On the issue of human rights, all have vested interests like Aquino who vowed to end extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances while he downplays the massacre in Hacienda Luisita and insists that only two of the seven killed were farmers of the hacienda.
Estrada signed the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (Cahrihl) but the former president forgot what he signed or if he actually signed it. Teodoro voted against the Human Security Act when he was a representative but as defense secretary, he implemented the Oplan Bantay Laya II, the government’s counterinsurgency program that is notorious for targeting civilians. Villar, on other hand, said that upholding human rights is one of his party’s priorities, but as a senator he is the principal author of the Human Security Act and believes that by strengthening the leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP), human rights violations will be addressed.
On national industrialization, Guzman said Estrada, Richard Gordon and Teodoro openly support globalization while Aquino and Villar have inconsistent stands on the issue.
Guzman noted that Aquino is a landlord while all four, except Villar, tend to be anti-worker who rely on foreign investors for job creation, said Guzman.
On national patrimony and environment, Gordon, Villar, Estrada and Teodoro favor large-scale mining. Aquino, on the other hand, does not have a clear stand on the issue.
On social services, three of the four likely winners prefer debt servicing to social services while Aquino does not have a clear plan.
Teodoro, Villar and Aquino also favor the Reformed Value Added Tax (RVAT) law and are open to imposing new taxes. Estrada, meanwhile, has no record of pushing for progressive taxation even when he was president.
On foreign policy, Villar is the only one who believes that the Visiting forces Agreement (VFA) should be reviewed as well as other unequal economic, military and other foreign treaties and all three likely winners are pro-VFA. Guzman pointed out that Teodoro even vowed to have more VFA or Status of forces Agreements (SOFA) with other countries.
On gender equality as well as in promoting national culture, all four likely winners and the rest of the candidates have no clear or firm stand on the issue.
“Try to imagine having Aquino who is anti-worker and anti-farmer, pro-US, and has vested interests in human rights issues as president; Teodoro, who is pro-military and will only continue the Arroyo regime; Villar, who has no genuine and concrete plan on alleviating poverty. Estrada, on the other hand, will be the same as he was during his presidency,” Guzman said.
Pagbabago! and Ibon Foundation dared the people to be more critical in choosing their candidates.
“People will act if their democratic rights are being violated. It is a work in progress but for as long as there are efforts to raise awareness and organize people, there is room for optimism,” said Jose Enrique Africa, research head of Ibon Foundation. (Bulatlat.com)