Monday, April 30, 2012

Stay true to reform agenda, include fresh blood in 2013 slate

We challenge our partymates to “stay true to the reform agenda” set by the Aquino administration and include fresh names in the 2013 slate to “challenge ‘trapo’ politics and give progressive candidates a chance to serve the country.

We dared to rock the vote and create change in 2010 when we joined the people’s clamor to support President Aquino—who then wasn’t even a contender for the presidency. We were bold and confident that change can happen if we, the people, make it happen. Huwag na sana tayo makisali sa trapong paraan ng pamumulitika. Sayang lang ang pagbabagong nasimulan natin kung babalik rin pala tayo sa dating gawi.

The only way for us to realize long-term change is if we stay consistently on the path of reform. It has been a long, often-uphill battle but we have already begun to realize it. Let’s continue pushing the envelope and raising the bar, so to speak, and give the people new and better choices for the national elections.

We need fresh faces; the LP should strive to give our people more choices. The LP should look to the private sector, the NGO community, and the LGUs where there are rising stars and recruit the best, the brightest, and the most deserving.

A new generation of progressive reformists is well-poised to take on national roles if given the opportunity to do so. Among them are Quezon representative Erin Tañada, former Akbayan representative Risa Hontiveros, former Isabela governor Grace Padaca, and multi-awarded social entrepreneur Bam Aquino.

We urge our partymates to continue rocking the vote as we did in 2010. We still have a long way to go until reforms are fully realized—but with courage, conviction, and with our courage, conviction, and principles and values intact, we believe that we can win people’s support for change to continue to happen.

We need to give way to a new generation of leaders and show people the way.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Don't be unwitting pawns in territorial dispute with China

We caution Filipinos against being unwitting pawns in what could possibly be a politically motivated show of force of China in their excursions into the Scarborough Shoal.

We should not allow our country to be unwittingly drawn into the escalating tensions over the Scarborough Shoal. We must tread very carefully. China is currently embroiled in a leadership scandal at the highest levels of the Communist Party. The current tension in the West Philippine Sea could become a very convenient diversion by fanning the flames of nationalist fanaticism in China.

We should not allow ourselves to become scapegoats in a brewing internal controversy. We must exercise utmost restraint.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Philippine Agri & Fisheries sector presents opportunities for job creation, poverty alleviation

In light of the country’s current socio-economic climate, both the government and the private sector should look to increasing investments in Philippine agriculture and fisheries in order to create more jobs, secure food supply, and help combat poverty in the countryside.

We make this call following the release of the latest Pulse Asia survey which shows that among the “leading urgent national concerns” are “controlling inflation and addressing the low pay of workers”, followed by “fighting corruption in government, creating more jobs, and reducing poverty.

We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: there are still plenty of untapped opportunities in the countryside that will allow us to solve the problem of poverty, hunger, rising prices, and food security. The Philippines is still largely an agricultural nation, and if we channel the right mindset and resources onto this sector, we’ll be able to capitalize on existing opportunities in both domestic and foreign markets.

One good example is the the Kalasag Onion Farmers Cooperative in Nueva Ecija, which was able to quadruple its earnings in four years thanks to investments in agriculture and getting support from stakeholders, including the private sector and potential buyers.

With the right investments and the right support structure in place, we can create more opportunities for our people to earn a decent living without leaving the country. In the same vein, upping the incomes of our farmers and fisherfolk means making agriculture and fisheries viable and attractive again so that we can improve food production and achieve food security.

Kabit-kabit ho lahat ‘yan,pagka-gumanda ang kita ng mga magsasaka at mangingisda, malaki ang epekto nito sa ating ekonomiya. Lahat tayo apektado. Lahat tayo makakakain, lahat tayo aasenso.

In January 2012,we launched Sagip Saka, an advocacy that aims to make modern agriculture sustainable and profitable by mobilizing stakeholders and giving agricultural communities greater access to capital, markets, technology, infrastructure, and other interventions. One hundred million has been earmarked for 23 pilot communities and projects from all over the country.

We’re working to change the game for agriculture through Sagip Saka, but there’s much more to be done. If we exert a concerted effort to revitalize Philippine agriculture, we’ll be able to see a turnaround in both the short term and the long term.

Our people are crying out for solutions. Addressing the opportunities in the countryside is one of them.