Press Release
July 4, 2009

To provide a better brand of party politics

With a bright view for automated local and national elections in 2010, Senator Edgardo J. Angara today calls for a systematic political party system judging candidates for their platforms and plan of action rather than confining to personalities.

"Political parties play a vital role in the country's quest for political and economic development. The political party system in the country is basically confined to personalities rather than issues and political platform. There have been many attempts to reform the orientation of our political parties in the past so as to veer way from the concept of traditional politics, but unfortunately they have not been successful because of lack of legal institutional framework to govern system of political parties," said Angara who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance.

Angara, chair of the Laban ng Denokratikong Pilipino (LDP), said that it is in this light that the Political Party Act should be enacted. He said that it is imperative that political party system should be strengthened if we want to develop, achieve genuine political development and democratization. Thus, he advanced moves to enact laws to prevent the system of ward politics and political chameleons that we have today.

He added, "It should not be that political parties in the Philippines are normally used only as political vehicles to win an election. Most political aspirants change political parties for convenience, rather than because of conviction."

SB 67 which the senator recently filed envisions changing the norm of having political butterflies during and after the election period. It aims to give importance to party ideals and policy agenda rather than the political pragmatism and survival. The bill proposes that any member of the party wanting to change the party affiliation after being elected on that party's ticket, should first resign from his elective position and must seek a fresh mandate from the electorate.

Moreover, the bill seeks to create a Party Development Fund to provide subsidy to political parties of national character for their operational expenses and party building activities not only for electoral campaign but also for their, developmental programs. These funds shall be appropriated in the national budget.

In the bill, a political party may qualify to receive a portion from the Party Development Fund if its national candidates garnered at least 15% of the popular vote in the most recent general elections.

For their part, Political parties should institute internal control mechanisms within political parties to promote accountability and transparency.

The bill also encourages the political parties to raise its funds through Party Foundation to finance their activities so that they will develop their self-sufficiency and lessen their dependence on contributions from illegal sources.

"In general, the proposed bill hopes to transform the Philippine political parties from personality-oriented to issue-oriented political organizations. Thus, we can provide our constituents with better brand of party politics," added Angara.

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