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A Boholano’s View by Jose “Pepe” Abueva

The Bohol Chronicle
October 7, 2012

Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP): Partido ng Tunay na Demokrasya!
On September 12, 2012 the Commission on Elections approved our CDP as a duly accredited and registered national political party, like the Liberal Party, the Nacionalista Party, or the PDP Laban Party. Earlier on, CDP adopted our Party Constitution and By-laws, and our Party Platform. We also organized party members and organizations and trained them as party leaders in various regions of the country On September 29, we held our second National Congress where we elected Representative Rufus Rodriguez (2nd district of Cagayan de Oro) as our CDP President; and Lito Monico Lorenzana as CDP Chairman. Lorenzana founded the Centrist Democratic Movement Federation that became the CDP. President Rodriguez was the one who persuaded the CDMF to become a regular national party and seek political power through elections in order to fulfill its ideology and party platform. Centrist Democracy began as Christian Democracy as founded by Raul Manglapus, Lito Lorenzana, and other leaders who were inspired by the Christian Demoratic Union of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. We in CDP also selected our official candidates for local government offices and our adopted candidates for the Senate: Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, Bam Aquino IV, and Chez Escudero. All of them subscribe to the CDP ideology and platform and pledge to push for them if elected. Our CDP National Congress elected other Party officers: Lorelyn Turtosa-Dumaug, Secretary General; Nenita Manongson, Vice-President for Luzon; Rey Uzmar Padit, VicePresident for Visayas; Jorday Jay Antolin, Vice-President for Mindanao. CDP will do our best to make our party known, understood, and convincing, so more and more of our people will join, own and build CDP in the service of our Republic of the Philippines. We are guided by our ideals, ideology and platform which we now present. Part I.Why is CDP the Partido ng Tunay na Demokrasya? Because of our ideals expressed here in Part I and the Centrist Democracy ideology and program of government and political, social, and economic reforms presented in Part II below. We believe in, and practice, the constitutional principle that “Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates (or comes) from them.” Public officials are “servants of the people,” not “their masters.” We believe in “Subsidiarity,” or “Pinatubo”— bottom-up government, politics, and development; not “Pinatulo”—top-down government, politics, and development. We are a political party of, for, and by all the people. Our members are from all over the country and overseas: from all social classes, and especially our middle class, lumads, and poor people. They are volunteers who pay annual dues. We abide by our democratic party rules and 1

principles; & choose our party leaders & our candidates for public office. We do not depend on rich patrons to finance our Party. We welcome State subsidy for all registered political parties. Part II.What is Centrist Democracy? It refers to the Core Principles and Program of Governance and Reform of our Centrist Democratic Party. 1.Human Dignity. As human beings created by God in his image, we are all endowed with human dignity. Our Constitution calls on Congress to give highest priority “to protect and enhance the right of all the people to human dignity. (Art. XIV) 2.Subsidiarity. This says that the State is subsidiary to our sovereign people whom the State must serve. It is “government of, by, and for all the people.” It is also “development from the grassroots.” In CDP we understand “true democracy” or “ang tunay na demokrasya“ as “Demokrasyang Pinatubo”: growing & nurturing democracy by building institutions with the people and local communities—before involving higher levels of governance. 3.A Social Market Economy. CDP is committed to help bring about a Social Market Economy. The objectives are: (1) Develop a strong State to guarantee a stable legal and political framework in order for businesses to flourish & become competitive locally & globally; (2) Level the playing field & ensure free market processes; (3) Help provide our people with good education & health services, social housing, & old age security; and (4) protect & sustain our environment for future generations. 4.Reform of Our Dysfunctional Political Institutions and Policies. For 66 years since we regained our independence in 1946, including 25 years under our 1987 Constitution, we have suffered under the same old colonial political system initiated under American colonial rule in 2001: namely, our dysfunctional Presidential Government, and our dysfunctional and highly centralized Unitary System. We should change our Presidential Government to a Parliamentary Government. We should also change our Highly Centralized Unitary System to A System of Autonomous Local and Regional Governments—in transition to a future Federal Republic of the Philippines. 5.Build and Strengthen Our Global Filipino Nation and Democracy. We have become a Global Filipino Nation of some 95 million in our homeland and another 10 million overseas, and counting. Through the Dual Citizenship Law and the Absentee Voting Law, Overseas Filipinos now have more opportunities and incentives to participate in building a peaceful and progressive global nation and an inclusive democracy—for the good of all Filipinos. Overseas Filipino citizens should be able elect their own members in our future Parliament, which they are not able to do under our Constitution and election laws. 6.Balance Our Rights with Our Duties in Our Quest for Peace, Unity, Good Governance, and Progress. For too long we have stressed our rights and privileges and entitlements, and minimized our duties, responsibilities and obligations to each other and to the nation. All along our neighbors in Asia have sacrificed for their national unity and progress. We need to find the golden mean to serve and protect the common good and the public interest, to build our nation, to democratize, to achieve prosperity, and to make peace and progress in cooperation with other nations. We need to nurture a culture of life and nonkilling in our land and around the world. 2

7.Develop “Transforming Leaders.” Too many of our political leaders are “Transactional Leaders” and “Trapos.” With their power and authority, political patronage, and pork barrel, they bargain with their followers and exchange favors to gain the support and loyalty of the voters. While democracy certainly requires some bargaining and compromise, we also need “Transforming Leaders” who will inspire and challenge our people to help fulfill our vision and ideals in the Constitution: “to build a just and humane society” and “a democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace…” (Preamble). And thus uphold human dignity, a core principle of our CDP. As the readers will understand, CDP stands out as a very different political party compared to other parties that are loose alliances of politicians seeking power and patronage, do not adhere to their party platform; and whose members move from one party to another for their personal convenience. We invite the readers to join our Centrist Democratic Party. Contact the Centrist Democracy Party of the Philippines on Facebook, or Virgilio Abueva and other CDP members in Tagbilaran City. Comments are welcome at