February 25, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay believed that 30 years after the first EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986 Filipinos have yet to win the fight against poverty.
On Wednesday, Binay, a human rights lawyer during martial law, said the fight for freedom from poverty remains.
“Thirty years ago, we dismantled a dictatorship and restored democracy. We have achieved political freedom, yet economic freedom is still beyond our grasp,” he said.
“The revolution is far from complete. Poverty in the midst of plenty is our greatest shame,” he added.
The Vice President noted that democracy is nothing if it does not democratize wealth.
He said there is a need to provide more economic opportunities for majority of Filipinos who remain poor.
“Democracy cannot thrive in a society whose population groans in abject poverty,” he stressed.
While poverty is the greatest challenge for the next administration, Binay said the fight can be won and “Makati is the proof.”
As former mayor of Makati City, Binay boasted that he initiated reforms in the bureaucracy and restored the trust of the business community and the people in their local government.
He noted that a host of social services and programs has also addressed poverty in Makati, where government data placed the number of poor residents to around 2,000 individuals or 0.5 percent of the population as of 2012.
“More importantly, we addressed the poverty of our people,” Binay said.
“After 30 years, the ideals of political and economic freedom are now a reality in Makati,” he added.
The UNA presidential bet said the Makati experience could be done for the entire country.
“We have seen the fruits of People Power in Makati through a government that serves its people well. We did it in Makati. We can do it for the entire country,” he noted.
Binay issued the statement on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.
It was the power of the people who assembled in EDSA on February 25, 1986 that ended the 21-year dictatorial regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos.
The non-violent revolution was a result of the long oppressed freedom and the life threatening abuses executed by the Marcos government.
Every year, Filipinos commemorate the said historical event to celebrate the country’s freedom from tyranny.
But human rights group Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) said nothing much has changed in 30 years when it comes to the country’s human rights situations.
PAHRA chairperson Max de Mesa said a culture of impunity translated into extrajudicial killings and other forms of human rights violations still persist under the Aquino administration.
“Hindi ito nawawala. Patuloy pa rin ang mga human rights abuses hanggang sa ngayon,” he said.
“And the worst part is, wala pa rin nai-indict sa mga cases involving extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and torture under this administration,” he added.
Citing a report from Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, De Mesa said there have already been more than 60 cases of extrajudicial killings and over 20 cases of enforced disappearances under President Aquino’s more than five-year term.
When his term ends in June, De Mesa said Aquino’s administration will be remembered for lost ground on important measures of breaking impunity.