Wednesday, March 30, 2005

NR0330: 3-day fast against activist killings

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release March 30, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

3-day fast against political repression and activist killings; VAT contributes to intensifying political and economic turbulence in the country

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today joined his colleague fellow Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano in a 3-day fast against intensifying political repression and mass killing of activists and members of progressive party-lists. Imbibing only water and eating thin biscuits, Beltran, Mariano and other leaders of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP),Pamalakaya, Amihan and other peasant organizations allied with Anakpawis established camp in front of the Commonwealth gate of the House of Representatives.

Beltran said that that Anakpawis party-list and its allied people's organizations are demanding justice for the victims of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre, and the victims of the military's assassination operations that took the lives of 19 leaders and members of Anakpawis. He also demanded justice for the members of Bayan Muna.

"Speaker Jose de Venecia and the leaders of t he 13th Congress should sit up and take notice of the worsening political repression in the country. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is running amok, liquidating civilians left and right, but the national government is doing nothing about it. We urge the good Speaker to use his influence with President Arroyo and ask her to speak out against the killings and reign in the butchers of the AFP and the paramilitary forces," he said.

He is set to deliver a privileged speech this afternoon as the House begins its special session, urging fellow solons to support the fast as well as other moves and activities pushing for the end of activist killings and indemnification for the victims' families.

The veteran labor leader turned lawmaker said that the of the value-added tax and other tax measures the administration is pushing are at the core of the heightening political turbulence and economic chaos in the country. "The killings are obviously being used to create a climate of fear and discourage the growing protests against the administration and its anti-poor, anti-people economic policies," he said.

"There w ill be greater social unrest with the passage of the VAT. These new tax measures on top of the oil price hikes, the increases in electricity and water rates as well as growing unemployment and depreciating value of already low wages push more and more Filipinos to rebel against the government in various forms. At the same time, the space for democratic debate and genuine people's representation in the various arenas of social reform continues to narrow. These also contribute to the establishment of a increasingly fascist governance against the Filipino people," he said.

Beltran said that civil and human rights advocates should be appalled at the continuing reports of military abuses.He said the Arroyo administration's overall record makes the Philippines one of the most violent countries and a death-trap for activist and advocates of pro-people reform. "As long as the Malacananang and the AFP continues to flout human rights and blatantly disregard the political rights of the Filipino people, the government's declarations regarding the promotion of democracy and human rights will be greeted with cynicism and even outrage," he said.#


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