May 5, 2009

Press Release
February 24, 2009




On the 23rd anniversary of the People Power Revolution


The first two months of the year have seen the Filipino public waking up to one scandal after anotherfrom the escalating fertilizer fund probe, to the pre-need fiasco, to the Alabang Boys case, to the World Bank contractor controversy. Today, in the midst of celebrations for the 23rd anniversary of the first People Power revolution, independent senator and former student activist Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan raised the alarm on the state of national affairs, saying that the country has not moved forward in two decades.


“When I was Chair of the UP Student Council during the Martial Law years, we were marching against corruption, human rights violations, poverty, insurgency, an alarming education problem,” Kiko began. “Today, twenty-three years later, these same issues remain unresolved! In spite of all the progress around us, in spite of the technology boom, our core social and humanitarian issues remain the same. Our people are still poor. Our people are still under-educated. Our people are still hungry. It’s like we haven’t moved at all.”


“Data will show that from 1981 to 2001, China’s per capita income grew by 400 percent, Malaysia by 150, and Thailand by 100,” Kiko pointed out. “In the same period, our country’s per capita income remained the same. Our economy may have grown since 2001, but only by less then one percent!”


“We slept for 20 years and–to make things worse–today we find ourselves yet again embroiled in even more controversies that involve the highest seat in the land,” Kiko said.


“As we celebrate the anniversary of the movement that toppled a dictatorship, we need to remind ourselves that the challenge to overcome corruption, greed, cronyism, and so on is still with us. The old players are still in power, the old way of doing politics is still prevalent. If we want to truly move with the spirit of EDSA, then we have to revolutionize the landscape and find new and better ways of doing things.”


“As a people, we deserve better. And the only way we can have better is if we debunk politics as usual and take it upon ourselves to act. Kumilos na tayo,” Kiko exhorted.


“Hindi pa ba tayo pagod sa kontrobersiya at intriga? Tama na! Panahon na para itama na natin ang mga pagkakamali ng kasaysayan (Aren’t we tired of controversy and intrigue! Enough is enough! It’s time for us to right the wrongs of history),” Kiko said emphatically.


Kiko cited how multi-sectoral groups are now coming together to address government’s ineptitude in finding new solutions to old problems. He gave the examples of advocacy groups Bantay Korte Suprema (BKS), Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) Foundation, and the newly established Juvenile Justice Advocacy Group (JJAG) as efforts to move forward collectively and work towards a better future for the country.

 “Kung hindi tayo ang kikilos, ‘di sino pa (If we don’t act, then who will?)” Kiko asked, recalling a line he often called out during his student activist days.