In May 2010, the Filipino people will once again be participating in a national and local election. As in
previous years, the May 2010 national elections will be no different when it comes to the rampant and
deliberate use of fraud, violence, terrorism and wealth by the elite and traditional politicians to perpetuate
their hold on power. Already in the lead up to the election we have seen candidates assassinated, intimidation, military intervention and harassment and arrest of opposition campaigners and activists.
Even the much-publicized automation of the counting of votes does not guarantee that fraud can be
checked. Technological experts have raised the possibility that computerized polls could result in computerized cheating if adequate safeguards are not installed.
The May 2010 elections is an opportunity for the Filipino people to kick out and indict the Arroyo regime
that for the past nine years has been guilty of corruption, fraud, lies, political repression and, worse, extrajudicial
killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations. It is also an important opportunity
for Filipino people to set the stage for not just a change of leadership in government but a decisive
comprehensive reform that addresses the underlying problems of Philippine society by supporting
progressive people’s parties and candidates.
1. What is the importance of the election to Filipino migrants?
There are more than 8 million Filipinos living outside the Philippines. Twenty per cent of the total Philippine
population depends on the money we send home. The migrant remittance amounted to U.S. $18 Billion in 2009
alone. Migrant Filipinos have the economic power to influence change in the Philippines. By encouraging our
families to vote for Liza Maza, Satur Ocampo and Gabriela Women’s Party, we ensure that migrant Filipinos
have a voice in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Overseas Filipinos can also influence international opinion that can pressure the Philippine government to run a clean election. International pressure can also help the Filipino people in opposing electoral fraud and violence, a possible failure of election or even possible martial law. Many countries,
including Canada, are sending international observers during the election
in May. These international observers include politicians, academics, labour
leaders, church leaders and overseas Filipinos. The Philippine International Observers
Mission (PIOM) has been made possible by the organizing work of people’s
organizations in the Philippines, solidarity groups abroad and overseas Filipino
organizations, Migrante-Canada and Bayan-Canada and their affiliate
2. Who are the progressive candidates running for
position this coming national election?
Two members of Congress, Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza are now running for
senatorial positions. They were elected three consecutive times to Congress under
the banners of Bayan Muna and Gabriela. From journalist to social activist,
peace and human rights advocate and now three-term congressman, Satur
Ocampo is one of the most known and respected leaders of the opposition and
the progressive people's movement in the country, and a true representative of
the people. A modern-day Gabriela, courageous, hardworking, determined and
steadfast in her commitment to uphold the interests of women, Liza Maza, on the
other hand, has fearlessly championed the rights of the Filipino people for more
than 30 years of activism.
After the COMELEC delisted Migrante Sectoral Partylist (MSP) from running in
this coming election, MSP in their last congress voted to support Gabriela
Women's Party as a bearer of migrants issue. Gabriela Women’s Party is a sectoral
party dedicated to promoting the rights and welfare of marginalized and under-
represented Filipino women. Today, with over 100,000 members in 15 regions
in the Philippines and Filipino communities abroad, Gabriela Women’s
Party through grassroots organizing, education, services, various campaigns and
legislative efforts continues to advance the rights of women, children and country.
The GWP has also been a champion of the rights and the welfare of overseas
Filipino (OFWs), has
led the campaign on
the issues of Flor Contemplacion, Sarah Balabagan
and Angelo dela Cruz; the guidelines of the Philippine
Overseas Agency (POEA) on Filipino domestic workers
, and the trafficking and slavery of OFWs, among
others. Just recently, the GWP and other progressive
party-lists (Bayan Muna and Anakpawis) introduced
the House Bill (HB) 5868 – an act allocating a contingency
fund as unemployment benefit for Overseas
Filipino Workers (OFWs) who have been repatriated
due to expiration of contract or to retrenchment.
3. Why did Liza Maza and Satur Ocampo join Manny Villar's
Liza Maza and Satur Ocampo are members of the Makabayan Coalition, a political coalition that is presently
comprised of eight Philippine progressive parties: Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, Kabataan, ACT, COURAGE,
Migrante and Katribu. Liza Maza and Satur Ocampo are independent candidates. They are not members of
the Nacionalista Party (NP). They accepted NP's offfer to be guest candidates because of NP’s and Villar’s commitment
to take on major elements of Makabayan's political platform such as:
Focus on agriculture and rural development
Pursuance of true agrarian reform
Development of manufacturing and local industries
Protection of the rights of the working people
Equity and Increase in Social services
Better environment and disaster response
Pursuit of human rights and justice
Advancement of the peace process
A more nationalist foreign relations policy
Renegotiating the Visiting Forces Agreement
4. Is there a possibility that the election will not push through?
Yes. There is a possibility that the Arroyo administration will create a “no-election” scenario. The Arroyo
administration has been desperately trying to change the government into a parliament system to give
Arroyo the chance to become the country`s prime minister, ensure Arroyo’s indefinite stay in power and
also to shield her from prosecution while she continues to amass wealth.
Speculations about Arroyo’s desperate
measures to remain in power was confirmed
when she filed for candidacy for
congressional seat. If elected, it is
widely believed that she will use her influence
in Congress to pursue Cha-Cha
and further make her way to becoming
prime minister without term limitations.
Arroyo is also trying to consolidate her
influence over the Supreme Court by
attempting to appoint the next chief justice
to replace outgoing Chief Justice Reynato Puno, despite the fact that doing so is unconstitutional.
Already, she has consolidated support in the military when she recently appointed a known Arroyo
crony, Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
It is also possible that the new automated election system will fail to deliver its purpose, either through
malfunction or outright manipulation. This will allow Arroyo to call a failure of election and extend her
stay in power.
Another possibility is that the Arroyo regime will use the mounting people`s resistance and the continuing
election-related violence as an excuse to declare martial law and further cause more human
5. What can you do to support the progressive candidates and
Even though most of migrant Filipinos will not be able to vote in this election for various reasons, there
are lots of ways to help and get the votes the candidates need:
Education campaign: you can help by disseminating information about Satur Ocampo, Liza
Maza and Gabriela Women's Party to the Filipino community. Educate them about who Satur
and Liza are, their sterling record in Congress, and what they will stand for in the Senate.
Sharing with Migrante the names of your family members at home who can act as contact persons.
Migrante will ensure that they are contacted and visited during the Makabayan candidates’
campaign sorties in your home provinces provinces. You can send the information to migrantecanada@
Phone blitz: Call your families and friends in the Philippines, and encourage them to vote and/
or organize similar phone blitz parties and get-together in your communities. Also encourage
your family in the Philippines to volunteer for Makabayan campaign work.
Social media: Regularly send notice to vote for Satur, Liza and Gabriela to your Facebook,
Friendster and other social network friends.
Raise funds for the candidates.
If you are a registered Overseas Absentee Voter, please do not forget to vote when you receive
your ballot by mail. Voting starts on April 10, 2010 until 3PM (Philippine time) on May 10, 2010.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
BAYAN Canada: firstname.lastname@example.org c/o Joey Calugay
MIGRANTE Canada: email@example.com c/o Marco Luciano
Check out websites:
Kontradaya (kontradaya.org) – Antifraud and election monitoring information
Makabayan (makabayan.org.ph) – Makabayan platform and Senatorial candidate
Gabriela Women’s Party (gabrielawomensparty.net)
MIGRANTE International (migranteinternational.org)
MIGRANTE Canada (migrante.ca