Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Anakpawis Party-list joins Election Season Opening Salvo of bloc of progressive party-lists; denounces harassment of SWAT elements

Tuesday February 13, 2007

Anakpawis Party-list joins Election Season Opening Salvo of bloc of progressive party-lists; denounces harassment of SWAT elements

Anakpawis Party-List today joined its sister progressive party-lists in an all-day Election Season Opening Salvo series of activities all over the Metro Manila and Quezon City. Members, leaders and supporters of the progressive party-lists held a Manila and Quezon City-wide caravan and went to the big market places such as Quiapo and Divisoria to distribute campaign leaflets.

Earlier this morning, however, the campaign convoy was blocked by elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and SWAT as the convoy neared Malacanang in Nagtahan bridge.

Ankpawis Representative and second nominee Rafael Mariano said that the convoy was on the move and they were not blocking traffic. "It was harassment. On the first day of the election season which the Arroyo administration keeps lauding as an exercise of democratic rights, the progressive party-lists were subjected to harassment and being prohibited from campaigning," he said.

The progressive party-list boasts of 400,000 ID-bearing members all over the country and seeks to secure three seats in May. Anakpawis is the party-list established jointly by the Kilusang Mayo (KMU), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, (KMP), Amihan, Pamalakaya, PISTON and KADAMAY (Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap). Anakpawis aims to get at least one million votes in the elections barring massive electoral fraud.

Anakpawis leaders negotiated with the SWAT team and insisted on their right to proceed. "We were not holding a rally, and even if we were, the SWAT does not have a right to block our way. On the very first day of the campaign season, we have already proven that there is a government-directive to harass the progressive party-lists and throw monkey wrenches in our activities," he said.

Another Anakpawis nominee for congress Ferdinand Gaite of the Confederation for the Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) said that for all the declarations of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration that it will respect the elections as a democratic exercise, "It's clear that the progressive party-lists' participation in the polls is not covered by this supposed guarantee. "

"Even as Anakpawis and its sister party-lists continue to promote an electoral and legislative agenda that aims to uphold the rights and welfare of the poor and working people, we also remain watchful against physical attacks against our ranks. Malacanang's henchmen led by National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales and justice secretary Raul Gonzalez have made it clear that the Arroyo government will do its best to undermine our chances to secure more seats in Congress," he said.

Gaite said that as the Anakpawis nominee representing government employees, he is urging government employees to vote against the more hardcore senate nominees of the Arroyo administration and instead support nominees who support the campaign against Macapagal-Arroyo's deep-seated corruption, electoral fraud, vicious clampdown on civil rights and massive human rights violations. Gaite stands as the president of COURAGE, the biggest alliance of government employees' associations and unions all over the country.

"Even as government employees are prohibited from participating in election campaigns, they still have a very important role in shaping the results of the elections. They know first-hand how the bureaucracy is being twisted to not serve the interest of ordinary Filipinos, but towards enriching the pockets of the corrupt and powerful in government and their partners in big business. Anakpawis part-list enjoin public sector employees to help expose and corruption in government and vote for candidates with a genuine pro-poor, pro-people platform," he concluded.#


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