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People like politics of change, say Migrante bets

31 March 2016

Martinez, Colmenares and Bachiller
By Vir B. Lumicao 

Voters are wary of the ways of “trapos”, or traditional politicians, and are eager to embrace the politics of change, according to Migrante Partylist candidates for the Lower House, Garry Martinez and Caring Bachiller.
People have got tired of the campaign tactics of trapos and now regard candidates with distrust because of recent controversies and scandals such as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), said Migrante International chairperson Martinez.
It was only when they said they were from Migrante did the people realize the difference from the rest, as it was Migrante that brought the PDAF scandal into the open, he said.
Martinez, Migrante’s first nominee, and Bachiller, the second, visited Hong Kong for Migrante’s global “miting de avance” on Mar 6.
Both former OFWs, Martinez and Bachiller hoped they would get enough votes from Filipino workers around the world to win any of the 56 partylist seats in the House.
Martinez said Migrante needed to gain at least 1 million votes to get three seats in the House.
Each of the three nominees — the third being United Filipinos in Hong Kong founder and Migrante International chairperson Connie Bragado – were uncertain of getting the required 300,000 votes to win a seat.  “That’s a tall order right now because not all OFWs would be able to vote, especially in the Middle East. In Riyadh and Jeddah alone, the distances are great and it takes about seven to 12 hours’ drive from their worksites to the voting centers,” Martinez said.
Bachiller said one reason many OFWs would not be able to vote is their work situation.  “They just can’t go out of their work places if it’s not their day off, and many domestic workers in the Middle East have no day off,” she said.
Bachiller was a helper in Hong Kong for several decades before she returned home to continue working for OFW rights in Abra. She is officer-in-charge of ATIS Abra Migrants Desk, an NGO operating out of the Bishop’s House Compound in Bangued.
Both acknowledged the advantage of Hong Kong when it comes to voting, as the city is a very small place with efficient transport system, and adheres strictly to democratic processes like elections, a legacy of the British.
They also cited the great interest of OFWs here in political developments at home because of Hong Kong’s proximity to their homeland and their awareness of what’s going on there from day to day.
Back home, people have realized there are fakes among the 150 accredited partylist groups or large political parties have had wrongdoings, so they seek alternative groups. This is helpful to progressive partylist groups like Migrante, which is promoting the agenda of the people and of OFWs and is making an impact, he said. “We are not going to be complacent just because people already know us. Our objective is to further expose and advance the politics of change in the country. People are still seeking, there’s no more alternative, and this is the most tricky part of our campaign – to carry not just our platform but to advance the politics of real change.”
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