A new coalition has been formed to counter the dirty and traditional politics in the country. It has pledged to advance the politics of change and promote a ‘pro-people’ platform for the 2010 elections.
BY RONALYN V. OLEA
Progressive party-list groups, people’s organizations, individuals and personalities formed the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan or People’s Patriotic Coalition), Thursday, April 16 at the Bahay ng Alumni, University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City.
In his speech, House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna (People First) Rep. Satur Ocampo said Makabayan’s primary objective is to advance the politics of change. “Sa esensiya, ang politika ng pagbabago ay naglalayong wakasan at palitan ang reaksyunaryong politika ng status quo na siyang pumipigil sa pag-unlad ng lipunang Pilipino” (In essence, the politics of change aims to put an end to and replace the reactionary politics of the status quo that hinders the progress of Philippine society.)
Ocampo said the same politics of change was advanced by Partido ng Bayan (People’s Party) in 1987 and has been advanced by Bayan Muna since 2001.
Ocampo said that while the progressive party-list groups in Congress have achieved victories in the last three elections, the space provided for them remains narrow. “Kung magpapakasya tayo roon, mananatili tayong maliit na minorya sa bilang,” (If we limit ourselves to this, we will remain a minority in number.) he told the audience.
Through Makabayan, Ocampo said, more progressive candidates will run for municipal and even national positions.
Ocampo added that Makabayan will work with local leaders who have stood up against dirty and traditional politics. He cited Pampanga Gov. Ed Panlilio and Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca. “Naghahanap sila ng mga kapanalig…upang isulong ang kilusang pagbabago.” (They are looking for partners …to advance the movement for change.)
Ocampo also said that Makabayan’s politics of change is in harmony with Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno’s moral force. Makabayan, Ocampo said, aims to provide a channel for transformational leaders being sought for by the Chief Justice.
Makabayan’s general platform for the 2010 elections includes fighting for people empowerment, transparency and accountability in governance, uplifting the lives of the poor, developing a strong and self-reliant domestic economy, a more equitable distribution of wealth, saving the environment, defending the country’s sovereignty, upholding human rights and pursuing a just and lasting peace.
In his speech, Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) Rep. Rafael Mariano described Makabayan as“isang koalisyong nakatuntong at nagsusulong sa mga mithiin, tagumpay at kalakasan ng kilusan ng mamamayan at ng kanilang partidong pampulitika” (a coalition that is founded on and advances the aspirations, victories and strengths of the people’s movement and their political parties).
Candidates for Senate
In a press conference, Makabayan co-chairperson and economist Maita Gomez declared the coalition’s support for at least four candidates for the Senate.
“As of now, we are proposing at least four possible candidates for the Senate. (They are) public officials with clean track records in government and a long history of leadership and public service. Patuloy silang pinagkakatiwalaan ng masa dahil itinataguyod nila ang pulitika ng masa,” (They continue to enjoy the trust of the masses because they advance the politics of the masses.) Gomez said.
Gomez revealed the initial four as Ocampo, Reps. Liza Maza (Gabriela Women’s Party), Mariano, and Teodoro Casiño (Bayan Muna).
Ocampo said the coalition is still scouting for other possible candidates who are willing to embrace Makabayan’s patriotic and pro-people orientation.
New party list groups
Ocampo also announced the formation of two new party-list groups under Makabayan – the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Party-List and the Confederation for the Unity, Advancement and Recognition of Government Employees (Courage) Party-List.
In an interview, Courage President Ferdinand Gaite said it is high time that government employees have representation in Congress. While Gaite recognized the support of progressive party-list groups in advancing the interest and welfare of government employees, he said it would be better if government employees themselves articulate their own sentiments.
Genuine representation in Congress, Gaite said, will echo the demands of the sector including the P3,000 ($62.93 at the current exchange rate of $1=P47.67) salary increase, security of tenure, right to union/association and the like. “We will also help in articulating the nationalist demands of the people such as the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and opposition to Charter change,” Gaite said.
Courage has 300,000 members in 200 unions nationwide
‘Strongest opposition force’
In a taped message, Jose Maria Sison, speaking as chairperson of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), said, “Makabayan is a formidable combination of patriotic and pro-people forces in comparison to the fractious state of the traditional political opposition. Even at this very moment, it can be described as the strongest opposition force in terms of being the most principled instrument of the people, having the most cogent patriotic and progressive platform, gathering the most dedicated and most active volunteers in the service of the people and enjoying the strongest and most reliable mass base on a nationwide scale.”
In her solidarity message, Sen. Maria Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal, said, “Ang tunay na pagbabago ay magmumula sa tunay na progresibo” (Genuine change will come from genuine progressive leaders.)
She said formation of Makabayan was the “first time a real nationalist coalition” will exist in the country. “This is the only party that is willing to die for their philosophy.”
Former House Speaker Jose de Venecia and wife Gina, Senators Mar Roxas and Francis Pangilinan, Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte, and film director Joel Lamangan also delivered their solidarity messages.
Former Sen. Leticia Ramos-Shahani, lawyers Harry Roque, Evalyn Ursua, Renato Constantino, Jr., National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera,, Reps. Teofisto Guingona III (Bukidnon), Rodolfo Plaza (Agusan del Sur), Del de Guzman (Marikina City), Matias Defensor (Quezon City), Abigail Binay (Makati City), former Ambassador Roy Seneres and wife Minerva, former beauty queen Maria Isabel Lopez, Marichu Maceda, Quezon City Vice Mayor Herbert Bautista, former and incumbent municipal and city officials from different cities and provinces attended the assembly.
Maza said that the coalition is ready to oppose all moves to change the 1987 Constitution. “We vow to prosecute Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, First Gentleman Mike Arroyo and top Arroyo officials for plunder and corruption, human rights abuses and other crimes committed under her administration,” she said.
Mariano said Makabayan will be aggressive and strong in the face of big challenges and responsibilities.
In her speech, Maza recalled the political persecution the progressive party lists have gone through, “Maraming hagupit ang hinarap. Walang nagawa ang estado sa tatag ng ating prinsipyo, sa kasigasigan ng ating mga kasama at kaibigan” (We confronted persecution. The state failed to destroy the steadfastness of our principles and the determination of our colleagues and allies.)
“Dinukot, pinatay ang ating kasapian ngunit hindi tayo umatras” (Our members were abducted and killed but we never wavered.)Maza added.
In his message, Sison said, “The electoral form of struggle can be a major part of the movement to arouse, organize and mobilize the people to achieve immediate basic reforms or the ultimate aim of social revolution. There is no error of electoralism or parliamentarism when there is no foreclosing of other forms of struggle that the people have the sovereign right to adopt and wage. There is also no error of reformism when there is no pontification that the struggle for reforms is the sole option of the people.”
Mariano said, “Mahigpit itong tatangan sa mayamang karanasan ng masang nakikibaka at mga nakamit na maniningning na tagumpay” (Makabayan will firmly hold on to the rich experience of the struggling masses and to their glorious victories.)(Bulatlat.com)