The defection of Albay Governor Joey Salceda, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s economic adviser, to the camp of leading presidential candidate Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III highlights the lack of fundamental difference in socio-economic policy between the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD coalition and the Liberal Party (LP), according to the Pagbabago! People’s Movement for Change.
This shows how the May 2010 elections will not resolve the issues of poverty and social injustice, said Dr. Ramon Paterno, Pagbabago Coordinating Committee member.
“Salceda’s defection is just the latest in a slew of transfers from Lakas to LP,” Paterno said. “The ease with which these defections have taken place shows that the two parties do not differ fundamentally in terms of policy. Sadly, Salceda’s defection proves that even on dealing with poverty and social injustice, Lakas and LP have no marked differences in their prescriptions.”
Paterno added that Aquino’s closest rival, Manuel “Manny” Villar, should see this development as an opportunity to explain his platform and enlighten the electorate on how he plans to end poverty. Unfortunately, Paterno said, Villar has yet to take advantage of such an opportunity.
Paterno, a doctor of medicine and professor at the University of the Philippines-Manila, said the next president should have a clear program on national industrialization.
He added, however, that the people should not pin their hopes for change solely on the coming elections.
“We are in a time of crisis and majority of Filipinos are poorer than they ever were, while a growing number of those to whom hardships used to be alien are now beginning to also experience these,” Paterno said. “The 2010 election is touted by candidates and mass media as the way to improve the people’s lot but the continuing defections from Mrs. Arroyo’s party to that of the leading contenders and the warm welcome accorded them belie that claim. At this point, it is worth bearing in mind that the quest for social change, particularly for an end to social injustice, must go beyond the 2010 elections.”