Fighter ng Bayan sa Senado, Fighter ng OFWs
In a poor country like the Philippines where the rich and the very rich are those able to run in elections and win political seats — never mind if they are incompetent, not so bright, always absent, corrupt, accused of plunder, immoral, etc. — it is heart-lifting to know that that there are politicians who have integrity and who continue to work and fight for the people’s rights and welfare.
The campaign period for the Philippine 2016 elections has officially started. All the political parties have now brought their campaign sorties to new intense levels, having started their politicking way before the official start, having creatively done it under the guise of doing their routine functions of office. All are hoping that there will be less or no election violence, corruption, vote buying and the spending of public coffers for personal campaigns.
In the midst of the high election fever and against the backdrop of political dynasties and rich families of big business people and big landlords, there is lawmaker Neri Colmenares of the Bayan Muna partylist who is focused on getting to the Senate. Rep. Neri Colmenares has to work triple hard because he is not wealthy; in fact, he is one of the five (5) poorest Congressmen in the Philippines. He knows what the ordinary Filipino is going through; he is after all, one of them.
You most probably have seen him on Pinoy TV, heard him on radio, watched him on Youtube and there is no arguing that Neri Colmenares is very articulate, passionate, and knowledgeable on the pressing issues of the people.
Neri Colmenares hails from Bacolod, Negros Occidental. He is the son of a security guard and a clerk. As a young man, he loved music, played the guitar and sang. He was also a competitive chess player and was the West Visayas chess champion in his youth. Growing up under the dark years of the Marcos dictatorship, he was not blind to what was happening in the country. He was very active in the student movement, was a member of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) and the Student Catholic Action (SCA). He was 18 years old when he was arrested under the Marcos dictatorship, was tortured, and was imprisoned for four years in Cagayan Valley until his release in 1987.
Neri Colmenares graduated from the UP College of Law in 1996 and from San Beda College in 1992 with an undergraduate degree in economics. He became known as a human rights lawyer and was the first Secretary-General of the NUPL or the National Union of People’s Lawyers (the very same group of lawyers who has taken on the case of detained domestic worker Mary Jane Veloso). He is also a lecturer on International Humanitarian law and Constitutional issues, Election Law, Impeachment, Writs of Kalikasan and Amparo and International Criminal Law.
Neri Colmenares has been a Congressman of the Bayan Muna Partylist since 2009. What has he done, you ask. He authored 158 bills and resolutions and co-authored 246 other bills. He has pushed for the tax exemption for employees who get bonuses from P82, 000 and lower. He has made it possible to make text disaster alerts. He worked on the law that compensation be given to the victims of martial law. He has authored the bills against torture and forced disappearances.
The Filipino public has Neri Colmenares to thank for when he stopped the highest increase in electric bills in 2014 and won this in the Supreme Court. He was also the first to declare before the Supreme Court that the pork barrel schemes of DAP and PDAF are illegal. He has exposed and fought against the anomalies in MRT/LRT, SSS, PCSO and PAGCOR. He stood against using public funds to pay the debts of private corporations. Neri Colmenares is THE person behind the SSS P2000 pension increase, the P125 increase in daily wage, the wage increase for teachers, nurses and government employees, declaring contractualization illegal, lowering of income tax and the lowering of the electric and water fees. Against great odds, Neri Colmenares raises high the banner of nationalist industrialization, genuine land reform, and national sovereignty against US and China.
Neri Colmenares is the Fighter of OFWs. As a Congressman, he authored and co-authored legislation and measures that called for the investigation of the case of Mary Jane Veloso, the Bureau of Customs’ opening of Balikbayan boxes, the alleged Tanim Bala and other Extortions, and the P500M Legal Assistance Fund Supplement for OFWs.
Being a Congressman has not held back Neri Colmenares from marching in the Parliament of the Streets. The issues that he fights for in the halls of Congress resonate with the demands of the poor, the workers, peasants, teachers, seniors, and ordinary people.
It is imperative and necessary to have the voices of the small people heard. And who better to do that than the Fighter ng Bayan, NERI COLMENARES.
Join the strong Neri for Senator Movement (NSM) which is a grassroots movement of groups and individuals in the Philippines and of Filipino migrants abroad who are willing to share their time, skills, and resources to help to push Neri’s bid in the 2016 senatorial elections. We need a fighter for the people in the Senate. That fighter is NERI COLMENARES.