2015 People's SONA:
Aquino's failed leadership must end

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July 27, 2015





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2015 People’s SONA: Aquino’s failed leadership must end

Posted date: July 26, 2015In: News Releases

Press Statement

July 26, 2015

Carol Araullo, BAYAN Chairperson

On Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s sixth and last State of the Nation Address (SONA), the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan has but one message: the US-Aquino regime’s corrupt, incompetent, pro-elite and repressive rule must end.

In his valedictory SONA, Aquino is expected to bequeath to his successor his legacy of the “Tuwid na Daan” leading to inclusive growth and peace. But Aquino has no legacy to be proud of.

Aquino’s brand of bureaucrat capitalism

The so-called Tuwid na Daan has turned out to be a flooded, pot-hole filled path to nowhere. That until now Aquino cannot even fulfill his campaign promise to enact the freedom of information act shows the pretentiousness and hypocrisy that has characterized his presidency.

Aquino’s defense and continued use of the pork barrel system even after it was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court is a testament to the large-scale, systemic corruption that goes on. The 2015 budget has P27.39B worth of congressional pork tucked in the budgets of various departments, subject to the lawmakers’ referrals and recommendations. Lump-sum funds under the President’s discretion is at a whopping P958B, including the notorious Assistance to LGUs of P33.1B and Grassroots Participatory Budgeting of P20.9B which are under DILG Secretary and presumptive LP standard bearer Mar Roxas.

The selective prosecution of corrupt officials belonging to the political opposition is in stark contrast to the spirited defense by Aquino himself of his inept and corrupt close friends and associates, showing how crooked the path has become. Aquino’s bungling, fraternity-type presidency was most apparent in the Mamasapano incident where 44 PNP SAF personnel died due to his criminal negligence, gross incompetence and blatant violation of the PNP chain of command. If not for the people’s vigilance, presidential best friend Allan Purisima would still be PNP Chief.

Growth for oligarchs and foreign investors

Instead of inclusive growth, the bogus Tuwid na Daan has spawned a bonanza for the exclusive set of oligarchs and foreign monopoly capitalists favored by Aquino. Some P364B worth of juicy government contracts have been awarded to the Ayala, Pangilinan, Cojuangco-Ang, Sy, Consunji, Aboitiz, and Tan groups of companies, giving them the opportunity to rake in billions more in user fees, toll fees and  rentals at the expense of the public for the next 25-30 years.

Meanwhile, poverty rates remain practically unchanged at 28% despite P178B poured by Aquino in conditional cash transfers from 2010-2015. In fact, the ranks of the poor and unemployed continued to swell, increasing by some 2.5 million to reach 25.8 million poor in 2014. Surveys show that there more people consider themselves poor now than when Aquino first came to power. Aquino’s likes to boast that the Philippines has the highest GDP growth rate in Asia but ignores the fact that on a per capita basis, Philippine GDP is lower than neighboring Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

Puppetry to US imperialism

In the guise of countering China’s expansionist moves, Aquino has allowed the return of US military bases via the RP-US Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). This is a big setback for the cause of Philippine sovereignty, making the Philippines a pawn in the US’ pivot to Asia. In the economic sphere, by hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit this November, the Aquino regime becomes the US’ number one cheerleader in its push to further open the markets of the emerging economics to imperialist domination and plunder.

War and human rights violations

While Aquino trumpets the legacy of his parents who were both victims of the Marcos dictatorship, his regime proves no less brutal when it comes to its critics and suspected enemies. From 2010 to 2015, there were 238 victims of extrajudicial killings and 270 cases of frustrated killings, mostly of activists, media personnel and suspected rebels. There have been 26 forced disappearances and 110 torture cases. Under Aquino, schools, medical facilities and churches have been taken over by the military for use in its counter-insurgency campaign, affecting 169,964 people, mostly school children and indigenous people’s communities. Of the 527 political prisoners languishing in jail under the Aquino administration, 17 are consultants to the NDFP-GRP peace talks.

Such brazen violation of human rights against those critical of the administration and the system it represents shows Aquino’s duplicity in the peace process, both with the NDFP and MILF. In fact, the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, which is being continually watered down in Congress by Aquino’s allies, will most likely end up like the ARMM Organic Act – an instrument for capitulation. As for the NDFP-GRP talks, it never took a step forward under Aquino, who has continued the brutal military campaigns against our own people.

Tama na. Tapusin na.

It is in this light that the patriotic and democratic forces under the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan is calling for an end to Aquino’s failed leadership and an end to the oppressive and anti-people political, economic and socio-cultural system that his regime represents.

We vow to mobilize thousands tomorrow for the People’s SONA 2015 nationwide protest. In the succeeding months, we will continue to organize and mobilize our people to thwart Aquino’s agenda of continuing his failed legacy after 2016.



Protest Effigy: Aquino and the MRT


JULY 29, 2015 
Aquino seeks to define his administration’s legacy.
But what legacy?

By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo
 | BusinessWorld

This year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) is President B. S. Aquino III’s last. He is expected to deliver a powerful speech replete with his regime’s achievements for the last five years with a summation of the legacy he will leave behind. Speculation is rife, less than a year before the 2016 presidential elections (no doubt stoked by the “yellow” media to dispel the fact of a lame-duck President with not much political capital remaining) about who will be his “anointed” to “continue the legacy.”

But the smoke-and-mirrors presidency that this column described upon its inauguration in 2010 has run out of magic tricks, especially when it has to make something big out of basically nothing much. All the catchy, folksy slogans, in Filipino even, have boomeranged because they have been unmasked as empty or false, and calculated to deceive and disarm.

The hard sell is that the Aquino presidency is qualitatively different, especially from the one that preceded it, that of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Former President Arroyo is the proverbial whipping girl as far as Mr. Aquino and his coterie are concerned, for all things wrong in government before Aquino, an erstwhile non-performer in Congress, arrived on the political scene.

But unlike the Arroyo regime that at least saw the successful prosecution and conviction for plunder of Mrs. Arroyo’s predecessor, Joseph “Erap” Estrada, the cases against Arroyo have either been set aside, dismissed, or are languishing in judicial limbo. The student activists have a term for it: Mr. Aquino has been “Noynoying,” content with keeping Arroyo under hospital arrest and somewhat constrained from plotting against him, the ends of justice be hanged.

In reality, Aquino’s campaign for good governance has spared the truly accountable from among the “kabarkada, kaklase, kabarilan”: Police General Alan Purisima, Local Governments Undersecretary Rico Puno, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Land Transportation Office Assistant Secretary Virginia Torres, Budget Secretary Butch Abad, and Presidential Peace Adviser Ging Deles.

The Malacañang propaganda line is that the Aquino regime made a real difference to the hardscrabble lives of the majority of Filipinos. But the reality is more entrenched poverty and economic backwardness; unprecedented inequality marked by healthy profit making for multinational corporations and the local elite; untouched feudal relations in the countryside; auctioning of the national patrimony; and unabated environmental destruction. This in the midst of impressive growth rates, credit-rating upgrades, and high scores in “competitiveness” by foreign and local big business and the World Bank. (For a more comprehensive analysis, see“SONA 2015: A Legacy of a Disconnected Economy”)

The illusion that the Aquino regime has been trying to conjure is that it has championed national sovereignty and defended territorial integrity, pointing to the government’s filing of a case in a United Nations tribunal and appeals for support in other international venues with regard to the heated West Philippine Sea dispute with China.

The Aquino government’s acquiescence to the lopsided Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, on top of the obsequious implementation of the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Mutual Defense Treaty, is covered-up as a necessary adjunct to building a “credible external defense”.

The abject lack of an independent foreign policy — in the process placing the country in the crosshairs of the actual and potential enemies of the lone superpower — is passed off as pragmatism, or worse, an alignment of national interests. The latter has historically been proven as false: from the devastation of World War II brought on by being the lone US colony in the region; to the economic losses, social degradation, and political costs of hosting the two biggest US bases outside the US mainland; and to the decrepit and weak state of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under US tutelage — with its long-standing orientation toward counterinsurgency rather than national defense and its hand-me-down equipment purchased at supposed discounts according to the terms of lopsided military assistance pacts.

The big picture moreover shows the surrender of economic sovereignty to international financial institutions dominated by the US, the European Union, and other advanced capitalist countries, to their governments especially the US, and to the powerful lobby of foreign chambers of commerce in favor of neoliberal policies and programs. Such policies as liberalization, deregulation, privatization and denationalization akin to the punishing conditions that Greece has recently been placed under have actually been implemented continuously since the late Seventies by Philippine governments.

Under Aquino, the Philippine economy and people are further squeezed to favor monopoly capitalist impositions like never before — regulatory risk guarantees for foreign investors in public-private partnerships that go even further than sovereign guarantees for foreign loans. What’s more, the refusal of the Aquino regime to support domestic agriculture and build a genuinely Filipino industrial base — the true “sound fundamentals” of a self-reliant economy — is consistent with its subservient economic policies.

The lie that Aquino has been peddling is that his “bosses” are the Filipino people, especially the poor and disadvantaged. But as he readies his last SONA, the main thoroughfare leading to the Batasang Pambansa looks like a war zone fortified with concrete barriers, concertina wire, and container vans, to be secured by a 6,000-strong police force and standby military contingent.

Aquino’s real bosses have clearly emerged — foreign multinational corporations, the United States, the domestic capitalists, and the big landlords.

On the human rights front, Aquino will not tire of crowing about the law passed to compensate human rights victims of the US-backed Marcos dictatorship, the arrest of the murderous General Jovito Palparan, and the counterinsurgency program deceptively dubbed “Oplan Bayanihan” that pretends to uphold the pursuit of peace, human rights and development while militarily crushing the “insurgents” and “terrorists.”

Aquino however will not admit to supporting efforts to deny compensation to Marcos victims identified or associated with the local communist-led revolutionary movement; the coddling of Palparan by the military establishment before and even after his arrest, and the climate of impunity that cloaks human rights violators then and now. Military officials implicated in the torture, disappearance and killings of activists have been promoted and appointed to sensitive and top positions, to the chagrin of families of victims and human rights defenders.

Gross violations of human rights are now papered over with references to “human security,” “whole-of-nation” approach, etc., and are even peddled as the military’s contribution to community development. But the effect on the communities of indigenous peoples, landless farmers and farm workers is the same: massive displacement, with entire families evacuating from their homes to escape militarization; extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances; and illegal arrests with prolonged detention on the basis of trumped-up charges in connection with the ongoing armed conflict.

Most recently, there is the stepped-up and brazen harassment of activists, union organizers in the private and public sector, progressive church people and even health professionals, coupled with the filing of a slew of baseless criminal charges in the months leading up to Aquino’s SONA. Alarmingly, charges such as human trafficking, illegal detention, and the violation of children’s rights in connection with the sanctuary and support given to Lumad evacuees fleeing military and paramilitary violence are being used to justify violent assaults on church institutions and personnel, as what happened last week in Davao City.

Aquino is trying mightily to salvage the peace negotiations in the South (after the Mamasapano fiasco) by pushing for the passage of a version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law that has little resemblance to the terms of political settlement already reached and hold little promise for achieving the aspirations of the Bangsamoro for self-determination.

He is also trying to pass off as his peace program what in truth is his program to defeat the communist movement militarily — with a huge dose of psychological warfare and the targeting of noncombatants for “neutralization.”

What Aquino actually leaves behind is a bloody human rights record, peace agreements reneged upon, and promises broken.

Carol Pagaduan-Araullo is a medical doctor by training, social activist by choice, columnist by accident, happy partner to a liberated spouse and proud mother of two.


Published in Business World
July 26, 2015

- See more at: http://bulatlat.com/main/2015/07/29/aquino-seeks-to-define-his-administrations-legacy-but-what-legacy/#sthash.kmm1L5b6.dpuf



Ironic: Barriers used to protect Pope to “protect” Noy during SONA

Posted date: July 21, 2015In: News Releases
News Release

July 21, 2015

The numerous steel and concrete barriers used during the visit of Pope Francis in Manila last January seem to have found their way to Commonwealth Avenue. The same barriers used to protect the Pope will now be used to “protect” the President during his last State of the Nation Address on July 27.

The irony is not lost on umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, one of the organizers of next Monday’s big counter-SONA rally.

Since last week, the concrete and steel barriers have been lining up the center island of Commonwealth Avenue leading up to Batasan Road. The barriers have stretched more than a kilometer now and will be part of an elaborate blockade put up by the Aquino government to prevent protesters from getting near Batasang Pambansa.  The blockade includes concertina wires, container vans and thousands of police backed up by military elements.

“How ironic that the barriers used to protect the Pope last January will now be used to violate the rights of the people just so Aquino can protect himself from criticism during his last SONA,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

Bayan maintains that the blockade has no legal basis and is in fact a violation even of the Batas Pambansa 880. In its letter to Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Bayan clarified its position on the yearly blockade.

“We likewise express our opposition to the yearly, arbitrary denial or modification of our rally permit, committed without any due process such as the required hearings within the period that action should be taken on the application. We strongly oppose the repeated failure of the City Government to provide any legal basis for keeping protesters at EVER Commonwealth absent any proof that the rally poses a threat to public safety. We’d like to remind you that the City Government will again be in flagrant violation of the law if it commits the same this year,” the group said.

“The city government cannot just limit the right to peaceably assemble and the freedom of expression to that area along EVER Commonwealth. Year after year, the people have been treated like chickens being led into a coop. There is no legal basis for this. The QC government does not even conduct hearings to present proof that the rally poses a threat to public safety, as what is required under the law. More importantly, the local and national governments have colluded in violating the constitutional rights of the people,” Reyes said.

Bayan observed that during his last SONA, Aquino would be farther away and isolated from the people than when he first started. ###


Bayan Muna's Aquino Effigy

Click here for video
 Members of LAPIS (League of Authors of Public Interest Songs)
led by singer/composer Gary Granada pose with the Bayan Muna protest effigy

Southern Tagalog's Halimaw sa Palasyo (Monster in the Palace) Effigy



Posted by stexposure on July 26, 2015

QUEZON CITY– Depicting Aquino as a monster that has wreaked havoc to the lives of ordinary Filipinos especially the poor, a ten-foot effigy was unveiled today outside the residence of President Aquino at Times Street by militant groups from the Southern Tagalog region. Called “Halimaw sa Palasyo”, the effigy symbolizes the monstrous rule of Aquino under the backing and control of US imperialist.

“Five years under the Aquino administration had aggravated the already terrible situation left behind by Gloria Arroyo. It is not even fair to just say we’ve had enough. People are suffering and dying and many more will suffer and die if we allow Aquino to proceed with his program of leadership that is anti-people to the core,” said Iya Franca, Spokesperson of BAYAN-ST.

The effigy showcases a monster with the United States’ palace as the backdrop, which according to BAYAN-ST, represents Aquino regime’s subservience to US dictates. Prior to its burning in Commonwealth morning of July 27, a skit will be performed which will show artists dressed in tribal garbs trying to ‘arrest’ the monster that is Aquino. The act of ‘arresting the monster’ embodies the persistent defiance and vigilance of the masses against any pursuit that would further worsen their condition and trample their rights.


“We want to hold the Aquino regime accountable for its neo-liberal, anti-people policies that destroyed the lives of the common folk, especially the poor. Workers have endured five years of monstrous cruelty under Aquino. We cannot afford another year of suffering for our people who have long been living in distressed conditions despite Aquino’s overarching claims at reforms and economic growth,” said Roque Polido, Chairman of Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK-Kilusang Mayo Uno).

Citing as examples the ongoing strike of contractual workers in Tanduay Distillers Inc., the arbitrary cancellation of the union elections of Sagara Metro Plastics Industrial Corp. through a Malacañang directive, and the deadlock of the Collective Bargaining Agreement for higher wages in Fuji Electric Philippines, PAMANTIK-KMU denounced the “continuous adherence of the current government to neoliberal policies that have only worsened trade union repression and labor rights violation in the region”.

Meanwhile, coconut farmers from Quezon province demand the just and rightful release and use of the Coco Levy fund for the benefit of coconut farmers. Residents of Batangas and Mindoro, for their part, also joined the protest to register their opposition to ongoing and planned mining ventures in their provinces.

As regards the state of human rights, KARAPATAN-Southern Tagalog stressed that human rights violations remain rampant under Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan.  The group reported 28 cases of political killings in the region. Witch-hunting and illegal arrest of progressive leaders have also intensified with 54 political prisoners in Southern Tagalog alone. Just last July 20, Ernesto Lorenzo, a pastor from United Methodist Church (UMC) and a consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), with his wife Joyce Latayan were illegaly arrested by combined efforts from the government agents of Crime Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and Anti-Transnational Crime Unit (ATCU).

Since July 20, at least 4000 from the Southern Tagalog region have assembled in a weeklong caravan dubbed as “Bigkisan ng Mamamayan para Patalsikin ang Rehimeng US-Aquino Tungo sa Tunay na Pagbabago”. Composed of peasants, fisherfolks, residents of urban poor communities, workers, students and professionals sectors, the Southern Tagalog delegation will join the national SONA protest on July 27. ###

For more info, contact Chachi @ 
0947.804.3466 |For real time updates, visitwww.facebook.com/stexposure



Protest effigy: Aquino and the MRT



News Release
July 25, 2015

Artist groups and volunteers of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan are busy finishing the effigy for Monday’s protest action coinciding with the last State of the Nation Address of President Benigno Aquino III. This year, the effigy represents a problem many people can relate to and remains unresolved by the Aquino government: the MRT.

“The Aquino government is very much like the MRT. It promises to take you from point A to point B. It makes you wait. It charges you a lot for less. It keeps breaking down, but still wants you to be grateful for arriving in one piece. It badly needs a replacement. It is a visual representation of government neglect and lack of empathy for ordinary, working people. ,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“The apt word is bulok. Ang gobyerno ay parang MRT, bulok at matagal nang dapat pinalitan,” he added.

A dilapidated MRT driven by Aquino, will traverse Commonwealth Avenue on Monday. The train would be on the edge of broken rails, reminiscent of the worst MRT accident in history, which happened under the watch of Aquino.

Artist group Ugat Lahi is leading the production of what they describe as the biggest SONA effigy of Aquino. It is also the sixth effigy and the fifth to be burned. Aquino’s first effigy during his first SONA was not burned the protest.

This year, protests hounded the Aquino government over an increase in the fares of the different train lines in Metro Manila even as services continued to deteriorate. Trains break down every week. Several have leaking roofs. Long lines at train stations have become a way of life.

“Neglect of the poor is a recurring story under the Aquino regime. It is what commuters feel everyday. It is what the farmers feel. It is what the victims of Yolanda and the families of the OFW feel. Aquino has placed himself further and further away from the people. His focus now is 2016 elections, and not the problems of the people,” Reyes said.

Expected to join the SONA protests are the families of Kentex workers, the Tanduay workers union on strike because of contractualization, families of OFW’s on death row, parents and students oppsed to the K-12 program, farmers from Hacienda Luisita, families of political prisoners and other victims of human rights violations. ###


















Showdown at SONA

Posted date: July 26, 2015In: News Releases

News Release

July 27, 2015

Activist groups today will march along Commonwealth Avenue to denounce President Benigno Aquino III’s sixth and final State of the Nation Address. For the regime, the occasion is expected to be the valedictory of the President. For ordinary folks joining the march, it is a day of rage against Aquino’s “failed leadership”.

The road to Batasang Pambansa has been lined up with layers of concrete and steel barriers, concertina wires and container vans, along with thousands of policemen deployed to stop protesters from moving towards the SONA venue.  Umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and the National Union of Peoples Lawyers both maintain that the barricades are illegal and violate the constitutional rights of the protesters.

A 15-foot effigy of Aquino on board a dilapidated MRT coach will be the central visual of the protest. The effigy signifies the failures of the regime and the lack of empathy and concern of the President for the welfare of the people. It is the biggest Aquino effigy made by the artist group Ugat Lahi.

“After 5 SONAs and numerous other speeches, we come to the conclusion that what was laid out as ‘daang matuwid’ five years ago is a sham, nothing more than empty rhetoric to prop up a regime that has not delivered meaningful achievements for the people,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“The Aquino regime will be remembered for the following things: pork barrel corruption, the illegal Disbursement Acceleration Program, the failed response before and after Yolanda, the Mamasapano incident, the daily suffering of train commuters, the return of US bases via the EDCA, the selective prosecution in corruption cases, bogus land reform, historically high unemployment amid so-called growth, the plight of Mary Jane Veloso and the rise of barkadahan governance,” Reyes said.

Bayan said that the end of the Aquino regime brings to fore the question of accountability. Groups want Aquino and his cohorts to be held accountable for their many misdeeds.

“The real SONA will be delivered outside the halls of congress. The real SONA will be delivered sans the red carpet fashion show and expensive meriendas for the rich and powerful. It will be delivered by the survivors of the Kentex fire, the farmers of Luisita, the Yolanda victims, the commuters of the MRT, the indigenous people’s resisting foreign mining, the unemployed youth, the overworked teachers, and the overtaxed professionals. Aquino failed them during his five years in office,” Reyes said.

“In today’s SONA showdown, it is the US-backed Aquino regime on one side and the struggling Filipino people on the other. Aquino has surrounded himself with layer after layer of barriers and police as he delivers his final SONA. The people are being kept away as far as possible. It is a picture of a desperate and isolated regime,” Reyes added.

Bayan believes that like the decrepit MRT, the Aquino regime “should have long been replaced”.

“The Aquino regime has taught us the limits of the electoral exercise and how even a supposedly popular candidate cannot be relied on to implement meaningful reforms for the people. The people must ultimately rely on their own strength to push for changes in society. Our salvation lies not with the politicians but with a vigilant and organized citizenry fighting for genuine change,” the Bayan leader explained.





 “He refused to take accountability for the rise in poverty and refused to see the worsening state of joblessness and hunger while repeatedly harping about the low-impact yet loan-heavy Conditional Cash Transfer program. Masakit sa tainga pero tiyak na mas masakit ang dinaranas ng maraming mga nanay at kababaihan na patuloy na naghihirap sa ilalim ng limang taong panunungkulan ni Aquino.”

Thus said Gabriela lawmakers Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus following President Benigno Aquino III’s final State of the Nation Address.

“After five years of CCT under Aquino, there are at least 25.8 million Filipinos living below an adjusted and manipulated poverty line. Dumami ang naghihirap at nagugutom. Paano masasabing umunlad ang maraming pamilyang Pilipino matapos ang limang taon ng programang CCT sa ilalim ni Aquino?” asked De Jesus.

Ilagan said Aquino’s high praises for the failed program in the SONA is an attempt to justify the budget being allocated for the CCT despite allegations of corruption. In the 2015 budget, some P83B was initially allocated for the CCT. This was augmented by the executive by yet another P25B. “The increase in the program’s budget despite having very little impact in alleviating the people’s poverty is unjustifiable. Various allegations of corruption ranging from fund misuse to having multiple entries and ghost beneficiaries have not been resolved.”

Ilagan pointed out that earlier this year, the Asian Development Bank revealed findings that almost P19 billion of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program's P62 billion budget did not go to the poor. In December 2014, the Commission on Audit report revealed that DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman failed to account for P1.08B in grants. 

Gabriela lawmakers also decried the heightened disparity in wealth. “The wealth of the 10 richest Filipinos, many of whom benefitted from Aquino’s Public-Private Partnership Projects has more than tripled at 250% from Php650 billion in 2010 to Php2.2 trillion in 2015. The rich became richer and the poor became poorer under Aquino! This is Aquino’s legacy.” # 





27 July 2015


For Reference:     REP. LUZVIMINDA C ILAGAN 0920-9213221

REP. EMMI DE JESUS 0917-3221203

Jang Monte (Public Information Officer) 0917-4049119

Militant solons from women’s partylist group Gabriela attended President Benigno Aquino III’s final State of the Nation Address to refute empty claims of economic achievements that remain intangible for the majority of impoverished Filipino families.

“Ang anumang sinasabing pag-unlad ng ekonomiya ay pag-unlad para sa iilang mayayamang negosyante at dayuhan. Bulok na serbisyong panlipunan ang inihatid nito sa mamamayang lalo pang pinahirapan! Aquino’s flagship public-private partnership projects gave Filipino billionaires entry into the list of the world’s richest while further depriving the poorest Filipino families of basic social services,” said Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Emmi De Jesus.

De Jesus explained health services remain inaccessible with seven out of ten Filipinos dying without ever being attended to by a doctor or getting to a health facility and decried the privatization of government hospitals. Under Aquino, more than 25M remain below the poverty line while the wealth of the 10 richest Filipinos has more than tripled at 250% from Php650 billion in 2010 to Php2.2 trillion in 2015.

Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan meanwhile decried the worsening state of human rights under Aquino. “Nabibilang na si Aquino sa hanay ng mga berdugo. Aquino, like his predecessors, is a human rights violator. Human rights group Karapatan has documented 411 cases of extrajudicial killings and frustrated killings of activists and members of progressive organizations under Aquino and 60,155 victims of forced evacuation. There are currently more than 700 evacuees at the compound of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines in Davao City; some of them were already there since April 2015.In allowing mining multinationals to finance paramilitary and militias from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Aquino gives imprimatur to the harassment of Lumads and indigenous peoples, driving them away from their ancestral lands.”

Ilagan further said the prospects of peace remain distant under a government that jails peace consultants and negotiators and refuses to abide by previous agreements.  


“These are old, rehashed gowns for old lies and old rhetorics,” said who came in gray and black gowns as if in mourning with women battered by poverty and violence under five years of Aquino’s corrupt and inept leadership. “Bugbog sarado na ang mga kababaihan. Ang tuwid na daan ay daan ng kadiliman.”

Ilagan topped her gown with a Lumad-inspired beaded blazer to highlight the plight of Lumads being driven away from their ancestral lands while De Jesus wore a black bolero, “pawang mga boladas at punong-puno ng pambibilog ng katotohanan ang huling SONA.”  # 



SONA2015: Gabriela solons refute Aquino kaSONAngalingan,  pre-election campaign propaganda



REP. EMMI A. DE JESUS 0917.3221203

Jang Monte (Public Information Officer) 09174049119

Ed Atadero (Public Information Officer) GLOBE 0915.1439219 or SUN 09435770574


Members of women’s partylist group Gabriela from various communities in  Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon took part in protests today braving razor wire barricades and menacingly armed police and army minions blocking the road towards the House of Representatives to roundly dismiss the final State of the Nation Address or SONA of President BS Aquino.

Women dubbed Aquino “Pinaka-Masahol” and placed him in the ranks of the worst leaders the country ever had. They took Aquino to task for the wretched situation most Filipino families face in a grand slam of awards which tagged Aquino as “Pinaka-Pahirap” “Pinaka-Marahas” “Pinaka-Tuta” “Pinaka-Baboy” and “Pinaka-Berdugo” for his five years in office.


The women’s partylist group decried the high unemployment rates and the widespread practice of contractualization. “Bugbog-sarado ang kababaihan sa kahirapan. Puro dole-out at pantapal sa gutom, habang tinataboy ang maralita. It is not surprising that a growing number of Filipino families are poorer, hungrier,” said Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Emmi De Jesus. 


Gabriela Women's Party Representative Luzviminda Ilagan meanwhile decried the escalating number of cases of violence against women and children and scored Aquino for the heightened militarization of Lumad communities. “Aquino’s five-year term marks the internal displacement and evacuation of tens of thousands of indigenous peoples and families from rural communities resulting from his counter insurgency program, Oplan Bayanihan.”


Aside from kaSONAngalingan and tuwid na daan rhetorics, women also expect a pre-election campaign propaganda from Aquino  in this year’s SONA  


 “President Noynoy Aquino will hype his final State of the Nation Address, hoping to use it to rally his partymates and allies who are starting to doubt his flagship Liberal Party’s winning potential in the 2016 elections. If they fall for his tall tales, they better be prepared to sink with Noynoy as the electorate do not want a repeat of the so-called Daang Matuwid and the chaos, scandals, and corruption it left in its wake,” Rep. Luz Ilagan of the Gabriela Women’s Party said at the sidelines of the SONA.


“We have had enough of Aquino and his Tuwid Na Daan rhetorics. Any presidential candidate who vows to continue Aquino’s anti-poor, anti-people policies and receives his endorsement will most likely earn the people’s ire the way Aquino did,” said Ilagan.  


The Gabriela solons noted the hype in Aquino's SONA speech and promised to deliver a State of the Women under Aquino or SOWA in a few days. "Alam na ng mga kababaihan ang lahat ng ka-SONA-ngalingan ng presidenteng hari ng pork barrel, bugaw ng EDCA, promotor ng Charter Change at utak ng Mamasapano, na limang taon silang nilalansi ng mga pekeng programa. Lumubog tayo sa utang, lumubo ang deficit, tumubo ang mga monopolyo, nagsalat sa serbisyo, yan ang pamana ng pampanguluhan ni Aquino," De Jesus ended. ###

Representative EMMI DE JESUS

Gabriela Women's Party

"Babae, Bata, at Bayan.... Tuloy ang Laban!"


Waiting for the results of the negotiations with the police



24 July 2015


Gabriela solons “squash” Noynoy “ka-SONA-ngalingan” with Pinaka Awards


For Reference:     REP. LUZVIMINDA C ILAGAN 0920-9213221

REP. EMMI DE JESUS 0917-3221203

Jang Monte (Public Information Officer) 0917-4049119


Women besieged by poverty and violence added to the protest-soaked weekend running up to Noynoy Aquino’s farewell State of the Nation Address, by handing him mock awards highlighting their disgust for his “pinaka” or worst attributes as president.  

At a press conference held at the gates of the presidential palace, leaders of Gabriela Women’s Party acting out as award presenters took turns in dishing out trophies representing five years of suffering that Filipinos endured under his incompetent and corrupt administration. The trophies were improvised from the local squash or kalabasa, a fruit that traditionally symbolizes flunking in school or sports competitions. 

“Dahil malawakang kawalan ng trabaho, kontraktuwalisasyon, pagbaba pa lalo ng sahod, at pagbukas pa ng ekonomiya sa pandarambong sa dayuhang monopolyo, ginagawad ng kababaihan kay Noynoy ang Pinaka Pahirap Award,” said GWP Rep. Emmi De Jesus as she scored the massive poverty incidence afflicting 25.8 million Filipinos despite the almost 70 billion pesos allotted by the national budget for Pantawid doleouts.  

Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan meanwhile gave Aquino the Pinaka Marahas or Most Violent Award for allowing the immense jump of sexual violence against women and children despite the trumpeted gains in global rankings in gender equality. She said that victims of violence against women and children in 2014 rose to almost 40,000. Seven out of ten victims of rapes and crimes against chastity are children.  

Ilagan likewise scored the state-instigated violence. “Heightened militarization especially in rural communities, has further exposed women and children to violence.”  

The women marched from the office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development where they denounced the expansion of the deceptive Conditional Cash Transfer program, which Aquino repeatedly holds up as one of his SONA claims to success.  Gabriela Women’s Party announced it will take part in protests on Monday in several cities including the People’s SONA outside the Batasan Complex to call on the people to send a clear message to Aquino that his final SONA is full of lies or in play of words in vernacular, “ka-SONA-ngalingan.”  

After joining the People’s SONA, Gabriela solons will also attend the joint plenary session, to take stock of Aquino’s address, and issue immediate responses to points raised.# 



Gabriela solon debunks SONA hype on Philhealth, free care



REP. EMMI A. DE JESUS 0917.3221203

Ed Atadero (Public Information Officer) GLOBE 0915.1439219 or SUN 09435770574


29 July 2015

For immediate release


An opposition lawmaker shot down President Aquino's ‎SONA claim that went "For the poorest 40% of the population, treatment in public hospitals is free" with fact checks and reality vignettes from patients finding it harder and harder to access public hospitals that are fast being privatized.


 Gabriela Women's Party Rep. Emmi De Jesus who has been waging a campaign to stop the entry of Public Private Partnerships in health care said that Aquino's rushed fire sale of our public hospitals has in fact rendered virtually useless any benefits that Philhealth insurance can claim providing. She noted that the video of a token patient praising the Z-Benefit Philhealth package for shouldering all his treatment costs does not match the reality of many poor patients who complain of poor coverage.


 "Lumapit sa amin ang mga service or charity patients ng National Kidney Transplant Institute, at desperado na sila sa tumataas na gastusin sa dialysis, na umaabot ng 3,000 piso sa bawat session. Kahit anong gawin nila, paglapit sa PCSO o maghabol ng discount bilang PWD, hindi pa din magkasya ang kanilang budget at napipilitang magtrabaho kahit may sakit. Kung totoong ang SONA ni Noynoy at kung totoo ngang makakatulong ang Philhealth, dapat i-cover ng Z-benefits lahat ng indigent na dialysis patients dahil catastrophic illness din naman masasabi ang kanilang kundisyon," De Jesus railed.


 De Jesus cited the Philippine Children's Medical Center which revealed that out of 346 children's leukemia cases, only 64 receive full expense coverage due to discouraging qualifiers and cut off date guidelines that Philhealth stubbornly clings to. 


 The Gabriela solon said that PCMC director Dr. Julius Lecciones laments that Philhealth Z-benefits only cover the chemotherapy drugs but not the other related expenses. She supports PCMC's advocacy to expand coverage to all their leukemia patients.


 The Health Alliance for Democracy also chided the SONA for claiming the poorest 20 percent of our population can seek treatment in public hospitals without paying a single centavo. The health workers' union say that even charity/service beds are billed with no exceptions. and other medical services are paid with fees especially at the Emergency Services where services are not covered by PhilHealth.


 De Jesus said SONA for poor patients mean Stay Out No Admission because even if they pay Philhealth, it's up to the facility manager to decide if their sickness is covered. She reiterated her party stand for LABKA health care program which means "libre, angkop, batayan at kagyat na serbisyong pangkalusugan" (free, appropriate, basic and accessile health service) which would mean scrapping the unaffordable Philhealth insurance program and returning the budget for direct hospital operations, medicines and building clinics. ###



Representative EMMI DE JESUS

Gabriela Women's Party

"Babae, Bata, at Bayan.... Tuloy ang Laban!"


Protesters got a police helmet and shield ....

.... but the police were able to grab some of the protesters' placards and were  displaying them as if they were rallyists too