The theme of the 2012 Blog Action Day “Power of We” comes in a crucial moment in the Philippines’ history. We are in the midst of the 2013 national electoral campaign season, a point of both collective reflection and of change-making action. Though it is probably another circus of guns, goons and gold much like its previous instances, this coming election is of critical importance for many reasons that we all should heed.
First, the party-list system for the congressional representation of marginalized and underrepresented sectors is under fierce contestation between the public and the vested interests. We have all heard of the commendable efforts of the Commission on Elections to weed out party-list fronts for the wealthy and the dynasty aspirants. This is being met with criticism from traditional politicians, but we all know better.
But on the other hand, the COMELEC has hinted on the possibility that party-lists that have proven their track records in promoting pro-people policies could be disqualified in the coming elections.
We can take it if COMELEC refers to Akbayan, a party-list whose nominees and officers have various positions of power in government that it looks like it’s the political party of President Noynoy Aquino’s cabinet. By all means, strip them down along with other pseudo-party-lists such as the Black and White Movement (all full of the King’s men!).
But if it becomes used to shoot down progressive and militant party-list groups such as patriotic party Bayan Muna and grassroots people’s party Anakpawis on the basis of mere technicality interpretations, it becomes a tool to hamper efforts to democratize a political institution that has never really democratically represented the majority of the people.
Second, and related to the party-list issue, the 2013 elections is the first time a progressive green party will actually attempt to participate in the national elections. The Kalikasan Green Party of the Philippines or Kalikasan Party-list aims to bring the issues of mining-affected communities, climate and disaster refugees and other vulnerable sectors affected by environmental destruction to congress.
We can make history if we are able to win a representation in Congress for the indigenous people, urban poor, peasants and workers who are exposed daily to various environmental problems. And our green representative(s) can be a formidable force in opposing such ecologically destructive policies as the Mining Act of 1995, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law and the National Reclamation Plan.
Lastly, the 2013 elections could be the best year to expose the polarization between the corrupt dynasties and traditional politics on one hand, and the genuinely alternative politics of change on the other.
Let’s face the truth: there is virtually no difference between the corrupt senatoriables of dominant and opposing political party coalitions UNA and the Liberal Party connection. How can we expect a divergence from the current government track of human rights violations and other fascist tendencies, plunderous neoliberal economic policies and environmental and social service policies with no teeth?
But this political crisis is also an opportunity: the genuine democratic alternatives stand out from the rest. In fact, we have a lone independent and genuinely oppositionist candidate for the senate running on the platform of battling consumer price problems and pushing for good governance, and bearing a track record in congress on progressive legislation on the environment, human rights and social welfare.
He has neither a dynasty nor a powerful clan. He has been a consistent leader of the Philippine mass movement ever since he was a youthful activist in the country’s premiere state university.
His name is Teddy Casino. And he, like you and me, believes in the Power of We. In the 2013 elections, we will try to make a huge difference in Philippine history. We will defeat the foes of democracy, one disqualified party-list at a time. We will pioneer environmental advocacy in the halls of Congress. And we will fight tooth and nail to bring Teddy Casino’s senate bid to victory.
We will take back the government this coming 2013 running on the Power of We.###
P.S. Here’s my Senator Teddy Casino’s filing for candidacy. Some truly inspiring stuff.