AKBAYAN Youth Gives Presidentiables Early Christmas Wishes

For FPJ, it’s “Mag-Barangay Captain POE Muna Tayo.” For GMA, “Wag Ka Na Sanang Tumakbo.”

Akbayan Youth challenged today presidentiables Fernando Poe, Jr., Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Ping Lacson, and Raul Roco to ponder upon the wishes and aspirations of the Filipino youth, as the group launched the “Wish ng Kabataan sa Pasko” campaign in Quezon City. “The country is now under a deep sense of desperation and needs a leader that will not just inspire, but will also deliver,” Akbayan youth spokesperson Marie Chris Cabreros said. “The campaign aims to force upon the presidentiables the frustration of the people over our lack of options in the coming presidential elections.”

Akbayan youth lamented that if the elections were held before the year’s end, none of the four main presidential candidates would get a significant majority. This, according to the youth group of Akbayan party list, signifies that the Filipino public does not completely trust the current crop of presidentiables and does not see them as leaders that can save the country from the current political and economic crisis.

“We are again forced to choose the lesser evil,” Jonas Bagas, Akbayan Youth’s National Coordinator, said. “The four presidentiables have pretensions of being pro-masa, when in fact they all support elite politics. They also have not issued any concrete agenda for the youth.”

Bagas said that FPJ’s lack of education is not the main issue. “We in Akbayan Youth believe that Fernando Poe, Jr. lacks the leadership and competence in governance that our country badly needs right now,” Bagas said. “Popularity may give FPJ electoral victory, but it will not make up for his lack of skills in governance. He may have the heart and the good intentions, but if he doesn’t have a clear platform yet, then how can he claim that he will be a good leader? We certainly do not want to vote again a President that will rely on his advisers.”

The group also dared President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to back out from her decision to run. “She can no longer convince the public that she is a credible leader,” according to Cabreros. “If she can’t even uphold her December 30 declaration, how can she prove that she will stick to her promises once she’s elected?”

As for the two other presidentiables, Akbayan youth said that Raul Roco and Ping Lacson still need to win over the support of the people. “Ping Lacson still has to regain his credibility, especially with his dubious human rights background,” Cabreros added. “Raul Roco, on the other hand, has no clear platform for the youth despite his claims that he is pro-youth. He needs to show who the ‘real’ Raul Roco is.”

Around 4.5 million first time voters have registered for next year’s elections. This, according to the group, is the result of the massive information campaign that various youth groups have launched. “After mobilizing our resources and ranks for the registration of first time voters, we will now use this voting bloc to influence the next presidential elections,” Bagas said. “The first time voters will be the real ‘swing vote’ for next year’s elections. We call on the first time voters to be discerning and critical in choosing their candidates.

The group said that they will launch a similar campaign for the vice-presidential and senatorial candidates. A separate campaign will also be launched to warn the public against “recycled” party-list organizations.