My last request to President Cory Aquino
By Harvey S. Keh With less than 10 months before the 2010 National Elections, it seems that any hope of uniting the reform constituency in our country is becoming slimmer as the days go by. Many of us all believe that without a united reform constituency backing a common Presidential candidate and a common reform slate then we might as well accept that we will have another traditional politician backed by oligarchic interests leading our country from 2010 onwards. Right now, we have overseas Filipinos and local government officials led by Ifugao Gov. Teddy Baguilat, Jr. and Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya Mayor Florante Gerdan who are pushing for the candidacy of Pampanga Gov. Eddie “Among Ed” Panlilio. Just recently, we saw a group of youth leaders from all over the country together with peasant organizations and business leaders calling out to Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca to heed the call to lead our country out of our current state of rampant poverty. It’s a good thing that both Panlilio and Padaca, who along with Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo are co-founders of Kaya Natin, agreed not to run against each other and that only one of them will eventually run for President. Ang Kapatiran also announced that they will field their own candidate in the person of the youthful Olongapo City Councilor JC Delos Reyes while some environmental groups have declared their support for Nicky Perlas. Evangelist Bro. Eddie Villanueva, who lost badly in the last 2004 polls is also contemplating to make another run backed by his rejuvenated and reloaded Bangon Pilipinas Party. Add to this growing number is the fact that although some groups do not consider him a reform candidate, the Liberal Party’s Senator Mar Roxas is currently backed by highly-reputable civil society leaders such as former Department of Education Secretary Butch Abad, former Peace Process Adviser Ging Deles, former Department of Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Gerry Bulatao and AKBAYAN’s Joel Rocamora. Imagine if all of these groups can come together, set aside their personal differences, work towards a common vision for a better Philippines and eventually field a common slate for the 2010 elections then I would think we can have a strong fighting chance of finally electing effective, ethical and empowering government leaders for our country. Similar to the situation that we found ourselves in 1986, we find that many of our democratic institutions even the recent giving of the National Artist Awards have been bastardized by this administration. Similar to 1986, the 2010 elections will be a battle between those who believe in restoring our democratic processes and those who want to continue to usurp it for their own personal gain. Similar to 1986, we are also faced with the challenge to unite all of these well-meaning groups in order for us to come up with a formidable force that will give this current administration a run for its money in 2010. Similar to 1986, all of these reform groups have to eventually find it in themselves to be humble enough to sacrifice their own beliefs in order for us to unite for a cause that is bigger than all of us. Let us remember that in 1986, the strongest opposition party was Doy Laurel’s UNIDO but eventually for the sake of unity, Laurel agreed to run as Cory Aquino’s running mate. This ultimate sacrifice and act of humility that many have seem to have forgotten led to the bloodless People Power Revolution and the restoration of democracy in our country. Now as we again draw near the 2010 polls, I hope that the legacy and spirit of President Cory Aquino will again move all these reform groups towards a unified People Power reform ticket in 2010. Two weeks ago, the whole country mourned the loss of Tita Cory, a woman who gave everything until the last moments of her life for the sake of the Filipino people. I hope that we can all find inspiration in the humility and generosity of spirit that she showed when she was still with us. Let her legacy as a true icon of democracy continue to become our rallying point towards the unity that all of us seek. To Tita Cory, I hope and pray that you will be able to read this one last and final request that we have, please move our hearts so we can set aside our own personal ambitions for the sake of what is good and just for every Filipino. We hope that you will not allow us to put to waste all the sacrifices that you and Ninoy have so gallantly given for each one of us. Rest assured that like you, we will all continue to fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith. Comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org ___________________________________________________________________________ Harvey S. Keh is Director for Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship at the Ateneo School of Government.
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