Kaloy: Election is one of the answers to problems in government, society

Kaloy: Election is one of the answers to problems in government, society

KALOY Manlupig, the low-profile founder, president and chairman emeritus of Balay Mindanaw, has urged peacemakers, peacebuilders and all peace-loving Filipinos of voting-age to fully exercise their right to suffrage to help “open the doors” to justice, peace and equality in Mindanao.

Speaking before members of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC), Manlupig said that the synchronized elections on May 9 is one of the “many doors” available to everyone to fight inequality, injustice and impoverishment in the southern Philippines.

“Ang eleksyon tubag ba sa kalisud? Dili siya ang nag-inusarang tubag ug dili usab siya ang capital letter nga tubag. Pero higayon siya para sa katawhan ug pangagamhanan nga matubag ang suliran o kalisdanan (Is election the answer to poverty? It is neither just the one answer nor the capital letter solution. But it is a chance for the people and government to find solutions to the problem),” he replied in answer to a question raised during the press conference during which he talked about the Citizens Electoral Council (CEC) formed by Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, S.J., D.D.

Manlupig or simply Kaloy to everyone, a rural development worker and peacebuilder with over 32 years of experience within both government and non-government organizations, was a guest at the MediaKonek, the weekly radio-television press conference of COPC hosted by veteran journalist Butch Enerio.

He urged every Filipino, especially those of voting age, to go beyond the legal dimension of suffrage and always look at the morality of such right, duty, responsibility and obligation since it is the moral dimension that gives the right to suffrage its power to open doors in instituting genuine change in government and in society.

This is why Balay Mindanaw accepted the call of Archbishop Ledesma to serve as secretariat of the CEC, the multi-sectoral, interfaith, intercultural movement that is committed to the pursuit of clean, honest, accountable, meaningful and peaceful (CHAMP) elections and transparent and accountable governance.

“Kami sa Balay Mindanaw nagtoo nga ang eleksyon, kung tarungon pagpadagan, usa ka importante ug makusganong sakyanan towards genuine change (We in Balay Mindanaw believe that the election, if properly run, is an important and strong vehicle towards genuine change),” he said.

CEC “seeks to help the voters to reach inspired and informed choices of candidates by facilitating the creation of spaces for electoral education called circles of discernment at the level of the basic local churches, parishes, barangays and other local organizations.”

The CEC is “just creating spaces where people can discern, think and intelligently come up with inspired and informed decision across parties,” he explained.

Unlike in previous years when local movements that called for reforms worked for partisan politics, the present CEC is working “across parties”, meaning it is transpartisan.

Its ultimate goal is to influence the decision of each voter to choose the right candidates to eventually control the reins of the city government towards the long-held aspiration of peace and development.

And the CEC is doing this by presenting to the voters the profile and platform of all the candidates, excluding their party affiliations and by creating “circles of discernment” or discussion groups in the barangays.

Each circle of discernment, composed of residents of the barangay where the discernment circle is located, is encouraged to come up with a list of candidates, across parties, whom they believe will truly represent the voice of the people and will work for genuine change in the city.

This is being done because the CEC strongly believes that no one political party has all the answers to the ills of government and society.

And Balay Mindanaw believes that a truly inspired and informed voter will exercise his/her right to suffrage in order to help answer the call for justice, peace and equality in Mindanao, starting in Cagayan de Oro City. (Bong D. Fabe)