People Power alive in Baguio
Posted by editors
under general , Baguio City
Interfaith rally gathers anti-GMA crowd
BAGUIO CITY (Feb. 29) — People power is alive in this highland city as
shown in a mass actions launched here calling for the immediate
resignation of Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo belying administration claims
there is a people-power fatigue.
Nationally coordinated mass actions launched last Monday and Friday has
Despite rain, various groups gathered under tents in the Igorot Park here
Friday to join the interfaith rally for truth and accountability which was
simultaneous with the mammoth mobilization in Makati City.
Various groups representing the church, youth and students, professionals,
urban poor and workers, among others, gathered on two occasions this week
here where they aired their call for truth on the NBN-ZTE deal, and for
GMA to step down reverberated with protest songs, candle-lighting and a
Nelson Salvador, spokesperson of the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen
and Professionals claimed they joined the gathering as they aspire for an
“Be honest even if others are not… cannot… and will not, “ he said
pointing out that proven good government officials are removed from their
position, particularly raising the issue of anti-graft crusader Braulio D.
Yaranon. Baguio’s former mayor, was suspended for a year due to his expose
of local graft and corruption in the city. He added while corrupt
officials cling to their office instead.
Yaranon also talked during the gathering explaining how power tempts
officials leading them to turn their back from the responsibility to the
people, they are sworn to serve.
Fr. Percy Bacani of the Diocese of Social Action reiterated the
condemnation of the culture of corruption happening from top to bottom of
the present administration.
“We need to fight corruption particularly in the local government units,”
Bacani pointed out.
In a statement distributed in the gathering, the United Church of Christ
in the Philippines stated, “The spectacle of administration allies ganging
up on Lozada show how they would do everything to preserve their interest
and that of the one seating in Malacañang. They were incoherent with their
lies, weaving a string of allegations, which only further exposed a larger
network of conspiracy.”
Evelyn Miranda of the Am-among di Ifontok (gathering of the Ibontocs) said
that truth is unfolding as to the anomalous NBN-ZTE deal. “Ammo tay amin
nu anya ti agpayso,” (We all know the truth) she said.
Junie Simeon of the Courage-Cordillera support the gathering as they
claimed that government employees are affected with the new policies of
the government including the privatization of agencies that are directly
bringing services to the people.
The Youth for Accountability and Truth Now (Youth Act Now), an alliance of
youth organizations and individuals, expressed its support to businessman
Jun Lozada who exposed the anomalous deal.
Anjo Cerdeña, spokesperson of the Youth Act Now reiterated their call for
GMA’s resignation as she turned her back to the government’s
responsibility on education and other social services.
From truth to resignation
While the call for truth and accountability was the initial call of the
gathering, the gravity of the graft and corruption and violation of basic
rights allegedly committed by this administration led the more militant to
raise the call to more higher political call for GMA to resign.
Manny Loste of Bayan Muna Cordillera narrated the violations being
attributed to GMA particularly the 900 extra-judicial killings and
“Enough is enough. GMA must step down from the presidency at the earliest
period,” urged Chie Galvez, secretary-general of the Tongtongan ti Umili.
“We cannot allow apathy to triumph alongside with the evils of
bureaucracy. We have to continue to fight these bureaucratic evils towards
the ouster of the corrupt and fascist GMA regime. Let us live out what
history taught us, that People power is the highest form of people’s
participation in governance,” Tongtongan claimed in its statement.
Meanwhile on Monday, various groups attended the mass at the Baguio
Cathedral here. A candle- lighting and a torch parade ensued. They also
called for truth about the NBN-ZTE deal. ►
Baguio-Benguet Catholic Bishop
Carlito Cenzon, in his homily, called for truth on the alleged fraudulent
US$ 329 million NBN-ZTE deal.
“This mass is an expression of the CBCP’s call for communal action,”
Cenzon reiterated during the mass which gathered a crowd much wider that
the local Catholic population.
Sr. Lulu Dulay, Directress of the St. Louis Center here, repeated the
position of the Catholic Educators Association in the Philippines (CEAP)
which “does not allow dishonesty and corruption in the government to rule
Discussing the anomaly tainted
ZTE-NBN deal, Dulay said CEAP would link with other groups to seek truth
Cerdeña of Youth Act Now and College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP),
pointed out the role of the youth in the removal of two corrupt presidents
via people power – Ferdinand Marcos in February 1986 and Joseph Estrada in
Yaranon, who was also in the mass, claimed through their strength people
could remove a corrupt president, who he said, has no moral authority to
lead the country. He exposed local corrupt practices by politicians during
his 2004-2006 in office but he was suspended by Malacañang for a year and
never took his seat. In the 2007 elections, he ran for re-election but
lost by a slim margin.
Yaranon pointed out that people power is incorporated in the 1987
Philippine Constitution which institutionalized people’s gathering and
discussion of their issues. It protects their right to peaceably assemble
including the removal of their leaders through their sovereign power, he
said. # Arthur L. Allad-iw for NORDIS