State of the City address: Bayan Muna’s vision — A society where true freedom, democracy, justice and peace prevail

Apr. 21, 2008

By Joel G. Virador
Bayan Muna national executive vice president

Since its foundation in 1999, Bayan Muna remains diligent in making meaningful societal changes through the people’s collective creativity and strength. It embodies the yearnings and aspirations of the most oppressed and the least heard, and at its best capability, is steadily and genuinely helping in the realization of these aspirations.

This year’s celebration of Araw ng Dabaw marks the significant role of Bayan Muna in bracing the rich history of Davao City. With the theme: Kasaysayan Balikan, Ihanda Kinabukasan, we share to our fellow Davaoeos our aspirations and our noble beginnings as the people’s party for genuine democracy and equality.

We view Davao City as a parcel of the political and economic system that covers the whole nation. Our struggles are not different from the struggles of the entire Filipino people. As we look around, there is a sad but hopeful realization of our present condition.

We may consider economic gains as gauge for our city’s growth, but we can never ignore the manifestations of poverty in our midst. The children we see in the streets begging and whose families have the streets as their homes is one manifestation that our people are suffering from deep poverty. We may be gesturing generosity for our indigent brothers who come to the city all the way from Marilog, and Paquibato during Christmas season, but their condition is worse than what we know. When we hear our people complain about the high prices of basic commodities and services, we can say that there is less opportunity for them to cope with the situation.

Migration in Davao City is expected to double 25 years from now. As an effect, we expect stiffer job opportunities and more numbers of homeless families. Just recently, we witnessed a demolition threat in Barangay 26-C where more than 300 families are affected. It is also important to understand that the urban poor family is a victim of circumstances bigger than what it can cope.

If we look at our people’s conditions vis--vis the city’s economic growth in statistics, the discrepancies vary in many forms. The city’s efforts to effect development through economic investments still need to be vitalized with pro-worker and pro-poor policies.

This is where we see the significance of our advocacies in the House of Congress and in the communities where we concentrate our projects. Our policies for legislation prioritize House Bills and Resolutions that address the people’s economic demands and protect human rights.

We have so far triumphed in initiating the passage of the P125 wage increase bill. We are also pursuing the scrapping of the Oil Deregulation Oil to cushion the effects of high oil prices in our economy. These are just few of our initiatives in the House of Congress that assert the people’s interest and welfare.

We allocate our Priority Development Assistance Fund for projects requested by the people like additional classrooms in public schools and learning centers in various communities. We also help put up water systems and multi-purpose buildings in some barangays in Davao city. We take pride of the Lamayan ng Bayan in Bankerohan. We have our youth development and health programs in the districts of Davao City.

Even with the restrictions in our Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), we look for means to address the need for basic social services of our people.

Generally, our representation in the House of Congress is motivated by the people’s aspiration for equality. In Davao City, we have consistently participated in issues involving our water consumers, women and children, the urban poor, and in some affairs concerning the local government. Our contributions to the city of Davao have significantly raised the political, economic, and social awareness of the people and we will maintain this undertaking as part of our programs. More than the role we play in the House of Congress as legislators, we want to fulfill our commitments for democracy and the people’s basic rights. We believe that the test of an authentic democracy lies in the empowerment of the people, particularly the toiling majority. And we believe that this can be realized by guaranteeing the full exercise of their basic rights and ensuring their representation and participation at all levels of government decision-making.

To everyone, good morning and we extend our congratulations to the organizers of this year’s Araw ng Dabaw. We will continue to cooperate with the city’s initiative for the fulfillment of genuine development for our people and our children’s future.

Thank you and mabuhay ang masang dabawenyo.

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