Oposisyon Koalisyon’s goal in 2019: Gov’t with 'heart for the people'

MANILA, Philippines – The opposition coalition  on Wednesday, October 24, fired its opening salvo for the 2019 elections as it launched its senatorial candidates who vowed to help bring back a government with a "heart for the people."

Reelectionist Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV said he and the 7 other Oposisyon Koalisyon senatorial bets want to bring back a government that will prioritize the welfare of all Filipinos. (READ: Barangay event kicks off opposition bid to overcome ‘dilawan’ handicap)

Ang kailangan natin, isang gobyerno na ang puso ay ang taumbayan, isang gobyerno na sa gitna ng kanyang kaibuturan, ang kapakanan ng mamamayan at hindi ‘yung kagustuhan ng iilan lamang. Iyan ang gusto nating ibalik – ibalik ang isang gobyerno kung saan kayo po ang nauuna, kayo ang boss,” Aquino said before packed supporters at a covered court in Barangay Parang, Marikina City. 

(What we need is a government with a heart for the people, a government whose core is the welfare of the people, not the desires of a few. That’s what we want to bring back – a government where you are first, where you are the bosses.)

He said the opposition candidates were all worthy of being campaigned for.

Lahat ng 8 ito, maipagmamalaki po natin. Hindi ho tayo mahihiya na kumatok sa mga bahay ng ating mga kapitbahay, mag-text sa mga kamag-anak, makipag-away sa Facebook para po sa 8 ito,” said Aquino.

(We can be proud of all 8 bets. We will not be ashamed to knock on the doors of our neighbors, text our relatives, and fight with people on Facebook for the sake of these 8.)

Vice President Leni Robredo, opposition leader and chairperson of the once-ruling Liberal Party, called on the public to vote for the Oposisyon Koalisyon bets.  

Robredo said voters would now have a chance to "make things right" in the 2019 elections after "mistakes" in the last national elections in 2016, when many were lured by the still largely unfulfilled campaign promises of then-Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

During the launch of the senatorial ticket, the aspirants took turns introducing themselves to the crowd, who were garbed in different colors representing every Senate hopeful’s campaign color. 

Here are excerpts of the campaign pitch of every senatorial bet of the Oposisyon Koalisyon, in order of appearance:

Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno

Kung talagang kakaunti na lang ang may tiwala sa ating systema ng katarungan, kung talagang baluktot at mahina ang ating sistem ng katarungan, bakit hindi ito nagiging bahagi ng ating national agenda? Bakit hindi ito pinag-u-usapan, lalong lalo na ng mga politiko? Justice after all, is about empowering the poor – and the last thing politicians want is an enlightened and empowered electorate. Sabi po ng aking ama, si Ka Pepe Diokno, "It is only through an honest government and enforcing just laws that actual justice can be attained. I do not know of any other way." Samahan po ninyo ako. Sama-sama nating itaguyod ang katarungan sa ating Inang Bayan.

(If there are truly only a few people who trust our justice system, if our justice system is truly weak, then how come this is not part of the national agenda? Why is it not being discussed, especially by politicians? Justice after all, is about empowering the poor – and the last thing politicians want is an enlightened and empowered electorate. My father Ka Pepe Diokno said, “It is only through an honest government and enforcing just laws that actual justice can be attained. I do not know of any other way.” Please join me. Let us uphold justice in our motherland.)

Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc Tomawis

Ang pangalan ko pa ay si Samira Gutoc, isang babae, isang ina, isang proud na survivor. Ang mahalaga po sa amin ay wala na pong martial law! Ang aking kuwento ay kuwento ninyong lahat. Lahat tayo ay Pilipino na patuloy na naghihirap sa ating mga pamilya. Lahat tayo ay dumaranas ng matinding pagsubok, gaya ng akin na isang ina.... Lalo na tayong mga babae. Alam 'nyo naman, masyado nating pinupuso ang mga nangyari. Patuloy nating kinakaharap ang paglabag sa ating karapatang pandignidad. Ang naranasan po namin sa Marawi ay 'di dapat maranasan kahit saan sa Pilipinas!

(My name is Samira Gutoc, a woman, a mother, a proud survivor. What is important for us is that there is no more martial law! My story is everyone's story. We are Filipinos who continue to suffer with our families. We all experienced hardships, like me as a mother.... For us women, we take to heart things that happen. We continue to face violations of our rights and our dignity. What we experienced in Marawi should not be experienced anywhere else in the Philippines! )

Election lawyer Romulo “Romy” Macalintal

Murang gamot, murang medical services. Bakit? Sapagkat ang nais ko pong gawin pagdating natin ng 70 years old, ang senior citizens, 30% discount. Pagdating ng 80 years old, 40% discount sa gamot at ospital. Pagdating ng 90 and above, 50% discount para sa mga senior citizens natin. Kakaunti lang naman ang makakarating ng 100 hindi po ba? It will never dent the budget of the government. 

At saka, iyong centenarian gift napakagandang batas na nagawa ng ating pamahalaan. Pero sa pag-aaral namin, hindi na mag-e-enjoy ang 100 years old sa ganiyang benepisyo. Kaya pagdating ng 80 years old, ibigay ang P30,000. Pagdating ng 90 years old, ibigay ang another P30,000. At pagdating ng 100 years old, ibigay ang P40,000.  And every year na mabubuhay siya beyond 100 years old, bigyan natin ng P100,000 taun-taon iyang mga senior citizens. 

(Cheap medicine, cheap medical services. Why? Because I want to push for a law that when you reach 70, senior citizens get a 30% discount. At 80, 40% discount on medicine and hospital expenses. At 90 and above, 50% discount. There are only a few who can reach 100, right? It will never dent the budget of the government. 

And the centenarian gift is a very beautiful law. But in our research, 100-year-olds no longer enjoy the benefit. So [my proposal] is when you turn 80, get the P30,000. When you turn 90, get another P30,000. And when you reach 100 years old, the remaining P40,000.  And every year beyond 100 years old, let's give  P100,000.)

Former interior secretary Mar Roxas

Our people are innately hardworking, charitable, helpful…. There is no reason for us not to progress with these qualities. I believe that there is more to us. I believe that there is more to our future, that the best days of our people and of our country are in front of us. Ang aking pagtakbo ay hindi Round 2 ng 2016. Ang aking pagtakbo ay tungkol sa ating mga kababayan, sa ating kinabukasan, at sa ating magandang parating.

(My candidacy is not Round 2 of 2016. My candidacy is about our countrymen, about our future, about the good that is yet to come.)

Former Quezon congressman Erin Tañada

Ako po si Erin Tañada, kaibigan ni Ka Ed Mora, kaibigan ng mga magsasaka, kaibigan ng mga manggagawa, dahil alam po natin ang boses ng mga maliliit ay hindi napapakinggan sa loob po ng Kongreso. Alam po natin na importante po para sa ating lahat, kung tayo po ay magiging isang tapat na lider ng ating bansa, dapat po tayong makinig sa ating kapaligiran. Dapat po tayong matuto sa ating mga mamamayan. At dahil po doon kailangan po tayong lahat kumilos.

(I am Erin Tañada, a friend of Ka Ed Mora, a friend of farmers, a friend of laborers, because we know that the voice of the marginalized are not heard in Congress. We know that if we want to be an honest leader of the country, we have to listen to our surroundings. We have to learn from our countrymen. And because of that, we all have to work together.)

Former solicitor general Florin “Pilo” Hilbay

Sa lahat ng ating laban, ang ating prinsipyo ay ang hugot ng sambayan. Simple lang: Ang tama, inilalaban!

Tayo po ay lumabas ng unibersidad upang harapin ang hamon na magsilbi bilang isang senador. Mabigat po ang ating laban – dehado po tayo. Ngunit sa tingin ko po, sa susunod na eleksyon, ang ordinaryong mamamayan ay magbubukas ng puwang para sa mga bagong boses, sa isang tinig na nanggagaling sa hanay ng mga ordinaryong tao. Ako po si Pilo Hilbay, isang batang Tondo, propesor ng batas.

(In all my battles, my principle is guided by the voice of the people. It's simple: Fight for what is right!

I left the university to face the challenge of serving as a senator. We face a tough fight. But I think that in the next elections, ordinary citizens will provide the space for new voices, a voice that will come from the ranks of ordinary people. I am Pilo Hilbay, a Tondo boy, professor of law.)

Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano

Ang tanong ko sa inyo: Are the Filipinos worth fighting and dying for? Is our country worth fighting and dying for? Sa akin po, kahit anong mangyari, ang aking sagot ay oo. Kahit pa ang daming magnanakaw, mandarambong, mamamatay tao sa gobyerno, traydor sa bayan, dahil naniniwala ako na 'yung kabutihan ay mananaig sa kasamaan, mananaig ang tama laban sa mali. 'Yung mga Pilipino, ‘yong lahing Pilipino ay magtatagumpay.

(My question is: Are the Filipinos worth fighting and dying for? Is our country worth fighting and dying for? For me, whatever happens, my answer is always yes. This is even if there are many thieves, plunderers, killers in government, traitors in our country, because I believe that good will prevail over evil, that right will prevail over wrong. The Filipino will prevail.)

Senator Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV

Sabi ko, hindi tayo puwedeng tumahimik. Hindi tayo puwedeng matakot, dahil meron pa tayong pangarap sa ating bayan. Meron pa tayong pangarap na hindi pa natutupad – isang bayang maunlad, na walang ni isang pamilyang Pilipinong naiiwan. Isang bayang maunlad, na walang maiiwan.... Isang bayang maunlad, na lahat tayo, nararanasan ang kasaganahan. Mga estudyante, nakapag-aaral. Mga magsasaka, na-a-afford ang kanilang inaani. Mga tricycle driver at jeepney driver na hindi nangangalahati ang kita dahil sa taas ng presyo ng diesel at gasolina. Mga pamilyang Pilipino na may kakayahan na tugunan ang pangangailangan ng ating mga pamilya.

(I said we cannot be silent. We cannot be afraid because we still have a dream for our country. We have a dream that remains unfulfilled – a developed country.... A developed country were everyone experiences prosperity. All students can study. Farmers can afford what they are harvesting. Tricycle and jeepney drivers who don't lose half of their earnings because of high prices of diesel and gasoline. Filipino families who have the capability to pay for their needs.)

– Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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