Press Release
September 7, 2012


During a recent lecture at the University of the Philippines School of Economics (UPSE), Senator Edgardo J. Angara emphasized that political parties in the country have to push for distinct platforms to cultivate more trust from their constituents.

Angara, Chairman and President of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), said that the level of the public's trust in government institutions and public figures has remained relatively low for the past three decades.

"As long as there is no trust in the governing bodies, then I think other institutions will suffer as a result," said Angara. "History only shows how our political institutions have become central to our failure to develop and attain economic prosperity."

The veteran lawmaker explained that the introduction of a highly fragmented, personality-based multi-party system has resulted in unpredictable policies, which inevitably weakened the country's position for economic growth.

"What we need is a genuine, honest-to-goodness, platform-based political party system," stressed Angara, a former UP President. "Only then will people start trusting political parties and not view them as mere vehicles for personalities to exercise power."

He added that political parties could serve as the mother institution for political leaders like how a seminary is the main training ground for priests.

"To me, these groupings are important because their members eventually become policymakers, approve national budgets and decide on the priorities of governance. Without these, no matter how good the executive leader is, I think the system will remain dysfunctional."

Angara is the main proponent of the Political Party Development Act or PPDA (SBN 3214), which intends to institutionalize a strong political party system in the country.

The measure proposes to penalize so-called "political turncoats" by prohibiting them from running for any position in the nearest elections. The bill also disqualifies politicians who cross party lines from being appointed to any public office for three years after the term of their current position expires.

Angara added that the measure also seeks to promote transparency and accountability in campaign financing by creating a state-subsidized party development fund which will be made available to all accredited political parties.

In part, state funding will be disbursed in proportion to the number of seats attained by the political party in the Senate, House of Representatives, and local elective positions, such as governor, mayor and provincial board member.

Each accredited political party will receive their share of the fund only if it shows proof that the same amount was raised from voluntary contributions.

"This bill proposes some very radical changes to our political system, but no real transformation has ever been achieved with a 'business-as-usual' attitude," concluded Angara. "Nevertheless, I am hopeful that my colleagues in the Senate will enact this measure swiftly."

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