As it gears for next year’s congressional polls, Bayan Muna (BM) continues to campaign against charter change, a divisive issue in Congress. Fresh from celebrating its 7th anniversary, BM hopes to top the elections for the third time.
By Reyna Mae Tabbada
“Di mapipigilan ang pagsikat ng araw” (The sun is bound to rise).
The statement echoed through the halls of the Bahay ng Alumni in the University of the Philippines Diliman campus during the 7th anniversary of the Bayan Muna (People First) political party last Oct. 10. Different chapters from the party’s formations in Metro Manila, together with a number of people’s organizations, were enjoined in the momentous event that may not be far from being classified as an early start of the group’s campaign for the critical May 2007 national elections.
Rep. Satur C. Ocampo, who is also the President of Bayan Muna, gave the framework that shaped the party’s prospects for the coming election. Ocampo identified the expansion of the party as one of the positive developments in their political campaign.
He also mentioned the continuing struggle to resist the misguided intentions of the Arroyo-backed Charter Change (Cha-Cha) as the most immediate of the different issues that Bayan Muna is tackling.
To top the election once more
Since the party’s establishment and its subsequent entry into national politics, Bayan Muna has emerged as the topnotcher in the partylist elections in 2001 and 2004. The party garnered more votes than needed to obtain the three seats accorded to party-list groups in the Congress.
For the party’s outlook in the coming election, Ocampo highlighted the dedication of its members in advancing the causes of Bayan Muna. He pointed out that the same commitment is expected for the 2007 debacle. “Inaasahan na mas masigasig ang mga miyembro sa pangangampanya (We expect our members to be more assertive in campaigning),” Ocampo said during an interview with Bulatlat.
Several more chapters were also added to the long list of communities where the presence of Bayan Muna can be felt, boosting the party’s chances to replicate their victory in the last two elections.
Asked on what the party would present as the central theme of their campaign, the main issues and concerns which Bayan Muna would focus on, Ocampo answered: “Sa ngayon ang pangunahing laban talaga ay ang Cha-Cha (As of now, the biggest struggle is about Cha-Cha).”
The debate on Cha-Cha is one of the most divisive issues that currently confront Congress, he added. The administration and the opposition are in a stand-off about the sensitive process of revising the Constitution. The proponents of Cha-Cha see its realization as very crucial that they even resort to bribery. And some are only too willing to sell their support, Ocampo said.
When questioned by Bulatlat if he had personally encountered such a scenario, Rep. Ocampo replied, “Hindi kami naghahabol. Hindi kami hinahabol (We don’t seek them. They don’t seek us.).”
Another major campaign which Bayan Muna helped stage is the ouster of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Ocampo admitted that although the impetus for that specific fight has passed, it does not mean that the party has abandoned the struggle.
“Tignan natin ang mangyayari (Let’s see what unfolds),” he surmised as the halls are slowly filled with their supporters.