Dialogue with Congresswoman Liza Maza Held...
Author: Pinas First

Press Statement
18 October 2007

Dialogue with Congresswoman Liza Maza

in Vienna successfully Held.



After a well attended forum with Austrian organizations last 29 September 2007, 5-9pm at Amerlinghaus, on the issue of stop the killing campaign, the dialogue with the Honorable Congresswoman Liza Maza held last 14 October 2007, 5-8pm in Vienna,Austria Europe, marked another success of migrant Filipinos in Austria.

Father Mars Sahulga, SVD led the opening prayer and blessed the gathering while Manny Sarmiento, welcomed the participants and introduced the Guest Speaker. The dialogue was moderated by Maryknoll Padalla of the Igorot Association in Austria . Tthe panel of reactors were Conrado Evangelista, Bro. Albert Plata, and Sis Cristina Unlayao.

The 3-hour dialog ue with Congresswoman Liza Maza which was attended by some 50 migrant Filipinos from different community organisations, was sponsored by Pinoy in Austrian Society For Integrity, Reforms and Social Transformation (PINAS FIRST).

After expressing her thanks and appreciation for the overseas votes which enabled the Gabriela Partylist a seat in the House of the Representatives, Congressman Liza Maza presented a balance picture of the national situation, focusing on the problems and possible solution on the basic economic and political issues in the country.

These are adopting a genuine agrarian reform program, instead of continuing the bogus Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) that are full of flaws. Espousing a truly nationalist industrialisation, instead of the packaging and assembly plants of imported parts. These two items are basic fundamental s of a sound, vibrant and progressive economy.

She also mentioned that the big part (almost 60%) of the national budget goes to debt servicing. That means only a tiny part of the budget goes to social services. She also mentioned that one of the big sources of funds of the government are the remittances of the migrant Filipinos abroad,.ie., 12 billion dollars in 2006 , which keeps the economy afloat. Thus , the TraPo's called migrants "modern heroes" or bagong bayani.

On the political side, she narrated that President Arroyo has not properly addressed the political killings, as there are already more than 900 victims of extra judicial killings. All fact finding missions (national and international) UN Agencies and the Permanent People s' Tribunal (PPT) of March 2007, The Hague, Netherlands , are unanimous in holding President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo accountable for the killings by the police and military forces.

Moreover, she noted that women in the 14th Congress now comprise 20%, but almost all of them came from the clan of traditional politician (TRAPO). The ideal is to have more representation of the common tao (farmers, workers and members of the marginalized sector of the society) .

In the open forum the Hon. Liza Maza answered all the queries raised which covered the issue of the anti-terrorism law, the atrocities done by the Arroyo government especially on the extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances and re pression of Human Rights defenders. She strongly suggested the formation of a potent migrant workers group or by uniting with existing groups and sending resolutions/petitions to the government, which will likely be considered in due recognition of the role they play in the economy.

Other issues propped up like the dual citizenship, the incinerators (what is this?) and other practical problems were discussed.

On the other hand, below are suggestions of the Body for Legislative considerations.

a. If the government could make a special/good program for migrant worker retirees?

b. If congress could draft a law on property ownership beneficial to born Filipinos but of foreign citizenship specially those who reside in countries who doesn't honor dual citizenship?

c. If congress could do a thorough study on the benefits of incinerators (what is this? )so the money (debt) could be used to the main purpose it was borrowed?

d. If legislators could make a thorough review on all questionable projects that are being paid?

e. If the government could freeze the debts so the budget being alloted to debt payments be used for the most basic social service the citizenry needs like Health and Education as both are already a privilege no longer a right?

Participants were hopeful that this kind of dialogue will be regularly be held as this will help migrant Filipinos understand the problems confronting our country and appreciate the role they can play . This was presented as a resolution and adopted unanimously.

The dialogue ended with community singing of the famous patriotic song "Bayan Ko" which stirred the patriotic sentiments of the audience.

Manuel Sarmiento
Mobile Phone +43 699 122 77 835
Email address: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , website: www.pinas-first.com