been receiving ‘asteeg!’ text messages and emails from this wonderfully chummy photo-op shot during Kabataan Partylist’s filing of manifestation of candidacy at the Commission on Elections last February 6. the idea was to preempt Feb. 10’s Lovapalooza kissing fest, a famous Valentine event among the youth. preempt it? we sure did!
notice how Kabataan Party-list 1st nominee Raymond Palatino wistfully looks on. hee hee.
February 6, 2007
Kabataan Party-list aims to seat 1st youth sectoral representative in Congress
‘Love’ filled the air in the Commission on Elections this morning as dozens of members of Kabataan Partylist hugged and kissed to show the youth’s love for country in its bid to break yet another record by electing the first youth sector representative in Congress this May
Wearing red shirts and face paints, some three hundred members and supporters of Kabataan Partylist led by the party’s 27-year old president Raymond Palatino formally filed the party-list’s manifestation of candidacy to participate in the 2007 elections.
“If the Philippines wants to regain the world’s kissing fest tilt, the Filipino youth is also gearing up for its own campaign to set a new record in Philippine politics by placing the first youth partylist in the Lower House,” Kabataan Partylist president and 1st nominee Raymond Palatino said.
Palatino added that the group staged its Love-VOTE-Palooza to symbolize and show the youth’s love for country as shown by its commitment to vote and participate in the upcoming elections and choose leaders with credibility and integrity.
He said his group’s own ‘kissing fest’ comes with the youth’s call to curb election-related violence and aims to foster peaceful campaign period and elections.
Given the chance, Palatino said this will be the first time for the youth sector to have its own sectoral representative in Congress. He added that the last time the Legislature had representatives coming from a youth political party was when Wenceslao Vinzons and Arturo Tolentino’s Young Philippines won seats in the Philippine Assembly.
“The youth’s participation in the upcoming elections through the partylist system is a reaffirmation of the youth’s vanguard role and leadership in social transformation and nation building.”
“In this time of corrupt governance and political instability, the nation needs young, vibrant and innovative minds that will restore integrity and morality in governance and lead the nation to genuine progress and social change.”
With its new brand of politics – politics of hope, struggle and change – Palatino said the participation of KABATAAN Partylist “will usher in a new era for Philippine politics, away from the kind of leadership that traditional politicians and dynasties have for the longest time instilled in government.”
“These coming elections, we vote for honest officials, for principled leadership and for change. Now more than ever is the time for the youth to be involved.”
What’s the buzz? The Philippine Senate approved a dangerously draconian Anti-Terror Bill today despite protests from militant and progressive sectors.
Once President Gloria Arroyo signs the bill, it will take effect two months after the May polls. Arroyo is not expected to veto the bill as she has been vocally pushing for it since she aligned her administration with US Pres. Bush’s ‘war on terror’.
The ATB, more than an ‘anti-terror law,’ is deemed by militants, progressives and concerned citizens as a tool to justify the culture of impunity in the country. With the Arroyo government’s track record of human rights violations at its worst, the ATB may as well be used as a legal basis to stifle legitimate dissent.
Some facets of the ATB:
1.) ‘Terrorism’ is loosely defined. The ATB clearly seeks to impose severe sanctions to groups considered by the government as ‘enemies of the state,’ including legal oppositionist groups which have been main targets of extra-judicial killings and political repression under the Arroyo administration. Any citizen, group or organization deemed as anti-government may be subjectively categorized as ‘terrorists’ upon the discretion of the government.
Think-tank IBON Foundation had this to say:
“Targeting so-called dissenters under the pretext of anti-communism and the war on terror would result in less political liability than attacking elements of the traditional opposition which would create a broader reaction from the elite… as it is leaders and members of people’s groups opposing the administration’s corruption and anti-people policies are already being assaulted and killed allegedly by military and police forces, and paramilitary groups nationwide. The anti-terror bill will only further worsen the human rights violations against these groups.”
2.) House arrest or detention of suspected terrorists, as well as warrantless arrests of suspected terrorists. The ATB allows for prolonged periods of detention without charges, various forms of electronic surveillance and the proscription of organizations on charges that they are terrorist groups.
3.) Deprivation of all forms of electronic communication for terror suspects when evidence is not strong. In other words, suspected ‘terrorists’ will be deprived of their right to communicate with loved ones even if the evidence against them is weak.
4.) Will allow wire-tapping and the opening of bank accounts of private citizens who are suspected terrorists.
This comes as no surprise, really, coming from a government which has unleashed the worst kind of state terrorism in Philippine history. What comes as a surprise and a major disappointment is how an opposition-led Senate can approve a measure such as this. The ATB should not and can not be isolated and taken out of context from the Arroyo government’s twisted anti-terror policy. Militants and progressives are right to fear abuse of such a law if past and present political suppression is taken into serious account.
It is one thing to unite in efforts to curb real terror threats and another to provide terrorists in government a lawful basis to aggravate human rights violations against oppositionists and common citizens.
Think Cris Hugo, Ambo Guran, Karen Empeno and Shirlyn Cadapan — all youth victims of the government’s tolerance of state terrorism under the banner of a so-called ‘anti-terror war.’ We can only shudder now at the future repercussions of the ATB. ###