When the registered overseas Filipino voters (OFV) get their ballots in the mail, they will vote for one Presidential candidate and one Vice Presidential candidate. For senatorial candidates, they can vote for their 12 choices. For Party List groups, voters can only vote for ONE Party List from a list of 178 candidate groups.
The ONE vote for the Party List is important. The Party List system was created by the 1987 Philippine Constitution to ensure that theHouse of Representatives had representation from the “labor, peasant, urban poor, Indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector.” This was also a recognition that Congress lacked the voices of the marginalized and underrepresented and that it remains the stronghold of the political dynasties, traditional politicians, the landlords and business families, in short, the wealthy. The Party List was envisioned to be the voice of the “voiceless” in the active running of the government.
However, the Party List system has been used by the political dynasties and traditional politicians who saw this as another way to run and secure a seat in Congress. Recently, the electoral watchdog Kontra Daya investigated these Party List groups and said, “There are at least 44 party-list groups controlled by political clans and at least 21 have connections with big business. On the other hand, at least 34 were found to have unknown or unclear advocacies and representations; at least 32 have connections with the government or military; at least 26 have incumbent local officials running as party-list nominees; and at least 19 have pending court cases or criminal charges.” Kontra Daya has asked the COMELEC to explain why it continues to “allow dubious groups to hijack the party-list system, depriving marginalized groups from having a voice at the House of Representatives.” Pati Party List, nanakawin pa ng mayaman at may kapangyarihan. Hindi na sila nahiya.
Among the Party Lists that truly represent the voiceless, the masses, or the laylayan is BAYAN MUNA Party List, #141 in the ballot. It continues its proven and transparent track record of 20 years of work in Congress and continues to be strong and popular with the ordinary people. Bayan Muna has successfully worked for the passage of 19 House bills, like the increase of SSS pensions for Filipinos, the assistance (ayuda) and free testing under the pandemic, and it has opposed corruption and the pork barrel system. How can anyone not like this campaign slogan: “Bayan ang una, sa isip, salita at gawa.” The motto of the Party List is “New Politics, the Politics of Change” or Makabayang Pagbabago. 2022. Tutoo na ang Bayan Muna ang kampeon ng mahirap at kawani ng pamahalaan!
Its platform is one of “advocating for a government that progressively supports the working class, with meaningful representation of all democratic sectors. “Bayan Muna first participated in the 2001 elections and has done well since then, especially because its work is rooted in the lives and struggles of the poor and marginalized. In the current 18th Congress, the members of the Bayan Muna Party List: Cong. Ferdie Gaite, Cong. Carlos Zarate and Cong. Eufemia Cullamat continue the tradition of feisty members of Congress, known not only for their skills, but also for their integrity and courage, in fighting for laws for the people, instead of landlords, and big business. As Bayan Muna Party List reps, they have worked on authoring bills and other house resolutions and engaged in debates in the House. They also have not lined their pockets nor engaged in corruption. Included in their work as members of the 18th Congress are the Magna Carta of Seafarers, now on its third reading; the extension of the voter registration; the suspension of the mandatory membership in the National Health Insurance Program which was opposed by migrant workers across the globe; raised the vaccination priority for OFWs from B6 to A4; pushed for increased COMELEC budget for overseas voting; facilitated the repatriation of OFWs stranded abroad during the pandemic; raised the need to create an embassy and consular offices at Cyprus during the 2022 budget deliberations and pushed for the increase of monthly social of pensions of senior citizens and many more.
Because of this work, they have been easy prey by military, the NTF-ELCAC, by the government in its relentless and malicious scheme of red-tagging; the Bayan Muna Party list reps have stood up and defended themselves, even challenged their accusers to prove their allegations, which the loudmouthed bashers have failed to do.
When ordinary lawyers, government employees, workers, students, indigenous peoples, teachers Muslim brothers and sisters assert their right to participate in law-making through the Party List system, genuine Party List groups like BAYAN MUNA pose a real threat to traditional politicians and political dynasties who are in government not because they wish to serve but because they are in the business of making money for themselves, their families, their cronies.
So, when you vote in May, remember the one vote for the Party List groups. Choose Bayan Muna (#141 sa balota): Bayan ang una, sa isip, salita at gawa.
And because kulay ang rosas ng pagbabago, vote for the Leni (#10) -Kiko (#7) tandem and the people’s favourites Neri Colmenares (#16), Elmer Labog (#37), Leila de Lima #18), Chel Diokno (#25), Sonny Matula (#47).
Ang boto mo ang boses mo!