Labor, urban poor, environmental groups lead first motorcade for Leody De Guzman

Josiah Antonio and Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 08 2021 08:39 PM

Photos from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News.
Photos from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News.

MANILA — Workers, urban poor, and environmental groups on Monday led the first motorcade for labor leader Leody De Guzman who is seeking the presidency next year. 

Chadli Sadorra, De Guzman’s media relations officer, said around 100 vehicles participated in the "#ManggagawaNaman motorcade" held around Quezon City.

The event was to drum up support not only for De Guzman but also for his vice presidential running mate Walden Bello and senatorial aspirants Luke Espiritu, Roy Cabonegro, and David D’Angelo, who are in the same ticket.

"Opening salvo ng ground campaign ko ito. Nagpapasalamat ako sa mga indibdwal at grupo na lumahok sa unang caravan para sa mga kandidato ng mga manggagawa. Susunod na ang aking pag-ikot sa mga probinsya," De Guzman said in a text message to ABS-CBN News.

(This is the opening salvo of my campaign on the ground. I am grateful to all individuals and groups who participated in the first caravan for the workers' ’candidates. Up next is my tour in the provinces.)

De Guzman and the senatorial aspirants joined the motorcade after taking part in a climate action protest at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City.

The presidential aspirant, who has issued statements over the past several days on various issues, spoke about renewable energy on the sidelines of the event.

“Dapat akuhin ng gobyerno dahil ‘di mo maiaasa sa mga kapitalista, dahil ang gusto nila, maliit ang kapital, malaki ang tubo. Ayaw nila ng malaking kapital kaunti ang tubo, dahil hindi sila concerned doon sa kabuhayan at katayuan ng mamamayan. Mas concerned sila sa profit kaya sila nagnenegosyo,” De Guzman said.

(The government should take the lead in the shift to renewable energy because you can't entrust that to capitalists. Capitalists prefer getting bigger profit from a small capital. They don't like otherwise, because they are not really concerned about the livelihood and plight of the people. They are more concerned on the profit, that's why they engage in business.)

“Gobyerno ang dapat gumawa dahil ang assumption sa gobyerno ay makatao at serbisyo siya dapat. Kaya ang dapat magpondo rito at gumawa ng paraan ay ang gobyerno para mag-shift from fossil fuel to renewable energy, katulad ng windmill na sinasabi nila tsaka ‘yung solar energy,” he added.

(The government should initiate this because it is assumed that government is pro-people and it should offer services. So the shift from relying on fossil fuel to renewable energy, such as the use of windmills and solar energy, should be funded and initiated by government.)

De Guzman made the statement following a protest action organized by various groups led by the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Devt (APMDD) and PH Movement for Climate Justice (PCMJ), as world leaders, climate activists and other delegates meet in Glasgow, United Kingdom for the United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP26.

Wearing red shirts, hundreds turned out in a march from the Quezon Memorial Circle to the Bantayog ng mga Bayani.

“Mula ngayon hanggang 2030, nandito ang kritikal na sitwasyon dahil bumibilis nang bumibilis ang pag-init ng mundo at patindi nang patindi ang climate change. At wala tayong dapat sisihin diyan kundi ‘yung mga taong nakaupo sa gobyerno, na sa halip na maging kakampi natin ay naging kakampi ng mga korporasyon, nagwawasak ng ating kalikasan, mga korporasyon na nagwawasak ng ating kabundukan, mga korporasyong nagtatayo ng coal mine, mga korporasyong naghuhukay ng fossil fuel para gawing energy,” De Guzman said.

(We are in a critical situation from now until 2030 because global warming is getting worse and climate change is intensifying. We have no one else to blame but people in government because instead of being our allies, they are siding with companies in the destruction of environment, they are engaged in corruption that destroy our mountains, they are siding with companies putting up coal mines and those that are extracting fossil fuel for energy.)

“‘Yan po ang sanhi kung bakit po nagkakaroon ng global warming na nagtutulak ng climate change na nagdudulot ng malalakas na pagbagyo, malalakas at malalawak na mga baha sa pumipinsala sa buhay at ari-arian ng ating mga mamamayan,” he continued.

(This is causing global warming, which is triggering climate change. That's why we are experiencing strong typhoons, and severe and massive flooding that destroy the lives and properties of the people.)

The workers, De Guzman said, usually bear the brunt of the adverse impact of calamities.

“[K]ung mababa na nga ‘yung sahod mo, tapos tatamaan ka pa ng pagkawasak ng iyong hanapbuhay, iyong tahanan, pati na rin iyong kagamitan, malaking impact ‘yan sa ating manggagawa, lalo pa’t ‘yung gobyerno nating negosyante ang pinagtatrabahuan, wala namang ayudang ibibigay sa mga apektado ng mga baha nung kalamidad, ‘yung pagkasira ng kanilang ari-arian,” he said.

(When you have a meager income and then your livelihood is affected, including your home and properties, that's a major impact on our workers, especially that our government favors businessmen and does not give aid to those affected by floods and calamities, their properties destroyed.)

Espiritu, the senatorial aspirant, echoed his view on the importance of highlighting climate action to benefit workers. 

“We have a common enemy. It is the type of business and economy that we have right now na nakakasira ng kalikasan, ganoon din itong business at economic na system na nagde-deny ng karapatan ng manggagawa,” he said.

(It is the type of business and economy that we have right now which destroy the environment. It is the same business and economic system that deprives workers of their rights.)

“Kung ikaw ay nagtutulak para sa interes ng manggagawa, definitely nagtutulak ka rin sa interes ng kalikasan. Therefore ang manggagawa, hindi na lang pinoproteksyunan ang kaniyang trabaho, kailangan niyang proteksyunan ang kalikasan,” he continued.

(If you push for the interest of workers, you are definitely pushing as well the interest of the environment. Therefore, workers don't only protect their jobs or livelihood, they also protect the environment.)

De Guzman, however, did not specify what he is proposing in place of capitalism. 

Instead, without naming himself, he stressed the importance of electing leaders who understand the plight of daily workers.

“Ang unang hakbang na ating dapat gawin ay dapat tanggalin natin sa puwesto ‘yung mga taong kakampi ng mga korporasyon. Hangga’t ang nahahalal sa gobyerno ay mga taong ahente, kinatawan ng malalaking korporasyon, hindi magkakaroon ng pagbabago sa buhay ng sambayanang Pilipino, hindi makakamit ang inaasam nating pag-unlad at kaginhawaan dito sa ating bayan,” he said.

(The first step to be taken is to unseat officials who side with corporations. As long as those elected in government are agents or representatives of big corporations, there will be no changes in the lives of the Filipino people, we won't experience prosperity and a more comfortable living.)

The march was held in solidarity with other countries in Asia during what they called the Asian Day of Protest for Climate Justice.

The event also coincided with the 8th anniversary of Typhoon Yolanda, one of the strongest storms in the world that killed thousands of people in the central regions of the country.

D’Angelo of Green Party of the Philippines, another senatorial contender from De Guzman’s slate, is advocating for the passage of a climate emergency bill, saying this will be his first act if he gets elected.

“I-aassess natin ang bawat barangay sa Pilipinas. Aalamin natin sino ang vulnerable sa climate crisis,” he said.

(We will assess each barangay in the Philippines. We will find out which ones are vulnerable to climate crisis.)

“Kasi kailangan nating alamin magkano ang pondong kailangan, anu-anong infrastructure ang kailangang itayo, sino ang kailangang ilipat. Hindi kasi pwede na may budget pero nganga ka, di mo alam kung sino apektado. So by having a climate emergency bill, liliwanagin natin sino ‘yung pinaka-vulnerable at doon natin sisimulan ang mitigation. Hindi lang resiliency, kailangan mitigation na,” he explained.

(We need to know how much is needed, what infrastructure to build, who needs to be transferred. It can't be that you have a budget, but you're not aware of what needs to be done, who are the affected. By having a climate emergency bill, we will make it clear who are those vulnerable. From there, we will build on our mitigation plans. We can't talk about resiliency only, it has to be mitigation already.)

Various groups have previously raised concerns over the resort to motorcades, given the rising fuel prices and global temperature.

D’Angelo acknowledged the criticisms but brought up the limitations.

“Nagkakaroon naman tayo ng mga bike campaigns. Pero sa ngayon kasi, ‘yung limitasyon natin ay nandoon pa rin. Kaya sinasabi ko, kapag nagpu-push tayo for renewable energy, para in the future pati eleksyon ay green na. We are limited by what we have now. But it does not mean that we are not advocating for the environment," D'Angelo said. 

(We are having bike campaigns. But right now, we know there are limitations. But I still push for renewable energy so that in the future, we can hold more environment-friendly elections.)

Seeking to reverse the politics of President Rodrigo Duterte, De Guzman is among 97 individuals who filed their candidacy for President in the 2022 elections.

The other presidential aspirants include Vice President Leni Robredo, Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr., former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, and former presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella.

The list will be trimmed in the coming weeks to remove those found to be nuisance candidates.

The official campaign period for national position candidates for the May 9, 2022, elections will start only on Feb. 8, 2022.

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