Akbayan vs Anakbayan in Davao
DAVAO CITY, Philippines - Members of militant youth organizations Anakbayan and League of Filipino Students staged a protest outside the press conference of Akbayan senatorial candidate Risa Hontiveros in Davao on Wednesday, November 21.
Visiting the city a day after the Commission on Elections allowed the participation of Akbayan in the 2013 elections, Hontiveros said she welcomed the decision.
But members of Anakbayan-Southern Mindanao slammed the Comelec verdict as a “ridiculous pro-Aquino administration decision that would further bastardize the partylist system."
After holding a protest rally outside the restaurant where Hontiveros was holding her press conference, the protesters attempted to block her van after she left the building through a backdoor.
Both groups have been engaged in a word war, which reached fever pitch after members of Anakbayan stormed into Akbayan's press conference in Manila in October.
Anakbayan-Southern Mindanao spokesperson Cherry Orendain said Akbayan cannot claim to be marginalized or underrepresented because its leaders hold key positions in the government.
Akbayan's 2nd nominee, Barry Gutierez, is President Aquino’s undersecretary for political affairs while its 3rd nominee Angelina Ludovice-Katoh is a commissioner in the Presidential Commision for the Urban Poor.
“Akbayan campaigned for PNoy in the 2012 elections and now Hontiveros, who is the national chair of the group, is part of the administration senatoriables. It was already revealed that among the prominent campaign funders of Akbayan are the Aquino sisters with an P18 million-budget,” Orendain said.
Hontiveros, a former Akbayan representative, also ran under the administration ticket in the 2010 elections but lost.
Noting wrong in being allies
Hontiveros said she sees nothing wrong in being seen as an ally of the President.
“We consider it as a compliment that we are being considered as allies of the President in bringing change in our country,” Hontiveros said.
But Hontiveros noted that Akbayan also disagrees with Aquino on several issues including the Freedom on Information Bill and the security of tenure issue involving the Philippine Airlines Employees Association.
The essence of the partylist system is to empower the marginalized sectors and to bring them to mainstream politics, Hontiveros said.
“It would be an anti-poor argument if they would insist that marginalized sectors should remain in the margins. The goal here is to elevate the people from the margins and to bring them closer to the mainstream,” Hontiveros said, adding that the party-list's track record is enough to prove its credibility and sincerity.
Orendain believed otherwise.
“Akbayan’s claimed commendable track record boasts of anti-people policies,” he said.
Anakbayan accused Akbayan of being the “culprits” of the Conditional Cash Transfer, which they said was a useless dole-out scheme.
“Akbayan is also the group behind the extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Extension Program, which is a fake agrarian reform program that favors landlords like the Cojuangcos and the Aquinos,” Orendain said.
Noting that Akbayan supported the approval of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms and the Cheaper Medicines Law, Hontiveros said, "It would be difficult to see [these], [especially] for people who are pretending to be blind."
Hontiveros added that Akbayan is also one of the groups campaigning for the legislation of the Reproductive Health Bill.
Anakbayan is a national democratic youth organization known to be one of the founding organizations of the two-termer Kabataan Partylist. - Rappler.com