One Voice, a non-partisan movement composed of volunteers from a broad cross-section of society, agreed to step up its campaign for the discontinuance of the proposed Charter Change and the pursuit of social and electoral reforms, with an orientation forum for new volunteers held yesterday at Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) in Quezon City.
“Volunteers from various sectors including the youth, urban poor, academe, non-government organizations, as well as the public sector came up with new strategies to strengthen and expand the reach of our advocacy,” One Voice convener and AdMU Political Science Department Chair Dr. Benjamin T. Tolosa, Jr. said at the sidelines of the movement’s first orientation forum held Saturday, 29 July at Ateneo.
Tolosa said the orientation forum was a vital step in One Voice’s plan to prepare for the struggles ahead mindful of the full government backing that pro-Charter change advocates receive from different agencies. “The harangues we’ve been getting from those aligned with the administration’s Charter change agenda have not dampened the enthusiasm of our conveners and volunteers. We all agreed that One Voice will not be distracted by the constant media attacks of our opponents,” he said.
Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran, Inc. founder and Citizens Action Against Crime chair Teresita Ang-See, PSLINK general secretary Annie Geron, former Silliman University president Dr. Quintin Doromal, former Education Undersecretary and AdMU/De La Salle University Professor Chito Gascon, student leaders and faculty from San Beda College, Far Eastern University, DLSU, AdMU and Ateneo de Naga, and representatives of Zonta of Muntinlupa, Krusada Nasyonalismo at Disiplina, Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan, Pugadlawin, Social Democratic Caucus, among many others, participated in the orientation workshop.
“Charter change as proposed by the administration will face defeat as more people find the courage to speak out and be heard on this issue,” Dr. Tolosa pointed out. Already, adherents have launched the Cagayan de Oro chapter of One Voice on July 28. “We are elated by the growing number of individuals and groups who have approached us to ask how they can help us with our five-point proposal to resolve the current political impasse.”
Dr. Tolosa stressed that the movement is gearing up for the battles ahead. “We’re prepared to question the legality of the people’s Initiative once it is filed with the Commission on Elections and onward to the Supreme Court. We have formed a legal team of volunteer lawyers to prepare for the legal battles ahead.” Law students form part of the volunteer team.
One Voice is also pushing for voters’ education for the 2007 election. “We want to ensure a wise vote in 2007,” he said. The organization will work closely with Pugadlawin, the National Secretariat for Social Action, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, and the Bishops-Businessmen’s Council in a nationwide voters’ education campaign.
The nonpartisan movement has also organized a networking committee tasked with reaching out to different sectors as part of its advocacy and education campaign.
The movement is advocating a five-point process which calls for 1) the discontinuance of the present people’s initiative; 2) a social reform program now; 3) elections in 2007 as scheduled, as an indirect referendum on the current administration; 4) a Constitutional Convention after the elections, if necessary; and 5) a collective effort to rebuild the trustworthiness of democratic institutions.
Among One Voice conveners present at the forum were Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement president and former Senator Wigberto E. Tañada, former Commission on Elections chair Christian S. Monsod, Consumer & Oil Price Watch chair Raul T. Concepcion, historian and columnist Manuel L. Quezon III, former University of the East president Baltazar N. Endriga, Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute president Susan V. Ople, 1986 Constitutional Commission member Florangel Rosario Braid, Transparency and Accountability Network Chair Vincent Lazatin, Former DENR Undersecretary and Ateneo School of Government Dean Antonio La Vina, Kapatiran President Johnny Cardenas, Ateneo Human Rights Center Executive Director Carlos Medina and Alejandro Melchor Foundation Executive Secretary Elizabeth Melchor. Philippine Jesuit Provincial and One Voice signatory Fr. Daniel Patrick Huang, S.J. gave the welcome remarks.
One Voice also has the firm backing of the Philippine Agrarian Reform Fund for Unity and Development, Agrarian Justice Foundation, Task Force Mapalad, Kapatiran sa Pangkalahatang Kabutihan, Samahan sa 53 Hektarya ng Macabud, Mindanawon Initiatives for Cultural Dialogue, and the Romblon Reform Caucus.
For more information, log on to the group’s website at www.onevoice.org.ph.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Saturday, July 29, 2006
A One Voice campaign creating awareness about the proposed House Resolution 1230.
What people don't know about the 2006 proposed charter change