MANILA, Philippines – Folk singer and composer Noel Cabangon on Friday defended the Akbayan Citizen’s Action Party amid calls from militant groups that the party-list be disqualified from the 2013 elections.
Cabangon, a founding member of Akbayan, refuted the claims that the party-list no longer represents the marginalized sector.
“I can personally vouch for Akbayan’s track record as a party-list organization that represents the interests of the marginalized,” Cabangon said in a statement.
Cabangon said Akbayan continues to push for change that could benefit ordinary Filipinos, adding that the public has not lost its trust on the group.
“In its 14 years of existence, Akbayan has weathered through numerous storms, some of which would threaten its very existence, the most recent being the dark era of the Arroyo presidency. And yet, Akbayan is still in Congress. I believe that is proof of the public’s trust in Akbayan,” he said.
Cabangon also cited the passage of laws “that have improved the lives of many Filipinos (like CARPER, Cheaper Medicines Act, Right to Labor Organization Law, National Land Use and Management bill etc.)” and called the law “products of Akbayan working together with the marginalized sectors groups it represents.”
“As an Akbayan member, I am proud of my party and of my fellow members. However, I do know that Akbayan still has much work to do. More reforms must be introduced. The work of building a better society continues. We all have a crucial role to play in laying the foundations of a better future for our country. And in the struggle for meaningful change, Akbayan remains a crucial partner of the Filipino people,” Cabangon added.
Another leftist group, Anakbayan, earlier sought the disqualification of Akbayan because some of its members are currently holding positions in government, including Presidential political affairs adviser Ronald Llamas and Commission on Human Rights chief Etta Rosales.
Both were former presidents of Akbayan.
Several youth groups also called for Akbayan’s disqualification, including Kilusang Mayo Uno, National Union of Students of the Philippines, League of Filipino Students, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, and Kabataang Artista Para sa Tunay na Kalayaan.