Monday, January 11, 2010

An Opportunity to Sow the Seeds of Change

By: Isagani B. Daba (FICCO BOD Chairman)

Have you ever wondered why, despite the fact that we have leaders who proclaimed that they have “Galing at Talino” or “Sipag at Tiyaga,” or are proud to claim that “Ramdam (natin) ang Kaunlaran” or that they represent the power of the grassroots, as in “Puersa ng Masa,” this country is in worse shape than it was ten years ago?

The explanation is simple. These so called leaders will tell us what we want to hear but will do what satisfies them, e.g. bloating their pockets with jueteng money or BW stock manipulations, or enter into deals like the ZTE-NBN, fertilizer scams, or obtain onerous deals for them or the businesses of their padrinos. Screwing us is what they have been up to all these times, remembering us only come election time. These leaders believed that if they will inundate media with self-proclaimed achievements, reinforced by the pronouncements of media commentators under their pockets, we will forget what they have earlier promised us.

Democracy’s strength lies in the people making informed choices, especially in selecting who will represent them in government. We members of FICCO, as well as other Coops who support ATING KOOP Party-List, will now have a unique opportunity to actively participate in pursuing change.

COMELEC’s approval of ATING KOOP accreditation as a national sectoral Party-List offers us a chance to sow the seeds of change in our body politic. If we succeed in electing three (3) ATING-KOOP representatives in congress, we will have the venue to espouse the values we hold dear in our coops. Values such as self reliance, mutual help, unity, sacrifice, volunteerism, prudence in the use of resources and exercise of power, transparency, accountability, good governance, democratic participation, and many others are what made our coops grow and become instruments in economic and social transformation. We hope, that through ATING KOOP, the same values will also trigger the political transformation that this country needs.

Obtaining COMELEC approval was not easy, more so with the opposition of Coop NATCCO Party-List. The opposition is a sad testament to the quality of leadership of the coop movement in this country. Instead of being happy that Coops will have more representation, Coop NATCCO believed that only them should represent the aspirations of the country’s cooperatives. With the way Coop NATCCO tried to convince coops to support its cause, one cannot help but wonder if coop values can trigger transformation, or is it just another good intention being gobbled up by the prevailing political culture that entrenched transactional politics.

The next hurdle will be to obtain the votes for ATING KOOP. We are thus challenging all members of FICCO, as well as other Coops that support ATING KOOP: let us convince all our relatives, friends, co-workers and neighbors to vote for ATING-KOOP. If we want the seeds of change sowed in Congress, let us spare no effort in making sure that ATING KOOP will have the maximum three representatives.

And if success awaits us this coming May 2010, let us continue to be vigilant making sure our representatives tow the party line and will not be among those who will receive payolas in paper bags.


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