UP students gear for May elections

By Mario Urrutia III

The hype for the election season is really on the roll. Students from the University of the Philippines have been preparing for the midterm elections.

A series of election-related activities have been organized by different student organizations in the university. Various election-related activities and campaigns are being organized to cater to students; awareness on the elections.

The University Student Council (USC) started the trend with its election campaign, Tatak Botante. The campaign is spearheaded by the USC Education and Research Committee and has already established itself as a year-long campaign. Tatak Botante has brought poll awareness activities in UP Diliman.

Tatak Botante has then brought election education to UP Diliman students through its youth participation talks and registration activities. Apart from this, the campaign has also led to the first senatorial forum in the UP system through Ang Pagsusuri. The event converged different senatoriables and has even landed on Twitter’s trending topics.

DZUP, UP’s radio station started its election talk series last March 4. The stations has then invited partylist groups and senatoriables to its program, “Boto 2012 – Eleksyon, Talakayan, Kaalaman,” which airs on weekdays from 2 to 4 in the afternoon.

Since then, different election-related activities have been conducted in the university. The UP Economics Society and UP Advertising Core, and the UP Economics Towards Consciousness have both invited senatorial aspirants to discuss on their stands on societal issues through their respective forums: Rundown 2013 and Town Hall.

Other activities were also conducted in the university in partnership with the Commission on Elections and youth groups. PCOS demonstrations have been conducted in the School of Economics and in the College of Social Sciences and Philisophy.

A mock election happened in the College of Mass Communication on February 28. It was supervised by the UP Journalism Club through its Mamamayan/Mamamahayag campaign. The campaign aims to shed light on citizen journalism’s role on the elections while the event aims to gauge students’ votes on the senatorial candidates.

The mock polls was also conducted in four other universities in Metro Manila including the Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University.

In the University of the Philippines polls, Dick Gordon topped with 66% followed by Escudero with 61%, Casino with 55%, Cayetano with 51%, Hontiveros with 47%, Legarda with 42%, Pimentel with 41%, Trillanes with 35%, Angara with 33%, Zubiri with 31%, Aquino with 25% and Poe with 25%.




First time voters: Who and what they really want

By: Sir Lawrence Agustin and Paul John Garcia        

Less than two months before the May senatorial elections, different campaign advertisements and publicity materials boasting different achievements, broadcasting successful projects, and some telling platforms and plans for the country have already appeared almost everywhere. If a person is new to these things, he or she may be confused. It is interesting to know what first time voters think despite being bombarded with the faces, plans, and even songs of the candidates on almost all platforms of media.

In order to know what the thoughts of the first time voters are, Journalism students from UP Diliman conducted an interview to 12 respondents* from different parts of the country. 

On selecting who to vote

There are 33 official senatorial candidates for this year’s elections. Each of them has specific platforms, different qualities and characteristics, and unique ways of selling themselves to the public. But these do not guarantee them a sure spot on the positions they are running for. Each voter still has qualifications in choosing who to vote for, and here are what first time voters have in mind.

Majority of the respondents agreed that they would vote for candidates who have firm stands on issues such as the arguments regarding the Divorce bill, Freedom of Information bill, on education, and good governance, among many others. It is also a plus point if these stands are inclined with the respondents’ own views and opinions.

Good educational background is also deemed important by the respondents. The candidates should at least attain college degrees.

“For me, once a person reaches college, his view of the world broadens, and this, in turn, makes him sensitive to relevant social issues,” said Patrick Pineda from Las Pinas. A candidate should also be “knowledgeable of the law,” according to Camille Hernandez of Oriental Mindoro. Other respondents concurred that having knowledge in current politics, law, current events as well as international affairs make a candidate “competent” and “deserving” of the position.

Respondents from Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Oriental Mindoro and Cagayan de Oro agreed that those candidates who have previously been elected should have performed well while they are in office. They also emphasized the importance of passing quality laws, which can also be a factor for them to vote for these public servants.

Moreover, clean political record is also a qualification the respondents look for in choosing who to vote. “[titignan natin] kung ano ba yung mga ginawa nila sa lugar na pinamamahalaan nila,” said Rachel Capili of Cavite.

Meanwhile, the issue of political dynasty comes in since it is election season again. This is another thing that majority of the respondents look at.

Marianne dela Cruz of Cagayan de Oro said, “it would be better if he/she is not part of a political dynasty. It would spare our country from complications in the future.”

Christian dela Cruz, a respondent from Ilocos Norte, also pointed out that he does not want “Epaliticians” or those who always put their names and faces on streamers or tarpaulins which broadcast projects and congratulatory messages. “Although that’s rare,” he said.

Almost all of the interviewed first time voters agreed that the candidates they will vote for should be “maka-masa.” According to them, they will choose candidates who have platforms catered for the masses, those who are passionate and sincere in serving the people and those who will prioritize the public above anyone else.

 “The last thing the county need is a trapo/pseudo public servant,” said dela Cruz of CDO.

The respondents also expect the candidates to be God-fearing, honest, humble and true to their intentions to serve the people.

On laws they want the candidates to pass

The first time voters do not only have criteria in mind for choosing a candidate, they also have some laws in mind that they wanted to be passed by the elected public officials. One of which is the Freedom of Information bill.

FOI is a bill that will guarantee the public access on documents, records and other government-related transactions and dealings. Transparency and accountability will be promoted through this, which, according to its authors, can lead to good governance.

But, unfortunately, according to an article of the Philippine Daily Inquirer dated February 6, it was not able to pass on the 15th congress due to “lack of quorum” and lack of “Malacanang support.” (See full article here http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/353829/house-goes-on-recess-without-tackling-foi-bill)

With this recent predicament, some respondents find it necessary to pass this bill immediately because it is really beneficial for the public.

“We need to exercise our right to be informed. It helps us check who should and should not be in public office. Once we have the FOI bill, we can check kung sino ang loko among government officials. Of particular concern here is how our senators and representatives use their Priority Development Assistance Fund(PDAF), or pork barrel,” believed Pineda of Las Pinas.

Furthermore, other “laws on transparency” should be passed said Hernandez of Oriental Mindoro.

Matters on education is also a problem which the respondents wanted to be addressed through the passage of a law. Maureen Rabut of Pangasinan said “studying on state universities must be free. No tuition fees.”

Moreover, Increase in budget would also be of great help according to Aguila of Camarines Norte while Pineda of Las Pinas said that Magna Carta for students would be a good law to be passed.

Meanwhile, Shaira Estrella of Laguna said it would be interesting if there were laws that forbid political dynasties. With the current issues concerning candidates running from the same families that have already served or are still serving the country, there should at least be something that would stop this kind of thing, according to Estrella.

Not only do national issues matter, local concerns, too. Trizia Garcia from Leyte wanted the candidates to pass a law that prioritizes local businessmen to operate more than foreigners.

“I want a law that limits accepting or approving applications of business permits of the Taiwanese, Japanese or Chinese people in our town. I suggest this kind of law because I can see that in our place, it is like we are already conquered with these kinds of people who put up businesses instead of Filipinos,” she said. 

Others, which perhaps gained clamor due to recent debates and arguments, that the respondents wanted to be passed are the divorce bill, genuine agrarian reform, laws on political parties, laws on increasing the minimum wage of workers and the revision of the anti-cybercrime law.

*Respondents are picked through self-selection sampling (volunteer respondents) via Twitter and Facebook. The interviewees do not necessarily represent all the first time voters in the country.

Optimistic to skeptic: What the LGBT thinks of Ladlad

By Miko Morales

UntitledThe Ladlad party list is making history this year as it marks the first time that they are finally able to launch a full campaign with no opposition for a seat in Philippine Congress and being the only Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender party list on the ballot. However, this begs the question: does Ladlad have enough support to bring change to society and do the members of LGBT community believe that they can do it?

Looking back, it was only in April of 2010 that the Supreme Court voted 12-3 in favor of Ladlad to break/ ground and have the opportunity to run for the 2010 elections which resulted in only about 113,000 votes. “We only had three weeks of campaigning because of the scrutiny done by the Commission on Elections in which we were labeled as ‘immoral and a threat to the youth’,” said transgender Congressional nominee Bemz Benedito about their failed bid in 2010.

Now, Ladlad has had two years to build rapport and gain support for the 2013 elections. “Our goal is to reach that 250,000 vote benchmark. And we keep telling our supporters that we hope to get three seats this 2013 elections,” adds Benedito. . In an interview done for Studio 23’s “IbaBalita”, Benedito estimates that there are “10 million” Filipinos part of the LGBT community and Ladlad members now number up to “50,000.”

With the community at such a large number, young members of the LGBT community voiced out their opinions concerning what Ladlad will be able to do if they succeed in their campaign and the elections. Most believe that Ladlad has a chance to finally end the discrimination.

UP Diliman journalism student, voter and LGBT member Clang Ilagan shows optimism and believes that the success of Ladlad hinges on what they fight for in Congress. She also believes that Ladlad is not alone in their fight for LGBT rights. “Hindi lang sila sa loob ng Congress yung magiging representation ng buong community ng LGBT. Kung mananalo sila, magdedepend pa rin yan kung marerepresent ng tama at may paninindigan yung LGBT community. At sana di sila marepress sa loob ng Congress dahil ganoon na ang nararamdaman ng community.”

Karl Mejia, a UP Diliman Education student, voter and LGBT member also shows optimism for Ladlad’s plans. He says that the LGBT community “will feel more capable of voicing out their needs and rights.” “I think that if Ladlad wins, the perception of our close-minded citizens may be altered which will make equality among “different” genders more feasible,” said Mejia.

However, if history is anything to go by, Ladlad has an uphill climb to their goal. The Anti-discrimination Bill that was supposed to be passed in 2011 has been stalled in Congress because it includes the rights of the LGBT community.

This is the sentiment of another UP Diliman journalism student and LGBT member Jovi Figueroa who is also optimistic about Ladlad if they win a seat. She believes that it will not only be the allies of the LGBT community that will push legislation but the community itself. However, she also believes that one party cannot do much because of the size of Congress.

“Ilang seats lang naman iyon. 2 to 3 seats lang ang makukuha so hindi ako sure kung may magagawa ang Ladlad pero kung meron man, siguro information dissemination and further pagmumulat sa loob ng Kongreso pati na sa mga masa,” Figueroa said. She also adds that it will be more effective for Ladlad to push “information dissemination” outside of Congress “kasi ang makakatulong talaga sa rise ng LGBT ay hindi lang yung mga nasa sa loob kundi yung mga tao na magpupush ng mga rights.”

Of course there will be some members of the LGBT community who are skeptic about Ladlad’s chances of gaining a seat in the elections because of the sheer amount of discrimination against the LGBT community. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has been against the campaign of Ladlad to push for LGBT rights. Also, in the report done by Pauline Hui entitled “LGBT Representation in the works,” the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission reported that there are still numerous hate crimes against the LGBT community in the Philippines in 2012.

This is why University of Sto. Tomas Commerce student, LGBT member and Secretary of the Legislative Board of the College of Commerce and Business Administration and the Vice-Chairman of UST political party Lakas Ng Diwang Tomasino  Jessie Abarcar doubts that Ladlad will have success in these elections because for him, Filipinos are not “open minded enough to let reps from this group reach the Congress.”

“But, if ever na may divine intervention na mangyari and merong manalo, that would be good for the LGBT community. Usually kasi ang napapass lang na Laws ay for straight people, like RH is addressed for women’s safety. So as of the moment, walang laws na talagang heavily implemented for the safety of people coming from the LGBT community and maggagrant ng equal work opportunities” Abarcar said.

He also laments the fact that the LGBT community is easily stereotyped. “I’m tired of seeing na majority ng mga bakla ay nasa parlor or nasa comedy bar lang. Kasi pag sinabeng bakla ang usual na iniisip ng tao is funny, therefore, comedy bar,” he adds.

“Gusto ko naman na in the future, marami ring homosexuals ang nagrurule ng corporate world and sa field ng medicine. I’m sure na meron din naman at the moment, and probably they’re keeping it to themselves out of fear of discrimination, and when you’re keeping something like that and you know na you’re actions and thoughts are limited, it affects your performance eh. So when the congress gives way for laws that would cover these issues, clearly it will have a positive effect,” said Abarcar when discussing what the LGBT community should be in the future.

Finally, Abarcar hopes that if ever Ladlad does get a seat, “laws for the LGBT will be pushed” so that “masabi natin talaga na we are living in a democracy, where everyone is free to express themselves without thinking na baka may consequences yan later.”

No one knows what will happen in May or if Ladlad will be successful. But one thing is for sure, the whole LGBT community is backing them and that they are pushing to end the discrimination that has long shadowed them.

Party Party! But which is which?*

By Julius Ryan Umali and Myk Gregory Albao 

Liberal Party. National People’s Coalition. Kabataan Party-List. Nacionalista Party. United Nationalist Alliance. Communist Party of the Philippines – Are these all the same?

Sa pagkaka-alam ko, yung party-list kase, parang merong tinutulungan. ‘Yung partynaman, kumbaga team yan eh,” said Nica Orciga, a college student who is also first time voter.She was unsure of her very own answer to the question “What’s the difference between a political party and a party-list?” And she is one of countless others who do not understand the political concepts that electorate face every three years during elections.

 A political party, says UP Political Science Professor Jean Encinas-Franco, is in essence a team, just like Nica thought. “Political parties recruit members and select those that they can field in electoral contests. The politicians selected are the ones voted by the citizens,” explained Prof. Franco.

 Thus, the Liberal Party, for example, has members from all over the archipelago that are chosen as candidates for the senatorial elections and positions all the way down to municipal-level polls. This is also related to what we call slates, or a list of officially-endorsed candidates who will be the standard bearer of political parties for the elections.

 Prof. Franco said that party-lists are in essence, also political parties. But party-lists mainly seek seats in the country’s legislative body, specifically, the House of Representatives. Party-lists “select nominees that will sit in the parliament the moment the political parties garners the required number of votes,” explained Prof. Franco.

 Whereas the candidates from the political parties have their actual name written on the ballot, the names of the parties in the party-list system appear instead, added Prof. Franco.

 So we don’t see Liberal Party or UNA or Bangon Pilipinas on the ballot, because they are political parties. They have the individual names of the members of their slates or their standard bearers to represent them. But we do see the party-lists like Buhay, CIBAC, Kabataan, Gabriela, etc. When they get the required number of votes, they will be represented by one to three nominees, depending on how many votes they get.

 The party-list system aims specifically to represent the marginalized sectors, according to Article VI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. But it is not only used in the Philippines; countries such as Spain, Israel and Albania have their own versions of the party-list system.

 Politics: More fun in the Philippines

While it is common sense that these instruments (the political parties and party-list system) should be employed for the good of the Philippine society as a whole, the benefits might be limited to the entertainment the public get when opposing parties (and in the present election season, party-lists) start the mudslinging and muckraking during the election period

“The present party set-up in the Philippines is advantageous to the elites. It is far from the traditional description of political parties, that is, as institutions for interest aggregation of societal goals,” lamented Prof. Franco, who teaches Philippine Government and Politics classes in UP.

 This is evident when politicians just slip away from party to party; jumping into another’s wagon whom they think will benefit their candidacy and their interests. She added, “[The party set-up] is personality-oriented and does not lend itself to serious discussions of policy issues. I don’t think it has advantages only disadvantages to a society that relies on parties to represent their interests.”

 In short, the electorate are made to choose those who have the celebrity appeal because of the present party system in the country.

 Ronald Molmisa, another UP Political Science professor, explained that this is nothing new. Ever since, politics has been “more fun in the Philippines,” if you get what that means.

 “Political parties since the American period have been elite-driven. During that time you cannot vote if you are not propertied or never had political leadership experience,” said Prof. Molmisa

 His words are echoed by Prof. Franco: “[Our political system] is a product of our historical and colonial experience which shaped our country’s political economy and our political institutions.”

 What now?

Aside from the fact that many like Nica do not really grasp the political system of the country (we’re just supposed to vote, right?), the overall system needs to change.

 Prof. Franco bleakly explained, “I don’t think it has advantages, only disadvantages to a society that relies on parties to represent their interests.”

 The citizens only have their representatives to speak out for them, and these representatives better have the right motives and right heart in their quest for political office. Otherwise, the House of Representatives might one day be full of phony representatives claiming to be champions of the marginalized.

 Prof. Molmisa gave an old but enduring advice: “The party-list system act should be implemented seriously. It must also faithfully adhere to its noble aim – to give the marginalized a voice in the legislature. Else, Philippine politics will remain an inter-elite rivalry. Our country is not really democracy but an oligarchy. Democracy only in form and procedures, but not in substance.”

 Political entities mentioned do not represent the writer’s political views. They are named as mere examples.

Challenges to party-list system: more filtering and less ambiguities in the law

By Genevieve Seguerra

Republic Act 7941 or the Party-list Act was enacted to “enable Filipino citizens belonging to the marginalized and under-represented” to be represented in the Congress. It was passed to heed the sentiments of Filipinos coming from marginalized sectors over the dominance of traditional political parties.

In the last four elections however, we have witnessed how party-list system has been robbed off of its true essence of increased representation. Many party-list nominees do not come from the sector they advocate. Some of these representatives are even from wealthy political families which are already over-represented.

Sectoral representatives are entitled to the same salaries and emoluments as regular district congressman. No wonder nominees, who claim to empower sectors they do not really represent, use the law for political ascendancy.

Cleaning the system

For May 2013 election, Comelec has come up with stricter application and purged questionable party-list groups.

Of the 289 party-list group applications, 124 have existing accreditation while 165 were new applicants. Comelec retained only 58 groups and accredited only 21 new applicants. This was the first time the poll body cancelled the application of groups with existing accreditation.

This resulted to a list of accredited groups which is relatively shorter than previous elections. Although 123 groups were listed in the ballot, only 71 are qualified to participate in the poll. The other 52 disqualified groups were able to secure status quo ante (SQA) order from the SC which compelled Comelec to include them in the official ballot.  Their votes, however, will not be considered in case the SC decides in favor of disqualification.

Another first in this year’s election was the decision of Comelec to raffle each group. Many groups put ‘A’ or ‘1’ at the beginning of their name to secure top spot in the ballot list. Instead of following the standard alphanumeric system, Comelec raffled 123 groups to determine their numbering.

  1. 1-CARE – 1st Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy Inc
  2. ABS – Arts Business and Science Professionals
  3. PASANG MASDA – PasangMasda Nationwide Party
  4. OFW Family – OFW Family Club Inc
  5. MAGDALO – Magdaloparasa Pilipino
  6. AMS – Alyansang Media at Showbiz
  7. ABONO – Abono Party-list
  8. BAYANI – Bayani Party-list
  9. A TEACHER – Advocacy for Teacher Empowerment through Action, Cooperation, and Harmony Towards Educational Reforms
  10. PWD – Pilipinos with Disabilities
  11. 1-LAMBAT – IsangLapianngMangingisda at Bayan tungosaKaunlaran
  12. AAMA – Alliance of Advocates in Mining Advancement for National Progress
  13. BH – BagongHenerasyon
  15. AKMA-PTM – AksyonMagsasaka-PartidoTinigngMasa
  16. KABATAAN – Kabataan Party-list
  17. AKB – Ako Bicol Political Party
  18. AANI – AngAgrikulturaNatinIsulong
  19. UNI-MAD – United Movement Against Drugs Foundation
  20. ALIM – Action League of Indigenous Masses
  21. ALAY BUHAY – Alay Buhay Community Development Foundation Incs
  22. AN WARAY – An Waray
  23. PBA – PuwersangBayaningAtleta
  24. FIRM 24-K – Firm-24K Association Inc
  25. TUCP – Trade Union Congress Party
  27. ADING – Advance Community Development in New Generation
  28. ABANTE RETIREES – Abante Retirees Party-list Organization
  29. 1-ABILIDAD
  30. KATRIBU – Katribu Indigenous Peoples Sectoral Party
  31. COCOFED – Philippine Coconut Producers’ Federation Inc
  32. ATING KOOP – AdhikaingTinataguyodngKooperatiba
  33. PISTON – Piston Land Transport Coalition Inc
  34. AGAP – Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines
  35. AGBIAG – AgbiagTimpuyog Ilocano Inc
  36. ALE – Association of Laborers and Employees
  38. AVE – Alliance of Volunteer Educators Party-list
  39. BINHI – Binhi-Partidong mga Magsasakaparasa mga Magsasaka
  41. ARAL – Association of Righteousness Advocacy on Leadership
  42. ACT TEACHERS – Act Teachers Party-list
  43. BUTIL – Butil Farmers Party
  44. COOP NATCCO – Cooperative Natcco Network Party
  45. VFP – Veterans Freedom Party
  46. ACT-CIS – Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support Inc
  47. GABRIELA – Gabriela Women’s Party
  48. 1-AAMOVER – A Action Moral & Values Recovery Reform Philippines Inc
  49. AMIN – Anak Mindanao Party-list
  50. UMALAB KA – UgnayanngMaralita Laban saKahirapan
  51. ALYANSA NG OFW – Alyansang OFW Party-list
  52. ABAKADA – Abakada-Guro
  53. YACAP – You Against Corruption and Poverty
  54. ABROAD – Action Brotherhood for Active Dreamers Inc
  55. KAAKBAY – Katipunanng mga Anakng Bayan All Filipino Democratic Movement
  56. AMA – AagapaysaMatatanda
  57. AMOR SEAMAN – Association of Marine Officer & Ratings Inc
  58. ANAC-IP – Ang National Coalition of Indigenous Peoples Action Na
  59. ANGKLA – AngPartidong mga Pilipinong Marino Inc
  60. ATONG PAGLAUM – AtongPaglaumInc
  61. ABA – AlyansangBayanihanng mga Magsasaka, ManggagawangBukid, at Mangingisda
  62. AAMBIS-OWA – AngAsosasyon Sang MangungumaNgaBisaya-OwaMangungumaInc
  63. 1-AALALAY – IsangAlyansangAalalaysaPinoy
  64. ABANTE KA – AbanteKatutuboInc
  65. 1BAP – 1 Banat &Ahapo Party-list Coalition
  66. BANTAY – The True Marcos Loyalist for God, Country, and People
  67. 1 BRO-PGBI – 1-Bro Philippine Guardians Brotherhood Inc
  68. AFPSEGCO – Alliance for Philippine Security Guards Cooperative
  69. A-IPRA – Agapayng Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Alliance
  71. MTM PHILS – MamamayantungosaMaunladnaPilipinas
  72. ANG KASANGGA – KasanggasaKaunlaranInc
  73. LPGMA – LPG Marketers Association Inc
  74. ANG MINERO – Sectoral Party of AngMinero
  75. AA KASOSYO – Kasosyo Producer
  76. 1 ANG PAMILYA – UnaangPamilya Party-list
  77. 1st KABAGIS
  78. 1-UTAK – 1-United Transport Koalisyon
  79. DIWA – Democratic Independent Workers Association Inc
  80. ARC – Alliance for Rural Concerns
  81. CIBAC – Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption
  82. AGILA – AgilangKatutubong Pilipino Inc
  83. 1GANAP/GUARDIANS – 1 Guardians Nationalist Philippines Inc
  84. AGHAM – Alyansang mga GrupongHaligingAgham at TeknolohiyaparasaMamamayanInc
  85. MIGRANTE – MigranteSectoral Party of Overseas Filipinos and their Families
  86. AWAT Mindanao – Anti-War Anti-Terror Mindanao
  87. ALLUMAD – AlyansaLumad Mindanao Inc
  88. ATM – AbanteTribungMakabansa
  89. PACYAW – Pilipino Association for Country-Urban Poor Youth Advancement and Welfare
  90. KLBP – KababaihangLingkodng Bayan saPilipinas
  91. AASENSO – AtingAgapaySentrongSamahanng mga ObreroInc
  92. AG – AngGalingPinoy
  93. ALAGAD
  94. A BLESSED – Blessed Federation of Farmers and Fishermen International Inc
  95. AMA – AngMata’yAlagaan
  96. AKAPBATA Inc – AkapbataSectoral Organization for Children Inc
  97. SMART – Social Movement for Active Reform and Transparency
  98. ABP – Alliance of Bicolnon Party
  99. ANAD – Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy
  100. ADA – Agrarian Development Association
  101. ARARO – Alliance for Rural and Agrarian Reconstruction Inc
  102. KAP – KaagapayngNagkakaisangAgilangPilipinongMagsasaka
  103. APEC – Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives
  104. AKBAYAN – Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party
  105. 1-SAGIP – Social Amelioration & Genuine Intervention on Poverty
  106. 1JAMG – 1 Joint Alliance of Marginalized Group Inc
  107. AKO BAHAY – Adhikain at KilusanngOrdinaryong Tao parasaLupa, Pabahay, Hanapbuhay, at Kaunlaran
  108. ADAM – Adhikainng mga DakilangAnakMaharlika
  109. AKO – AkoAyokosaBawalnaDroga
  110. ABAMIN – Abante Mindanao
  111. APPEND – Append Inc
  112. AGRI – Agri-Agra naRepormaparasaMagsasakangPilipinas Movement
  113. AT – AangatTayo
  114. ANG NARS
  115. GREENFORCE – Green Force for the Environment Sons and Daughters of Mother Earth
  116. SENIOR CITIZENS – Coalition of Association of Senior Citizens in the Philippines
  117. ALIF – Ang Laban ngIndigenong Filipino
  118. KALINGA
  120. 1-PABAHAY – IsangPangarapngBahaysaBagongBuhayngMaralitangKababayanInc
  121. KAKUSA – Kapatiranng mga NakulongnaWalang-sala
  122. BUHAY – BuhayHayaangYumabong
  123. ABANG LINGKOD – AbangLingkod Party-list

*list taken from Philippine Online Chronicles: http://www.thepoc.net/breaking-news/elections-2013/17625-comelec-raffles-ballot-spots-to-partylist-list-included.html

Broad, vague and weak

Despite effort to sift through bogus applications, poll watchdog group Kontra Daya observed some questionable groups were still able enter the list. These groups were able to circumvent the law because of loopholes in the law itself.

For example, Section 9 states that party-list nominees should be a member of the party or organization which he seeks to represent. However, it does not necessitate that the nominee should come from the sector it represents.

As a result, several party-list groups such as Aambis Owa, ABAMIN, Abono, Agbiag, AGAP, Ang Kasangga, ALE, A-TEACHER, BH, Buhay, DIWA, 1 Ang Pamilya, YACAP, ABS, and AA Kasosyo  were included in the list for May 2013 election even if their list of nominees includes politicians and wealthy business owners.

Another ambiguity is stated in Section 5. It broadly defines sectors which include “labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals” can apply. The inclusion of “professional” allowed even those who are not marginalized and under-represented to vie for representation in the Congress.

There are also outright violations of the law. Section 8 clearly states that the list shall not include any candidate who has lost his or her bid for an elective office in the immediately preceding election. Ang Kasangga nominee Gwendolyn Pimentel was a senatorial candidate who ran and lost in May 2010 election.

There is also the case of Bagong Henerasyon (BH) partylist. Bernadette Herrera-Dy was a councilor in Quezon City from 2001 until in 2009 when BH, whose founder and representative was also Herrera-Dy, applied for accreditation. BH therefore is government funded because its services and programs came from a representative who was then an incumbent councilor.

These issues shows the need for greater effort to clean the party-list system as it has been wallowed in the mud too deeply for the past elections. Effort to return its original purpose of increased representation among the masses should be observed in both the government and the electorate body.

On its part, the government do electoral reforms to clear ambiguities in the law, especially in the issue of who should represent as oppose to who could represent. In addition, the government should try not to affiliate or align with party-list groups as true representation of perceived Malacanang-backed groups are ethically questioned.

As voters, we should remember that genuine party-list groups echo the sentiment of Filipinos coming from marginalized and under-represented sectors. The law was passed to provide voice to small people suffering because social issues like poverty, unemployment, and poor healthcare remain widely unresolved.

The party-list system faces many challenges but it is no excuse not to make an intelligent vote. Do not be part of the problem. Know the sector you belong and the challenges it faces because depending on the vote you make, the party-list system can either bind you more or bind you less to social ills.



Kontra Daya website: http://kontradaya.org/

Philippine Online Chronicles: http://www.thepoc.net/breaking-news/elections-2013/17625-comelec-raffles-ballot-spots-to-partylist-list-included.html

Students’ take on ‘epalism’

By: Elsie Delfin and Cathrina Maulion


Not only are the citizens more critical to politicians’ actions nowadays, but even the youth are more concerned and expressive when it comes to issues of politicians and public service.


The Anti-epal campaign is still ongoing because HB 1967, or more commonly known as the Anti-Epal Bill, has not yet been passed into law and peal posters and tarps are still prevalent. The primary proponent of this bill is Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago who filed the bill in 2011.


The bill would punish government officials who will use public funds to post giant pictures of themselves with diverse messages which are clearly posted out of their own personal interest. Imprisonment ranging from six months to one year would await future offenders.


The online campaign for the Anti-epal bill has also made it easier to raise awareness to more citizens. “With the rise of social media as a public forum for ordinary citizens, the Anti-Epal campaign has been garnering a fair amount of mileage. Pictures of “epalism” are easily shared and dissected by anyone with access online. Even the media and a senator had caught on the hype. It generated awareness on what constitutes a “trapo” and the lack of “delicadeza” permeating the public sector,” said Rachel Malaluan, an economics major.


People are complaining and criticizing these politicians openly but what exactly makes these epal posters and tarps unappealing and unethical?


Earvin Pelagio, a linguistics major, pointed out two problems regarding the emergence of these epal publicity materials, “Dapat hindi nila inaangkin yung credit para sa mga project na sinimulan nila dahil una, trabaho naman nila yon, pangalawa, hindi nila project yun, idea siguro nila pero project pa rin yun ng LGU.”


Aside from being unnecessary and unwanted, these epal materials also have an effect on the environment. Some students pointed out that politicians’ posters easily become trash that are scattered along the streets and even become the cause of the clogging go drainages. When they become trash, they become additional work for those who are cleaning the areas where they are posted.


The politicians who are do this more often are criticized for their actions. But who else may be responsible for the proliferation of these epal materials?


Nina Arellano, a materials engineering student, said that the politicians are not the only ones to blame since it the epal materials are only their way of campaigning to people who vote based on popularity, connections, and other biases. “Dapat kasi, nag-eeffort talaga tayo na kilalanin ang ating mga kandidato, hindi yung nagba-base lang tayo sa mga nakikita natin, or hinihintay lang natin na mangampanya sa atin ang mga kandidato.”


Some also mentioned that this is a problem unique to certain cities in rural areas. Students who come from different provinces say that it is surprising to see politicians taking too much credit for their supposed projects. Joana Bagano, a journalism student, even suggests a way to strengthen the law by “using terminology that clearly draws the line between what is allowable and not.” The bill can still benefit from suggestions like this.


Those who are interested to support and share evidences of epal politicians and materials can do so on social networking sites. One good example of this is a fan page on Facebook entitled “Support the Anti-Epal Bill” where anyone can post proofs of “epalism.” The site also has updates, news, and developments on the bill.


Citizen Journalism, the Youth and the Elections

By Florence Jose and Hajilyn Javier

All journalists are citizens of the country, but not all the citizens can be journalists.

Citizen Journalism has broken the barriers between the willingness to contribute in nation building and the responsibility to deliver truthful and accurate information. As the 2013 Elections is fast approaching, with the kind of technology in this day and age, every person should be equipped with a pen and a voice to raise opinion and awareness, especially the youth.

The Voice of the Youth

The youth has been very active in expressing their views and opinions may it be through online or militant activism. Also, student leaders, young athletes, out of school youth and other parts of the youth sector have some say on how citizen journalism among the Filipino youth today can be of great help in the upcoming May 2013 elections.

According to Julliano Fernando Guiang, University of the Philippines Diliman University Student Council Councilor who pioneered the Tatak Botante, a voters’ registration and education campaign, the youth have the widest access to social media because they have the gadgets and the social networking accounts that can be used in information dissemination.

“Malinaw na epektibong citizen journalists ang kabataan dahil tayo ang may pinakamalawak na access sa social media at marami sa atin ay mayroong mga gadgets na maaring magamit para makapaghayag ng tungkol sa ibat ibang mga bagay. Napakadali na rin sa atin na maghayag ng ating opinion, mapa-blog, note o tweet man.” Guiang said.

Similarly, Jose Miguel Solis, also a councilor from UP Diliman said that the Filipino youth are key players in citizen journalism. “The youth are not only the most active in the realm of social media but also are, for me, at the peak of their life where idealism is most cultivated..” Solis said.

Social Media and Citizen Journalism

As Citizen Journalist and reporter from ABS CBN News Atom Araullo puts it,”For the youth, social media is your domain. Maximize it.”

Also, Ma. Carmela Tunay, a Communication Arts Students in University of Santo Tomas and a member of the UST Women’s Volleyball Team believes that the curiosity of the youth is a factor in being more interested in sharing and acquiring information regarding social issues.

“I believe na ang youth ay very effective citizen journalists since it is in our stage that we become very curious regarding what’s happening around us. Eto yung stage from where people most especially mga kabataan nga, ay very eager to dig deep, criticize, and really think of ways kung paano maipapalaganap ang awareness regarding these issues na sa paniniwala ko ay balak din solusyunan ng youth.” Tunay said.

“As a student, siguro we must be more watchful with how we criticize yung mga issue na uungkatin natin since maraming tao na pwedeng maapektuhan ng ating mga pahayag at meron din tayong pwedeng matapakang mga tao at o kayay karapatan kung hindi natin pag-iingatan ang ating mga paraan ng pag-eexpress,” she added.

According to Ging Reyes, ABS CBN News and Current Affairs head, “Effective elections include citizen involvement” and through social media, more and more citizens become concerned and aware.

On the one hand, citizen journalism is “collaborative, thrives on feedback and dependent on crowd wisdom,” Araullo said.

But as a word of caution, GMA News reporter and active citizen journalist, Maviel Gonzales reiterated that the youth must be vigilant in using the social media in reporting and relaying news.

“Anyone can be a citizen journalist but he has to be responsible,” Gonzales said. “The problem with the youth is they tend to get distracted that only a select few are actually concerned with what’s happening to the country.”

Because of the “freedom” that technology, particularly the internet, has provided its users, there are ample reminders and limitations one should remember and follow.

“But as citizen journalists must also follow certain rules and ethics in whatever they conduct and release for public consumption – these are not limitations but necessary guidelines,” Solis said.

“One must observe an objective stance on issues and avoid misleading judgments, because the practice of journalism must be with integrity, justice, and fairness,” he added.

The Youth and The Elections

The youth makes up almost half of the entire Filipino population, granting them power and say in matters concerning the country. And the state recognizes the power they posses, especially this coming elections.

“For me, the youth is very efficient and essential in the society and that they may bring one of the best and effective services if they partake sa darating na election. Yung tendency ng kabataan na maging masinop at mapanuri sa kapaligiran is a huge factor para maipahayag nila ang dapat malaman ng sambayanan. Ang mga impormasyong di naipapahayag at tinatago sa lipunan. All these factors make the youth such an important element of truth and democracy in the society,” Tunay said.

For Commission on Elections Spokesperson James Jimenez, voter education, especially to first time voters, is crucial so that their sense of nationalism and critical thinking would be developed as early as now.

“Mahalaga na ngayon pa lang magkaroon na kayo ng paki[alam]. If not, it would be difficult for you to be critical voters in 2016,” Jimenez said.

Not only by exercising their right to vote they become responsible citizens of the country, the youth also participates by conducting activities that would help raise awareness and spread knowledge about the elections.

“Bilang bahagi ng USC pinangunahan natin ang tatak botante Campaign upang hubugin ang mga botante na maging matalino, matalas at malaya sa kanilang desisyong lilikhain. Isa itong hakbang upang mas maging malalim ang pagtanaw ng mga botante sa mga nais tumakbo,” Guiang said.

At the end of the day, journalist or not, the youth is an important sector of the country, and they have the power to change things. But, this power has equal responsibilities and duties.

“Wag nilang sayangin yung pagkakataon nila na bumoto, kasi katulad ko na hindi nakapag-register, mahirap yung pakiramdam na wala kang naitulong o nacontribute para sa pagbabago,” said Venus Mahinay, 20, who will not be part of the voting population this elections.

As early as now, the youth is encouraged to participate actively in such matters so that their sense of responsibility and love for nation would be developed.

“The upcoming national and local elections are platforms in which citizen journalism should be most encouraged, especially in the youth who are primary stakeholders not only because of the changes to be brought by aspiring politicians but because the youth’s collective effort can transcend to different age groups and spark the same idealism across generations, other sectors of society and even across cultures.” Solis said

Change is such a big word, but then again, the youth has proven to have made wonders.

“The most important thing you can contribute this election is your vote, and your desire to protect your vote,” Gonzales said.