Manila, Philippines – The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women called out the proliferation of fake partylists that emerged during the filing of CoCs for next year’s elections.

Among the numerous candidates are members of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), which has persistently red-tagged lawmakers, progressive groups, and critics of the Duterte administration.

The peasant women group asserted that it was a blatant grab for power by Duterte administration cronies, shrinking the already scarce space for marginalized sectors’ voices in government. Worse is, they undermine the principles behind the Republic Act 7941 Party-list Act, and utilize the system for counter-insurgency and further marginalization of poor sectors in the country.

“To them, a party-list is just a placeholder title to grab a seat in congress and further their political ambitions. But for many marginalized sectors, it is their only chance to have genuine representation in a government dominated and controlled by the ruling elite,” said Zenaida Soriano, Amihan National Chairperson.

“The NTF-ELCAC is trying to consolidate more power by pushing genuine representation out of Congress. How could they possibly raise the plight of the people when they themselves are the oppressors?”

As of October 8, 270 partylist groups have filed their CONA. Celine Pialogo, a spokesperson for the NTF-ELCAC, is first nominee of the Malasakit Movement partylist, which claims to represent barangay frontliners. Another candidate working for the NTF-ELCAC is Jeffrey Celiz, first nominee of Abante Sambayanan, which aims to represent former communist fighters.

Meanwhile, infamous Duterte fanatic Mocha Uson is first nominee of Mothers for Change (MOCHA) partylist alongside second nominee Michele Gumabao, a former beauty queen who now works as NTF-ELCAC ambassador.

“Progressive party-lists have been red-tagged and accused of being mere fronts for the CPP and NPA. But at the end of the day, they are the ones who actually work with peasants, farmers, laborers, the urban poor, and other marginalized sectors, raising their issues in civic and public platforms. They are not the ones who are fake,” Soriano added.

Amihan also warned that giving congressional seats to those with known links to the government’s counter-insurgency arms would worsen the red-tagging of progressives and enable the raging onslaught of violence against activists and community organizers.###

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