Kalikasan to COMELEC: Do not marginalize the marginalized

ENVIRONMENTAL advocates led by Kalikasan party-list along with government employees from COURAGE party-list stormed the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Main Office in Intramuros, Manila to protest the disqualification of their respective appeals for accreditation.

Hundreds of their members decried the COMELEC’s failure to distinguish genuine party-lists representing marginalized sectors from administration-backed groups.

“The COMELEC, unfortunately, has disqualified party-lists that are genuinely serving the people while feigning to clean up the party-list system of bogus groups. It has denied us the right to represent the poor and marginalized sectors which are the first to be affected by environmental destruction and degradation,” said Kalikasan National President Clemente Bautista, Jr.

The group questioned the merits of their disqualification, saying that the group’s track record can be traced from the broad environmental movement in the Philippines from as long as 15 years back. Bautista also pointed out that drastic environmental reforms must be pushed through.

“Many have used and abused the environment, profiting from it at the expense of the marginalized sectors and future generations. Kalikasan has long advocated for the genuine conservation of our country’s natural resources and the optimization of its use for the people’s genuine development. We have long struggled against policies and projects that have promoted the wanton exploitation of our natural wealth and compounded the people’s vulnerability and risk of disasters, especially in this time of climate change,” he said.
Bautista also reiterated the call to “disqualify other party-lists shamelessly and blatantly enjoying the patronage of the Arroyo and current administrations.”

“The COMELEC should determine whether a group, whether previously elected or not, is being backed by the Palace or by ruling politicians and thereby degrading the partylist system. These are the groups that COMELEC should be disqualifying, not the progressive partylists who ever since have represented the people’s aspirations,” he said.

“Lastly, the COMELEC should support the call for a genuinely pro-people elections and condemn the current practice of political dynasties and big businesses backing up political groups. An electoral system where the elite are already over-represented only further marginalizes our society’s already marginalized sectors,” Bautista ended.

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