THE party-list (PL) bloc in the 17th Congress is the newest coalition to express support to the administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and the Speakership bid of Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez.
In a ceremony in Makati City on Tuesday, the 35-member bloc signed a covenant of support and pledged to cooperate with and push Duterte’s legislative agenda in the House of Representatives.
The coalition, according to its president, Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines (Agap) Rep. Nicanor Briones, also manifested its support to Alvarez for promising “fair and equitable” distribution of positions including committee chairmanships to the coalition.
Among the groups that joined the coalition are 1-Care, 1-Pacman, ABS, Aangat Tayo, Agbiag, Amin, A-Teacher, Butil, Manila Teachers, Kabayan, TUCP, Ako Bicol, 1-Sagip, Aasenso, ACTS-OFW, Agri, Ang Kabuhayan, BH, Cibac, Kalinga, Mata, Yacap, 1-Ang Edukasyon, AAMBIS-OWA, Abang Lingkod, Agap, Akbayan, Angkla, Buhay, Coop Natcco, Kusug Tausug and PBA.
In the manifesto, the coalition said it “shall continue to work together to push for vital legislation that is supportive of the respective advocacies and priorities of its members while working constructively with the Duterte administration, including incoming Speaker Alvarez, in helping pass its legislative agenda in the House of Representatives.”
Alvarez said the coalition will make a priority the revision of the 1987 Constitution to change the country’s government from unitary to federal system, allow the reinstatement of death penalty and lower the age of juvenile delinquents.
These steps, he added, will bring about changes in the Philippines.
“Our incoming President committed to the people real change that will happen in this country. And we will do it,” Alvarez said.
“We don’t have any objective here but to change our country and we have to restore order, end insurgency, restore peace and I’m sure progress will follow,” he added.
Briones, however, admitted that members of the bloc are not united when it comes to the reinstatement of the death penalty because some of its members have different advocacies, specifically Buhay party-list which by its name alone is pro-life.
Buhay means life.
But Alvarez said contradicting advocacies will not be a major problem in implementing Duterte’s legislative agenda because the majority will always rule Congress.
“We may not agree entirely with each other but there’s always a way. That’s the beauty of democracy,” he added.
Alvarez said the bloc should follow the time frame of the “result-oriented” President, thus his platforms should be legislated in the soonest possible time.
“Remember, he promised three to six months. So we have to do it,” he added.