By Chito Chavez
Militant farmer’s group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) challenged all senatorial bets in the May 2019 mid-term elections “to do away with the traditional, self- serving political gimmickry’’ and instead make a concrete stand on urgent issues directly affecting the Filipino people.
KMP secretary-general Antonio Flores stressed that performance in public service, track record, lifestyle and wealth and political standpoint are among the important qualifications to look for in a candidate.
“Hindi basta-basta dapat magpadala sa dami ng political ads lamang. Ang mahalaga ay kung ano ang mga isinulong at sinuportahang panukala at programa (We should not be swayed by the sheer number of political ads. What is important is what they intend to push for and the programs they wish to make and support),” said Flores.
He also believed that candidates who are supporting TRAIN Law and Martial Law in Mindanao will have a hard time convincing farmers and rural folks for votes.
“Sa Pilipinas may tatlong panahon — tag-araw, tag-ulan at saka eleksyon (In the Philippines there are three seasons- rainy, dry and election). The political circus has officially started. For the next three months, national candidates running for senatorial and party-list posts will try to woo the electorate and the masses. We will hear promises and unending sweet talk,’’ he added.
Flores noted the political aspirants would even go to the extent of promising the moon, and the stars just to sway the votes in their favor.
Flores reminded the public to listen and wisely discern what these political aspirants are saying insisting that candidates “should give their stand on issues affecting the people’’.
The KMP leader said the “situation and demands of the people are still the same — free land distribution and genuine land reform for farmers, regular employment and living wages for workers, low prices of rice, commodities and utilities, respect for human rights and social justice, upholding of national sovereignty and patrimony’’.
“If candidates don’t have a clear stand and platform on these issues, they do not deserve our vote,” Flores said.
Flores warned the public to be “wary with candidates endorsed and/or supported by President Duterte like Bong Go, Imee Marcos, Ronald “Bato’’ Dela Rosa, Mocha Uson, and others.
“We already know what happened between 2016 and now. During his presidential campaign, Duterte promised for change the people ever so desperately wanted. The exact opposite happened and the country is in a far worse situation now. We must work to uphold the politics of change that will genuinely serve the people,” the peasant leader said.
Flores asserted the electorate “should also be wary about experienced trapos (traditional politicians) from political dynasties and traditional political parties.
“Many of us have lived long enough to know that popular elections do not effect genuine social change as it is a way to preserve the status quo. Reactionary elections will forever be dominated by the ruling elite who only want to protect their economic and political interests,” Flores concluded. (Chito A. Chavez)