Monday, February 02, 2009

Reclaiming our power as a people - Philippine Daily Inquirer (March 23, 2008)

We are witnessing a new kind of politics sweeping across the Philippines today. In the streets, in classrooms and in public forums a renewed sense of democratic citizenship is arising from civil society organizations, especially student and youth groups expressing non-violent communal outrage and demanding accountability for the deterioration of our democratic institutions under the government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Increasingly, individuals and organizations working for social change are realizing that the little things we do as responsible citizens are no longer enough if we want sustained progress and that our personal sacrifices and conversions must translate into political and institutional accountability and reform.

This is coming from an intensifying loss of confidence among Filipinos over the system and culture of unchecked corruption pervading our society today. More and more, we realize that the mockery of impeachment proceedings, suppression of the right to information, harassment of government critics and corruption witnesses and the unmitigated extra judicial killings and persecution of militants as well as the disenfranchisement of social movements are not isolated problems but are consequences of the very nature of the Arroyo government- a government which by its unresolved legitimacy issues has been forced to rely upon the support of corrupt allies. We have seen to what extent this government can give its allies unrestrained power, abuse institutional channels, co-opt calls for reform and even delude us with economic figures for political survival.

We have also been witnesses to what direction the government’s narrowing down of institutional and democratic spaces for dialogue and reform can take groups who are seeking progressive change to express their demands- prompting some of them to even entertain military adventurism of violent and no democratic options. We are disturbed by the prospects of this government taking us to a state where Filipinos no longer trust in democratic processes and institutions.

We are unified in the belief that unless G M Arroyo resigns as President, our democratic future will remain hostage to the entrenched interests of her family and officials an vulnerable to breakdown in the hands of political agents whose means of social transformation we deem perilous to our country’s progress.

We support and join the continuing efforts of groups seeking truth, accountability and reform through innovative and creative ways during these extraordinary times. We urge the Filipino people to come out and participate in these endeavors to intensify public awareness, arouse asense of moral indignation over blatant corruption and abuse of power, and generate a climate of engaged citizenship that will build and transform democratic institutions. Through this reinvigorated political vigilance, let us expose the gross injustices perpetrated in the highest levels of government as the first step toward righting these wrongs. Let us show those who aspire to become our leaders that we will not remain silt witnesses if they ever betray our sacred trust again.

In this season of hope, we call on President Arroyo to resign-as a first step in the direction of political and institutional reform- and allow the constitutional process of succession to take its course so our country can enter an era of genuine and decisive political renewal.

Joy G. Aceron Benjamin G. Barretto Melissa Jayme-Lao Millard O. Lim Diana J. Mendoza Ronald C. Molmisa Pilar Pajayon-Berse Rene Raymond R. Raneses Alma Maria O. Salvador Jennifer Santiage Oreta Benjamin T. Tolosa, Jr. Lydia Yu-Jose

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