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Soldiers threatened to rape women in Marawi City – Rep. Brosas - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 08:30

Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) Rep. Arlene Brosas on Friday raised an alarm over stories on government troops who threatened to rape women if they don’t leave Marawi City amid President Duterte’s rape joke and with the Mindanao-wide martial law in effect.

“I have personally heard the stories of women who sought refuge in evacuation centers in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur after government troops threatened to rape them, as encouraged by no less than President Duterte in his public remarks,” Rep. Brosas said in a forum in Quezon City in time for the first month of the martial law declaration.

“These are alarming accounts which prove that the martial law and President’s rape remarks have actually emboldened the military to dangle rape threats against women in Marawi City. We fear that there are actual victims of rape and we encourage them to speak out and seek justice,” she added.

Brosas visited the evacuation centers as member of the National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission conducted last June 14-15. She, together with other human rights advocates, was denied entry to Marawi City by the military.
“On top of its rights violations with the nonstop aerial bombardment of Marawi, the military is using rape threats as tool of war, coercion and harassment against women. Any sign of safety is elusive for the women particularly in Marawi City with terrorists still on the loose and with soldiers eager to rape them,” the Gabriela lawmaker said.

“Women and children are made more vulnerable to harassment and other forms of abuses as they are cramped in evacuation centers with no sufficient facilities and without support services,” she added.

Gabriela, together with other Makabayan party-lists, have filed House Resolution 1085 directing the House Committee on Human Rights to investigate the plight of displaced civilians in Marawi City and to look into the rights violations committed by the military.

Brosas is also among the petitioners urging the high court to nullify Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao.

“We reiterate our call to President Duterte to stop the military’s aerial bombardment of communities, stop tinkering with the plan to carpet-bomb Marawi, lift the martial law declaration, and exact accountability over the massive humanitarian crisis in Mindanao,” she ended. #

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On 1 month of martial law in Mindanao: “End martial law now! No to US-AFP instigation!” -youth party - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 07:31

(Photo credits: Alex D. Lopez/

On June 23, a month since the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, Kabataan Partylist joins the youth and students of various schools as they held actions across different schools and areas today.

“Despite the scapegoat of eliminating terror, the only ones eliminated here are the people,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said.

“In addition, martial law has only been used as a scapegoat to terrorize civilians, rebels and indigenous peoples who are not part of the Maute group,” Elago added.

The youth solon slammed the continued insistence of the United States government, with the help of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to instigate terror and war and to coerce Duterte into declaring a nationwide martial law.

“It is of great benefit to the US and AFP to continue martial law and expand it nationwide, as a pretext for further military operations, human rights violations, and heightened fascism on civilians,” Elago said.

“We condemn the US-AFP for further letting down our already impoverished evacuees and citizens through food blockades, and the interrogation of hundreds of civilians and tagging them as part of the Maute and other terrorist groups. We further condemn their continued instigation, through spreading fake news and erroneous, contradicting statements, as well as Islamophobic and terrorist hysteria, to further coax the President into enforcing a nationwide martial law,” Elago added.

The youth solon added that despite all of these, and despite an earlier declaration of independent foreign policy, Duterte has merely been complacent of the heightened US presence, citing the long time military relations between the US-AFP.

“We call on the people to hold Duterte accountable for continuing martial law despite the damages. The people are dismayed that instead of the people he is bound to serve, he put his ego and the military’s interest first and foremost. We further hold accountable the Liberal Party and other factions of the ruling elite, for fanning the flames of war and favoring martial law, and choosing business interests over the people!” Elago said.

“We call on the Duterte administration to heed the call of the people: End martial law now!,” Elago concluded.

The groups vow to hold more Black Friday protests in the coming days. ###

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Gabriela, other Makabayan reps file reso seeking inquiry on Marawi crisis - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 06:47

Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) other Makabayan bloc party-lists have filed a House resolution seeking an inquiry on the Marawi crisis, saying heads must roll over the mass displacement of Maranao families currently cramped in evacuation centers amid the Mindanao-wide martial law declaration.

Speaking at a media briefing today, GWP Rep. Arlene Brosas said they are urging colleagues at the House of Representatives via House Resolution 1085 to look into the humanitarian crisis in Marawi City, specifically on the impacts on women and children.

“As member of the humanitarian mission to Lanao del Norte and Sur, I have personally heard accounts of families who sent daughters to evacuation centers due to fear of being raped by members of the AFP following President Duterte’s rape joke in his speech in Iligan City,” Rep. Brosas said.

“We also want to seek accountability over the reported deaths and lack of adequate supplies and facilities in evacuation areas, which are potential areas for more rights violations against women and children. A larger number of families are staying outside evacuation centers and are dispersed in nearby towns. These reports should not be simply swept under the rug amid the ongoing military offensive in Marawi City,” she added.

Citing the latest data from the DSWD, GWP said 20,049 families or 100,530 persons are affected by the fighting between government troops and the Maute terrorist group in Marawi City, with over 17,000 families staying outside evacuation centers in Region X and the ARMM.

Rep. Brosas, together with Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate and other human rights advocates, flew to Mindanao last week for the National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission (NIHM) but were denied entry to Marawi City by the military.

“It is clear from the accounts of those in evacuation centers that the military airstrikes and indiscriminate firing of government troops have forced them to flee Marawi City. Carpet bombing, as what President Duterte recently hinted, will only worsen the suffering of Maranao people and will result in more losses of innocent lives,” Brosas said.

“We reiterate our call to President Duterte to immediately order an end to the aerial bombing and lift the martial law declaration in Mindanao,” she added. #

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Martial law must be lifted following Duterte’s apology’ – Gabriela Rep. Brosas - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 06:45

President Duterte should order an end to airstrikes and lift the martial law declaration in Mindanao following his recent apology to residents of Marawi City, according to Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas.

“President Duterte’s next logical step after his apology to the Maranao people should be the lifting of the martial law declaration. One cannot be sorry and yet continue causing massive damage to Marawi City at the same time,” Brosas, who visited the evacuation centers in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur last week, said.

Brosas also called on Duterte to refuse further US military intervention in the country. “It is becoming clear that the US is exploiting the Marawi conflict and fanning the terror scare to set in motion its military buildup in Mindanao in line with its geopolitical agenda in the region,” she said.

“Keeping martial law in place and allowing more US troops to join the military’s campaign will only worsen the current humanitarian crisis in Mindanao as more and more women and children are cramped into evacuation centers and the livelihood of more ordinary folks are disrupted.

The lawmaker, who participated in the National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission last June 14-15, said almost all evacuees point to the military’s nonstop aerial bombings as major reason for fleeing their homes. She said the government can neutralize the Maute terror group without using excessive force and without the participation of US military.

“We in Gabriela insist that the full-blown militarist approach to the Marawi crisis will never be the solution as it does not address massive poverty. Rather, it is making the ground more fertile for terrorist uprising and recruitment due to dislocation of families.

“What the government must do is to address the massive landlessness and poverty in Mindanao due to the expansion of corporate plantations and mining operations of oligarchs in partnership with foreign investors,” she added.

Gabriela also warned the Duterte administration against using the Marawi reconstruction needs to invite foreign capitalists to supposedly rehabilitate the city, saying the government should solely take up the rehabilitation challenge. #

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ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio on the fake news bill in the Senate - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 06:40
While “fake news” has gained currency, due mainly to the easy accessibility of social media, it’s not new. Misinformation, propaganda, and malicious speech have been around for as long as there’s been mass media. For the most part, they fall within freedom of expression. Nevertheless, there are already existing laws that penalize abuse of this right, such as laws on libel or the code of ethics of government officials. The fake news bill in the Senate takes an overly broad definition of “fake news” and thus could substantially limit the right to ...
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House COWA acting chair De Jesus welcomes acquittal of Dalquez by UAE court - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 06:49

House Committee on Overseas Workers’ Affairs acting chair and Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Emmi De Jesus welcomes the acquittal of Jennifer Dalquez from the crime of murder by a court in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  We heave a sigh of relief together with the parents of Dalquez, who have worked closely with us in filing House Resolution 829 seeking an executive clemency for her. We commend Migrante International and partner organizations who have tirelessly pushed the #SaveJenniferDalquez campaign online and offline.  We however believe that the fight is far from over, as she has yet to spend five more years in prison for allegedly stealing a mobile phone. The Duterte administration must explore options to finally junk the remaining cases against her so that she can be with her family at the soonest time possible.

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Increase salaries of teachers and other government workers, Duterte urged - Fri, 06/16/2017 - 07:00
ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro urged the Duterte administration to increase the salaries of teachers and other government workers, as they joined the teachers’ mobilization at the Department of Budget and Management Friday. “Today, we support the just and resounding call of teachers and non-teaching personnel, as well as the rest of those making up the bureaucracy, for salaries that can afford them decent lives,” Castro said. “We are bothered that, even after nearly a year, we do not see the same support from the Duterte administration.” Castro noted ...
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Lift martial law, US troops out of PH soil, resume GRP-NDF peace talks! – Migrante - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 03:34
Migrante International joined today’s BAYAN-led Independence Day protests to condemn the ongoing martial law in Marawi and the direct intervention of US special forces against the Maute/ISIS threat in Mindanao. “We call on President Duterte, as the Commander-in-Chief, to immediately halt the airstrikes and double-time evacuation efforts to save Marawi from carnage. We call on […]
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Gabriela Rep. Brosas joins groups in asking SC to void Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao; Speaker Alvarez urged to ‘exercise discernment’ - Fri, 06/09/2017 - 08:36

Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) Rep. Arlene Brosas on Friday joined other petitioners in asking the high court to nullify President Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao.

“The high court must not shirk its responsibility to review the factual basis of Duterte’s martial law declaration especially as both chambers of Congress have so willfully approved the militarist solution without sufficient debate and discussion,” Brosas said, citing separate resolutions of the Senate and the House of Representatives supporting the declaration.

“Duterte’s Presidential Proclamation 216, if absolutely unchallenged, sets a very dangerous precedent for the arbitrary declaration of a nationwide martial rule based on unfounded claims of rebellion and threats to public safety. SC should immediately step in to save the women and the people from the arbitrary imposition of martial law,” Brosas added.

In the petition, Brosas and other private individuals cited Section 18 Article VII of the 1987 Constitution stating that the high court “may review the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus” within thirty days from the filing of a petition.

The lady lawmaker said it is very important to check the incidents cited as basis for the declaration in President Duterte’s martial law report “because many of these are disproved by mainstream media reports and fact-checking efforts.”

“The martial law report has not substantially demonstrated that the presumed rebellion of the Maute group has reached an extent that threatens public safety and the existence of the Republic of the Philippines,” Brosas said.

‘Exercise discernment’

The GWP representative also disapproved of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarezs’ statement to the media that he would ignore any promulgation of the high court on the martial law declaration.

“We call on Speaker Alvarez to use his heart and exercise discernment of various opinions on the martial law declaration, including those coming from the SC magistrates, even if they run counter to the sentiment of the House. To ignore the principle of checks and balance among the three co-equal branches is to set the stage for a repeat of a dictatorial rule in the country,” Brosas said.

She said the impacts of airstrikes and full-blown militarism on women, children and people of Mindanao cannot just be ignored, adding that the declaration is being stretched to justify crackdown on workers’ strikes and intensification of the military’s all-out war on communities.

“We call on the people to exercise vigilance on the martial law declaration and resist the intensification of state-sponsored attacks on basic human rights,” Brosas ended. #

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Reveal concrete contingency measures for OFWs in Qatar now, DOLE, DFA urged - Fri, 06/09/2017 - 04:33
Migrante opens Crisis Hotline for OFWs in Qatar Global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International today called on the Duterte administration to reveal in concrete terms its contingency measures for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families in light of the escalating crisis in Qatar. “We initially welcomed the DOLE’s announcement of a deployment ban […]
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DepEd scored for lack of transparency on senior high school voucher program - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 01:50
PRESS RELEASE 07 June 2017 ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro scored the Department of Education (DepEd) for not releasing data on the implementation of the Senior High School (SHS) voucher system. “DepEd failed to comply with the posting and transparency requirements set by law regarding the SHS voucher system,” said Castro. “These are billions of taxpayers’ money funneled into private schools. The public wants to know if these schools really accepted the number of voucher students corresponding to the funds given to them and, considering the costs of ...
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Solons reveal severe backlog of public high schools - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 07:42
ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro scored the Department of Education (DepEd) for failing to build more schools, especially for junior and senior high schools, thus restricting access to free education for more Filipino youth. “We usually talk of backlogs in classrooms, and DepEd certainly has a lot of those. But it’s about time for it to also face the severe backlog in schools, especially high schools. With 36,492 public elementary schools and only 7,677 junior high schools, children in four or five elementary schools will have to cram ...
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RWM deaths should prod revocation of ecozone inspection exemptions - Gabriela - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 06:15

“The deaths of 38 individuals—patrons and workers at the Resorts World incident should bring forward the implications of having special economic zones enjoy exemptions from labor and safety exemptions. We in Gabriela Women’s Party, as authors of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Bill shall seek to further enrich the measure to include the amendment if not the junking of Department Order 131 as the Bill enters bicameral deliberations.” Thus said OHS champions and Gabriela Women’s Party Representatives Emmi De Jesus and Arlene Brosas as they also expressed today their intent to look into possible health and safety standard violations that may have worsened the impact of the Resorts World incident last June 2, 2017.  “It appears that the number of casualties increased partly due to a defective sprinkler system and a lockdown imposed by hotel security personnel even as people were trying to escape.” Brosas explained that among the reported casualties of the incident were workers and students undergoing on-the-job training.  “This is not the first time this year that a fire occurred in an ecozone. Clearly, factories and corporations are enjoying too many exemptions that have placed workers’ safety in jeopardy. The lives of our workers as well as the patrons of these corporations must be ensured and should be our priority.”# 

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Amid mounting abuses Peace talks, not martial law, is the right direction for Duterte – Anakpawis solon - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 09:56

Amid mounting abuses
Peace talks, not martial law, is the right direction for Duterte – Anakpawis solon

Quezon City, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao joined hundreds of members of its group at a noise barrage-protest in front of the National Housing Authority in Quezon City, demanding the lifting of the martial law in Mindanao and continuation of the peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Casilao served as an observer to the cancelled fifth round of talks in the Netherlands, which was supposed to deliberate on the provisions of the draft Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER).

A day after the declaration of President Rodrigo Duterte on May 23, the lawmaker raised the alarm it would brought about worsening abuses against the marginalized sectors, such as the workers, farmers, indigenous peoples, urban poor and other poor sectors. He also called on the basic sectors to oppose the declaration or the Proclamation No. 216, by decisively carrying out legal-democratic actions such as setting up camp-outs, picketlines, street rallies, noise barrages, public forums and assemblies and other activities. In anticipation, Anakpawis closely monitored abuses in Mindanao, as well as, in other parts of the country, as brought about by the declaration.

Casilao cited the violent dispersal of Korean-owned banana plantation Shin Sun Tropical Fruit Corp. in Compostela Valley, as 11 workers were arrested by police and military personnel during a violent dispersal of their picket line last June 2. Shin Sun Tropical Fruit illegally dismissed union members led by Shin Sun Workers Union, an affiliate of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU). Shin Sun workers launched the strike against the continued practice of contractualization scheme and its failure to remit its workers’ contribution to the Social Security System, Philhealth as the same time it subjected its workers to inhumane working conditions.

Last June 3, in Calagatan town, Batangas, farmer Lito Casalla, 52, member of Samahan ng Magbubukid sa Batangas (SAMBAT) was gunned down by unknown assailants, which was, according to the group’s leaders, was a reprisal for his active role against the land grabbing activity of San Miguel Corp. President Ramon Ang’s Asturias Chemical Industry over the 808 hectares of land in Balayan town, Batangas.

The group also blamed the escalation of abuses and atrocities to the martial law declaration, such as the incidents:

· May 25, 2017 – Aerial bombings in Moro communities in sitios Pedtobawan, Campo, Apulan, and Centro Salat in Brgy. Salat, and in sitio Libpas in Brgy. Tuael, President Roxas, North Cotabato by elements of the 39th and 72nd IBPA. Aerial strikes were also reported in the barangays of Tangkulan, Anggaan, and Damulog in Bukidnon;

· on May 25, at least thirty (30) Lumad, Moro, and Christian women who participated in “Leadership Development and Capacity Building for Gender and Ecological Justice” were held by the 6th Marine Landing Battalion in a checkpoint in Brgy. Domulon, Sultan Kudarat;

· May 25, at least 260 persons from Barangays 76-A and 23 in Davao City were rounded up by the Davao City Police Office, on the basis of failure to shown proofs of identification;

· May 26, 2017, Daniel Lasid, 58, a Blaan council member of Akma Aksasatu Matanao (Unity of Matanao) was shot by five (5) gunmen in Matanao, Davao del Sur. Witnesses identified elements of the 73rd IBPA;

· May 26, the PNP Regional Office of Region 11 threatened to arrest leaders and organizers of rallies, following the declaration of martial law. The AFP also released a statement stating the institution’s intent to exercise their right to censure;

· May 27, 2017, Nestor Quintano, 51, and Remon Rodela, 25, farmer members of the Unyon sa mga Mag-uuma nga Nakigbisog (UMANA) were forcibly taken by elements of the 66th IBPA in Brgy. Poblacion, Maragusan, Compostela Valley;

· May 27, Ana Marie Digaynon Aumada, 29, was gunned down while in her house in Brgy. Lucod, Banganga, Davao Oriental;

· May 28, 2017 according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development – Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DSWD-DROMIC), the firefight and AFP airstrikes has already displaced at least 54, 335 individuals. Military operations which spilled over to nearby provinces have also caused the evacuation of 895 individuals in Saguiran and a total of 4,445 evacuees in the whole of Lanao del Norte. The bombings in Marawi and nearby areas have also resulted indamages in civilian structures and people’s homes;

· May 29, 2017, peasant, couple Kidjol Marcelo Antay Sr. and Noeme Antay were illegally arrested by combined elements of the 60th IBPA and the Bagani paramilitary group in Brgy. Andap, Laak, Compstela Valley. Also, Otik Catalino and Maricho Catalino, were also illegally arrested in Brgy. Malinao, Laak, Compostela Valley by the same perpetrators. Both couples were active members of the Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Laak (NAMULAK), a local peasant organization in Laak, Compostela Valley.

“The alarming state-sponsored rights violation only reflects the intensification of military operations not mainly aiming at progressive groups who are demanding for genuine social change. Clearly the AFP is using the Marawi City incident to justify militarization of peasant, lumad and Moro communities as well as attacking rights of the workers and other oppressed people especially in the countryside. More than ever, it is very important that the peace talks between the GRP and the NDFP should push through despite various contentions. It is only through the peace negotiations to resolve these issues,” Casilao said. ###

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Migrante lauds Gabriela Partylist for seeking review of Migrants’ Act of 1995 - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 06:14
Global alliance of overseas Filipinos and families today commended Garbiela Women’s Partylist for filing a resolution calling for an evaluation of the Migrants’ Act of 1995, or Republic Act 8042, amended by RA 10022. The Migrants’ Act of 1995 was signed into law 22 years ago, on June 7, National Migrants’ Day, as a response […]
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4.8 M children out of school -solons - Sun, 06/04/2017 - 23:47
PRESS RELEASE 5 June 2017 4.8 M children out of school -solons 4.2 M more dropped out in SY 2015-2016 On Day One of the new school year, ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio and Rep. France Castro scored government for failing to curb the worsening out-of-school and dropout rates. This, despite allotting billions to voucher and cash transfer programs alleged to bring more students to schools. Citing latest participation rates from DepEd, the solons revealed that 4.8 million were out of school in School Year 2015-2016, an 11% increase in 5 years. Elementary school-age ...
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CCT, no significant impact in education -solons - Sun, 06/04/2017 - 04:43
ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro saw no significant impact from the Conditional Cash Transfer program in improving enrollment and completion rates in elementary and secondary schools. “We have observed little improvement, even decreases in the enrollment and completion rates from 2011 to 2015. This is despite the hefty increases in the budget for the Conditional Cash Transfer,” Castro said. Citing data from DepEd, the solons said that participation or net enrollment rate (NER) for public and private schools went down by 6.05 percentage points from 97.10% (14.44 million out ...
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ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio on DBM Secretary Diokno’s recommendation to veto chalk allowance hike - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 10:11
ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio on DBM Secretary Diokno’s recommendation to veto chalk allowance hike We’re dismayed that at this early stage, DBM Secretary Diokno is already talking about vetoing the increase in the so-called chalk allowance as prjovided in a bill recently passed in the Senate. The counterpart measure in the House hasn’t even been discussed yet. His justification that many public schools now use whiteboards belies an utter ignorance of the situation on the ground. Aside from its patent inaccuracy, the annual “chalk allowance’ is used by teachers to pay, ...
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Black Friday protest led by Bayan calling for #NoToMartialLaw in Quezon City - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 09:14

Black Friday protest led by Bayan calling for #NoToMartialLaw in Quezon City.

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Gabriela calls for sobriety and vigilance, warns against US terror-tagging in Resorts World incident - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 07:00

Women's partylist group Gabriela today expressed their sympathies to the families of victims of the Resorts World incident in Manila as they condemned the violent attack.

"We join the families of the victims as they mourn their loss and are one with them in seeking answers to questions now being raised after the unfortunate incident," said Gabriela Women's Party Rep. Emmi De Jesus who said a thorough and impartial investigation must follow.

Further, De Jesus warned against terror-tagging made by US President Trump fanning speculations and hysteria that may be used to justify military rule.

"We call for sobriety and vigilance. This incident must not and should not be used as part of a script to set the tone for the extension and expansion of the Martial Law declaration."

De Jesus, fellow lawmaker, Arlene Brosas and members of the partylist group reiterated their call for President Duterte to immediately lift Martial Law in Mindanao as they joined the weekly #BlackFridayProtest today in Quezon City. #

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