While there exists no legal prohibition against a sitting President organizing his political base, the kick-off rally for the Luneta Park launching of Bagong Pilipinas on Sunday, January 28, is deemed ‘politically linked’ with the House-led people’s initiative (PI) to revise the 1987 Constitution, stated the labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) on Friday.
PM-Panay spokesperson Mario Andon drew a political connection between the two campaigns, citing reports of barangay officials in Manila and other areas who remain engaged in the PI signature campaign and have received invitations from City officials and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to join the Luneta Rally on Sunday.
“Based on our local monitoring, the PI campaign in barangays continues unabated, despite the Senate’s initiative to entertain charter change (chacha) via ConAss. The invitation, with its directive tone to barangay officials to attend the Bagong Pilipinas rally at Luneta on Sunday, to be attended by the President himself, cannot be dismissed as mere coincidence,” said Andon.
PM obtained a screenshot copy from a reliable source of a memorandum dated January 21, 2024, issued by DILG-Manila, inviting “All Punong Barangays, Sangguniang Barangay Members, Sangguniang Kabataan Chairpersons, SK Members, Barangay Secretaries and Treasurers, Barangay Tanods, and other Barangay Employees in the City of Manila” to attend the “Grand Launching of the Bagong Pilipinas Campaign”.
The invitation is for them to attend “this historic gathering” graced by His Excellency President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Jr., who will “illuminate the President’s vision for societal and governmental transformation, paving the way for inclusive and sustainable development.”
The DILG memo, properly endorsed by city officials, directed barangay officials to register for the Bagong Pilipinas campaign link and advised them to wear barangay uniforms or white-polo shirts and be at the venue before the scheduled lockdown by 3:00 PM.
PM observes that although the “Bagong Pilipinas” (BP) tagline has been promoted even before the President’s Second State of the Nation Address in July last year, its elevation into a “Campaign” for this Sunday rally, as indicated in the DILG memo, “can only be politically linked with the most active, well-organized, administration-led PI campaign for chacha,” emphasized Andon.
Andon cautioned that the intertwined PI and BP campaigns would be distractive, divisive, and deceitful.
“Until prices of goods and services are made affordable, lost wages are recovered, and full employment with living wages and full protection of labor as mandated by the 1987 Constitution is implemented and realized, rebranding the old ‘Bagong Lipunan’ with Marcos Jr.’s ‘Bagong Pilipinas’ is dynastic entertainment at the very least. But when aligned with the PI campaign, centralizing and perpetuating power to the incumbents could be its most dangerous political outcome,” explained Andon.
Labor groups consistently oppose the numerous attempts to revise the 1987 Constitution, stating that all these maneuvers lack sincerity in advancing authentic social change.
“Those in power continue to blame the Constitution for the country’s chronic poverty when they themselves, along with capitalistic and dynastic political systems they maintain, enable them to live in luxury and political security while keeping the people poor. Sadly, since 1987, nobody sees a push for chacha to be prompted by mea culpa from among the trapos,” concluded Andon.