Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, October 03, 2008

Church-based party aim for 2010 positions in 2010 polls

Unfazed by its dismal showing in the last elections, a church-based political party will be gunning for at least 2010 positions in the 2010 national and local elections.

The Ang Kapatiran (Alliance for the Common Good) party which advocates a new, God-centered politics, launched its campaign here on Wednesday.

"The people's need for a real alternative to the dominant brand of politics remains," Kapatiran founder Nandy Pacheco said in an interview at the sidelines of the national convention of the Council of the Laity of the Philippines.

Pacheco said their campaign would focus on the grassroots and lower levels of positions.

Party president Eric Manalang said they will field 4020 candidates in the elections and expect half of them elected to office.

"2010 in 2010 is our call for new politics," said Manalang.

The party will focus its campaign in the 200 towns and cities with the biggest percentage of young voters.

Pacheco said it is possible that they will also field candidates for President and for the Senate and House as long as the candidate adheres to the principles and platform of government of the the party.

Kapatiran fielded 30 candidates in last year's elections including three for senator and a vice gubernatorial candidate. But only John Carlos de los Reyes won, finishing second as councilor of Olongapo City.

Pacheco said they were encouraged, not discouraged by their performance.

"We may not have won many seats but we got more than the votes that we expected showing that the people saw us as a viable alternative," he said.

The three party's three senatorial candidates-- Martin Bautista, Jesus Zosimo Paredes and Adrian Sison-- did not come near the winning circle but they each got an average of 700,000 votes.

Manalang said this is already a significant achievement because their party had minimal exposure and spent only P3 million for the campaign of their candidates.

He said they are now recruiting candidates especially "young with fresh ideas" especially from the 25-40 year old age bracket.

"We want to tap young, homegrown leaders who believe in our principles and not just those with looks, money and family connections," said Manalang.

He said they will provide the potential candidates a six-month training on politics, value formation and party principles. These also include a training on winning elections and politics in partnership with the Ateneo School of Government.

The party plans to put up around 200 training centers nationwide to be supported from the grassroots.

"People will have to share the burden if they want better government and governance," said Manalang.

Pacheco said among the key issues that they will push include their opposition to pork barrel, political dynasties, gambling and on billboards containing pictures of government officials especially in government-funded projects.

The party is also actively campaigning against the controversial reproductive health bill which is being debated in Congress.

"Our party and our campaign is our response to the Church's call for the laity to be more involved in the bringing better government and fighting graft and corruption," said Pacheco. By Nestor P. Burgos Jr. - News Today

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