Opposition bets, progressive groups vow to work for reforms, oppose dictatorship

Former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares delivers his fiery speech during Makabayan’s miting de avance, May 7 at Plaza Miranda. (Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea/ Bulatlat)

The people must frustrate Duterte’s “serious attempts at dictatorship through martial law, bogus revolutionary government or Charter Change” by voting for the opposition.

By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — Senatorial candidates endorsed by Makabayan Coalition pointed out all that is wrong with the Duterte administration and vowed to push for reforms.

In his speech during the Makabayan Coalition miting de advance at Plaza Miranda, May 7, former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said he is confident that the electorate would junk the candidates of the administration and vote for the opposition.

The May 13 midterm elections is seen as a referendum on Duterte’s performance in the first three years.

Addressing the crowd, Colmenares asked, “Payag ba kayo sa TRAIN Law? Payag ba kayo sa Cha-Cha? Payag ba kayo sa EJK at paglabag ng karapatang pantao? Payag ba kayo sa China? Payag ba kayo sa diktadura?” (Are you in favor of the TRAIN Law? Are you in favor of Cha-Cha? Are you in favor of EJK [extrajudicial killings] and other human rights abuses? Are you in favor of [deals with] China? Are you in favor of dictatorship?)

To each question, the crowd replied with a resounding, “No!”

Colmenares said the people must frustrate Duterte’s “serious attempts at dictatorship through martial law, bogus revolutionary government or Charter Change” by voting for the opposition.

The 11 candidates endorsed by Makabayan have pledged to work together to suspend or repeal the excise tax provision of Duterte’s tax reform program; oppose Charter Change and “similar self-serving, draconian and anti-Filipino amendments to the Constitution;” uphold the country’s sovereignty and rights in the West Philippine Sea; respect women’s rights and uphold human rights and due process for all Filipinos.

The coalition, which is composed of five incumbent party list groups Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women’s Party, ACT Teachers, Anakpawis and Kabataan, has also endorsed independent candidates Grace Poe, Nancy Binay and Serge Osmeña; Otso Diretso candidates Bam Aquino, Chel Diokno, Samira Gutoc, Florin Hilbay and Erin Tañada; and LABOR WIN candidates Leody de Guzman and Sonny Matula.

The Makabayan 11 also vowed to ensure job security and increase the wages and incomes of the working people and resume the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

On the other hand, the candidates of Hugpong ng Pagbabago have supported Duterte’s policies. Colmenares said they are afraid of going into debates because they have supported policies which run counter to the interest of the people.

Issues

Colmenares said that if elected, he would also push for an end to contractualization, increase the social security pension of retired workers, increase in minimum wage, land for the tillers and free education.

In their speeches, both Diokno and Hilbay spoke of the need to fight for justice for victims of human rights abuses.

In his speech, Diokno said in Filipino, “They say I’m a woke lolo (grandfather). But what I hate the most is the grandfather who keeps on hurling invectives, and sowing violence.”

Gutoc, meanwhile, criticized Duterte’s misogyny and vowed to fight for women and children.

Tañada, who hails from Quezon province, promised to address the plight of farmers who are now suffering from very low prices of palay and copra.

De Guzman and Matula, both from the labor sector, said they hope to represent the workers in the Senate.

Aquino’s nephew, Simon, said his uncle would continue to support the youth and small entrepreneurs.

Poe, Binay and Osmeña sent their video messages supporting Colmenares’s bid for the Senate.

“The upcoming elections gives us the opportunity to elect to the Senate men and women of proven competence and integrity who can assert the Senate’s independence and push for laws that favor our people. Candidates who have a proven track record of public service and a fighting chance to win,” Makabayan said in a statement.

With thousands of supporters gathered at Plaza Miranda, Makabayan is positive that the people would revolt against Duterte on May 13 elections.

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