Teddy Casiño was here in Iloilo last May 1 to speak during the town fiesta opening program in Dumanggas upon the invitation of Mayor Onal Golez. He flew back to Manila the next day for a media conference with showbiz endorsers but returned to Iloilo in the afternoon to be present in the miting de avanse of Mayor Jed Mabilog’s Iloilo City slate.
That same day #TeddyDay trended on Twitter and became viral. Unfortunately, I was not able to participate in this online event organized in support of Teddy’s senatorial bid. Which is quite lame because I’m supposed to be coordinating Teddy’s volunteers and supporters here in Iloilo since March of this year.
It is 127 years after the Hay Market massacre of workers pushing for an 8-hour work day in Chicago that sparked indignation from workers all over the world and later became institutionalized as International Workers Day.
In Iloilo City, over 5,000 workers, peasants, farm workers, urban poor residents, women, youth, church people, and professionals marched in the streets to oppose the Noynoy Aquino regime’s anti-people policies and to advance the Filipino people’s democratic rights and interests.
The endeavor to make Teddy win a seat in senate is part and parcel of the struggle for higher wages, lower prices of basic goods, an end to unemployment, genuine land reform, national industrialization, and a government that genuinely serves the people.
The Philippine government has long been dominated by traditional politicians coming from political dynasties that uphold the interests of despotic landlords, big compradors, and foreign banks and corporations. This domination runs from the lowest to the highest official posts.
This is part of a social system wherein the wealth is concentrated in the hands of the domestic elite and foreign capital by exploiting and oppressing the toiling masses. It is a political setup that reinforces a rotten and unjust ruling order wherein 76% of the country’s so-called GDP growth is in the hands of the country’s 40 richest individuals.
The entry of progressive party-lists under the Makabayan Coalition in the House of Representatives in the past four elections prove the strength and broad support enjoyed by the legal mass movement for national liberation and genuine democracy.
The people’s demands for social change not only echo in the “parliament of the streets” but now also reverberate in the halls of Congress. An arena dominated by the elite few to perpetuate their power is utilized to raise the ability of the people to assert their demands.
This May 13, the progressive movement is raising the ante by winning a seat in Senate with the candidacy of Teddy Casiño.
All the previous attempts to do this from the Partido ng Bayan stint in 1987 to Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza’s try in 2010 did not gain enough momentum to secure even just one Senate seat. Although the odds are against Teddy with his campaign’s lack of resources, dearth of TV and radio ads, and no official backing from any of the major traditional parties, the possibility of making it this time around is present.
Teddy’s campaign has a dedicated and creative critical mass of supporters from people’s organizations, it enjoys support from masses of the ordinary people, it benefits from the lessons of history, and it is buoyed by Teddy’s own track record as a principled and vocal mass leader and people’s legislator.
Teddy’s campaign has successfully maximized the use of social media to get around the advantage of traditional politicians and parties in terms of resources. Teddy has consistently topped online surveys and ratings.
This groundswell of support can be felt on the ground by our campaigners in both urban and rural communities here in Iloilo where he is well received because of his concrete platform for the downtrodden and his reputation as a defender of their interests.
Many who’ve seen him on a flier or poster for the first time or recall seeing him on the news also comment about being charmed by Teddy’s boyish looks.
This Thursday we will be in Kalibo, Aklan for Teddy’s miting de avanse here in Panay Island. I encourage everyone not just to vote for Teddy but to campaign for him. Dare to struggle, dare to win. It’s time to bring change in the Senate. Teddy Casiño for Senator. Number 6 on the ballot.