U.S. opposition launches anti-Duterte coalition 1SAMBAYAN

From left, Dr. Joseph Carabeo, Fr. Bert Alejo, and Yves Nibungco
Renee Louise Co; Joanna Concepcion

Critics of Philippine President Roderigo Duterte attended the online launch on August 11 of the USA Chapter of 1SAMBAYAN, a coalition representing a broad spectrum of political persuasions of Filipinos at home and abroad.

The coalition aims to unite various Filipinos groups and push for a “competent, trustworthy” administration in the May 2022 national elections in the Philippines, according to the organizers. The event encouraged Filipinos in the U.S. to register for the Overseas Absentee Voter and get involved.

The 1SAMBAYAN launch started off with solidarity messages, music videos and a voter registration video guide featuring Filipina actress and artist Maria Isabel Lopez. The solidarity messages came from several organizations, such as U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance, Malaya Movement, Filipino American Human Rights Alliance, and the National Ecumenical Forum for Filipino Concerns-Inland Empire.

The program featured messages from 1SAMBAYAN convenors started by Fr. Bert Alejo, who spoke about the importance of the 2022 election and the need to build institutions “to organize and not just agonize. To put up leaders who know the rules and follow the rules. To put up people who would bring in new beautiful and powerful laws and implement them. And lastly the need to build up politics itself.”

The dire conditions of the health care system under the Duterte administration were shared by Dr. Joseph Carabeo who talked about the government neglect during the pandemic. “Kami ay lagi na lang nahaharap sa karahasan imbes na kami ay mag-usap ng kagalingan. Wakasan na ang ganitong palakad, wakasan para makakita tayo ng mas masiglang bukas!” (We are always faced with violence instead of health and wellness. We must end this kind of rule, we must end it so we can have a healthier tomorrow!)

Student Renee Louise Co gave emphasis on the large part young Filipinos will have in the upcoming elections. She said, “Let’s just keep it up. Let’s just ensure that our ideas, our efforts, and our time continue to chip away into the walls. It starts here, it starts in alliance building, it starts in organizations, it starts in 1SAMBAYAN and in 1SAMBAYAN USA.”

Joanna Concepcion, representing overseas Filipinos, said, “Napakahalaga ang kontribusyon ng ating mga kababayan sa ibayong-dagat ngayong darating na makasaysayang halalan 2022. Bawat boto natin ay pagtinding para sa tunay na demokrasya at kapayapaan na batay sa hustisya. Bawat boto natin ay pagsigaw na tama na, wakasan na, hindi tayo mananahimik lamang” (The contributions of our compatriots overseas are very important in the coming historic 2022 elections. Every vote is to stand up for democracy and peace that is based on justice. Every vote screams enough is enough, end it now, we will no longer be silent.)

The national coordinator for 1SAMBAYAN USA, Yves Nibungco ended the program by saying that the work of 1SAMBAYAN does not end in the launch. He said, “Kailangan nating maglunsad ng isang malawakang grassroots campaign para i-rehistro ang ating mga kababayan. Kailangan mai-drive natin ang point na kailangang tumaya at ma-involve ang bawat Pilipino sa darating na eleksyon. (We need to conduct a massive grassroots campaign to register our compatriots. We need to drive the point that every Filipino needs to get involved in the upcoming elections.)”

The online meeting was hosted by Ginger Leopoldo and Giselle Tongi. A riveting rendition of “O Bayan Ko,” composed by National Artist Ryan Cayabyab and performed by the Ateneo Chamber Singers and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra, set the patriotic tone of the launch.

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(C) The FilAm 2021

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