AKBAYAN Rep. Mayong Aguja

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Akbayan solon disappointed with signing of the JPEPA

Posted by tin on September 12, 2006

Akbayan solon disappointed with signing of the JPEPA

“With the JPEPA already signed, the Supreme Court nor Congress cannot do anything about the irreversible effects of the agreement.” laments Akbayan Representative Mayong Aguja on the signing of the JPEPA in Helsinki last Sunday. “We were given the copies of the JPEPA only yesterday after the agreement has already been signed.” Cong. Aguja has been asking for a copy of the JPEPA from the Department of Trade and Industry in budget and committee hearings since last year. Last Thursday, the Committee on Appropriations recalled the approved 2007 budget of the DTI for failing to provide the Committee with the full text of the JPEPA it has promised to deliver the next day. The copy of the JPEPA reached Congress only yesterday.

 “The secrecy with which the Philippine Government has conducted the JPEPA negotiations violated the right of the people to effective and reasonable participation in economic decision-making, and their right to due process.”, said Aguja.

 With the government’s hardline stance against full public disclosure of the full contents of the agreement, Cong. Aguja together with fellow Akbayan Reps, Etta Rosales and Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Quezon Rep Erin Tanada, CIBAC Rep Joel Villanueva, Akbayan Citizen’s Action Party,  Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Samahan sa Kanayunan (PKSK), Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), as well as individuals from the labor and peasant sectors, filed a petition before the Supreme Court against the signing of the JPEPA until meaningful consultation has been conducted with the Filipino people.

 The negotiation of international trade treaties such as the JPEPA should be a collaborative undertaking of both the executive and legislative branches working as co-equals, with the active involvement of the Filipino people. “The non-involvement of the Filipino people in the JPEPA negotiation process effectively results in the bargaining away of their economic and property rights without their knowledge and participation, in violation of the due process clause under the Constitution.” Aguja added. “With the JPEPA already signed, we are all bound by the stipulations of the agreement. Even our objections will no longer be heard.” said Aguja.

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DTI Budget put on hold for failing to provide request of Akbayan Rep for full text of JPEPA

Posted by tin on September 7, 2006

DTI Budget put on hold for failing to provide request of Akbayan Rep for full text of JPEPA

 

“It is just and fair that the DTI budget as approved in yesterday’s hearing be withdrawn after failing to deliver the full text of the JPEPA this morning.”, said Akbayan Rep Mayong Aguja. “DTI Sec Peter Favila promised to have the full text delivered, not to me, but to the Committee on Appropriations and Committee Chair, so I am not surprised that the Chair has decided to hold the DTI budget as if there had been no hearing yesterday.” Aguja added referring to Rep. Joey Salceda’s decision at this morning’s budget hearing.

 

Committee on Appropriations Chair Rep. Joey Salceda pronounced yesterday before the end of the DTI hearing that the Committee will not begin the hearing of the Department of Justice until the promised copies of the JPEPA are delivered to the Committee. When the copies did not arrive this morning, Rep. Salceda retracted the approval of the DTI budget.

 

“We have been asking for the copy of the JPEPA since last year’s budget hearing, but it has not been provided to us.”, said Aguja. “On the other hand, they seem to have rushed in concluding the agreement without the Filipino people being apprised of its contents.” said Aguja. Sec. Favila has confirmed that the official signing will be done this coming Saturday, September 9, 2006 in Helsinki.

 

“Why do it in Helsinki, and not in Japan or the Philippines? It would probably be more appropriate to do it here in the Philippines at the ASEAN Summit in December”, said Aguja. “That is if and when the full text of the JPEPA has been disclosed and meaningfully consulted with the public”, he added.

 

“The Philippine government should be committed to the welfare and interest of the Filipino people and not just bow down to the request of Japan for the immediate signing of the agreement”, said Aguja. Sec Favila said that it was upon the request of Japan PM Koizumi that the JPEPA be one of his last acts before relieving his post this month that the Helsinki signing was called for.    

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Akbayan Rep slams government’s slow response to evacuate Filipinos in Lebanon

Posted by tin on July 21, 2006

“This is not the kind of treatment our OFWs deserve!”, said Akbayan Rep. Mayong Aguja on the slow response of the Philippine government to offer direct assistance to Filipinos in Lebanon.

 “While GMA has been actively peddling Filipino workers abroad, it took her this long to release funds for the protection and evacuation of at least 30,000 Filipinos in Lebanon”, added Aguja.

 “In the past nine days since the military offensives in Lebanon, the Philippine government could not even guarantee protection for the Filipinos, resorting only to pleas for foreign assistance to allow Filipinos to board their evacuation vessels out of Lebanon”, said Aguja. “While foreign aid would be very much welcome, these countries have their own citizens to evacuate”, the legislator added.

 “The lack of a clear evacuation plan agonizes our overseas workers and their families here in the Philippines”, said Aguja. “I have met distressed families in General Santos City who have not yet been able to contact their loved-ones in Lebanon”, said the Mindanaoan legislator. Without certainty of protection from the Philippine government, reports say that some workers have chosen to stay with their employers as they flee for safety.

 “We hail our overseas workers for saving our economy and sending remittances which last year soared to 10.3 billion dollars. But we cannot assure them protection when they are in danger. Is this how we should be treating our Filipinos abroad?”, said Aguja. 

 “This manifests the Philippine government’s lack of sincerity to protect the growing number of citizens working abroad.” said Aguja. “The government sends its workers overseas for failing to produce local employment but does not immediately respond to  protect the workers it sends away.” added Aguja.

 “The government should take a more pro-active stance and provide a clear evacuation plan for our workers in Lebanon.”, challenged Aguja.  “We cannot afford to just wait for foreign aid”, he added.

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Akbayan Rep urges Sec Romulo to visit Suu Kyi, engage military junta

Posted by tin on July 17, 2006

Akbayan solon Mayong Aguja today urged Foreign Affairs Secretary Romulo to push thru with his plans to visit Burmese leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi the soonest possible time. “Sec Romulo should seize the opportunity to visit Suu Kyi in Myanmar and discuss with the junta the issues confronting Burma including the release of Suu Kyi.”, said the legislator. Sec Romulo was scheduled to visit Burma earlier this month. However, the visit was indefinitely postponed. 

 
“To say that Myanmar needs intervention is an understatement, “said Aguja.

 
The ethnic minorities are being attacked by their own government. The political opposition, particularly the National League for Democracy continues to be harassed—NLD leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi still remains under house arrest. The number of political prisoners has rapidly increased with a number of them being subjected to torture. There are more child soldiers in Myanmar more than in any country in the world. Widespread drug trafficking, unabated spread of AIDS/HIV, and substantial outflow of refuges pose threat to surrounding neighbors.

 
Last month, Akbayan Representatives Mayong Aguja, Etta Rosales and Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel joined 500 parliamentarians across 34 nations send an appeal for the United Nations Security Council to call for a binding resolution to address the deteriorating condition of Burma. “A similar call has been adopted by the Philippine House of Representatives as manifested in House Resolution 996”, said Aguja, who authored the resolution together with fellow Akbayan Representatives. The partylist representatives are members of the Asian Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC).

 
“Our solidarity with Burma is not difficult to grasp since the Philippines also confronts human rights abuses and violations committed by its government”, said Aguja. “As a people who have once toppled a military regime, we should also be in the forefront in fighting for the people of Burma”, added the legislator. 

 

“As the Philippines chairs the ASEAN, we would be in the best position to engage with the junta to promote democratic reforms in Myanmar”, said Aguja.  The Philippines will be hosting the ASEAN leaders’ summit in Cebu this year. “We remain hopeful that upon the pressure of the ASEAN community, the military junta will re-think its hard-line stance and pave the way for the transition to democracy in Burma”, added Aguja.

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AKBAYAN: SC final decision on 1017, GMA guilty!!

Posted by tin on June 8, 2006

“President GMA should dare not do another 1017!”, warned AKBAYAN solons today as they supported the decision of the Supreme Court today to affirm its earlier judgment declaring parts of the infamous Presidential Proclamation 1017 as illegal and unconstitutional. 

“More than being a warning to GMA not to issue a similar proclamation, the Supreme Court’s decision establishes the President’s culpability with regard to her illegal actions during the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the 1986 People Power”, said Akbayan Rep . Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel.

“We call for justice for the illegal arrests of UP Prof. Randy David and Akbayan President Ronald Llamas, violent dispersal of rallies, imposition of standards on media, and the warrantless search of Tribune offices.”, said Hontiveros-Baraquel. The solon named President GMA, Presidential Chief of Staff Mike Defensor, AFP General Generoso Senga, Exec Sec Ed Ermita, and PNP Chief Arturo Lomibao on the list of those who should be made accountable for their actions. 

“The Arroyo administration not only violated the rights of individuals and groups who have filed this case, but ultimately the right of the Filipino people to celebrate the democratic and peaceful victories of EDSA”, fellow AKBAYAN Rep Mayong Aguja said.

 “Her removal from office is the only way to provide justice to the Filipino people whose rights and freedom have been curbed by the President.”  demanded the solon.

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