Peace advocate runs vs Paolo Duterte, offers alternative to clan-based politics
DAVAO CITY — She may be running for the first time in the city’s first district congressional seat here but Maria Victoria Maglana does not consider herself a newcomer when it comes to politics and governance.
As a peace and development advocate in the last 30 years, Maglana, known among friends here as “Mags,” has been involved in policy development and advocacy to pass responsive legislations in local, regional and even in the national government levels.
Contrary to earlier expectations that President Duterte’s children here would largely run unchallenged in next year’s polls, Maglana, a peace advocate of 30 years, decided to run for the city’s first district congressional seat.
She filed her certificate of candidacy on October 8, bringing her to a face-off with reelectionist Rep. Paolo Duterte, who is running for his second term.
Earlier, a relatively unknown businessman named Jamal Ranon Kanan also filed his candidacy for the same post and had been welcomed by Paolo Duterte himself.
Maglana’s peace development work in the last three decades included empowering grassroots communities through capacity-building works and pushing for transparency and responsive legislations among local, regional and national government levels.
She said she decided to run to encourage people’s active participation in governance at all times, not only during elections.
“Kailangan nang itapon ang lumang (There’s a need to throw away the old) governance playbook ng (of) Davao City na siyang ginamit (that had been used) for 35 years. Itinatali tayo nito sa mga sitwasyong ang interes ng iilan ang nangingibabaw (It has tied us to a situation where the interest of the few prevails) at the expense of people’s rights and welfare and good governance,” she said in a statement.
Maglana introduced herself as a peace development worker whose “forte” included working with diverse stakeholders that included national and local governments, civil society groups, communities, the private sector and community sector and international partners in “finding common ground” and “working together for sustainable development and durable peace.”
She also leads the anti-dictatorship group Konsensya Dabaw and has been popular among professionals, the academe, youth and civil society groups.
“Karong adlawa, molansad ko sa akong pagkakandidato isip representante sa unang distrito sa syudad sa Davao (Today, I launch my candidacy as representative of the first district in the city of Davao),” Maglana said as she filed her COC at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office here, only hours before the deadline.
“Tatakbo ako sa paniniwalang (I run in the belief that) the Davao we know is a product of many historical processes,” said Maglana, a daughter of migrant parents who arrived in Mindanao in the 1950s.
“But in a fundamental way, it is also about people’s aspirations for a better life. At sa okasyon ng halalang 2022, panahon na para tumawid sa susunod na antas at yugto kung saan ang mga mamamayan mismo ang tataya para sa kanilang karapatan at kagalingan (And in the occasion of the 2022 elections, it’s high time to cross over to the next stage where the people themselves have to put a stake over their rights and welfare).
“Ito ang broad strokes ng aking plataporma (These are the broad strokes of my platform). In general, nais kong dalhin ang boses ng mga nasa unang distrito ng (I want to bring the voices of the people in the first district of) Davao to help address national or sub-national issues that require legislative response. Related to this, dapat gamitin ang (we need to use that) legislative platform to call attention to matters that concern the people of the first district, the rest of Davao, and Mindanao,” she said.
But she added this would entail an active participation in governance among people in the first district and regular consultation with them not only during elections, but at all times.
Maglana would also be expected to speak about the anti-dynasty law, the failed COVID-19 pandemic response, and even the comeback of the Marcoses in the seat of power.
“Nais ko ring tumulong sa paglutas sa mga problema ng bansa na matagal nang naghihintay ng resolute at effective legislative action, kagaya ng anti-dynasty law, pagbangon mula sa pandemya, at pagtutol sa pagbabalik ng mga puwersa at pamamaraang (I also want to help solve the country’s long running problem that badly needed resolute legislative actions, such as the anti-dynasty law, COVID-19 pandemic response and resistance against the comeback of forces) associated with dictatorship and authoritarianism,” she said.
She urged progressive forces in the city to rally behind her. “Maraming mga progresibo sa Davao City: the politically-progressive, economically-progressive, the socially-progressive, the culturally-progressive, the environmentally-progressive, and the technologically-progressive. Bawat isa, may kayang ibahagi (Everyone has a role to play),” she said.
She said the people needed an enabling environment to allow them to get their acts together.
“This will not happen if we continue to accept that our future is exclusively reliant on the same recurring family names and that all that we have to do as citizens is to be passive and compliant,” she said. “To be able to explore other and better futures, we need a shared vision and a commitment to make way for what is possible, rather than just stick with what we have gotten used to.”
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