Youth Groups welcome PNoy’s Activist Adviser
Akbayan Youth (A!Y), the Movement for the Advancement of Student Power (MASP), and the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) welcome President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino’s appointment of Akbayan Party President Ronald Llamas as Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs. This appointment proves the president’s commitment to a pluralist government open to progressive politics.
Llamas will bring to the administration skills and experience it needs to reach a broader constituency, particularly marginalized sectors. We know Llamas first and foremost as a seasoned activist, committed to the reforms of the democratic left. He will not shed this history as he enters government. In fact, it is precisely this history that makes him an asset to the Aquino administration. His involvement with labor groups, peasant groups and NGOs will provide the necessary link between grassroots movements and Malacañang.
We do not deny that Llamas represents a form politics distinct from those who have traditionally walked the halls of the palace. His political awakening occurred in the streets and not the corridors of power. It was, in fact, through these streets that Llamas proved his commitment to Aquino’s quest for reform, acting as one of the most prominent leaders in the fight against the corrupt Arroyo regime. As he assumes his post, Llamas is continuing a partnership that began when PNoy joined the people in calling to task Arroyo’s corruption.
While we celebrate the news of Llamas’s appointment, we recognize the challenges ahead. An adviser’s effectiveness hinges on his principal’s readiness to listen. It also hinges on his ability to represent a strong and consolidated constituency. Our organizations challenge PNoy to mobilize the likes of Llamas and other reform-oriented individuals as they seek to promote institutional changes. Similarly, we challenge comrades in people’s movements to engage the reform elements within government.
The appointment of Llamas also highlights the role of the democratic left in governance. The previous administration, marked by systemic corruption, narrowed the democratic spaces for any progressive actor pushing for institutional reforms. Our organizations now urge the new administration to maximize the political role of those that genuinely combat head-on the social cancer that is traditional politics. We reiterate the need to rehabilitate the institutions that we have through the still unresolved issues of the Arroyo-appointed Ombudsman, the Arroyo Supreme Court, and the Arroyos in Congress, while at the same time, ensure that the reform agenda is delivered.
Our organizations continue to be in partnership with the Akbayan Citizen’s Action Party and its members who act as appointed officials. We also seek to ensure that forces of traditional politics be made accountable to the people. We call on fellow progressives especially the Filipino youth to continue working for reforms we committed ourselves to during the elections. It is only through critical engagement with different political forces that our fight for genuine change can come full circle.###