DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Militant lawmakers on Friday blasted the reported sightings of tarpaulin materials in what appears to be a calculated “smearing campaign” against Left-leaning party-list groups.
Anti-Left campaign materials were sighted hanging at major public centers in Davao City, urging the public not to vote party-list-groups: ACT Teachers, Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Kabataan, Akbayan and Magdalo.
It also branded militant party-list groups as “protector ng CPP-NPA-NDF terrorists” and “kalaban sa pag-asenso ng bayan, bayaran.”
Bai Ali Indayla, second nominee of Gabriela Women’s Party, said their seat in the House of Representatives is a product of long years of struggle for representation of the marginalized sectors across the country.
“Despite the attacks to GABRIELA, we received overwhelming support of barangays in the One Billion Rising Campaign providing us a venue to educate the people on the need of a genuine representation of the poor sectors despite the entry of businessmen and political dynasties in the party list system,” she added.
On December 3 last year President Rodrigo Duterte tagged organizations Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and Gabriela as communist fronts .
“Satur Ocampo is fronting Bayan. Bayan is a front of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Bakit pa tayo mag… (Why should we) Alam natin that KMU, ‘yan Gabriela, (We know that KMU, Gabriela) they’re all communist fronts or being used by the communists. Alam ninyo lahat ‘yan (You all know that),” he said.
Anakpawis representative Ariel Casilao, on the other hand, decried as the red-baiting and terrorist-tagging as diversionary tactics.
“Red tagging party list and people’s organizations makes leaders and members open targets to extra-judicial killings, threats, harassment, and prosecution. It is very dangerous as it does not distinguish real terrorist acts from legitimate people’s assertion for reforms. Even the freedom of expression through peaceful demonstration, workers’ strike, and farmers’ collective land cultivation can be considered as an act of lawlessness violence. It legitimizes the attacks and suppression of legitimate rights of the people,” he said.
He added that despite the dominance of traditional politics in the party-list system Anakpawis has been fighting for the poor since our founding, we are the party-list of the masses, the poor’s ally in Congress since 2004,” the lawmaker added.
In 1995, the Party-List System Act (RA 7941) was enacted into law. Section 2 of the law stated, “to attain the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives by enhancing their chances to compete for and win seats in the legislature, and shall provide the simplest scheme possible.” (davaotoday.com)