TindigPH fortifies its ranks amid present threats to democracy

Posted on November 22, 2023

By LA Tolentino


Tindig Pilipinas, a coalition of democratic groups and advocates, convened a summit on Nov. 18 that brought together diverse political figures and civil society actors to delve into critical issues presently confronting Philippine democracy.

 

Amid political turbulence and societal challenges, the summit provided a platform for in-depth analysis and strategic planning to help steer the country towards progress and democracy.

 

Our nationís direction

 

The morning session started with a set of experts and advocates who provided a deeper perspective on several pressing issues. Tindig Pilipinas convenor Teresita "Ging" Quintos Deles also emphasized the urgency of collective action in safeguarding democratic principles and fostering inclusive governance.

 

 

Former Party-list Representative Manuel Cabochan III, known for his advocacy on national security issues, delivered a comprehensive assessment of the Philippines' territorial integrity, focusing on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) dispute.

 

Cabochan underscored the escalating tensions in the region due to China's aggressive expansionist policies and urged for a unified stance against foreign encroachment.

 

Drawing from his extensive experience in defense matters, he outlined strategic measures to bolster maritime security and reinforce alliances with like-minded nations in the Indo-Pacific region.

 

Ellen Tordesillas, veteran journalist and president of media nonprofit VERA Files, shed light on the pernicious spread of disinformation and propaganda in the digital age.

 

With social media platforms becoming breeding grounds for false narratives and manipulation, Tordesillas stressed the imperative of media literacy and critical thinking to combat misinformation effectively.

 

She called for greater collaboration between media organizations, civil society, and government agencies to promote transparency and accountability in public discourse.

 

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong outlined the interconnected challenges of climate change, economic inequality, and corruption plaguing Philippine society.

 

Magalong emphasized the role of local governments in spearheading sustainable development initiatives and empowering communities to address pressing environmental concerns. He also urged greater decentralization of resources and decision-making authority to promote inclusive growth and participatory governance.

 

Senator Risa Hontiveros, a staunch advocate for human rights and social justice, delivered an impassioned plea for solidarity and resilience in the face of mounting threats to democratic institutions.

 

Hontiveros highlighted the importance of legislative reforms to strengthen accountability mechanisms and protect the rights of marginalized sectors. Hontiveros further called on civil society organizations and grassroots movements to mobilize and resist attempts to undermine democratic freedoms.

 

Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, a leading authority on international law and maritime disputes, provided a legal perspective on the WPS issue and the Philippines' arbitration victory against China in 2016.

 

Carpio emphasized the importance of upholding the rule of law and multilateralism in resolving territorial conflicts and preventing further escalation. Drawing upon precedents from international jurisprudence, Carpio urged the Philippine government to assert its sovereign rights in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and seek diplomatic avenues for peaceful resolution.

 

The assembly concluded with a spirited open forum, where participants engaged in robust discussions on electoral integrity, human rights protection, and governance reform. Attendees exchanged diverse viewpoints and proposed concrete actions to address systemic challenges and advance democratic principles in the Philippines.

 

Planning ahead

 

Meanwhile, the afternoon general assembly commenced with the confirmation of Deles as convenor, along with the representatives of the member hubs Alyansa ng Samahang Pantao (ASAP), Every Woman, CSO Guild, Manindigan Na, Solidar, Youth Resist, AKBAYAN, Liberal Party, and Magdalo.

 

 

The participants engaged in meaningful discussions and participated in workshops on campaigns, communication, and operational frameworks. They came up with innovative approaches to advocacy.

 

At the end of the session, Deles expressed gratitude for the hubs' active participation in the workshops and the forum. Khylla Meneses of Akbayan Youth echoed this sentiment, urging attendees to continue to provide hope for the future and stand for Tindig Pilipinas.

 

The assembly concluded with the attendees signing a commitment to reaffirm their shared dedication to realizing Tindig Pilipinas' aspirations for a more democratic Philippines.