MANILA, Philippines – On the first day of the campaign period for the May 2016 national elections, the militant Anakpawis Party-list urged national and local candidates to campaign not just for their respective candidacy but for people’s issues, particularly of marginalized sectors, the workers, farmers, urban poor and other rural-based section of the population. A contingent of the group protested in front of the Social Security System (SSS) main office in East Avenue, Quezon City to continue their demand of the P2,000 pension hike and override of the veto issued by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.
“Our campaign is not simply to urge people to vote for us, but on urging people to fight for their rights. We always take advantage of this season to advance the welfare of the poor as politicians are always open to hear people’s grievances on their aim of gaining votes for themselves. At present, we are intensifying the campaign for SSS pension hike,” Anakpawis Representative Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap said during the protest.
Anakpawis challenged presidential candidates to adopt the agenda of marginalized sectors on their platform, namely (1) genuine land reform, free distribution of lands, agricultural development and nationalist industrialization, (2) increase in wages and banning of contractualization, (3) habitable mass housing and moratorium of demolitions of urban poor communities, (4) uphold the rights of fisherfolk against conversion and privatization of fishing areas, (5) advancement of free education and scientific culture, (6) advancement of the rights of women, (7) counter price hikes of food, oil products, electricity, water and other goods and services, by opposing privatization, deregulation and liberalization, (8) defense of national sovereignty and patrimony such as abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), Mining Act of 1995 and other laws favoring foreign countries.
“We dare the presidentiables, as well as senatoriables to pledge to immediately approve and work for the realization of wage hikes, a stop to conversion of agricultural lands and demolition of urban poor communities,” Hicap said.
Moreover, Anakpawis urged various sectors to step up their campaign to protect and advance their rights to land, jobs, livelihood and homes. The group advised workers to campaign for their rights to wage increases, form unions and strike, farmers to set up protest camps against grabbing of lands or organized take back the lands taken away from them and urban poor to set up barricades against demolition operations.
“We call on poor sectors who are facing threats to their rights to seize the opportunity by stepping up their campaigns and gather support from local candidates. Their rights should be advanced as the post-elections would be a different story,” Hicap said.
The Anakpawis Party-list renewed their call to finally end “Daang Matuwid” this May by not voting for Liberal Party presidential bet Mar Roxas. In addition, the group cautioned voters to stand guard against election fraud.
“We must hold Aquino accountable for his crimes against the people, his rule has driven the majority of the people into landlessness, joblessness, homelessness, death and other miseries. To defeat Roxas, is to succeed in foiling Aquino’s illusion of getting immunity from suit,” Hicap concluded.