SCAP’s Statement of Concern over other Youth Groups’ Culture of Lie-Peddling

19 10 2010

This is a statement of the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, a nationwide network of student councils, student organizations, political parties and individuals, expressing concern over other youth groups’ culture of black propaganda and mudslinging.  We abhor such political tactics as they compromise genuine policy debate and prove to be detrimental to policymaking.

Following Manila Standard’s October 15, 2010 erroneous and malicious article entitled “Akbayan wins P4b gravy from Public Works fund” was a swift response of DBM Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad’s clarifying that Akbayan did not receive any insertions from the DPWH budget. In his letter to the said publication dated on the same date, Abad said “it is incorrect to say that Akbayan! lobbied for and was granted the said fund, because the said fund is already included in the 2011 Reform Budget as submitted to Congress”.

Akbayan also clarified in its statement that “No such P4b gravy fund was or will be granted to Akbayan. The party is not and will not be a recipient of a P4 billion manna from Malacañang.”

Akbayan pushed for an amendment in the provision for the Tulay ng Pangulo para sa Kaunlarang Pang-Agraryo to ensure that the funds would be earmarked for CARP areas, agrarian reform communities (ARCs), and agrarian reform beneficiaries, and that it will not
be re-aligned for other purposes.

It is to be understood therefore, that it was a policy intervention by Akbayan, not a congressional insertion. This policy intervention was even acclaimed by SULONG-AR of Prof. Christan Monsod and Bishop Broderick Pabillo. In a statement, SULONG-AR commends Akbayan for “its exemplary demonstration of how the budget process should be used as a tool to liberate the marginalized from poverty, and not as a platform for horse-trading or for advancing the vested interests of political parties and politicians”.

In this light, SCAP lauds Akbayan for its proactive engagement in the budget deliberations that was able to secure funding for agrarian reform beneficiaries, consistent with its program of ensuring the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER).

These refutations however, did not stall the opportunistic stance of Kabataan Partylist (KPL) to further peddle the fallacies published in the said Manila Standard article. The black propaganda has continued on Facebook and on Twitter.  Says Kabataan Partylist Secretary-General Vencer Crisostomo in his tweet: “Ngapala, yung mga Akbayan dyan, congratulations. Balita ko nabigyan kayo ng P4 billion. Buti pa kayo, yung state schools me budget cut. (By the way, congratulations to Akbayan who’ll get P4 billion while state schools get budget cut)”

SCAP seeks to stop the culture of lie-peddling among the so-called youth partylist group and its allies in order to advance their cause.  KPL has repeatedly simplified issues (like the issue of tuition increase tagging UP Alyansa’s stance of revisiting the STFAP as pro-TOFI) for a more populist and romanticized stance, shunning intellectual discourse and positive debate.

KPL and its allies have not engaged policy issues in Congress beyond their plethora of empty rhetoric.  They have consistently publicized themselves in the media armed with banners and flags with no real policy intervention within the confines of Congress itself.

These malicious actions come with no surprise knowing that the same partylist resorted to black propaganda by spreading malicious lies about former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros’ senatorial candidacy as reaction to their own senatorial candidates’ poor ratings.

SCAP remains in solidarity with Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello, one of the leading anti-globalization economists of today.  We also laud and express solidarity with Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party in engaging in intellectual and truthful policy discourse in Congress. ###

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