Army of enlightened voters
Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) - October 29, 2015 - 10:00am

Citizens who love their country must still look forward and prepare for the coming elections even if they believe that their desired changes in governance will not happen immediately. Despite the bleak political horizon due to lack of candidates who will really lead us out of the past and present bad governance since we attained democracy, citizens should sustain and strengthen their faith in God and hope for a brighter political future. This is the only way that good and sincere public servants will finally emerge and win in the succeeding elections.

Fortunately, such kind of citizens still abounds in our country. They are quietly working behind the scenes and have organized a movement “to do God’s work in the political field by providing, as their long term goal, a mechanism” for their members and for the people in general so that they may be “appropriately guided in electing honest, competent, strong-willed servant leaders who can lead our country towards national transformation in accordance with God’s plan.” Their immediate goal is to raise an army of ten million enlightened voters using a “voter’s guide” in selecting the most qualified leaders for our people.

The tie that binds them together is their faith in God and their “common desire to establish God’s reign in our country.” They are the leaders and representatives of various “Christian faith-based organizations from the Catholic and Evangelical and Protestant communities.” They believe in: (1) God-centered, honest, competent, committed, strong-willed servant leadership; (2) Meritocracy, Transparency and Accountability as the “Three Pillars of Good Governance”; (3) Inclusive democracy and inclusive growth; and (4) Equal opportunities for all. They are against (1) graft and corruption; (2) political dynasties; (3) monopolistic and oligarchic control in business, land ownership, and other opportunities; and (4) nepotism, favoritism in appointments and political accommodations. This is the Pilipino Movement for Transformational Leadership (PMTL).

The PMTL has adopted the process of “People’s Primary,a system on “inclusive democracy” where it is the people, through their organizations, who will nominate the candidates for president, vice president and senators in our country. They believe that it is wrong for just one person or a small group of politicians to determine who should run for certain positions especially national positions. It is not actually endorsing any candidate but only recommending a shortlist of three (3) candidates for president, three (3) candidates for vice president and twelve (12) candidates for senators. From the shortlist, an entity separate and independent from the PMTL called the “People’s Choice” composed of individual members of all PMTL member organizations who will select from the Shortlist, the candidates they believe are the most qualified as president, vice president and at least eight (8) senators.

The selection process shall be guided by the agreed common criteria known as “GabayKristo   composed of 20 questions that determine the qualities of a good leader. The questions are grouped under specific topics particularly: “karakter at karangalan”(moral character and dignity); kakayanan at abilidad  (competency and ability);  katapatan sa Diyos at sa Kapwa (Fidelity to, love of God and neighbor); and “katotohanan sa Pamumuno at Pamunuan (Honesty in Leadership and Governance).

The PMTL has drawn up a “Reform Agenda” containing a broad array of issues covering food security, job creation, governance, regulation, decentralization, agrarian reform, mass transport/housing, indigenous people’s rights, education and environment. These areas of reform have been categorized into three main issues that will be prioritized, particularly: I. Good Governance that will promote the passage and strict implementation of the Anti Dynasty Law, Freedom of Information Law, Charter Change, Local Government Code, Civil Service Law, Law on Anti-Monopolistic and Oligarchic control of our economy; II Poverty Reduction and Food Security For All through Agrarian Reform, Reform of the Department of Agriculture and NFA, Establishment of a Coconut Trust Fund, and improvement of the productivity of the fisheries and marine based economic sectors; III Job Creation by creating a Department of Industry separate from the Department of Trade, simplifying business registration procedures and requirements, promotion of responsible mining and development of mineral resources, revival of the steel industry, using all means to remedy the practice of job contracting in order to promote job security and opportunities for job promotion, protecting the rights and empowering the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), reducing power rates, and improving the mass transport system. Foreign policy issues particularly the dispute with China on the West Philippine Sea as well as development of new markets from other countries will also be addressed.

Skeptics among us may think that this movement is just another ningas cogon and that all the plans and actions are good only on paper and in theory. The truth however is that the convenors and member organizations have already made significant strides towards achieving their noble goals. They are dedicatedly and conscientiously working so that in the coming elections they will be able to make their presence felt quite strongly.

At present, among the many Catholic organizations which joined the PMTL are the following: BCBP (Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen & Professionals, LNP (Ligaya ng Panginoon), CFC (Couples for Christ), CFM (Christian Family Movement), FTCC (Federation of Trans-parochial Charismatic Communities), BLD/Servant Leaders (Bukas Loob sa Diyos), Prayer warriors, PAX (Philippine Alliance of Ex Seminarians), Dilaab Movement, Defensores Fidei, and LOJ (Light of Jesus Community)

Among the Evangelical and Protestant organizations that joined the PMTL are the following – PCEC (Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches), NCCP (National Council of Churches in the Philippines), UCCP (United Churches’ Council of the Philippines), PJM (Philippine Jesus Movement), Bible Mode, CBMAP (Christian Bishops & Ministers Association of the Philippines), Christian Patriots, CCL (Capitol Christian Leadership), NFS (Nameless Faceless Selfless) Ministry, IFP (Intercessors for the Philippines), UMC (United Methodist Church).

Let us therefore not lose hope for a brighter political future in our country.

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