Sunday, February 25, 2007

Y! Power

Your Vote, Your Choice, Your Future!

The outcome of the coming May 14, 2007 elections will be decided by the youth. Either through active participation or through passive indifference our choice will determine the nation’s fate for the new millennia.

One cannot over emphasize the importance of the coming elections and its would-be outcome. After EDSA 2, “EDSA 3”, the “Hello Garci” scandal, two aborted impeachments and the failed automation of the election process, it is this election that could salvage the country from ruin.

Amidst all this, the emotional stirrings, the nonstop bickering of politicians, the political carnival has begun! And one sector is left pondering in the middle – the youth. While the issue of whether ‘to vote or not to vote,’ is still there for some of us, the dilemma who to vote for in the upcoming national polls is one of the biggest challenges we are facing.

Politicians from various shades of the political spectrum are shifting their campaign to focus on the youth or at least claim to represent the youth’s cause and interest. No politician is crazy enough to ignore our votes.

Comprising more than 40% of the total voting population, it is undeniable that we can dominate the forthcoming national elections. Our opinions, attitudes, and expectations should, therefore, be an eye-opener not only for politicians and for marketing specialists, but also for economists, social planners, political scientists and opinion makers concerned with the future of this country. Our age group, after all, will inherit this earth after the old ones were gone.

Mr. Antonio C. Abaya wrote on his essay regarding the youth’s fate relative the 2004 elections: “What do they think we are bequeathing to them, a potential paradise or a certain hellhole? I would be happy if they thought they would be taking over a nondescript, unspectacular, boringly ordinary but, at least, reasonably functioning and reasonably livable slice of the planet.”

After all the events that took place after 2004 Mr. Abaya would be displeased to know that their generation is more likely to leave the youth with a “hellhole” legacy than the nondescript, boring, ordinary place he prefers.

But then again the choice of a potential paradise or a hellhole is a decision that the older generation is not to make. Like the choice of who to vote come Election Day it is a decision entirely up to us to make if we are willing to take the responsibility.

The next question is; Are we willing to take on the responsibility? Are we ready for it? Are we committed enough?

There are mixed answers to these questions. Since 1999, there has been youth participation in the Philippine society has been growing. Youth organizations with various advocacies have sprung up like mushrooms. From civic causes to charitable endeavors, there are youth groups that address these concerns but it is sad to note that youth organizations dealing with political issues did not share the same popularity or growth.

Maybe it is because many young people see politics as dirty. Some observe that this is because the youth are passive and are unwilling to participate in a process were money and influence is the name of the game.

I see the political processes as a tool and this tool’s value depends on who is using them. Like a knife in a butcher’s hands ends life while in a surgeons hand it can extend life. I believe that the youth can maximize the political processes to take charge and be catalysts of positive societal changes if we are organize and willing to work towards a common goal.

A great sage once said, “Democracy can only work if the people are willing to take an active role in it”. Democracy is for, by, and to the people, we have to keep it in mind that public officials do not solely shoulder the responsibility of governance but it is a responsibility in every individual.

During elections in a representative democratic state the political power returns to the people and as they cast their votes they decide the fate of the nation by giving up their political power to persons they think is best capable of forwarding their interest and carrying out their goals and aspirations as a people.

Let the Filipino youth in its more than 10 Million strong electorate member uphold the political power we posses. Let us use the May 14, 2007 national elections to effect the changes we desire for our nation by electing the proper individual to positions in government. Let us judge them by their character, track record, platform of government and integrity.

We have more information and tool in our hands to push this country beyond the personality politics our patriarchal society had come to develop. We are better in seeing through the mask most politicians take on to entice voters. We are better in discerning the genuine from the fraud.
Let us go out then and carefully examine all candidates that would stand on election come May 14. And let us vote with the future, our future in mind!

Your choice, your vote, your future!

Sa panulat ni Mr. Rey De Guzman

Originally posted at

Monday, February 12, 2007

In Defense of Free Trade

By Kai Jager

The embodiment of free international trade has been a matter of interest for liberals for centuries. Free trade is closely related to globalization, but trade between people from different countries is not a new appearance and has always existed in human history. The theoretical explanation why free trade benefits the economy was developed by Adam Smith and David Ricardo in the 18th and 19th century. Since then, a lot of controversial discussion on the issue have taken place. Nowadays, there is a going outcry against free trade by globalization opponents. Their message is that these “neo-liberal” market reforms will lead to higher unemployment in the developed world and exacerbate the situation in poorer countries. What can liberals offer in the debate to refute these arguments?


Originally posted at FNF Asia publication site

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Liberalism and Federalism

By Ronald Meinardus and Gerhard Raichle

Federalism in Germany: “The Federal Republic of Germany shall be a democratic and social federal state.” This is one of the key paragraphs of the German constitution, as it establishes the principles the state is based on. The writers of the constitution deemed federalism so important that they included this provision among the few elements that are not amendable under any circumstances. Federalism has long become a part of the Germans’ political culture. Often, they refer their our country simply as “die Bundesrepublik” – the Federal Republic. This shows how central the concept of political decentralization has become for them.

In Germany, the 16 federal states have substantial authority. The citizens of the states do not only elect their own state parliaments, who then choose their own state governments headed by veritable prime ministers. Importantly, these politicians wield genuine political power. They are responsible for all affairs pertaining to culture, internal security, the media, local government and regional taxation. In addition, the “Laender” have a significant say in national affairs. More

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Metro Manila Billboards - Unsightly Signs of Danger

By Rep. Ruffy Biazon
Lone District
Muntinlupa City

As we hold our sessions today, a significant part of our country is still suffering the effects of typhoon Milenyo. The headline of the Philippine Daily Inquirer says, “Millions Still Have No Power, Water.” My family and I are included in those millions, as well as a big number of my constituents.

IN 1995, the last time that a typhoon directly hit Metro Manila, the roof of my house was blown away, exposing my home to the ravages of wind and water. This time around, though my roof is still intact, the felled trees, and downed utility posts cut off the basic necessities such as light and water. For several hours after Milenyo had left the Metro, I was even cut off from the outside world due to the blockage of roads leading out of my residence.

The wrath of typhoon Milenyo, which had winds of up to 165 kilometers per hour, surely reminded us of the power of Nature, of which even the technological advances of man have proven to be no match against. More

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

NEVER Again to Dictatorial Rule

They did not die or disappear in vain
By Senate Minority Leader Nene Pimentel

Thousands were arrested without cause. Thousand were killed without legal reason. Thousands disappeared without trace under the brutal regime.

We are gathered here to honor those who died or disappeared in our struggle for the restoration of our freedoms in the dark days of martial rule. More

Today: September 21, 2006
By Mr. Rey De Guzman, Jr.

A couple of decades ago, a historical proclamation were enforced to the entire Filipino nation. It would be the precursor to thousands of death, the military take over and political chaos of gigantic proportions. More

Almost two decades of dictatorial rule has passed and we will never allow it to happen again! Let us keep the vision of Liberal Democracy in the Philippines ALIVECenter for Liberal Leadership

I would vote 203 million times “NO”

By Jovito R. Salonga
Former Senate President
Former Liberal Party President

Today, we have finally summoned the political will to stand up and end 470 years of foreign military presence here in the Philippines. To be sure, this decision is not without its cost. There will be temporary dislocation and hardships all around, especially in Central Luzon. But we should learn the lesson we should have learned long ago—namely, no nation can become truly free without sacrifice. The trouble with some of us is we want freedom and independence without sweat and without tears. But there is no other way.

"Salamat na lamang at hindi na tayo nagdaan ngayon sa isyung ito sa isang malupit at maduging digmaan. Ang sabi ng ating mga kaibigan—“Kayo po naman ay hindi nakadanas ng paghihirap. Maawa namankayo sa amin na nawalan ng trabaho. ("I am grateful that we did not have to tackle this issue in abitter and bloody manner. Our friends who work in the bases told me—“You have never known poverty. Please have pity on us who will lose our jobs.”)

To read the full speech - click here

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Blast From the Past

Last Friday, during my People's Time in my district office, I received a surprise visitor from the past.

Alex, a batch mate of mine from elementary to high school in Malate Catholic School, came to my office to seek my assistance. He is not a resident or of my district but he decided to go to me instead of the congressman where he lived since he felt that being a long-time schoolmate, I would readily receive him. In spite of that, he told me that he still had a slight apprehension in going to me since I might not give him the time or opportunity to talk to him. More

Monday, August 28, 2006

Effective Revenue Collection: A Liberal's Legacy

The nation owes to the Liberals of the 12th and 13th Congresses the present state of revenue collection in the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC). During the 12th Congress, Republic Act 9282 was enacted into law while the 13th Congress gave birth to Republic Act No. 9335. The enactment of these two sensible and dynamic pieces of legislation came at a time when the government needed them most. As a result, the BIR has reached its target beginning the first quarter of 2005. In 2006, the BIR did the same feat and is headed towards a more effective tax collection effort. BOC, on the other hand, barely missed its goal in 2005 but its performance is a far cry from its dismal achievement in the previous years. In 2006, BOC boasts of exceeding the targets set by the Department of Finance. More