Here’s great news from the Gabriela website:
Press Release Posted on August 13th, 2009.
Party list representatives Satur Ocampo, Liza Maza and Teddy Casiño are taking their political plans a step further today by registering a new political coalition aimed at carrying through their senatorial candidacies in the 2010 elections.
The three opposition members of the House and their supporters went to the COMELEC offices in Intramuros this morning to formally register the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan), which plans to field candidates for the Senate and for local government positions in next year’s elections.
“Today, we take the fight for the politics of change one step further by registering the Makabayan coalition. This coalition, whose members have been tried and tested in the last three elections, aims to make a bigger presence in the political mainstream by winning three seats in the Senate in 2010,” said Ocampo, the coalition’s National President.
“We formed Makabayan in response to the people’s clamor for a patriotic, democratic and reform-oriented government. “As a patriotic and pro-people political coalition, Makabayan shall pursue strategic and short-term policy and system changes in the new government and beyond,” Ocampo added.
From three seats in the House in 2001, the progressive party list bloc increased its representation to six seats in 2004 and eight in 2008. This, despite the widespread and systematic killings and political harassment inflicted on its members and supporters by the Arroyo government and its security forces.
“This merely proves that you can not kill or defeat a movement whose time has come. Through Makabayan, we reaffirm our commitment against corrupt, repressive and elitist politics that adhere to foreign dictates, as exemplified by the Arroyo administration’s kind of politics and governance,” Maza, Makabayan National Vice President, said.
Casiño said talks are ongoing with major opposition parties or coalitions on the possibility of their running as guest candidates, but Makabayan is also exploring the possibility of running an independent senatorial slate in cooperation with other like-minded groups and individuals.
He also said that Makabayan may support a presidential and vice presidential tandem “if we can agree on a common platform and program of government.”
The trio is unfazed by the challenges to a three-person senatorial ticket. “Sure, we lack funds and other material resources. But we have a nationwide machinery of dedicated volunteers and activists who can run a grassroots campaign like no other. Plus, we have a voters’ base of around 3 million voters who have stuck with us through thick and thin since 2001,” Ocampo pointed out.
The Makabayan coalition is composed of the following party list groups represented in Congress: Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, and Kabataan. Also joining the coalition are the ACT Teachers Party List, COURAGE Party List and the OFW party list Migrante.
Makabayan’s national executive committee includes: Maita Gomez and Rep. Rafael Mariano (Anakpawis), co-chairpersons; former Rep. Roseller Barinaga, vice chairperson; Rep. Satur Ocampo (Bayan Muna), president; Rep. Liza Largoza-Maza (Gabriela), national vice president; Caloocan councilor Ramon Te, VP for Luzon; former Rep. Siegfred Deduro, VP for Visayas; former Rep. Joel G. Virador, VP for Mindanao; Nathanael Santiago, secretary general.
Its national council members are: national artist Prof. Bienvenido Lumbera, film director Joel Lamangan, doctors Reynaldo Lesaca, Ed Clemente and Romy Quijano, Prof. Roland Simbulan, international judge (Ad Litem) Romeo Capulong; UP Law professors Vicky Avena and Harry Roque, feminist lawyer Evalyn Ursua, Muslim leader Amira Ali Lidasan, Rep. Joel Maglungsod; women leader Cristina Palabay, student leader Alvin Peters, activist Cherry Clemente, youth leader Vencer Crisostomo, and Ms. Fides Lim.