Deceptive tactics behind ‘People’s Initiative’

Red commanders and fighters of Roselyn Jean Pelle Command-Northern Negros Guerrilla Front of the New People’s Army (RJPC-NPA) are alarmed over numerous reports of dubious schemes to hoodwink eligible voters into signing the so-called ‘people’s initiative’ (PI) to amend the reactionary 1986 Philippine Constitution.

Upon further investigation, RJPC-NPA units have concluded that citizens are deceived and forced to sign the PI using the following common empty promises or made-up reasons: work offers under TUPAD program, continuation and unchanged status of 4Ps beneficiaries, petition to banish certain unnamed individuals, and PhP20 million from Sen. Imee Marcos, among others. Barangay officials and employees lead the signature campaign in their respective territories through strenuous house-to-house, group meetings or individual invitation. There was no discussion with residents pertinent to the PI.

Unsurprisingly, several towns and cities in Northern Negros are in the top 10 of most numbers of signatures gathered for PI. In these towns and cities, residents are dependent on the monocrop sugar industry suffering from unsecured jobs, meager and unstable wages, little to no benefits and on hand-to-mouth standard of living. The economic crisis is easily capitalized on because any remedy to the immediate distressing situation, just like false promises of the reactionary government’s dole-out finance project, is eagerly welcomed by people.

Moreover, the cities of Sagay, Escalante, and San Carlos, as well as the town of Calatrava, are now the prospects of neoliberal programs to accommodate solar farms, modular nuclear plants, bulk water project, and economic zones. The local chief executives of said cities and town mobilized their election campaign machinery, also incumbent government officials and employees, using deceptive schemes to gather a great number of signatures for PI to amend the reactionary constitution to accommodate foreign ownership of land and basic utilities.

While RJPC-NPA recognizes the people’s right to engage in the people’s initiative as a mechanism to empower citizens to call for reforms in the reactionary government, we denounce the deceptive mechanisms to accumulate support for a PI that is laden with interests of foreign monopoly capitalists. On the other hand, RJPC-NPA commends a few mayors on their decision to disengage in active participation of such PI signature gathering and allow freedom of individuals to take action (or not) in PI.

RJPC-NPA orders all units, including units of people’s militia and self-defense corps, to complete its investigation on the mechanisms of gathering signatures for PI, collect evidences, identify key players of such deceptive signature gathering, and arrest individuals caught red-handed for questioning and confiscate signature sheets as evidence and further study. Likewise, all revolutionary forces should expose to the masses the ultimate goal of such signature gathering, the people’s initiative and the move for charter change.##

Deceptive tactics behind ‘People’s Initiative’