Patriots Calls for New Governance that Will Uphold People’s Agenda

Posted by Bulatlat

As calls mount for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s resignation, PATRIOTS enjoins all Filipinos to unite for meaningful alternatives to her government. We join the people’s clamor for GMA to step down for she has totally lost the moral and legal authority to effectively govern. In a post-GMA situation either through constitutional succession or transition council, we demand meaningful socio-economic and political reforms that will positively change the quality of life of our people. We definitely say NO to military junta just as we say NO to federalism, NO to parliamentary form of government, NO to Charter Change and all other designs that will not substantially change the present state where elite interests rule while the poor are left economically dispossessed and politically disempowered. The Gloriagate, jueteng gate and other corruption scandals of the Arroyos certainly aggravated the discontentment and disillusionment of our people considering the state of the nation under GMA:

* While the people wallow in poverty, public funds were stolen through widespread graft and corruption;

* Prices of commodities and transport fares run roughshod on the interests of consumers. Taxes were raised, the VAT was further expanded. Electricity and water rates as well as oil prices rose yet again for the umpteenth time. Unemployment and underemployment prevails;

* Workers receive very meager salaries way below the standards to live decently. Majority of our people lack basic services like health, housing and education. Massive landlessness and land monopoly of the elite remain as the cry of farmers for genuine agrarian reform continues to fall on deaf ears;

* Militarism and terror reign with the government’s full support to the US war of terror. Human rights violations are rampant and there is a record-high killing of journalists and activists including priests, pastors and lawyers;

* With the government’s promotion of large-scale mining, the people and environment suffer disasters as the country’s resources are plundered by big foreign and local business;

* Our people are in a state of diaspora as thousands leave the country everyday to look for a better life.

The people must unite to stop this state of affairs. While we join the Bishops’ call for prayers, history has taught us that People Power is necessary to topple tyrants and make an unwanted leader to step down. We therefore enjoin Filipinos to make history on the side of truth, justice and meaningful change by strengthening the calls for immediate resignation of GMA.

Alternatives to GMA

If GMA steps down, Vice President Noli de Castro will most probably succeed her as provided by the constitution. It is the moral duty of de Castro to heed the long-running demands of the people for urgent reforms if he does not wish to face massive social discontent and uprising as well. Considering the state of the nation, it is imperative that the new government after GMA must be ready to implement meaningful reforms that will benefit majority of poor Filipinos.

GMA’s defenders warn the public against resorting to any “unconstitutional” means of unseating the ruling regime. They equate “unconstitutional” to anarchy, chaos and violence as though the current turmoil has not been caused both by constitutional and blatantly unconstitutional anomalies perpetrated by those in power. In fact, the EDSA1 and two uprisings were extra-constitutional undertakings. Cory Aquino declared her new government a “revolutionary” one and decreed an interim “Freedom Constitution.” On the other hand, GMA insisted that her ascendance to the presidency was due to constitutional succession after the extra-constitutional ouster of Estrada.

Some people are prepared to accept GMA’s call for forgiveness without justice fear that de Castro is not a competent successor and that the situation will be more uncertain if GMA resigns. On the other hand, the idea of a “transition council” after GMA’s ouster is seriously considered as a more viable alternative other than the constitutional process. This transition government must necessarily be composed mainly of representatives of those groups that had worked the hardest for the ouster of the current regime.

Concretely, the transition council will consist of representatives of the basic sectors of workers and peasants, the opposition, church, academe, professionals and retired military and police officers who uphold civilian supremacy and enjoy the confidence of the active military and police forces. This process will pave the way for the creation of a new form of government e.g. through a constitutional convention, and the election of a new administration that would be more representative of and accountable to the people and thus more responsive to the people’s interests.

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