Press Release
November 12, 2009

Reforms for political and economic advancement

As the presidential race draws near, Senator Edgardo J. Angara today emphasized the importance of making key reforms and candidates' platforms the focus of the presidential debate in 2010.

"Candidates should address pressing issues like natural disasters, corruption, the global financial crisis and the continued struggle for good governance and delivery of basic social services. It's about time we put a stop to the 'dumbing down' of our electorate and instead give substance to the national campaign," said Angara, who has been the longest serving Senator in the post-EDSA Senate. Angara has authored major reforms like the Free High School Act, PhilHealth, Senior Citizens Law, CHED, TESDA, and Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) among others.

He further emphasized that the country's political party system must carry a clear agenda, political platform and a vision for the country, rather than confined to personalities.

He added "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 so that we can move way from traditional politics, but unfortunately they have not been successful because of lack of legal institutional framework to govern the system of political parties."

Under the proposed Political Party Development Act, which Angara authored, party members who seek to change party affiliation after being elected under that party's ticket should first resign from his elective position and seek a fresh mandate from the electorate. Likewise, defecting persons cannot be appointed nor hold any position in any public office until after their current elected office expires.

The bill also seeks to create a Party Development Fund to subsidize national political parties for their operational expenses and party building activities; not only for electoral campaign but also for their developmental programs. It encourages raising funds through Party Foundation to develop self-sufficiency and lessen their dependence on contributions from illegal sources.

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

Angara said, "A strong political party system is imperative for genuine political development and democratization rather than simply feeding politicized motives. We have to enact laws to prevent the system of ward politics and political chameleons that we have today. We must achieve political maturity to progress as a nation."

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