Oxfam Pilipinas and partner organizations called on Filipinos to spend the holiday break this week reflecting and discerning what is best for the country, including picking electoral candidates who have integrity and a proven track record in helping those who are in need.
“With less than a month left before the elections, it’s important that we really take the time to scrutinize candidates and their track records. The Philippines has long been struggling with the problems of poverty, inequality, disasters and conflicts. With the added threats of the pandemic and climate change, there is so much at stake for this year’s elections,” said Oxfam Pilipinas Country Director Lot Felizco.
Humanitarian and development organization Oxfam Pilipinas together with Caritas Philippines and CORA, launched its three-point priority agenda, encouraging Filipinos to vote in an informed and policy-based way, and calling on electoral candidates to focus on attaining a just and equal Philippines beyond the elections.
To know more about Oxfam Pilipinas’ recently launched #PatasNaBukas Campaign and Electoral Agenda, visit https://philippines.oxfam.org/oxfam-pilipinas-electoral-agenda
“We hope that our fellow Filipinos can find the time to really reflect and discern this Holy Week. This will hopefully help them decide on the best leaders this country deserves,” said Caritas Philippines National Director Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo.
Bishop Bagaforo said it is heartening to see that Filipinos are now more involved in discussions about the future of the country. “We hope this shift in conversations online — from personal rants to discussions on platforms and issues — will translate to real change after the May 9 elections,” he added.
Felizco said they hope that Filipinos will also look into the stand of candidates on important issues such as the roots of climate change, gender inequality and poverty.
“It’s easy to be distracted by the popularity of some candidates but we really need to scrutinize their platforms and see if they have a comprehensive plan for the problems that will greatly affect Filipinos in the next years,” she said.
As voters discern their choices, the groups also hope that future leaders will consider their electoral agenda, which highlights three main calls: Fight for Climate Justice, Champion Gender Justice, and Strengthen our Economic Recovery.
With the recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on climate mitigation, it was made clear that governments should act on the climate crisis with a great sense of urgency, primarily by shifting to renewable energy.
“This agenda calls for our future leaders to have clear and effective programs and policies to address the climate crisis. We call on them to have a firm stand on its global commitment in stopping global temperature rise, to adapt climate resilient efforts in disaster management and to shift to cleaner energy,” said Antoinette Taus, Ambassador for Resilience of Oxfam Pilipinas and founder of CORA.
“Climate change greatly affects Filipinos and worsens the people’s already poor living conditions. It is about time that we reclaim our dignity as people,” she said.
The Oxfam Pilipinas electoral agenda also calls for the country’s future leaders to strengthen, support, and implement gender-responsive programs and policies that address the key issues of women and children such as Violence Against Women and Children, Reproductive Health Rights, Teenage Pregnancies, and Unpaid Care Work, as well as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to the lives and livelihood of Filipinos.
“We are at a very important point in our history. Our choices will define what our future will look like in the next six years. We hope that as we reflect and discern our choices in the next few days, we remember why and for whom we are voting for,” Felizco added. “All of us deserve bold but humane leaders who will address our people’s challenges. We deserve a just and equal Philippines, and voting for the right candidates this May can be the first step towards this vision.”
FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES AND COORDINATION:
Kristine Sabillo Guerrero | Senior Officer for Media and Digital Influencing, Oxfam Pilipinas
Email: kGuerrero@oxfam.org.uk | Mobile: 09175691449