Ombion: Agenda, not personality


IS SOMETHING that has keeping the bond among the key officials and members of the Kilusang Pagbabago Negros (KP-N), and so the flickering of hope in their hearts, that someday real social change will come and truly reign in the heart of our nation.

KP-N is a unique convergence of various individuals and groups whose consensus is in their support for Duterte’s agenda against illegal drugs, criminalities, corruption and for better social services and shift to a federal form of government.

It is true that KP-N appeared in its early period as some sort of a fanatic organization of and for Duterte because members often chanted his name with Duterte’s fist whenever they were gathered and greet each with the same fist.

But no one ever said that he or she will die for Duterte because deep in their hearts, they were for the change agenda and not for the personality of Duterte.

To fight and die for a personality is cultism, but for an agenda is a social cause. KP-N has backed Duterte’s agenda but never tied to its personality. It is quite a fine balancing. And I supposed it is not just balancing for its sake, but for a purpose.

On the way to its second founding anniversary on August 11, KP-N has done something enough in keeping the Duterte’s agenda alive on the ground, organizationally and politically. No other pro-Duterte’s groups have done that, or at least in Negros and Panay.

The group’s founding leader and spokesman, a long-time city councilor with a sterling performance, Atty. Archie Baribar, clarified few times on air and in various events that they are pursuing Duterte’s agenda not because the president alone possesses that set of agenda, but that he is perhaps the only President who was able to capture into an agenda the people’s sentiments, needs and aspirations.

Whether the president and his administration can or will implement it or not is something else, but Atty. Baribar believes that KP-N will continue to use the agenda as a platform to pursue it by themselves, with or without the support of the administration.

It does not matter anymore whether Duterte is still serious in his promises or not or has betrayed on his promises or not. What is important for KP-N has a clear agenda to work on, to effect change in whatever way and capacity it could.

Atty. Baribar believes that the change agenda is only as good as the one who implements it. So in the long run, what matters is not who is the president or the ruling party, but who really believes in the agenda and wants to pursue it.

In fact, for two years, Atty. Baribar and his KP-N have worked self reliant and independent, without support from the administration or any of the administration’s officials.

If only it had tied itself to personality, KP N could have disbanded in its first year as it became a witness to the ironies and contraries of the president and his administration.

The excesses of the anti-drug war, the failure of sweeping socio-economic reforms for the poor, the removal of uncompromising leftist officials, the return of the notorious political figures in top government posts, the hostaging of peace talks by the hawks in the administration, the unabated extra-judicial killings and political persecutions of the critics of the administration, the isolation and vilification of progressive leaders among the pro-Duterte campaigners, the continuing lip service to participatory governance, and the significant turn-around of the maverick and self-styled socialist President from most of his campaign promises, are among the realities that have disappointed most of KP-N officials and members.

Despite these, the KP-N has stood firm on the President’s change agenda. This too has kept most of its members intact behind the movement.

But unlike other pro-Duterte groups who have lied low, and those still mystified and fanatical by the edicts, whims, caprices, fancies, braggadocios and self-contradictory depositions of the unconventional leader from a faraway southern city, and to the extent of attacking any whiff of anti-Dutertism even among pro-Duterte administration forces, the KP-N has slowly and carefully emerges itself into an independent, agenda-based social movement.

Atty. Baribar said that KP-N will continue to push the agenda within and outside the government, carry out changes in the communities and sectors by self-reliant and collective means, oppose and expose the wrongdoings of state officials and employees, fight for people’s empowerment in local governance, help the government and private institutions fight illegal drugs and criminalities, resist extrajudicial killings and political repression, work for the elections of progressive leaders in various government posts, work in alliances to address these issues, and study the issue of shift in the form of government.

KP-N has also helped established a social development institution registered as Kasamasa Pagbabago Inc., whose role is to assist KP members and other groups and communities who are in need of resource access and capacity building for their enterprise projects, farm development, marketing and trading, and not the least, sustain the operational needs of KP-N.

Through these two thrusts, Atty. Baribar hopes that its organizations can help address both the issues of powerlessness and impoverishment of the people.

Atty. Baribar confessed that he has no regret being left out of the cold by the Duterte administration as of now; still, he vows that it doesn’t stop him and his colleagues from pursuing real social change agenda by all means possible, within or outside the administration, with or without the support of this administration.

Afterall, Atty Baribar and his army of change advocates draw their strength from the struggles of the people and the anvil of hope, that someday, true peace based on justice will find a home in everyone’s heart.

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