People's agenda-A A +A
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
THAT which cries for government's greater attention to issues of jobs and justice, food and freedom is apparently forgotten or sidelined in the current electoral contest.
Traditional political parties and most party list organizations only talk of memberships, common slates, coalitions, and their political patrons and financiers. Their leading bets are busy packaging themselves. Their propaganda and special operations machines brown eyebrows preparing demolition plans against their opponents.
The incorrigibles ride on some people issues to pacify the people, and increase their political rating. Examining however the kind of issues they would take, one can easily conclude that they are issues of less social significance, and do not really touch or disturb the deep seated conflicts between the haves and the have-nots, the powerful and the powerless, the landed and the landless, the mafia and gangsters in government uniforms and the people they deceived and deprived of their honor. So they goodtime people on simplistic waste management, or the complexity of the climate change-both have nothing to do with the poor's problem of daily food on their table (if they have any at all).
Only a few talk more of real people's issues and agenda.
Leading the track are mostly the progressive and militant partylist organizations like Anak Pawis, Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Kabataan Party, ACT Party, and their coalition the Makabayan, among others.
In Bacolod, people's problems are worsening and those badly affected are getting restive. Among those mentioned are the issues of demolition of urban poor communities especially in coastal barangays, rising costs of electricity and water, alarming rise in cost of hospital services both in private and public, rampant practice of labor only contracting and other labor flexibility schemes damaging to workers and professional's security of tenure.
Last week, I talked with some labor leaders from both the militant and moderate, and they all warned of the devastating impact of contractualization and casualization to worker's security and existence of worker's unions.
Ian Evidente of KMU provided me some data on some cases of contractualization in Bacolod. They are quite bad. I suspect there are more businesses employing the scheme. Some are quite rude and vulgar in their use of scheme. Others are quite subtle. But the impact is still the same.
Labor leaders all agreed that something should be done in a concerted manner to prevent further damage on the workers movement. One mentioned that some politicians might be able to help in their campaign. Others were pessimistic. One said that mass movement is still the way, but electoral politics could provide some relief. When I asked how, he could not give clear answer.
I told them I am also skeptical being cognizant of the political terrain and the kind of local officials we have.
Nonetheless, I stressed to them that as socially conscious forces the need to put up a unified people's agenda is still an important step to make.
To put up a unified people's agenda will manifest the unity and resolve of the forces of change to actively find answers to the workers' problems.
To have a unified people's agenda means to have the material base for waging organized, concerted, and sustained campaigns to get palpable economic and social gains.
Only when the people led by the organized forces of change have a unified and clear agenda can they assert on position of strength for their demands.
Strength is the language that government recognizes. Politicians understand this language too. Both could be made to negotiate only when the people have strength.
Still there some politicians in Bacolod who are not hard to talk with and convince on matter of people's agenda as they themselves have manifested their commitment to the same issues.
Incumbent Congressman Anthony T. Golez probably tops the list as one person who has always demonstrated himself as a doctor of the people, honest public servant, and highly innovative in his legislative work.
Former three-termer Congressman and now mayoralty aspirant Monico Puentevella has proven a good track record in public service especially with his "Monico Kabuhi Ko" social service program, and has always been supportive of people's causes.
Incumbent Vice Mayor and now mayoralty candidate Jude Thaddeus Sayson who, despite serious criticisms against him by his political opponents, has likewise showed consistency in his support to the marginalized sectors.
Incumbent Councilors Arche Baribar, Elmer Sy, Sonia Verdeflor, El Cid Familiaran, Catalino Alisbo, who have always been champions in public service and advocacy of the rights of workers, farmers, urban poor, fisherfolks, students and professionals, women and the senior citizens.
The organized forces should try them; they have nothing to lose. They have everything to gain.
After all, with or without them, or even despite them, the downtrodden people will always have a way to change the course of history to their favor.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 16, 2012.