KABATAAN, HANDA NA TAYO!
12 November 2009
With the national elections merely six months away, we are all called
upon to rise up to the challenge of contributing to genuine social change
in our country.
Kabataan Partylist, the first and only youth representative in Congress,
is a large network of energized and pro-active young people who are
leaders in various organizations, formations and barkadas. Our members
from across the regions represent diverse interests and backgrounds, tied
by a common vision of a better future for the youth and for the nation. It
supports youth and student-led organizations working for social,
political, economic, cultural and environmental justice in the
Philippines, and enjoins youth from all walks of life to foster active
participation in nation-building, good governance and social change.
The National Convention of Kabataan Partylist is scheduled on November 18,
2009, Wednesday, 4:00pm at the Bahay ng Alumni, UP- Diliman, Quezon City.
This National Convention with the theme “Panata 2010: Handa na Tayo” is
the youth’s declaration that we are ready to step up, take the lead, and
claim our rightful voice in the political process, and most importantly,
change the way politics in the country is done. It will be participated in
by different national organizations, student councils, student
publications, young athletes, young celebrities, and youth leaders all
over the country.
Mabuhay ang Kabataang Pilipino!
By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo
Kabataan party list shows the way
For all intents and purposes, election rules be hanged, the campaign for
the 2010 elections began several months ago. The ubiquitous paid political
ads, the news headlines and opinion pages herald the fact. But except for
the laudable efforts of a few media outlets, the academe and election
reform advocates to draw out what the candidates stand for, the trend has
been to focus on the admirable qualities of the candidates, be they
pedigree, professional credentials, business acumen or government
And, oh yes, which showbiz personality or media figure is running with or
has endorsed whom.
In an election season, one expects that candidates aspiring for national
office will endeavor to explain the body of principles, objectives and
policies on which they stand in appealing for the electorate’s vote. If it
is not in the form of an official document called a platform, then by way
of their innumerable speeches and other public pronouncements in the
course of the campaign.
But this has not been the case. More often than not the public is left to
deduce such an orientation or platform from the candidates’ safe,
motherhood statements and elections promises that have no connection with
historical precedents, current realities and future directions. The
candidates merely pander to what they think the voters want to hear. Or
else they try to hoodwink the public into thinking that programs and
platforms are not all that important because in the end, it is the
character of the candidate that matters.
Certainly, the many crimes of the Arroyo regime involving moral turpitude
– stealing, lying, cheating – have so scandalized the people and dominated
the political landscape that many of our people are led to throw up their
hands in despair and look to heaven for the God-fearing Lot in the
Philippines’ version of Sodom and Gomorra. In the process, key and
substantive questions of public policy and governance are forgotten, set
aside or papered over.
Such as how to revive an economy, create jobs and salvage livelihoods
ruined by decades of anti-people, pro-elite and foreign-dominated policies
and programs. How to protect the little that remains of our plundered and
devastated environment. How to resolve intractable armed conflicts rooted
in poverty, backwardness and social injustice. And, not least, how to keep
the country from being a surrogate field of battle for the US and other
powers bent on maintaining their strategic interests and spheres of
influence in this part of Asia.
One political pundit who likes to “explain” things to those he thinks
unenlightened or ignorant even posited his own scenario and theory of 3
stages in the current campaign leading up to the May 2010 polls. He does
so to explain away why programs and platforms could not possibly be a
prominent feature of the unofficial campaign so far.
There is supposed to be the first stage of “Hi and hello!” wherein the
candidates “introduc(e) themselves, individually, to the public”. Upon the
holding of party conventions, the same candidates will be “introducing
themselves as standard-bearers of parties with platforms”. Then come the
official campaign period, “they will be competing with the other
candidates to convince voters… that they, their platforms, and coalition
partners, deserve our vote.”
Thus the acceptable introductory spiel is supposed to be: "Hello, I'm
running for President... I'm still looking for a running mate and we still
have to build our senatorial slate. Let's talk about our platform later,
The thing is all candidates are paying lip service to the buzzword
“change”, pretending to be the one who will change things for the better.
Thus the public’s search for platforms and a serious discussion of issues
doesn't stem from ignorance of the “stages” of the campaign. It stems from
a demand to know from the candidates what change is needed and what they
will commit themselves to.
Unfortunately, the logic that the slate must be put together and then the
platform decided is that of the quintessential reactionary politician’s
logic. To content oneself with this “staging” is obscurantism and
tantamount to advocating things as they are. It even naively projects that
at the 3rd stage - after the line ups have actually been formed –
candidates will actually shift to a higher level of discussing the issues
that people have been clamoring for.
The "explanation" also glosses over the fact that in the more economically
and politically advanced countries, including the US, even in multi-party
systems, the parties have clear political orientations which their members
strongly adhere to. And the platform is a particular time-bound program
for implementing that orientation under the prevailing circumstances and
to address current issues.
In any case, there is nothing in the COMELEC rules which should prevent a
prospective candidate from presenting his stand on the current issues of
the day. There is not a single serious candidate on the national level who
is still unknown and has to "hi and hello" himself or herself to the
The fact that there is no longer such thing today as a party orientation,
and party-switching has become commonplace does not militate from the
candidates' putting emphasis on their positions on issues and programs;
if, as they claim, their new alliances are based on principle and not on
political expediency and opportunism.
Thus, the demand on candidates, especially on those who claim they are
frontrunners and harbingers of change, to base their introductions,
alliances, and campaigns on issues and not on personalities, emotional
appeals and other advertising devices is not only reasonable, but
intelligent and wise.
One refreshing contrast to the prevailing political cynicism and
opportunism dished out by the traditional political parties thus far, is
the keynote speech of Kabataan Party List representative Raymond “Mong”
Palatino in their recently-held national convention. In lays down simply
but eloquently what it is these young, politically-aware and committed
Filipinos stand for, essentially what their component organizations have
been fighting for long before their first foray in the electoral arena in
It is neither the first nor the last time they cogently articulate their
advocacies and vision of what should and can be. First, quality education
for all, serving foremost the needs of the Filipino people. Second, decent
jobs for all and protection of the rights and welfare of working people so
that the youth need not go abroad to get jobs and secure their future.
Third, good governance starting with the prosecution of corrupt officials
under the Arroyo administration. Fourth, protection of the environment
starting with a stop to destructive mining and an earnest program to
address the devastating effects of climate change. Fifth, charting an
independent domestic and foreign policy that is not held hostage to the
vested interests of foreign powers especially the US.
In general, national leaders who are patriotic, pro-people and democratic,
who uphold and protect human rights and who are fully supportive of the
youth’s aspirations for a happy, productive and bright future.
Kabataan Party and other like-minded parties competing in the party list
elections, show us how to conduct a campaign based on issues and not on
personalities. Where the hi-and-hello is immediately followed by,