said that the bill was not only pro-life, but “pro-quality of life” owing to its presumed effect on reducing poverty.

It was left up to two Mindanao legislators to bravely bring up the issue of population management, which the anti-RH side had made into a bogeyman, with their shrill warnings against “population control.” Rep. Tupay Loong of

Sulu asserted that uncontrolled population growth had become a hindrance to national development and necessitated action on the part of the state. In the view of Rep. Joey Zubiri of Bukidnon, the last congressman to speak, the RH bill was necessary because “population growth has become the number one national security problem” that had to be addressed by the state.

Democracy and Value Clashes

Coming out of Wednesday’s night debate, which saw the bill win by a vote of 113 to 104, with three abstentions, I can only be grateful that we have a democratic process whose rules are internalized by most Filipinos, particularly the principle that the majority rules.

Conficts over basic values often turn into bloody wars. Take the wars of the reformation in 17th century Europe or the current fundamentalist-instigated conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the rules of representative democracy have not taken hold. We may have fundamentalists on the anti-RH side, but thank god, they believe in the rules of democracy.

Hopefully, the third reading of the RH bill will proceed smoothly in the House and the Senate will approve its version next week, so we can a bill that can be reconciled and ratified early in January and ready for the president’s signature.

History

I will look back with pride to the 15th Congress that passed the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Bill. Indeed, even if no other bill I am associated were to be passed in this Congress, the victory of this long overdue measure, which will enable our country to have greater capacity to confront the challenges of the 21st century, will be enough to bring me immense satisfaction.

It was probably this sense of history-in-the-making and his wish to be part of it that made one of my colleagues, notorious for his absenteeism, to emerge out of the woodwork to vote for the bill. Hopefully, he won’t vanish again.

INQUIRER.net columnist Walden Bello represents the party Akbayan in the House of Representatives.

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[From the web] Young leaders: “There should always be room for FOI!”; Student council reserves a room in their building for Evardone -youth4foi.blogspot.com

Young leaders: “There should always be room for FOI!”; Student council reserves a room in their building for Evardone

A student council has taken the initiative to provide a venue for the long-delayed Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill hearing in the House of Representatives. Rep. Ben Evardone, Chair of the House Committee on Public Information, earlier reneged on the initial commitment of holding the meeting within the third week of October. According to earlier reports, Evardone pushed the date to November 13 due to the alleged lack of available rooms in the Batasan Complex to accommodate the hearing for the measure.

“Since he didn’t take up Rep. Erin Tañada’s earlier offer of a committee hearing venue, we took it upon ourselves to give him another choice and another chance,” said Carlo Brolagda, Chairperson of the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy Student Council (CSSPSC) of the University of the Philippines – Diliman and Convenor of the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI).

The FYI is a national network of youth and student organizations pushing for the passage of the bill together with the Right to Know, Right Now Coalition.

Read full article @ youth4foi.blogspot.com

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[People] Last lap for the RH Bill? By Walden Bello

Afterthoughts

Last lap for the RH Bill?
By Walden Bello

Philippine Daily Inquirer
August 27, 2012

With Congress resuming deliberations after the nation was united in response to the unending rains of early August and brought together in mourning the untimely departure of DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, the battle over the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill will again move to center stage.

Let me try to answer the most frequently asked questions on where Congress is at on the bill.

What is the status of the bill?

House Bill 4244, better known as the Responsible Parenthood or Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, is now being discussed in plenary, and we are in the period of amendments in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. It was reported out of the Committee on Population of the House as early as January 2011, but the anti-RH forces forced a very long period of interpellation. This ended only when President Aquino, at a special luncheon in Malacanang on August 6, pleaded with members of the House to vote to end the period of interpellation. With the House agreeing to the presidential request and voting viva voce to end the period of interpellation, we advanced to the period of amendments. The Senate has done likewise. But the process has again been delayed by anti-RH forces, like Senator Tito Sotto and Rep. Roilo Golez of Parañaque, who have been filibustering in an effort to prevent the amendment process from moving forward.

What is the strategy of the anti-RH group?

The anti-RH lobby knows that at the moment the pro-RH forces are likely to be in the majority. So their strategy is to prolong the parliamentary process and bring it as close as possible to the national elections in May 2013. There are two reasons behind this strategy. The first is that they hope some of the pro-RH forces will waver and decide against voting for the bill for fear that the Catholic Church hierarchy will tell their Catholic constituents to vote against them. The bishops are stoking the fear of legislators that though there may not be a significant “Catholic vote,” even if as low as three per cent of the electorate listen to their bishop, this can make the difference in close elections, which is often the case in congressional races. The other reason is that once we get to early October, it will be very difficult to muster quorums to take up legislation since most members of the House will be busy with their electoral campaigns.

What is the Church hierarchy up to?

The Catholic Church hierarchy is vehemently against the bill, and this is the reason the bill was bottled up in congressional committees for 14 years. It is only in the current 15th Congress that the bill has been able to reach the plenary. Despite the ecclesiastical campaign against family planning, surveys have shown that the population, more than 80 per cent of which is Catholic, is overwhelmingly in favor of family planning, including artificial contraception, and against efforts by the Church to interfere with couples’ personal decisions on family planning.

With things coming to a climax, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has stepped up its campaign of lies against the bill. For instance, it is attacking the bill as a measure that would lead to abortion. However, the bill is explicitly against abortion, and, if passed, would actually contribute decisively to reducing the estimated 450,000 abortions that now occur annually by giving people seeking to limit their family size access to contraceptives that would prevent unwanted pregnancies. The hierarchy is also asserting that RH would lead to immoral behavior, and that use of condoms would spread HIV-AIDs. These are just three of the many falsehoods and distortions the bishops have spread against the bill.

In addition to actively coaching the anti-RH legislators, the bishops have been mounting demonstrations “of the faithful,” though these have fallen flat in terms of numbers. They have even taken to lobbying Congress directly. Recently, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa City distributed statues of the Virgin Mary to pro-RH legislators, a move that many congressmen interpreted either as a threat or a bribe. My office returned the statue to Arguelles, as we would a monetary bribe.

How will the pro-RH forces cope with delaying tactics?

The pro-RH forces are not without weapons. We are halting the consideration of all other legislative matters, including privileged speeches, unless the bill moves forward to a vote. We will place the onus for the legislative stalemate on the anti-democratic dilatory moves of the anti-RH minority. Some of us are considering even suspending the consideration of the national budget, but only as a last resort, if the anti-RH lobby does not see the light.

What are the chances of the bill passing?

I estimate that we have about 140 sure votes and another 15-20 leaning our way. There are 285 House members, and of this, I think that the solidly anti-RH forces probably number no more than120. So we are battling for some 30-35 undecided or wavering forces. A majority of senators are for the bill. So it’s not the numbers we fear. It’s the delaying tactics, the move to prevent a vote from being taken at all. In my view, however, procedural derailment will not succeed, and we will be able to bring the bill to a vote before the end of September. I am confident that vote will be one that will uphold responsible parenthood, reproductive rights, reason, science, and the national interest,

*INQUIRER.net columnist Walden Bello represents Akbayan (Citizens’ Action Party) in the House of Representatives and is one of the main authors of the Reproductive Health Bill (House Bill 4244).

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[Press Release] PM supports clamour on the vote for the RH bill

Labor group supports clamour on the vote for the RH bill

Women members of the Partido ng Manggagawa joined women groups from the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN) at the House plenary session this afternoon to show support to clamor to finally put the RH bill to vote.

“It’s been more than a decade it is time to pass the RH bill. Poor and working women have waited long enough,” explained PM General Secretary Judy Ann Chan-Miranda.

She added that, “Poor women need family planning services and commodities which they cannot afford. Millions of poor women and adolescents are left uninformed about their reproductive health rights and needs. We do want merely want a ‘yes’ vote to the RH bill, we want the provisions intended to address the reproductive rights and needs of poor and working women and adolescents intact,” asserted Miranda.

Partido ng Manggagawa called on the pro-RH legislators from the House of Representatives and the Senate to ensure that the following provisions in the RH bill shall not be comprised:
1. The right of women to choose which family planning method to use, hence, the availability of all range of contraception – natural or artificial – but medically safe;
2. The right of adolescents to age-appropriate sexuality and reproductive health education;
3. The continuation of program on the prevention and management of post-abortion complications, and humane medical treatment of women who have risked unsafe abortion; and
4. The fund allocation to free reproductive health care services and commodities for the poor, especially women and adolescents.

PRESS RELEASE
6 August 2012
Partido ng Manggagawa
Contact Judy Ann Miranda @ 09175570777

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[From the web] Fact Sheet: House Bill 4244 on Reproductive Health -RAPPLER.com

Fact Sheet: House Bill 4244 on Reproductive Health.

BY RAPPLER.COM
August 5, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – The hotly-debated Reproductive Health (RH) bill, opposed by the powerful Catholic church, is up for a crucial vote at the House of Representatives on August 7.

Here are the key points to know about House Bill No. 4244, “An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development, and for Other Purposes,” commonly known as the Reproductive Health Bill.

HB 4244 is a product of the consolidation of 6 house bills:

  • HB 96, “An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development, and for Other Purposes,” introduced by Rep Edcel Lagman
  • HB 101, “An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health and Population Development, and for Other Purposes,” introduced by Rep Janette Garin
  • HB 513, “An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health and Population Development, and for Other Purposes,: introduced by Reps. Kaka Bag-Ao and Rep Walden Bello
  • HB1160, “An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health and for Other Purposes,” introduced by Rep. Rodolfo Biazon
  • HB 1520, “An Act to Protect the Right of People to Information on Reproductive Health Care,” introduced by Rep Augusto Syjuco
  • HB 3387, “An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health for Women in Development and for Other Purposes,” introduced by Reps. Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmi De Jesus

Read full article @ www.rappler.com

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[In the news] RH group to junk bishops’ poll bets -manilastandardtoday.com

RH group to junk bishops’ poll bets
By Macon Ramos-Araneta
July 28, 2012

A women’s group on Friday told the country’s bishops it will reject their political candidates who are opposed to the passage into law of the Reproductive Health bill.

“The bishops will make our work easier,” said Elizabeth Angsioco, president of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines.

“Inclusion in their list is a guarantee that a candidate is anti-RH.”

DSWP is a national federation of 264 community women’s organizations with 40,000 members. Angsioco said to be against the RH bill was to be anti-women and anti-poor.

“With the bishops’ list, we will no longer need to do further research on included candidates,” Angsioco said.

“We will simply campaign against them and not vote for them.”

Angsioco made her statement even as the leaders in the House of Representatives scheduled on Aug. 7 the voting on the RH bill to decide whether or not it will pass.

In a statement on Thursday, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said that on that date, the House members would vote to decide whether to end or extend the period for debating the bill.

“If the vote is in favor of terminating the debates, then the period of amendments follow and put to a vote for passage on second reading,” Belmonte said.

Read full article @ manilastandardtoday.com

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[Press Release] House OK’s bill for climate change survival fund -Aksyon Klima

House OK’s bill for climate change survival fund

The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading last Monday (June 4) a bill which will help Filipinos “endure, overcome, and adapt to the impacts of climate change.”

The People’s Survival Fund (PSF) bill, now House Bill 6235, aims to establish a climate change fund which can be directly accessed by local governments and communities.

“This is a momentous step towards preparing our communities not only for disasters but for drought and other slow-onset impacts,” said Atty. Elpidio Peria, convenor of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, which is composed of about 40 civil society organizations.

The PSF bill was authored primarily by Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III and co-authored by about 100 other Representatives. The bill was already passed in the Senate last year, with its president Senator Juan Ponce Enrile as the primary author.

“The passing of the PSF bill in the Lower House couldn’t have come at a better time. It hastened the bicameral process between the House and the Senate,” explained Kairos Dela Cruz, policy coordinator of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, the member organization of Aksyon Klima which led the campaigning for the bill.

The consolidated output from the bicameral conference committee can then be turned over to President Benigno Aquino III for approval.

If signed into law, the established fund would be sourced from public and private sources, including foreign grants. Fifty million pesos would be allotted from the General Appropriations Act for its initial implementation.

Fisherfolk from the Save the Fisheries Now network recently visited the members of the Lower House’s fisheries committee to express their support for the PSF.

Sa pagtaas ng alat ng tubig ay namamatay ang mga corals at bakawan, kaya nawawalan ng tirahan at namamatay rin ang lamang dagat,” said Pablo Rosales, a fisherfolk from Navotas and one of the fisheries network’s leaders. “Lumulubog din ang komunidad sa pagtaas ng tubig dagat. Ang aming mga tahanan sa tabing dagat ang nawawasak sa panahon ng mga kalamidad, kasama na ang mga kagamitan namin sa pangingisda. Hindi pa man kami nakakabangon tatamaan uli kami ng kalamidad.”

(Coral reefs and mangroves are dying because the sea is becoming saltier, which in turn reduces the natural habitat of seafood species. Our communities are also sinking because of sea-level rise. Our homes are destroyed in times of calamities, including our fishing gear. We do not yet recover when another calamity comes our way.)

 

PRESS RELEASE | 5 June 2012

CONTACT:
Denise M. Fontanilla
Advocacy Officer
TF +632.927.0122
Mobile +63906.438.7229

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[In the news] Jailing kids no answer to rising criminality, says DSWD exec -INQUIRER.net

Jailing kids no answer to rising criminality, says DSWD exec.

Leila B. Salaverria, Philippine Daily Inquirer
May 23, 2012

The Philippines will not solve the problem of rising criminality by sending more children to jail.

The Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (JJWC) has opposed a House bill seeking to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility to over 12 years old.

The House of Representatives on Monday passed on second reading House Bill 6052, which would allow the criminal prosecution of children who are just over 12 if they had acted with discernment.

The bill seeks to amend the Juvenile Justice Law, or Republic Act No. 9344, which states that children 15 years old or younger are exempted from criminal liability.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

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[In the news] Marcos victims feel victimized again: Imelda now House’s 2nd richest -INQUIRER.net

Marcos victims feel victimized again: Imelda now House’s 2nd richest.

By Leila B. Salaverria, Philippine Daily Inquirer
May 9, 2012

Victims of human rights abuses during the Marcos dictatorship are disgusted.

Former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos has emerged as the second richest in the House of Representatives, while thousands of the victims are still awaiting government compensation for their sufferings.

“We are very insulted with Imelda’s flaunting of her ‘wealth,’ while martial law victims are denied justice and indemnification,” Angie Ipong, secretary general of Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda), said in a statement.

The compensation bill for the victims has been pending since 1998 and has yet to become a law. In the meantime, Marcos, the widow of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, has grown richer.

Based on her 2011 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, Marcos is almost a billionaire, with a net worth of P932 million. She ranked second only to boxing superstar and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao. In 2010, Marcos was worth P623.6 million.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

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[Petition] Save the Internet from the US -AVAAZ.org

Save the Internet from the US

Dear friends,

Right now, over 100 Members of the US Congress are trying to sneak through a bill that would let them spy on every Internet user without a warrant. CISPA is their third attempt to rebrand their attack on global Internet freedom. Our massive outcry helped beat SOPA and PIPA, let’s save the Internet again:

Right now, the US Congress is sneaking in a new law that gives them big brother spy powers over the entire web — and they’re hoping the world won’t notice. We helped stop their Net attack last time, let’s do it again.

Over 100 Members of Congress are backing a bill (CISPA) that would give private companies and the US government the right to spy on any of us at any time for as long as they want without a warrant. This is the third time the US Congress has tried to attack our Internet freedom. But we helped beat SOPA, and PIPA — and now we can beat this new Big Brother law.

Our global outcry has played a leading role in protecting the Internet from governments eager to monitor and control what we do online. Let’s stand together once again — and beat this law for good. Sign the petition then forward to everyone who uses the Internet:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_cispa/?vl

Under the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), if a cyber threat is even suspected, companies we use to access the Internet will have the right to collect information on our activities, share that with the government, refuse to notify us that we are being watched and then use a blanket immunity clause to protect themselves from being sued for violation of privacy or any other illegal action. It’s a crazy destruction of the privacy we all rely on in our everyday emails, Skype chats, web searches and more.

But we know that the US Congress is afraid of the world’s response. This is the third time they have tried to rebrand their attempt to attack our Internet freedom and push it through under the radar, each time changing the law’s name and hoping citizens would be asleep at the wheel. Already, Internet rights groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation have condemned the bill for its interference with basic privacy rights — now it’s time for us to speak out.

Sign the petition to Congress opposing CISPA. When we reach 250,000 signers our call will be delivered to each of the 100 US Representatives backing the bill:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_cispa/?vl

Internet freedom faces threats everyday from governments around the world — but the US is best placed to attack the rights of Internet users because so much of the Net’s infrastructure is located there. Our movement has, time and time again, proven that global public opinion can help beat back US threats to our Net. Let’s do it again.

With hope,

Emma, Rewan, Ricken, Antonia, Lisa, Morgan, Mia, Pascal and the entire Avaaz team

More information

Move over SOPA & PIPA: Here comes CISPA — Internet censorship (Digital Journal)
http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/322396

CISPA: Congressional plan to censor Internet concerns critics (Examiner)
http://www.examiner.com/progressive-in-portland/cispa-congressional-plan-to-censor-internet-concerns-critics

Good freedom, bad freedom: Irony of cybersecurity (RT)
http://rt.com/usa/news/usa-internet-cybersecurity-cispa-299/

Internet SOPA/PIPA Revolt: Don’t Declare Victory Yet (Wired)
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/01/internet-revolt-follow/

H.R. 3523: Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr3523

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[Press Release] Workers challenge Congress not to be “kontrabidas” by disclosing all bank records -BMP

Workers challenge Congress not to be “kontrabidas” by disclosing all bank records

Some 150 militant workers from the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino staged a picket at the Batasan gates of the House of Representatives to demand the “full disclosure of all bank records – not just the SALNs (statement of assets, liabilities and net worth) – of all Congress representatives”.

The protest is a reaction to a proposed bill by Pampanga representative Dong Gonzales, which seeks to ban the portrayal of lawmakers as crooks in movies and television.

Art Imitating Life

“The image problem of our lawmakers stems not from the bad publicity it gets from their kontabida roles in films and TV shows. This just a case of art imitating life, though projected to its extremes,” BMP president Leody de Guzman said.

He added, “How can they not be perceived as criminal masterminds when most of them come from political clans that seem to rule over their legislative districts like feudal lords? We cannot blame the public for thinking that politicos enrich themselves by illegal means especially since the wealth accumulation happens while the majority of the poor are getting poorer”.

Height of Hypocrisy

“If Rep. Gonzales wants to rescue the sorry image of Batasan, he should, instead, demand the full disclosure of all bank records – including dollar accounts – of all congress representatives. It is the height of hypocrisy for Congress – through the House prosecution panel in the impeachment court – to use bank records for Corona’s conviction when they themselves do not disclose their financial records to the public,” de Guzman argued.

DISCLOSE ALL not Censorship

The BMP calls on Congress to junk the said proposal by Rep. Gonzales, calling it a “censorship” that infringes the right to freedom of expression. “Censorship and infringement to the right to freedom of expression would only add blemish to the already tainted image of Congress. DISCLOSE ALL kung ayaw nilang maging kontrabida sa mata ng publiko! Kung walang ninakaw, walang itatago!” de Guzman concluded. #

BMP PRESS RELEASE
February 28, 2012

[In the news] Lawmaker urges Congress to pass oil profit cap bill – The Daily Tribune Online

Lawmaker urges Congress to pass oil profit cap bill

January 30, 2012

 In the midst of the ongoing impeachment trial at the Senate, Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV has reiterated his call for his colleagues in the Senate and the House of Representatives to immediately pass a bill setting the allowable level of profit for petroleum companies and imposing windfall profit tax on oil firms.

“With the oil prices continuously increasing almost on a weekly basis, the government is virtually helpless in checking the apparent abuses of petroleum industry players in increasing and in refusing to decrease prices of petroleum products even when warranted by market forces. This is aggravated by the lack of transparency in the formula used by petroleum companies in order to arrive at their prices,” Trillanes said.

Read full article @ www.tribuneonline.org

[In the news] Church official scored for spreading ‘misinformation’ on RH bill – SunStar.com.ph

Church official scored for spreading ‘misinformation’ on RH bill
SunStar.com.ph
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

  MANILA—A women’s group hit a Catholic Church official for allegedly insinuating that the Reproductive Health bill may end up like the impeachment complaint of Chief Justice Renato Corona, whose ouster by the House of Representatives last month was allegedly railroaded.

Father Melvin Castro of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Family and Life was criticized by Elizabeth Angsioco, national chairperson of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP) for supposedly issuing unfair and absurd statements.

“Is this a case of selective amnesia? Fr. Castro knows well that the RH Bill has been pending in Congress for more than a decade and that it has been the subject of discussion from the committee level up to plenary sessions in both chambers of Congress,” Angsioco said.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[Press Release] English Wikipedia to go dark January 18 in opposition to SOPA/PIPA

English Wikipedia to go dark January 18 in opposition to SOPA/PIPA

San Francisco — January 16, 2012 — On January 18, 2012, in an unprecedented decision, the Wikipedia community has chosen to blackout the English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours, in protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and PROTECTIP (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate. If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States.

Wikipedia administrators confirmed this decision Monday afternoon (PST) in a public statement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative/Action#Summary_and_conclusion):

Over the course of the past 72 hours, over 1800 Wikipedians have joined together to discuss proposed actions that the community might wish to take against SOPA and PIPA. This is by far the largest level of participation in a community discussion ever seen on Wikipedia, which illustrates the level of concern that Wikipedians feel about this proposed legislation. The overwhelming majority of participants support community action to encourage greater public action in response to these two bills. Of the proposals considered by Wikipedians, those that would result in a “blackout” of the English Wikipedia, in concert with similar blackouts on other websites opposed to SOPA and PIPA, received the strongest support.

“Today Wikipedians from around the world have spoken about their opposition to this destructive legislation,” said Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia. “This is an extraordinary action for our community to take – and while we regret having to prevent the world from having access to Wikipedia for even a second, we simply cannot ignore the fact that SOPA and PIPA endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, and set a frightening precedent of Internet censorship for the world.”

We urge Wikipedia readers to make your voices heard. If you live in the United States, find your elected representative in Washington (https://www.eff.org/sopacall). If you live outside the United States, contact your State Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs or similar branch of government. Tell them you oppose SOPA and PIPA, and want the internet to remain open and free.

About the Wikimedia Foundation
http://wikimediafoundation.org
http://blog.wikimedia.org

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix, Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation receive more than 474 million unique visitors per month, making them the fifth-most popular web property world-wide (comScore, November 2011). Available in 282 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 20 million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of more than 100,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.

Media Contact:

For the Wikimedia Foundation

Jay Walsh
Head of Communications
Wikimedia Foundation
Tel. +1 415 839 6885 x 6609
jwalsh@wikimedia.org

[In the news] SUCs hold protest to decry low budget for education – InterAksyon.com

SUCs hold protest to decry low budget for education
Ma. Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, InterAksyon.com and TV5

MANILA, PhilippinesState universities and colleges (SUCs) nationwide on Friday held prayer rallies, noise barrages, mass planking, stop dance, and parade of colors to protest the low budget for education.

“The nationwide strike embodies the outrage of our SUCs against the inaction of the Aquino administration to reverse the cuts and provide sufficient funding for our public universities,” Kabataan partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino said.

Palatino said SUCs all over the country were given only P21.8 billion in the proposed 2012 budget.  This is short of P24 billion based on the budget being requested by SUCs, he said.

The partylist lawmaker on Tuesday submitted to the committee on appropriations a list of proposed amendments to the budget, including the P24 billion increase.

Read full article @ www.interaksyon.com

[Press Release] World IP Day celebration calls for women empowerment, IP solon, NCIP rally support

Quezon City—The House Committee on National Cultural Communities (NCC) and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) led the World IP Day celebration at the House of Representatives yesterday.

The 17th World IP Day celebration, with the theme Karapatan, Kasarinlan at Kapayapaan ng Katutubong Kababaihang Pilipino [Rights, Independence and Peace for IP women], sets the tone for the three-month campaign on IP rights and empowerment.

“Today we celebrate the World IP Day and we put at the forefront of IP struggle our indigenous women. We are here to recognize their contributions to society as strong-willed, diligent and enduring guardians of the environment, bearers of cultural integrity and heritage, and movers of history,” Congressman Teddy Brawner Baguilat said.

Fourteen years after the enactment of the Indigenous People Rights Act, Baguilat still point out the struggle for respect of indigenous right to self-empowerment and self- determination.

Baguilat further emphasized the goal to address the “lack of social services, dispossession from IP lands and resources in the name of development, disrespect to right to self determination and to lands, territories and resources with the manipulation of the Free Prior and Informed Consent.”

The Consultative Group on Indigenous Peoples (CGIP) also supports the campaign; CGIP is a group of IP federations and support groups.

Meanwhile, together with Reps. Baguilat were a number of House Representatives who gave their speeches on the different issues faced by IPs today, including Reps. Arlene ‘Kaka’ Bag-ao, Teddy Casiño, Leopoldo Bataoil, Luzviminda Ilagan, Maximo Dalog, Nancy Catamco, and Bernardo Vergara.

Rep. Bag-ao discussed the mining situation in the Philippines and its impacts to indigenous communities in general.

“The expansion of the mining industry has led to increased displacement of indigenous communities and soaring human rights violations, including manipulation of their right to Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). Resistance from indigenous peoples against mining and other destructive projects were countered with militarization, harassment and threats”, Bag-ao said.

Bag-ao is a co-sponsor of House Bill No. 3763 a.k.a Minerals Management Bill currently filed at the House of Representatives and for Senate filing in September this year.

Bag-ao further added in her speech, calling for President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, to act on issues affecting indigenous peoples rights, specifically “upholding the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act and recognizing the flaws on the current policies on mining including the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and Executive Order No. 270-A that revitalizes and promotes mining as a priority industry in the country.”

NCIP Chair Zenaida Hamada-Pawid, Commission on Human Rights Chair Loreta Ann Rosales, United Nations Resident Coordinator Jacqui Badcock, Phil UNDRIP Network Head Vicky Tauli Corpuz, Senator Loren Legarda and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., also graced the event.

A photo exhibit featuring the situation of indigenous communities and women was also inaugurated yesterday.

The three-month IP Rights and Empowerment Campaign aims to raise public awareness and interest on the plight of IPs especially of IP women; Review and advocate State priorities, policies and mechanisms to ensure that the rights of IPs are respected, protected and fulfilled; and Renew multi stakeholder partnerships for the rights and empowerment of IPs.

Press Release
August 10, 2011

[Press Release] Baguilat hits NLDC of the Department of Agriculture – Office of Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat

Ifugao Representative Teddy Brawner Baguilat is up in arms over the difficulties securing valuable assistance to his constituents from the National Livelihood Development Corp., an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture, through which he coursed P5 million of his Philippine Development Assistance Fund.

According to Baguilat, he allotted the P5 million as livelihood assistance to farmers in Ifugao. The Department of Budget and Management coursed it through NLDC, which then said that the best way to use the precious funds was to invest in an animal dispersal program.

“I thought they would release the checks or the fund which we will then give to the local government units, who will then purchase the animals. But as it turned out, they wanted to purchase and deliver the farm animals themselves,” Baguilat said.

On the day that Baguilat had arranged for the beneficiaries to come together in Ifugao to receive the animals, the supplier only provided 40 piglets, 30 goats and 150 ducks.

“I could not believe that for P5 million, that was all that I got. I was dismayed. To make matters worse, there was no liquidation report, so I do not know how the P5 million was spent,” Baguilat said.

Following his complaints with the NLDC, the agency eventually gave his office the money to buy another 150 piglets, saying they could now buy the piglets themselves.

“They left it at that. There was no accounting. I am really disappointed. This should not be tolerated. This is corruption! And we don’t know if this is happening in other districts, too, or if this is happening in other branches of government,” Baguilat said.

“I have heard complaints from others saying that they got cows for dispersal that were very thin and seedlings that did not sprout. Somebody is earning from all of these,” he added.

Baguilat has thus called on the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Budget and Management to closely study the procurement system to investigate because people’s money is at stake. If findings reveal that there indeed irregularities in the procurement, those responsible should be held accountable.

“We are doing our part to help our constituents. The other government agencies should respond for the good of our people so that they know that their taxes are going to the right projects,” he said. #

Office of Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat
Lone District, Ifugao
Chairman, National Cultural Communities

For questions, please contact Robeliza Halip at:
Tel. No.:  (02) 9315106/Mobile No.:  09214928244/email address: robieleeza@gmail.com

[Event] World Environment Day – Launching of Save our Sovereignty—Yamang Minerales Nagsisilbi sa Bayan Network (SOS-Yamang Bayan)

One hundred bikers together with environmental advocates in Congress and religious groups will do seven (Jericho) rounds along QC Memorial Circle for the environment, and launching of Save our Sovereignty—Yamang Minerales Nagsisilbi sa Bayan Network (SOS-Yamang Bayan)! On June 6.

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