A Boholano’s View by Jose “Pepe” Abueva
The Bohol Chronicle
March 4, 2012
Join Our Centrist Democratic Party (CDP)!
Ang Partido ng Tunay na Demokrasya
We cordially invite you to join CDP and help achieve what all Filipinos are tasked to do in our Constitution: Build (1) “a just and humane society;” and (2) “a democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace.” (Preamble).
Sixty-six years after our Independence in 1946 and 25 years after our 1986 EDSA Revolt that ended the Marcos dictatorship and formally restored our democracy under our 1987 Constitution, what have we to show?
With a population close to 100 million, the Philippines is the 12th most populous nation in the world, but is still a developing country. As a nation we have made some progress since 1946, but our slow economic development has not kept pace with our rapid population growth. And our politics has worsened. Let’s take note of the following conditions.
- Continued dominance of our mostly self-serving political oligarchy of family dynasties in our political and economic life;
- Massive poverty and growing disparity between our “haves and have-nots,” and the restricted growth of our middle class as “the backbone of our democracy”;
- A “Soft State” showing signs of a “failing State”—weak rule of law, endemic corruption, abuse of authority, continuing rebellion, extra-judicial killings, criminality, unchecked rapid population growth, environmental degradation, and resulting human insecurity;
- Obsolete and dysfunctional democratic institutions that restrict meaningful citizen participation in their governance—in our elections, in our three branches of Government, and in our local governments;
- Our National Government suffers from excessive separation of powers and paralyzing checks and balance among its three branches. With our Presidential Government we can never develop modern political parties that are principled, program-oriented, and accountable to the people.
- Concentration of power and funding in our highly centralized Government based in “Imperial Manila,” at the expense of our people in our far-flung and neglected provinces and regions;
- And as our country is left farther behind our progressive Asian neighbors, many of our youth face a dark future, and many more will have to seek employment abroad.
Our Basic Political Problems are our Political System and Institutions and Self-Serving Leaders – not the Filipinos as a people. Our structural and leadership problems leave us no way out of our socio-economic-political backwardness. There are scant possibilities for citizens who are poor and insecure to become active stakeholders in our democracy.
TO BUILD A VIBRANT AND EFFECTIVE DEMOCRACY FOR OUR COMMON GOOD, WE, CITIZENS, MUST FIGHT FOR CHANGE AND REFORMS. AND BE ACTIVE IN OUR GOVERNANCE. FOR THIS TO HAPPEN WE MUST BUILD REAL POLITICAL PARTIES! OUR CDP IS SUCH A PARTY!
CDP is a Modern Political Party, unlike most Filipino political parties that are personal factions of our political oligarchy of family dynasties organized mainly to win elections. CDP is recruiting members all over the Philippines. Our members pay yearly dues, abide by Party rules, elect our Party leaders, and select Party candidates for public office. Loyal to our Party, all members are committed to our Core Principles and Program of Governance and Reform.
CDP abides by its Core Principles and Program of Governance and Reform. These are: (1) Human Dignity; (2) Subsidiarity; (3) Social Market Economy; (4) Reform of our dysfunctional institutions and policies; and (5) Build our Global Filipino Nation as a peaceful and progressive nation and an inclusive democracy.
1. Human Dignity. As human beings created by God in his image, we are all endowed with human dignity. Our Constitution calls on Congress o give highest priority “to protect and enhance the right of all the people to human dignity. (XIV.1)” But under our political system too many people suffer the indignity of continuing poverty, unemployment, homelessness, dependency, insecurity, and the pressures of our fast growing population, forcing millions to find better opportunities abroad. In fact Filipinos are left behind by our more progressive neighbors in Asia.
2. Subsidiarity. This says that the State is subsidiary to our sovereign people whom the State must serve. It is “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” It is also “development from the grassroots.” In CDP we understand “true democracy” or “ang tunay na demokrasya“ as “Demokrasyang Pinatubo“: growing and nurturing democracy by building institutions with the people and local communities—before involving higher levels of governance.
In In reality, however, our people suffer from “Demokrasyang Pinatulo,” or “top-down governance” and “trickle down development.” Our Philippine State has always been ruled by a largely self-serving political oligarchy of family dynasties. Most presidents, senators, representatives, and many local government leaders belong to this ruling class. They dominate politics through our very expensive elections. By their political power and authority they control government decisions, public funds, and much of our natural resources.
Our people suffer all the more because this political system is highly centralized. It breeds widespread corruption, abuse of power, excessive patronage, poor governance, lack of accountability, injustice, rampant violence, the virtual impunity of lawbreakers, suffering from natural calamities, and the lack of a critical mass of “transforming leaders.”
3.A Social Market Economy. CDP is committed to help bring about a Social Market Economy. The objectives are: (1) Develop a strong State to guarantee a stable legal and political framework in order for businesses to flourish and become competitive locally and globally; (2) Level the playing field and ensure free market processes; (3) Help provide our people with good education and health services, social housing, and old age security; and (4) protect and sustain our environment for future generations.
4. Reform of Our Dysfunctional Political Institutions and Policies. For 66 years since we regained our independence in 1946, including 25 years under our 1987 Constitution, we have suffered under the same old colonial political system initiated under American colonial rule in 1899: namely our dysfunctional Presidential Government, and our dysfunctional elections, political parties, bureaucracy, and judiciary.
Reform Our Highly Centralized Unitary System. Again, for all these years we have been ruled by our political oligarchy of family dynasties. As a consequence we remain backward, and we still have not not consolidated our democracy. It remains at risk of again reverting to an authoritarian syst em. We must liberate ourselves from our oppressive political system and institutions!
5. Building Our Global Filipino Nation and Democracy. We have become a Global Filipino Nation of some 97 million in our Homeland and another 10 million overseas, and counting. Through the Dual Citizenship Law and the Absentee Voting Law overseas Filipinos now have more opportunities and incentives to participate in building a peaceful and progressive global nation and an inclusive democracy—for the good of all Filipinos. Overseas Filipino citizens should be able elect their own Members of Parliament in our future Parliament.
Balance Our Rights with Our Duties in the Quest for Unity and Progress. For too long we have stressed our rights and privileges and entitlements, and minimized our duties, responsibilities and obligations. All along our neighbors in Asia have sacrificed for their national unity and progress. We need to find the golden mean to serve and protect the common good and the public interest, to build our nation, to democratize, to achieve prosperity, and to make peace and progress in cooperation with other nations. Let us then balance our Bill of Rights with a Bill of Duties.
“Transforming Leaders.” Too many of our political leaders are “Transactional Leaders.” With their power and authority, political patronage and pork barrel, they bargain with their followers and exchange favors to gain their support and loyalty. While our democracy certainly requires bargaining and compromise, we also need “Transforming Leaders” who will inspire and challenge their followers to fulfill the vision and ideals in our Constitution: “to build a just and humane society” and “a democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace…” (Preamble). And to uphold human dignity, a core principle of CDP.
Join Our Centrist Democratic Party (CDP)!
Ang Partido sa Tinuod nga Democrasya!
CDP Headquarters, 2nd Flr., MILLE Bldg. 335-337 Gil Puyat Ave. (formerly Buendia)
cor. Dominga St., Pasay City, Metro Manila. Tel.No. (02) 385-2669
Your comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org