Together with various political parties, social movements, civil society groups, sectoral formations, non-government organizations and concerned individuals, I believe that defeat only comes only when you raise the white flag in the struggle for the resignation and ouster of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The only flags that are waved on the streets are the reds, the greens, the blues, the yellows, purples and almost every color you can imagine. These different colors clearly delivered one single message: It’s Time to Go, Glo!.

I believe that in this season of protests, mass actions, prayer vigils and marches will remain to be among the favorite ways of fighting for the interests of the marginalized, oppressed and disregarded masses. In all fronts, from the real world to the cyberspace, the clamor for truth also remains to be a unifying factor for all citizens who are concerned and willing to be involved in charting the path for positive changes and alternative route to development.

Months of struggling and engaging in the campaign for Gloria’s removal have taught us the need to capture the imagination of those who remain to be skeptical amidst the direct impact of the political crisis in their daily lives. Basing our assumptions on respectable survey results, everyone thinks that Gloria must go. However, many are not convinced that the only way to impeach Gloria is through the parliament of the street. I believe that aside from the political connections, international acceptability and power of the purse, Gloria’s luck is a result of the apathy of the citizens and the incapacity of the masses to rise above their primary economic needs.

Also, the question of “What’s next after Gloria’s removal?” has become more difficult to answer as it connotes uncertainty with Noli, a probable junta brought by military adventurism, an unknown terrain of a transition government and other fear factors that remain to be a turn-off for the general populace considered to be in favor of non-violent and constitutional means of resolving the crisis. But I am beginning to believe that it’s a lame excuse for not going beyond their comfort zone, and a result of the distrusting nature of the Pinoy culture and apathy amidst the fact that the constitution they are relying on are dead letters.

Even worse, the politicians masquerading as progressives and even the public appeal of symbolical leaders of the united and popular front for the resignation, ouster and even to the basic premise of truth seeking no longer bewitched the public to join us. Thus, we were not able to optimize the use of the streets nor cover the entire stretch of EDSA.

We failed to deliver the single message that we want Gloria out not simply because of the issues and concerns raised in the articles of impeachment, nor the Juetengate nor the Gloriagate. Beyond the politically centered basis of Gloria’s ouster, the people’s complaint has never been mainstreamed to agitate people to be involved.

We failed to include in our campaigns issues such as the farmers’ lament on the vicious attack of the likes of Arroyos, Cojuangcos, Tuazons who offensively use their influence to maintain their landholdings amidst the agrarian reform program or the plight of the youth and students who are being neglected in their educational rights because this government is prioritizing debt servicing over education even if this is enshrined in the constitution. The sloganeering on the role of women and worker in nation building amidst the adherence to bankcrupt economic policies remains to be an assailable point against Gloria.

The list can go on and on and on, which can only manifest that Gloria does not have the political will to deliver what is due to the people. Her power is used only to divide and rule on the people who do not wish to be govern, and Arroyo derives pleasure from such disunity.

Thus, it is high time that we do not only call for Gloria’s ouster but work double time.

It is imperative to really go on the ground and go back to basics of educating the people on our alternatives. We must start with showing them the weaknesses of our alternative to make them contribute to enriching a common path for a viable Philippines. With this, we could create a blueprint which is not crafted by intellectual minds alone, but also validated and reaffirmed by the target groups that are supposed to benefit and act as stakeholders.

Let us not claim that Gloria will be out of office the sooner, the better. She will stay for a while, but we will triumph in the end. Despite the fact that public perception is no longer weighing in favor of the truth, resign, impeach and oust (TRIO) campaign, I believe the enemies are more keen on going for RIOT, as preempted by Ramos in his not so far fetched idea of a civil war.

Defeat comes only when you raises the white flag.

We will not be the first to raise the white flag as we continuously struggle to produce leaders who will rise above public acceptability to rally the people towards one common goal of establishing a genuine government of the people. What we have right now are acceptable faces who do not necessarily transcend their own vested interests as part of the past ruling factions or filial, sentimental struggle.

We have to unmasked the motives and intents of the likes of Jose De Venecia, who delivers the dismissal of the impeachment complaint, and whose idea of system change is going towards the direction of hailing himself as the Chief.

We have to harmonize and create hegemony in the fragmented unities of convenience among our ranks. We have to fix our eyes on the thinking middle class and petty buorgeioise to draw them in all fronts beyond the streets. We have to watch out for military adventurism and be ready to accept with open arms those who remain loyal to the people’s cause and proclaim to protect, uphold and promote human rights. We have to influence the media and find means to infiltrate the sphere of public opinion.

Let us not rely only on holy interventions because since the beginning, nasa tao ang gawa, nasa Diyos ang awa. We cannot rely on the Filipino Bahala nasystem because that is a sure path towards defeat.

We do not trust that the institutions will serve to the best of our interest. We have agreed that there is a need to change the system. The opportune time is now but we have to confront our own demons because the angels of change are not really perfect.

Think. Reflect. Hope.

The burden of changing the system is not the sole responsibility of the social movements and progressive formations alone. Half of the work includes ordinary people from all walks of life. They must be involved. They cannot afford to be fencesitters in the political scene just because they do not want to go beyond their comforts because, as I quote it from one learnings:

“They may avoid suffering but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live. Chained by their certitudes, they are slaves. They have forfeited their freedom. Only people who risks is free.”

And am back to writing my thoughts.

Si Gari, 25 ay nahanap na ang sariling mundo bilang manggagawa para sa kanayunang kaunlaran at repormang agraryo. Bukod sa Tinig, mababasa siya sa Bangketa Republique.

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