Environmental forum calls to ‘#VoteIndependentSenate in 2019 Election’
“After Cory Aquino’s election, nagpabaya tayo, at kasalanan natin kung bakit nandito tayo ngayon (After Cory Aquino’s election, we were neglectful, and it is our fault why we are like this now),” was board member of Green Convergence Sr. Sonia Aldeguer’s assertion at the 349th session of the monthly Kamayan Para sa Kalikasan Forum on April 26, 2019 explaining how President Rodrigo Duterte came to power.
“It’s time to redeem ourselves (this election),” she further stated.
Atty. Alex Lacson, People’s Choice Movement Convenor stressed, “the 2019 Midterm Elections is the most dangerous in our history” and “Duterte may declare Martial Law or a Revolutionary Government” once he gets the validity of a majority vote from the Congress.
“If he declares Martial Law, he is still within the bounds of the Constitution, but if he declares a revolutionary government right after, he is now outside the bounds of the Constitution and nothing, no law can stop him [to do what he wants],” Lacson explained.
The shift to a federal government advocated by President Duterte himself is now being legislated in the Congress. The federalism version principally authored by former President and now House Speaker Gloria Arroyo was favored over the one drafted by Reynato Puno.
Lacson pointed out that Arroyo’s version is “anti-Filipino, anti-poor, anti-democracy, anti-life” given its features that removed provisions on anti-political dynasty and term limits of senators, congressmen and local officials, and also added ones that will allow foreigners to own or exploit the country’s resources.
For these features of the proposed Constitution to not be passed, at least 10 more members must be part of the opposition in the Senate since there are only currently three.
The People’s Choice Movement released a list of ten senatorial candidates that they assessed and have ranked the highest in terms of four categories – (1) character and integrity, (2) competence and abilities, (3) faithfulness to public service and public office and (4) faithfulness to God, Constitution and the rule of law. In order, they are:
- Gary Alejano
- Bam Aquino
- Neri Colmenares
- Chel Diokno
- Samira Gutoc
- Florin Hilbay
- Romy Macalintal
- Erin Tañada
- Mar Roxas
- Grace Poe
On the other hand, the Green Thumb Coalition, represented by Norie Garcia of Bantay Kita and Paeng Lopez of Health Care Without Harm, is yet to release their list of senatorial candidates that have been assessed and have ranked the highest in terms of their ‘green’ scores. As of the forum’s date, only nine candidates have completed their survey forms. They are Bam Aquino, Neri Colmenares, Leody de Guzman, Ding Generoso, Florin Hilbay, Grace Poe, Erin Tañada, Samira Gutoc and Chel Diokno.
EcoWaste Coalition, represented by National Coordinator Aileen Lucero, will also release their assessment after the Green Thumb Coalition releases theirs.
The session held at the Kamayan Restaurant, EDSA, Mandaluyong City ended with its participants initiating a campaign called #VoteIndependentSenate.
Green Convergence President Dr. Angelina Galang echoed this and reminded that the Philippines is so rich with natural resources yet they are not fully utilized for the country’s benefits due to the corruption of our politicians. “We can correct this if we elect an independent senate,” she said.
Since March 1990, Kamayan Para Sa Kalikasan Forum has become an institutionalized platform that enables NGO and government representatives, the media, students, teachers, church groups, and concerned citizens to discuss pressing environmental issues in the country. This month’s forum is organized by Green Convergence and is supported by Kamayan Restaurant EDSA with the assistance of the Forest Foundation Philippines.
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