[Press Release] DIGNIDAD movement launched in march rally 30 years after EDSA uprising, activists pledged to fight for life of dignity for all

DIGNIDAD movement launched in march rally 30 years after EDSA uprising, activists pledged to fight for life of dignity for all

Photo grabbed from DIGNIDAD para sa lahat FB page

Photo grabbed from DIGNIDAD para sa lahat FB page

An alliance of social movements advancing universal, comprehensive and transformative social protection was formally launched today through a march rally that culminated in Bantayog ng mga Bayani with each of the more than 1,000 advocates pledging to campaign vigorously to realize a life of dignity for all.

DIGNIDAD, a broad coalition engaging electoral candidates to adopt its social protection agenda, marched from EDSA-SM North to Bantayog ng mga Bayani where leaders spoke at various stops to highlight the current state of governance and how there remained unequal distribution of wealth and of opportunities after 30 years since the Marcos dictatorship was toppled through the EDSA uprising.

Ana Maria Nemenzo, DIGNIDAD co-convener and lead convener of Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay or KAMP, explained that to correct the prevailing unjust system, universal, comprehensive and transformative social protection policies are needed towards attaining social justice, equality and the elimination of discrimination. She stressed the important role of state as duty bearer “social protection programs need to be state-driven with public partnership and control, legislated and institutionalized nation-wide and universalized or for all Filipinos.”

“Especially in the era of climate change, social protection must also enable  our people to survive and prevail over disasters by having guaranteed income or cash support throughout their life-cycle, access to essential services, and building disaster-resilient communities with state leadership and  support,” she added.

“The problems of social exclusion, inequality, poverty, joblessness and weak or limited social protection for the many cannot be solved under the present system of neo-liberal economic governance,” she said. “There is a need to overhaul the system and place people’s rights at the center of the development agenda.”

Nemenzo explained that post-EDSA administrations failed to change the governance system as reflected in the kind of socio-economic policies that have been pursued in the last three decades.

“Marcos left a legacy of plunder that has bled the nation dry and further widened the gap between the  rich – including Marcos cronies – and the poor,” said Walden Bello, DIGNIDAD champion and a former member of House of Representatives. “Nearly three decades after EDSA, there remains terrible inequity due to the neo-liberal policies of previous administrations that put private sector profit first at the expense of protective measures that could have eased the lives of the poor majority.”

Through a symbolic signing of the DIGNIDAD card, where the demands and entitlements that guarantee a life of dignity are written, members of grassroots organizations and civil society groups, including members of the five party-list groups that are part of DIGNIDAD forged to fight for the following: 1) ?secure and decent work and livelihood; 2) decent and ?affordable housing, 3) ?free and quality health care; 4) adequate, safe and affordable food; 5) safe, reliable and affordable  public transport; 6) free education? up to the tertiary level; 7) ?living pension?s for all senior citizens, child subsidy ?and income support to persons with disabilities, unemployed, and calamity victims.

Another DIGNIDAD co-convener Dr. Ed Tadem of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) highlighted that the dire situation of the poor majority have been ignored by previous administrations despite the Constitutional order that the highest budgetary priorities should be given to the enhancement of the welfare and security of the people.  “The government violated the Constitution many times over by sticking to a Marcosian law guaranteeing foreign and domestic creditors automatic debt servicing at the expense of guaranteeing access to social services and social protection by the people.”

“In this scheme of governance — growth promotion via unilateral economic liberalization, debt servicing first before social expenditure and tax collection from all regardless of capacity — the basic social needs of the poor such as health and education, water and power, housing and transportation, staple food and so on are predictably neglected,” Dr. Tadem added.

DIGNIDAD members urged the public to seriously consider who to elect in the coming May 2016 national polls.” Only candidates who can fully commit to ensuring social protection measures deserve our votes,” Dr. Tadem concluded. “We challenge particularly the presidential candidates to address our specific demands in order ensure a dignified life for every Filipino citizen.”

DIGNIDAD members were joined by renowned musicians like Tres Marias composed of Cooky Chua, Bayang Barios and Lolita Carbon, a former member of band ASIN known for its protest songs during the Marcos years. The musicians crooned out their desires for genuine change.-end-

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