Protesters outside Batasan gate, hold own plenary session as peasant lawmakers

Protesters outside Batasan gate, hold own plenary session as peasant lawmakers: Junked Chacha, and passed new land reform law

Leaders of the militant farmers and fisherfolk groups camping by the gates of House of Representatives on Tuesday conducted their own “rural people’s parliament” and voted against House Resolution 737 and the other Chacha (Charter Change) resolution seeking to convene both chambers of Congress into a constituent assembly.

Imelda Lacandazo, spokesperson of the Southern Tagalog-based peasant group Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan, acted as the Speaker of Rural People’s Parliament and led in voting 50-0 in favor of junking HR 737 and the other Chacha resolution authored by former Kampi (Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino) President and Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte.

Lacandazo, was joined by other leaders of the militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), the peasant women federation Amihan and the agricultural worker group Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) in shooting down the twin Chacha bills.

The militant leaders who posed themselves this time as people’s lawmakers and agents of politics of change, also passed the controversial House Bill 3059 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) and a number of wage bills allowing P 125 across-the-board wage increase for private workers, P 3,000 for government employees and P 9,000 salary increase for public school teachers nationwide. All these bills were authored by militant lawmakers from Anakpawis, Bayan Muna and Gabriela.

Also voting 50-0 the rural people lawmakers affirmed the impeachment cases filed against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Ombudsman Atty. Merceditas Gutierrez and they vowed to transmit the impeachment cases before the Philippine Senate anytime next week.

Kasama-TK’s Lacandazo also led her “peasant lawmaker colleagues” in approving the Magna Carta for Women, which was previously barred by some women legislators allied with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

KMP Secretary General Danilo Ramos and Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap who acted as majority floor leader and deputy floor leader respectively led their “peasant lawmaker colleagues” in shooting down the “right-to-reply bill” and in passing the compensation bill for victims of human rights during the Marcos dictatorship.

Likewise, the two rural leaders rallied their “peasant lawmaker colleagues” in approving the Rice Industry Development Act (RIDA) sponsored by militant party list lawmakers Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis, Bayan Muna party list Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela party list lawmakers Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan.

Ramos and Hicap also led the 50-0 onslaught in favor of scrapping the Oil Deregulation Law and the Anti-Terrorism Law. The two leaders also led their colleagues in passing a resolution honoring the late Anakpawis party list Rep. Crispin Beltran as the “man of century” for the late labor leader’s outstanding contribution for the militant workers’ movement all over the country and for defending the rights of the poor all over the country.

Earlier, Kasama-TK, KMP, Amihan, UMA and Pamalakaya challenged House Speaker Prospero Nograles and other pro-Charter Change (Chacha) lawmakers to debate the controversial measure seeking to effect revisions in the 1987 Constitution through constituent assembly outside the Batasan complex. #

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