Posted on June 02, 2023
Quezon City, Philippines - On June 2, Alyansa ng Samahang Pantao (ASAP), in partnership with INCITEGov, convened a forum on charter change and the national situation followed by a General Assembly. The event, held from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, took place at the Kasagana-Ka Mutual Benefit Association Meeting Hall in Diliman, Quezon City. The forum gathered 48 leaders from urban poor organizations representing various cities in the National Capital Region (NCR). ASAP, a coalition of people's organizations with members nationwide, is the people’s hub of Tindig Pilipinas.
Luz Malibiran, Executive Director of CO Multiversity, delivered the Opening Remarks. She emphasized the importance of continuing empowerment through community organizing. Malibiran highlighted the significance of collective aspirations and actions, stating, "When our collective aspirations translate into action, there is hope; and when our collective actions translate into claim-making for the good of the majority, there is power." She further stressed the need to maintain hope despite the challenges faced by the poor. Coalition-building through organizations like ASAP ensures mutual support among people's organizations, enabling them to work towards a better life for the urban poor and future generations.
The morning forum commenced with a presentation on the national situation by Gerald Nicolas of the John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues (JJCSI). Nicolas discussed the causes and implications of the current inflation rate, importation of agricultural products, inadequate legislated wages, unemployment, and issues related to education, health, and housing that affect the urban poor. Participants also shared their personal experiences in coping with meager wages, high prices of basic goods, and insecurity in housing, education, employment, and health.
The second session focused on Maharlika Funds and the economic aspects of the recent move to amend the Philippine Constitution, which was later withdrawn at the House and the Senate. AJ Montesa from the Action for Economic Reforms provided participants with facts and initial analyses on these issues. The ensuing discussion revolved around the lack of transparency and people's participation in decision-making on these issues that have a huge impact on the lives of the marginalized sectors.
During the General Assembly meeting, members engaged in a lively deliberation on the future directions of ASAP as a coalition. They stressed the importance of staying informed about the national situation and ensuring that this knowledge is cascaded to the community level. All ASAP member organizations are expected to share the information received at the event with their respective members. Regular meetings will be held to update members on political and economic developments and strategize on issues affecting the urban poor. A special session is also planned to address the recent government actions regarding high-rise housing, emphasizing the need for consultation and transparency. Furthermore, the upcoming barangay elections were identified as an important avenue for change, and ASAP should support or field progressive, pro-poor candidates who will prioritize consultation and participation to ensure that the interests of the urban poor are represented.
The forum and General Assembly concluded with Closing Remarks by Vicente Barlos of APOLA-ULAP Confederation. Barlos affirmed the identified strategies as crucial for empowering the coalition and its member organizations. He echoed Malibiran's message regarding the strength of the urban poor, emphasizing the importance of organizing actions to push the government to prioritize their interests. Barlos expressed gratitude to all members and organizers for their contribution to the successful event.
The forum and General Assembly organized by ASAP and INCITEGov served as a platform for urban poor leaders to discuss pressing issues and chart a path towards a better future. By strengthening their collective voice and advocating for their rights, these organizations aim to uplift the lives of the urban poor and create lasting change in society. #