THE EDSA people power revolt goes on as Filipinos continue to struggle against poverty, Vice President Jejomar Binay, the presidential bet of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in the May 2016 elections, said on Wednesday.
Speaking on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the popular 1986 uprising, Binay noted that poverty remains the country’s “greatest shame” and the next administration’s “greatest challenge.”
“We have achieved political freedom, yet economic freedom is still beyond our grasp. The fight for freedom from poverty remains,” said the Vice President, a human rights lawyer during the martial law years and an active participant in the revolt that toppled Marcos’ strongman rule.
He described the revolution as “far from complete.”
“Democracy is nothing if it does not democratize wealth. Democracy cannot thrive in a society whose population groans in abject poverty,” Binay said.
The UNA presidential bet cited the need to provide more economic opportunities for majority of Filipinos who remain poor.
The Vice President said the challenge for the next administration is to restore the dignity of the poor by redistributing economic opportunity.
He pointed to the experience of Makati City (Metro Manila) as proof that the fight can be won.
Binay was named acting mayor of Makati in February 1986, the first local official to be appointed by the then-revolutionary government of President Corazon Aquino.
He would later be elected to several terms by the people of Makati.
Binay sided with and defended the Aquino administration, earning him the monicker “Rambotito” when he appeared in full battle gear during one of the many coup attempts against the government.
“Makati teaches us that political will, transparency, compassion and the unfettered support of the people can move a community forward. We have seen the fruits of people power in Makati through a government that serves its people well. We did it in Makati. We can do it for the entire country,” he said.
According to Binay, a host of social services and programs has also addressed poverty in Makati, where government data placed the number of poor residents at around 2,000 individuals or 0.5 per cent of the population as of 2012.
“More important, we addressed the poverty of our people,” he said.
“After 30 years, the ideals of political and economic freedom are now a reality in Makati,” the Vice President added.
The Makati experience can be done for the entire country, he said.