BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The 1Sambayan national coalition has started organizing its mass-based chapters at the local front to reach more people at the grass roots, and enlist their support for its advocacy for good governance.
Ricardo Ramos, 1Sambayan Communications Director, said that former Negros Occidental Gov. Rafael Coscolluela, one of its convenors, who led the in formation of the coalition chapter called “Paghimud-os”, a local coalition of civil society and interest groups on March 22, will be officially launched on April 9, with retired Justice Antonio Carpio as the guest of honor and speaker.
1Sambayan is a coalition of pro-democracy groups and personalities in the Philippines, who advocate for a unified slate for the country’s 2022 national elections.
Ramos said that 1Sambayan plans to replicate the Negros Occidental model in establishing local chapters nationwide. as Coscolluela will begin talks with counterparts in Iloilo for the possible establishment of the next 1Sambayan local chapter.
“An influential patriotic personality, a retired government official in charge of Western Visayas, has offered to help establish 1Sambayan chapters in the provinces of Panay,” he added.
“A progressive youth group issued a friendly warning to 1Sambayan, that we can never be a genuine people’s coalition kung hindi tayo mass-based,” Coscolluela said in a statement issued by 1Sambayan.
“So,” he added, “We need to reach out to the grassroots and give people a voice.”
Members of the local chapter will be oriented about 1Sambayan’s ideals and objectives, Coscolluela said, as he stressed that Filipinos must learn how to fight back against misgovernance, how to discern the best candidates, to unite and help their candidates win, to make elected officials accountable, with a genuine political revolution through people empowerment as the long term goal.
“Ang problema natin, really, is wala tayong (Our problem is, we don’t have) control, because we’re divided and we don’t have a unifying agenda. Politicians, not the people, dictate the terms because they are the ones organized and who have the money,” Coscolluela stressed.
He also said he is looking at 1Sambayan as the beginning of a genuine people’s political revolution, “where the power will begin going back to the hands of the people”.
“A strong and assertive civil society,” he stressed, “is democracy’s strongest weapon.”
Coscolluela also called on Filipinos to stop choosing candidates based on how they think they would personally benefit from their choice – patronage or “padrino” politics.
They must choose candidates not for personal gain, but for the common good, Coscolluela also said, although he admitted it may be a tough pitch in a country where too many people are poor and in need of any help they can get from politicians.*