Minority senators

Sen. Bam to Admin: Solusyunan ang taas-presyo imbis na gipitin ang oposisyon

Rather than focus on persecuting the opposition and its critics, Sen. Bam Aquino said the government should address the high prices of food and other goods that burden poor Filipinos.

“Tama na po ang panggigipit sa oposisyon. Taas-presyo ang tunay na kalaban,” said Sen. Bam, referring to the recent arrest of Sen. Antonio Trillanes.

“Nakakaubos yan ng oras ng mga nasa gobyerno na dapat sana gumagawa ng paraan na tugunan ang malalaking problema ng bayan,” added Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam said the government should wield its power to solve the high prices of food by certifying as urgent his Senate Bill No. 1798 or the Bawas Presyo Bill.

“Kung kaya ng gobyerno na ikulong si Sen. Trillanes, i-certify urgent ang end endo, bakit hindi nila i-suspend pagtaas ng buwis sa petrolyo?” asked Sen. Bam, adding that there will be another increase in the excise tax on petroleum products this January 2019.

Sen. Bam’s Bawas Presyo Bill aims to suspend the excise tax on fuel under the TRAIN Law when the average inflation rate surpasses the annual inflation target over a three-month period.

Passing the measure is crucial to stop the second round of increase in excise tax on fuel under the TRAIN Law.

Aside from pushing for the enactment of the Bawas Presyo Bill, Sen. Bam also called on the government to fully implement other social mitigating measures under the TRAIN Law, such as the unconditional cash transfer program, Pantawid Pasada Program and the 10-percent discount on NFA Rice.

“Huwag natin kalimutan ang taumbayan. Nalulunod na sila sa taas presyo habang nakatutok ang administrasyong Duterte sa away pulitika at pananahimik ng oposisyon,” Sen. Bam pointed out.

Minority senators demand: #FreeLeilaNow

Minority senators have joined calls for the “immediate release” of opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima, who will mark her first year of illegal arrest and unjust detention on Saturday, February 24.
They filed late Wednesday Senate Resolution (SR) No. 645 making an impassioned call for the freedom of De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime.  
“As her colleagues at the Senate, we are pained by the reality that a member of this Chamber is locked up in jail on trumped-up charges when she should be here with us, engaging in productive discussions, legislating laws, and serving her constituents and our country,” they said. 
The resolution was signed by Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon, Senators Francis Pangilinan, Antonio Trillanes IV, Bam Aquino, and Risa Hontiveros.
They noted that De Lima’s continued unjust detention was instigated by her investigation of the Davao Death Squad as then chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and later investigation of the spate of extra-judicial killings (EJKs) in the country as a senator — which earned the ire of then Davao Mayor and now President Duterte.
De Lima’s colleagues nevertheless lauded her spirit, which remains unbroken despite Duterte’s effort to tarnish her reputation and oppress her. 
“The road to her incarceration was tormenting — revealing in public her intimate relationships, publicly shaming her by threatening to screen in the House of Representatives her alleged sex videos, and branding her an immoral woman,” they said.
“Only a tenacious person with an unshakable resolve like Senator De Lima can withstand all these, unbowed, unbent, and unbroken,” they added.
The five senators acknowledged the increasing number of organizations and human rights advocates who have launched petitions seeking her freedom from incarceration.
They cited a March 2017 resolution by the European Parliament in Strasbourg calling for “the immediate release of Senator De Lima” and the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union’s call for her freedom in a report prepared by its human rights committee, among others.
“In the narrow confines of her detention cell and under restrictive conditions in the PNP Custodial Center, her physical body has deteriorated; only her dogged spirit to carry on is keeping her alive,” they said.
The same senators filed SR No. 505 in September 2017 asking the Senate leadership to allow De Lima to participate in the sessions and deliberations of important legislative measures. The resolution has not been acted upon. 

No to Martial Law Extension in Mindanao. Yes to Swift, Corruption-free Rehab: Statement of Senators Aquino, Drilon, Hontiveros, Pangilinan, Trillanes

We, members of the minority, support the position of Mindanaoans for NO martial law extension in their home island. Lifting military rule, specifically in Marawi, will hasten the return of affected residents to their homes, according to its citizens. 
Martial law, together with the air strikes, was the reason why they fled Marawi in the early days of the Maute siege. And martial law is also the reason why they are afraid to return, even in cleared areas. 
After the pronounced liberation of Marawi and the announced focus on rehabilitation and trade, what will be the role of the people of Marawi in the planning and rehabilitation of their city? 
What guarantees do they have that they can return to their old location and start life anew? As security forces reign supreme during martial law, would not military rule actually get in the way of a people-centered rebuilding and rehabilitating of the once vibrant city? What is the need for martial law? Would martial law suspend bidding for the reconstruction of the city?
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