Press Release
February 25, 2009


In commemoration of the 23rd anniversary of the first People Power revolution, independent senator and former student activist Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan called for a "peaceful political revolution" that would turn traditional politics on its head and invigorate participatory democracy in the country.

"When I was a student activist during the Martial Law years, we were marching against corruption, human rights violations, poverty, insurgency, the deteriorating state of education," Kiko began. "Today, twenty-three years later, the issues remain the same."

"Collectively, whether opposition or administration, our public sector leaders have failed us," Kiko asserted. "It is the bankruptcy of our national politics and governance perpetuated by political leaders without vision, courage, and integrity that has brought us where we are today."

The solution, Kiko pointed out, was for ordinary citizens to come together and exercise their rights and roles as members of a democratic society. He cited how, in recent years, greater access to information, the explosion of social media and information communications technology channels, and a growing desire for change have propelled groups to develop solutions to age-old "big-picture" issues such as housing, poverty, and corruption.

He gave the examples of advocacy groups Bantay Korte Suprema (BKS), Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) Foundation, and the newly established Juvenile Justice Advocacy Group (JJAG) as efforts to move forward collectively with or without government intervention.

"It is time for people to rise up and confront and defeat trapo politics," Kiko urged. "We must push for a peaceful political revolution from below. It is time to look to a new generation of reformist public sector leaders to bring us out of the mess we are in."

"Kung hindi tayo ang kikilos, 'di sino pa? Kung hindi ngayon, kalian pa? (If we don't act, then who will? If not now, then when?)" Kiko asked, recalling a line he often called out during his days as a student activist and Chair of the University of Philippines Student Council.

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