Centrist democratic party – shining hope

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I was in in Duterte country over the weekend and again, I was treated to what can be. The Davao International Airport was a lot better than NAIA I, cleaner and more user-friendly than NAIA II, with functioning escalators compared to NAIA III. There was order in the taxi queue. There were no individual transactions on how much the fare would be. Before the taxi can go out the complex, the security by the gate logs the number of the taxi and the name of the rider.

When I asked my driver why they do that, the answer was interesting: “Mam para kung may reklamo kayo o may naiwan kayo madaling mahanap.” Remarkable. I asked about the situation in the area and the driver was more than willing to engage. As we talked, I was observing the cleanliness of Davao City, the sense of order and the pride the people had in themselves. It shows!

The statement that got me thinking was: “Mam, maswerte ka kung manakawan ka dito sa amin, bihira kasi mangyari. So celebrity ka pag nangyari.” Amazing!

And so I went with my task and told the driver to pick me up 5:30 pm so I can do some local shopping before I catch my plane back to Manila. The driver was at the doorstep of the hotel 5:00 pm and he brought me to two areas with not much hassle, so unlike cab drivers in Manila.


The Centrist Democratic Party (CDP) or “Ang Partidong Tunay Na Demokrasya” was founded in January 2012 and became a full pledged national political party upon accreditation of the Commission on Elections on 12 September 2013. Two names stood out in the ground breaking work of “charting a legacy– pass the torch, as it were, to a new generation of Centrist Democratic political technocrats and operators who may have to carry on the task of lifting the Pilipino from the socio-political-economic quagmire” the older generations have made—Lito Lorenzana and the late Rey Teves.

I have often bumped into Manong Lito. A big man physically yet often quiet and observing. He |often agitates people when he speaks in his booming voice. He often asks the right but hard questions, forcing the listeners to pause and think before reacting. Lito is a man of purpose; of ensuring the successor generation has the wherewithal to manage political discourse a lot better than their generation. I often asked Lito why he plods on building political parties and not giving up and you would see the answers to that once you attend the trainings of CDP.

CDP started as a movement composed of young professionals who “must first understand the uses, misuses, abuses and even non-use of political power.” This is quite outside the box in approach. Building a party off election year has never been the way to go. But CDP started that way. In 2011, though the auspices of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), the movement visited Germany to see first-hand how a country so devastated picked itself up from the ruins of WWII and elevated its economy to no. 4 in the world through the Christian Democratic concepts of Social Market Economy.

I spoke on internal and external communications of a political party, a talk I did for parties in the Asean region some months back. This was my second talk with CDP since in December 2013 where I was asked to talk on “Effectively Communicating the Messages of a Political Party to a Large Audience.” I have personally decided to assist the Centrist Democratic Party or CDP so I can witness the birth of a new party in the country. It is interesting how CDP evolved and who the prime movers are in building the party.

Political parties perform an important task in government. They bring people together to achieve control of the government via elections, develop policies favorable to their interests or the groups that support them (agenda setting), and organize and persuade voters to elect their candidates to office (offering options).

When functioning properly, political parties develop “common ideas among a significant group in order to exert pressure upon the political system. Thus, they help place citizens’ local concerns in a national context through interest articulation. Citizens may be divided over interests, leaders, or policies; political parties can organize these differences, creating grounds for compromise and helping societies to unite. In addition, political parties train and nominate political leaders who will assume a role in governing society. Through their efforts to control and influence public policy, political parties play an intermediary role, linking the institutions of government to economic, ethnic, cultural, religious and other societal groups. They can rally support behind important legislation, advocate positions that improve the public welfare, and advance citizens’ interests. Further, their participation in elections allows citizens to hold them accountable for their policies and actions.”

During the training, I asked the participants what makes the CDP stand out from the rest? Three responses came in rapid fashion: a) “I control the party”; b) CDP is human dignity; and c) “I pay membership dues”.

What struck me were the first response and the third. Never do we see these things in existing parties. CDP is not a party of incumbents. It is a party of ordinary people and they pay dues to be members. Never heard of in party building in this country. When you have ordinary people, paying dues to be members in a political party, you are doing it the opposite way but the fact that these two elements are present this early, CDP is moving in the right direction.

To CDP, the waves are not calm, the men and women are looking for something much, much more and they have not said yes to the presumptive heir to the throne. May you spread your wings and scale the heights and may your efforts be a way for others to look into themselves and ask if their parties have served the people well or were they just the same as the previous monolith of a political party where membership is just momentary; where institutions are milked to ensure allegiance; where taxpayers’ money is party funds and where interest articulation for a legislative agenda has been compromised or worse, set aside.

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8 Comments

  1. Janvie S. Amido on

    That is true. When I arrived in Davao last Thursday and took the taxicab from the airport to the Hotel Vicente, the taxi ran out of receipts and I have made my payment already. He promised to me that he will give the receipt the next day, he will just have to look for me. Between fifteen to twenty minutes after taking off from that taxi cab, the driver went back bringing the receipt. Isnt it amazing? You can rely to them.

  2. Bodik Baniqued on

    Thanks very much Ms. Malou for taking cognizance of our activity in Davao.
    We appreciate the fact that you took time to share with us your thoughts.

    The road is indeed long and the ride, a bit rough. The other parties are on-the-guard to see what would happen next as we go for the party build up. We are growing and may have to encounter the pains of party growth but WE ARE READY. The biggest struggle is not just our struggle with other contending ideologies but our struggles within. We must also learn to outgrow the habits of bad politics which we ourselves grew up with. That is why the clash of ideas is greatly encouraged in the party. At the worst, maaaring magalit, ngunit hindi pwedeng mang-away. We have to first defeat “SELF” before we dream of conquering the country. We argue and share our thoughts a lot but we always end up agreeing and taking a stand on something.

    However idealistic our thoughts have sounded, we are thankful for people like you who are “on the watch” in this wild political arena. We need people whose ideas are not clouded by partisan influences and can say good and bad things about what we do without necessarily compromising the truth!

    And for that I only have “thank you” to say for recognizing the “possible” role of CDP in revolutionizing the political landscape of our beloved country.

  3. Are you talking about the Philippines? I am amazed and gratified that somewhere in our blighted political landscape what you described is happening. There might be merit after all with the Duterte for president campaign that somebody mounted somewhere in some wilderness. I will be keeping my eyes on this fellow with the hope that this campaign goes viral and give us a better choice from the present crop of presidential wannabes in 2016.

    • Bodik Baniqued on

      the event took place in Davao..
      BUT it is not actually a “Duterte” undertaking (with all due respect to this great Mayor!).
      We’d be more than glad to answer your queries or questions and explain to you what the Party is all about.
      Ours is “the new kid on the block”… grow with us!

  4. Interesting! Could you provide more informations about CDP? How & who are eligible to join?

    • Hi Alf, I was one of founding members of the Centrist Democratic Movement here in Northern Mindanao and I served as former National Secretary General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines when it was approved as a national political party. My first question is: 1. Where are you registered as a voter? All members are members of a local district and you need to be a dues paying member but you need to received a basic orientation seminar first so you will be able to know what is the ideology, the platform, goals and vision of CDP.

      You mean send email to me at : cdpsecretarygeneral@gmail.com, so I can recommend to you a district where you can be part of.

      For country!