MANILA, Philippines — A labor leader lauded the 1Sambayanan coalition for its outspokenness against the Duterte administration but noted that good intention and good governance promises would not be enough to secure its victory in 2022.
In a statement on Friday, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) chairperson Leody de Guzman said that 1Sambayanan must step away from a personality-based discussion and instead strive for mass participation, ensuring that the group is a reflection of the Filipino people’s aspirations.
“Ang pagsapubliko ng pagkakatatag ng koalisyong 1Sambayan kahapon ay singhap ng sariwang hangin sa gitna ng nakakasulasok na mga kasinungalingan, kabalbalan at kapalpakan na ipinapakalat ng mga DDS at ng kampo ni Duterte,” De Guzman said in BMP’s Facebook post.
(The event that saw the formation and launch of the 1Sambayanan coalition is a breath of fresh air in the midst of the choking lies, misinformation, and inconsistencies propagated by the Duterte camp and its supporters.)
“Subalit habang nakikiisa ang Bukluran sa inyong busilak na hangarin, nais naming ipahayag ang limitasyon ng nabuong kaisahan, bilang kontribusyon na rin sa proseso ng pag-andar at pagpapatibay ng bagong tatag na koalisyon. Sadyang hindi sasapat ang ‘good governance’ sapagkat mauuwi ito sa personalismong usapin ng pagtitiwala o di-pagtitiwala sa isang indibidwal na lider,” he added.
(But while we support this good initiative, we want to express the limitations of the coalition, as part of our contribution to push and strengthen it. Promises of good governance would not suffice because this would go to a personalized discussion of trust or mistrust in a leader’s individuality.)
According to De Guzman, the political position of the masses — such as the labor sector he represents — has always been relegated to elections. He claims that the masses should also engage in politics before the elections, such as participating in discussions about the country’s future.
“Para sa amin, ang problema sa pagugubyerno o governance ay ang kawalan ng totoong kapangyarihan ng taumbayan. Sa kabila ng Konstitusyonal na asersyong lahat ng awtoridad ng gobyerno ay nagmumula sa kanyang mamamayan, ang ordinaryong manggagawa ay hindi kasali sa pulitika liban sa pagiging botante tuwing eleksyon,” De Guzman, who ran in the 2019 elections, explained.
(The real issue in governance, in our view, is a lack of power among the masses. Despite the Constitution’s declaration that government power comes from the people, the average worker has little role in politics other than voting during election season.)
“Ang direktang partisipasyon ng taumbayan sa mga prosesong pampulitika ang magbibigay-buhay sa mga abstraktong prinsipyo na ibinabandera ng mga personalidad ng Koalisyong 1Sambayan gaya ng transparency, accountability, at self-determination,” he stressed.
(People’s active participation in these democratic processes will bring to life the abstract idea that the 1Sambayan coalition wishes to personify: openness, accountability, and self-determination.)
On Thursday, 1Sambayan was formally unveiled in an attempt to challenge President Duterte’s chosen candidates in the 2022 elections. It is headed by retired senior associate justice Antonio Carpio, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, and other opposition members.
The coalition, which is pro-democracy and anti-authoritarianism, has named many potential candidates, including Vice President Leni Robredo, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Senators Grace Poe and Nancy Binay, and former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
However, reactions to the 1Sambayan launch were mixed: Moreno and Binay thanked the conveners but declared that they wanted to concentrate on the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Manny Pacquiao, a Duterte ally and rumored presidential candidate, and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio both emphasized that it is not the time to discuss politics in the midst of an outbreak of infections.
Duterte-Caprio, who has initially begged off from running in 2022, also noted that the proposal “sounds authoritarian” as it excludes other members of the country from participating in the coalition.
Ironically, the Davao Mayor’s point of view was echoed by some netizens and other groups critical of the administration, as 1Sambayan allegedly removes the people from decision-making and instead imposes the conveners’ preferred candidate.
De Guzman said that opening the coalition to the masses would hasten the process of forging a united opposition, in addition to preventing the coalition from contradicting itself on its anti-authoritarian stance.
“Naiintindihan naming dadaan pa sa proseso ng pagpapanday sa pagkakaisa ng bagong tatag na koalisyon. Mapapabilis ito kung bubuksan ang partisipasyon sa mga samahang masang manggagawa’t mahihirap, hindi lang sa kanilang mga lider kundi sa kanilang mga isyu, sa mga kagyat na suliraning pinalulubha ng pandemya, resesyon, kalamidad, at represyon,” he explained.
(We recognize that forging unity within the new coalition will be a lengthy process. However, this would be accelerated if it enabled workers and the poor to participate, not only the leaders, but also for their own issues, such as urgent solutions to problems exacerbated by the pandemic, recession, calamities, and repression.)
“Kung nais ng koalisyong 1Sambayan na matapyasan ang base ng awtoritaryan ngunit popular na rehimeng Duterte, itaguyod nito ang prinsipyo ng ‘good governance’ sa pagsusulong ng direktang partisipasyon ng masa sa pulitika, at magsisimula sa pagsasapraktika ng diwang ito sa loob mismo ng koalisyon,” he added.
(If 1Sambayan wants to engage supporters of the repressive but popular Duterte regime, it should implement the good governance concept by calling for direct participation of the masses in politics. These ideas should start within the coalition first.)