Leftist Attempts to Break Into Davao Politics

May. 11, 2007

People’s Issues. Jeppie Ramada discusses issues with Davao residents in a recent campaign visit. (davaotoday.com photo by Marilou Aguirre)

Jeppie Ramada intends to join Angela Librado-Trinidad, a fellow Bayan Muna activist, in the halls of the City Council. And he would never abandon, he promises, the struggles of the people ordinary residents, peasants, the urban poor, among others his group represents.

By Marilou M. Aguirre


TORIL, Davao City — Clad in a pair of dark-blue denim pants, light-blue Polo shirt and black sandals, Jeppie Ramada goes to Crossing Bayabas to meet with residents in his series of town-hall meetings.

Ramada, 25, shakes hands with his audience, composed mostly of barangay leaders and local residents. He introduces himself and goes on to discuss pressing issues, particularly those closest to his heart: peoples issues, such as high cost of prices and civil liberties.

Ramada is a known political activist in Davao City. Since his days at the University of the Immaculate Conception, he has been vocal about issues concerning the youth and students and the public as well. After graduating with honors (Mass Communications), he continued with his activism, to the dismay of his parents, who had wanted him to be a lawyer.

Thus, instead of burying his face in law books, he ended up with a megaphone or a microphone in his hand, speaking at protest rallies. He has become a familiar figure in the mass movement and in the media.

But Ramada, who is one of the leaders of Bayan Muna in the city, has taken yet another route, this time as a candidate for councilor in the third district. He is the youngest among all aspirants for the City Council.

“The issues that we are fighting in the parliament of the streets, issues that are affecting the people, would be given more voice if these are well-represented in the halls of the City Council,” Ramada says. “Young candidates like me offer new ideas on how our society, our city should be managed.”

Not The First

Ramada is certainly not the first leftist to run for public office. But at a time when the public’s attitude toward mainstream politics is one that ranges from resignation to indignation because of the corruption, oppression, repression, among others — he and other leftists offer a brand of politics that holds a lot of promise for the ordinary Filipino.

Ramada says he decided to run for public office with the full backing of his political party, Bayan Muna (People First), a consistent topnotcher in the party-list elections since 2001. He, together with First District councilor Angela Librado-Trinidad, also of Bayan Muna, are under the slate of Hugpong, a coalition headed by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Librado-Trinidad, a reelectionist, mainly represents the youth, women and workers in the City Council. She authored 84 ordinances concerning women and children since 2001 and is the principal author of an ordinance for building a Gender-Sensitive Crisis Unit in the city. She also authored the Amended Children Welfare Code and the Magna Carta of Students, among others.

Being the council’s chairperson in the Committee on Labor and Employment Opportunities, Librado-Trinidad is also in the forefront in the fight for interests of workers. Like many leftists we see in the streets, she has been fighting against the series of political killings, the anti-terror law, and is a consistent defender of human rights.

According to Ramada, Bayan Muna sees the need to enter local and national legislative bodies to make laws that truly reflect the issues that concern his groups core constituents: the urban poor, the workers, the peasants, the jobless, the dispossessed. He adds that the time is ripe for the people to be given alternative choices or alternative candidates who could carry what he calls the people’s agenda.

Their politics, Ramda says, is a politics of change, which is not rooted in influence, money or resources but in the people’s issues or sentiments.

Bayan Muna ran in the last 2001 elections and garnered three seats, the maximum number of seats for a party-list in the House of Representatives. In 2004, its allied parties, Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) Party and Gabriela Women’s Party, participated in the elections and garnered two and one seats, respectively. These groups have carried the agenda of the sectoral groups they are representing, from the streets to the halls of Congress, through representatives Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casio, Joel Virador, Crispin Beltran, Rafael Mariano and Liza Maza.

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