THE seven members of the so-called Makabayan Bloc on Thursday broke away from the pro-administration coalition in the House of Representatives
“Today, we, the seven party-list representatives of the Makabayan Bloc, declare our separation from the majority coalition in the House of Representatives to intensify our opposition to the Duterte administration that has now fully unraveled as a fascist, pro-imperialist and anti-people regime,” the group said.
Malacañang expressed sadness over the bloc’s decision.
“We take due notice of the decision of the seven party-list representatives belonging to the Makabayan Bloc to leave the House of Representatives’ majority coalition,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
The members of the Makabayan Bloc are Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro of the ACT Teachers Party-List, Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas of ACT Teachers, Carlos Isagani Zarate of Bayan Muna, Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis and Sarah Elago of Kabataan.
They said their continuing stay with the super majority coalition of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez would be a “violation of our duties and principles,” being “representatives of the poor and marginalized sectors in Congress and as nationalist and progressive legislators.”
Tinio, Zarate and De Jesus were among the lawmakers allied with the majority bloc who were stripped off their posts for not supporting the death penalty bill.
Tinio then led the House committee on public information, Zarate was head of the House committee on environment and natural resources, and De Jesus was head of the poverty alleviation committee.
The lawmakers said they had decided to join the majority bloc in support of President Duterte and his administration’s “promise of change.”
“From the very start, we consistently opposed the administration’s anti-people bills and policies to the point that we were stripped of our committee chairmanships due to our stand against the death penalty bill. Despite one disappointment after another, we persisted in the majority in the hope that some socioeconomic and political reforms could be achieved, if not through Congress then through the GRP-NDFP peace talks,” the group said.
The group also slammed the President’s “independent foreign policy” that it said had turned out to be a farce.
“He is now as dependent as ever on the US for national security and has practically abandoned our valid and internationally recognized claims of sovereignty and territory in the West Philippine Sea in exchange for China’s promises of aid and investments,” the group said.
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