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Our country is in a bad shape – 26 years after our peaceful “people power” uprising and theperson of power clipart 1
restoration of democracy, this is what we have:

We have hardening poverty everywhere and a growing disparity between the
“have and the have nots”; darkening prospects for so many young people;
the dominance of the oligarchy in the economic life, distorting market
forces, deterring healthy competition; pervasive blatant impunity
underscoring a weak rule of law and the inability of a soft state to protect all
its citizens; a dysfunctional democracy with no real participation of the
citizenry; and concentration of power in the epicenter and a highly
centralized bureaucracy, neglecting the periphery of governance.

The problems are with the system – not with the Filipino. The structures provide no clear
way out of this socio-economic-political quagmire; no incentives for integrity, goodepa 20141227 poverty shanties pasay 001 640
performance and accountability for public office holders and our political leadership; and
scant possibilities for ordinary citizens to be active stakeholders in our democracy.

The Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines has been established to
address the systemic problems of our country, among others: reduce poverty, create
increase competitiveness, protect the environment, improve the judicial system, introduce
electoral reforms, enforce the rule of law and truly make democracy work.

We have a clear political philosophy, anchored on the core value of HUMAN DIGNITY,
guided by principles of Christian and Muslim social teachings – which we translate down to
concrete and credible concepts and programs.

The underlying principles of our political agenda are our adherence to personal freedom
tempered by personal responsibility, justice, solidarity, subsidiarity and equal opportunities
for all.

We are a Political Party owned, funded and controlled by its members – ordinary,members
committed citizens of the Philippines. We are a party that will hold accountable through its
members our elected representatives, not only during elections but also in between
campaign periods. We serve no special interest groups, oligarchs or dynasties looking for
power and profits. Our mission is to serve the Filipino.

I Philippine Social Market Economy

A. Our first priority: overcoming poverty and underdevelopment
The economy has to serve the people. Nearly half of the population is considered poor and
one quarter lead miserable lives below the poverty line, in the fringes of society. This is an
unacceptable condition. Human dignity embraces a people’s deep longing for freedom, for
being responsible for themselves and their families and for being useful members of the

(1) Job Creation through Free Market mechanisms & peoples initiatives

We do not believe in mere social assistance and redistribution of incomes as first measuresL0630workforce2
to fight poverty. The core tool for poverty reduction is the creation of decent jobs for
everyone able and willing to work. Jobs cannot be created sustainably by State fiat. We
believe in the superior steering capacity of the free market mechanisms, which brings
together in an efficient manner the capacities of people to produce and supply what is
demanded at reasonable prices. More jobs are created by the citizenry themselves when
these prerequisites are present:

  • quality education is provided to all citizens;
  • access to open markets where they can offer their goods and services ;3
  • state bureaucracy and regulatory agencies are supportive of the business
    environment and economic activities;
  • infrastructure is in place – power, water, communication and transportation;
  • protection against unfair trade practices, discrimination and intimidation or violence
    by powerful market actors, cartels and monopolies;
  • access to credits with reasonable interest rates and conditions and a well-developedmoney
    cooperative banking sector; and
  • organized and legitimate business associations and chambers of commerce/industry
    established to enhance ethical practices and encouraging their membership to adopt
    improved systems/technologies.

(2) The Role of the State to provide a supportive framework.

A “weak and soft state” is unable to play a vital role in providing political, legal and economic
framework for businesses to flourish. It curtails positive economic activity and discourages
dynamic responsibility of its citizens. Such is the condition of the Philippines today. We
therefore propose a strong subsidiary state. To this end:

  • we support the adoption of the draft bill in Congress of a strong and independent
    Competition Commission (an Anti-Trust mechanism) that will break the grip of
    monopolies and cartels on all markets, ensuring fair competition and open marketlto 1pm
    access for local and foreign investors and local informal businesses;
  • we will reinforce the independence of the Central Bank and promote an effective and
    transparent financial market system, making sure that the Financial Industry serves
    the real economy and not focus on instruments and strategies benefitting only its
    own stakeholders to the detriment of the larger investing public;
  • we will streamline and simplify the registration and licensing processes for all types
    of businesses supervised by the regulatory bureaucracy and install mechanisms for
    transparent, effective and affordable procedures;
  • we will give priority to the rehabilitation and improvement of basic infrastructures
    (roads and bridges, power, water, communications) with special emphasis on the
    dissolution of cartels in especially in the port services, ferry providers and other
    transport operators; and
  • we will support and encourage the promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises – nottop01 092015 700x438
    through government subsidies, but through access to credits and compelling the
    systematic assistance by business associations and local chambers.

(3) Strategic approaches for the promotion of inclusive growth

These approaches are to be applied by the State to ensure economic growth in the outlying

  • we will implement a countrywide economic development program where each
    province will have at least one medium level development centre identified and
    supported in its infrastructure development;
  • we will create countrywide, 80 – 100 hubs for local and foreign investors in order to
    provide jobs for the many young people who cannot be employed in the farming and640 137816533 resized
    fishing sectors. We have to offer them an alternative option from migrating to the
    slums of the big cities; and
  • we will increase the state budget for applied research which currently is the lowest in
    the region.

(4) Modernization and restructuring of agriculture

We strongly support the modernization and restructuring of agriculture and the
development of agricultural processing industries. It is necessary to build our future on
products where we have comparative advantage over other countries in the region. We have
to stop subsidizing products which we can import cheaper from other countries – as long as
the supply from regional or global markets is reasonably safe and sustainable. We will
promote local and international investments in value added processing as substitutes forBiznez rice farmers
incomes derive from waning traditional farming and fishing.

(5) Responsible management of structural changes in fishery

Our country is blessed with rich maritime resources which have been the source of income
for millions of families of fishers for centuries. Today the majority of the fisher folks are living
in deep poverty with dark prospects. Irresponsible forms of fishing have reduced 5
dramatically the potential yields. In most places the ordinary small fishing boats are no
longer allowed to fish far outside the coastal areas as these are now reserved through
agreements for huge trawlers, mostly from other countries. The profits from selling the
catch at local markets are inadequate due to systemic problems, among which are: the bad
conditions of roads, high ports service fees, unscrupulous middle-men backed by the richmalalag bay fish cages 2
families and patrons on many islands. We cannot stop the trend to bigger boats and units
and the structural changes in fishery but we will strictly implement the laws against illegal
practices of fishing. We will open the markets for the numerous cooperatives of small
fishermen and break the power of middle-men and big traders. And we will systematically
work on alternative job opportunities for young people from the fishing villages who could
no longer find jobs and income in traditional fishing.

(6) Responsible mining

We need to use all the natural and human resources of our country to overcome poverty9 aerialmining 2
and to achieve decent living conditions and welfare for all. This includes the systematic
exploration and use of the rich mineral resources of our country by local and international
investors. However, mining has to be done in a responsible way. We will enforce a strict
adherence to all regulations on health protection and safety and payment of decent wages,
a fair participation of the local population from the profits and benefits of the mining
activities and the rehabilitation of the natural environment at the mining sites.

(7) Systematic attraction of foreign technology and investment

We believe in the benefits of free trade and investments in a globalizing world. The
unilateral protection of our national markets against foreign technology and investments isMW AM211 euro f 20110819121943 MG
anachronistic and supports only the small group of owners of huge Philippine companies
who are dominant in monopolized or cartelized markets. We have to amend the provisions
in our 1987 Constitution which hinder foreign investors to build up production and bring in
modern technologies into the Philippines, creating jobs and income for many poor families.
However, the state has to ensure the strict enforcement of our labour laws and
environmental protection regulations on both the local and foreign owned companies.

(8) Responsible taxation policy for an increased state budget

The State needs additional revenues to play its supportive role for poverty alleviation,
inclusive economic growth and to provide for social assistance. The Philippines is at the tail
end among all other Southeast and East-Asian countries with regard to tax collection. We
favour a system:

  • that exempts from income tax the poor with subsistence incomes;PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT BIR TAX CALCULATOR 360x240
  • of progressive income tax, leading up to 50% tax rates for very high incomes; and
  • of collection of high consumption taxes for cigarettes, alcohol and luxury goods.
    We have to encourage and support young citizens to take over entrepreneurial risks.

    Taxation should not punish the ones who are willing to take economic risks. We will support
    the reinvestment of private or corporate profits by tax free regulations in all economic
    sectors beneficial for the development of the country. However, no private person shall be
    allowed to save more than 50% of his profit/income taxes by tax free regulations. And we
    will ensure a strict and systematic tax collection through the professionalization of the tax
    collectors and the prevention of any type of corruption.

B. Our responsibility for the future for our children: sustainable growth through the use of
clean energy and environmental protection
We believe that we are the stewards of the Earth and that we are dependent on itssolar energy panels shutterstock 20150617 85FB1CC137EE49BB8EE0B3FC6860C9ED
resources and are thus responsible for protecting and maintaining these for the human race.
We uphold and shall enforce the 1987 Constitutional provision regarding the responsibility
of the State, as the collective representative of the people, to “protect and advance the right
of the people to a healthful and balanced ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of
nature.” We believe that this right does not cover only the present generations but also the
generations yet unborn, and that this principle of equity also applies across communities and
nations within one generation.

(9) Poverty and Environment

We recognize the interrelationship of poverty and environment where the poor:
(a) live in places that are ecologically more vulnerable;20160424 dagupan fisheries gp
(b) derive their livelihood income from natural
(c) are more vulnerable to environmental shocks with less coping mechanisms; and
(d) can cause the degradation of the environment.
We recognize therefore that in order to address the poverty situation of the country, we must
ensure the protection of the
environment. Such environmental change, however, is not a simple
technical issue but has

political implications considering the unequal distribution of environmental costs and
benefits, where change signifies wealth creation for some versus impoverishment for others.
We shall therefore ensure the proper assertion of the State’s responsibility, ensuring the
protection and proper management of our country’s natural resources, to ensure that these
are done in an equitable manner while taking into consideration the true value of ecosystem
services and the full costs of environmental degradation.

(10) Development and Environment

Further, in light of the drive towards growth and the need for resources to support suchrecycle
growth, we shall emphasize the need for dematerialization of production processes to allow
sustainable levels of material flows. We shall therefore encourage the development of
technologies that increase productivity and efficiency, recycling, and more sustainable
consumption patterns.

(11) Climate Change

We recognize the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s findings that climate change
is already an “unequivocal” phenomenon. We also realize that the Philippines is one of the466045 climate change
most vulnerable countries to climate change impacts and thereby adopt the precautionary
principle and shall take a more proactive position towards addressing climate change. We
shall prioritize increasing communities’ resilience to climate change impacts (adaptation and
disaster risk reduction) by ensuring the conduct of vulnerability assessments and the
integration of these findings into the planning process and systems of local governments.
Moreover, despite the country’s low contribution to worldwide greenhouse gas emissions,
we shall already seek means to manage emissions and encourage the development of low carbon
communities as part of our moral obligation as guardians of the Earth. Finally, in light
also of the cross-sectoral nature of the issue, we shall encourage coordination and
cooperation among the institutions, the participation of local communities in the planning
and implementation of strategies, and further empowerment at the local level.

(12) Renewable Energy

Development and growth demand energy. At present, there is still a sizeable Philippinerenewable
population without access to electricity and rely on conventional sources of energy (i.e.
firewood, charcoal, biomass etc.). The additional time and effort for their
collection/production result in lost opportunities for income and education as well as poorer
health, especially for the women in the household towards whom such responsibilities are
given. Thus, in order for us to lift people out of poverty, we must provide them access to
affordable modern sources of energy, since these are also prerequisites for safe drinking
water, lower child mortality rates, agriculture, lighting, transportation, telecommunications
and entrepreneurship. It is with this perspective and the knowledge that our supply of fossil
fuels in this world is limited that we find it mandatory to actively decrease our dependence
on fossil-fuel based energies as we encourage rapid development of technologies to make
almost limitless amount of renewable energies accessible and affordable to the majority of
the population.

(13) Air Pollution

It is necessary that people are given rightful health care. The air pollution levels in majorsmokingbus1
Philippine cities are above maximum particulate levels. It is estimated that more than a
million people get sick and thousands die prematurely every year due to outdoor air
pollution in urban areas in the Philippines. Most vulnerable to these are the urban poor who
live on the side of roads exposing themselves to the highest level of air pollutants that will
have detrimental effects to their health and welfare, thereby affecting their productivity and
general well-being. It is our responsibility then to create more livable cities, by not only
enforcing air pollution laws consistent with the Clean Air Act, but by also planning urban
spaces and by developing and implementing policies and programmes that will reduce the 9
incidence of emissions at a systemic level. Special attention must also be given to the
transportation sector from which majority of these emissions stem.

(14) Water Pollution

Water pollution has also become an increasing problem in urban areas, with almost half ofgreenpeace water patrol activi 3
the pollution coming from domestic solid waste and wastewater, leaving water bodies
biologically dead. Poor solid waste management, together with the absence of sewerage
systems, results in the contamination of these waters. This is further worsened by the
presence of slum communities along rivers, creeks and coastal areas where communities
dispose their waste into the nearby water bodies. The lack of access to safe water, whereby
the poor bear the majority of the burden, results in increased malnutrition and high
morbidity rates. We shall therefore ensure that proper waste and sanitation systems are set
in place and fully implemented to avoid the further pollution of our waters, as we seek to
rehabilitate existing water bodies.

C. Fighting for a humane society: Each and every citizen is entitled to live in dignity. This
has to be ensured by the State.
Open markets and fair competition, protected by a strong state, are fundamental conditions
for a productive economy, in which enough goods and services can be provided for the
welfare of all citizens. But they have to be accompanied by effective policies and measures
of a socially responsible state in order to create a humane society in which each and every
citizen can live in dignity. The State has to ensure decent life for the weak and the
disadvantaged members of society. He has to address the manifold present social problems
in the Philippines.

(15) The family – fundamental structure of society: to be supported by the statefamily

We believe that the family as the fundamental structure of a humane society has to be
promoted and protected by the state. The state has to support the parents in bringing up, 10
taking care of and educating their children – where necessary, also with financial assistance.
When a family cannot live a decent life by their own resources and no help is available from
relatives or private and religious organizations, the state has to provide social assistance to
overcome this situation as fast as possible - but always with the approach for self-help so as
not to perpetuate dependency.

(16) Effective protection of human life

We believe in human life as the highest good and value. It starts in the family and has to bepolice 8
protected from conception until natural death by the state. The state has to provide
counseling and financial assistance – subsidiary to religious and humanitarian organizations
- to pregnant women who find themselves in desperate situations allowing them to give
birth under safe and decent circumstances.
But it is not enough that the state prevents killings and prohibits abortions. The state has to
get serious with its efforts to end the culture of impunity, to investigate crimes effectively
and bring to the courts the perpetuators - the ordinary criminals, extremist rebel groups,
members of ruthless clans or business groups, powerful individuals in the security organs -
ensuring a speedy process of justice for all

(17) Responsibility for children´s lives in dignity

We strongly believe that parents have the first and highest responsibility to ensure a lifechild of

dignity for their children. This includes not having more children than they can take care of
avoiding a situation where such children, with high probability, will grow up later in deep
poverty and misery. It is the obligation of the state to help parents to understand this
responsibility by enlightening them through information and counseling services. However it
is the sole decision of each couple to decide on which measure they will employ to
eventually limit the number of their children – as long as they respect the absolute taboo of
taking human life.

(18) State shall enforce responsibility of both parents20150511 PositiveParenting

The state has to support also the mothers or fathers, who are left alone by their partners to
take care of their children. We will ensure that legal measures will be drafted and enforced
systematically to hold both parents financially responsible for the upbringing and care of
their children, if one of them decides to leave his partner alone with the child. This we owe
not only to the parent – mostly the mother – who is taking over the responsibility alone for
the child, but also for the children, who are often suffering under most miserable living

(19) Stop the trend for Philippine citizens to look for employment abroad

We have to reverse the trend for more and more Filipinos to leave the country in order toofw
find gainful employment and income. The actual situation at the Philippine labour market
and the active support of this migration by the Philippine Administrations in the past for
fiscal reasons has not only lead to an exodus of many of the brightest young people of the
country and many of the more dynamic personalities even among the less educated parts of
the population. It also creates huge collateral damages in the Philippine society, as many of
the migrants are mothers or fathers of young children left behind with grandparents,
relatives or surrogate parents – leading often to the complete and final breakup of the
families. A policy which actively encourages and supports foreign investment in the
Philippines – last, but not least by amending the restrictive passages against foreign
investment in the Philippine Constitution – can contribute effectively to build on the
comparative advantages of the Philippines in international competition and to open options
for these people to find employment in our country. However – given the reality of a huge
number of Overseas Filipino Workers all over the world - we will work on mechanisms for a
strong reduction of costs for the transfer of money by OFW to their families and for
attractive models of investment for major part of these transfers in local and regional

(20) Ensure quality education for each and every Filipino child

Education is a fundamental right of each person. It is the basic and most important1d
precondition for the equality of opportunities. Education is the first and indispensable tool 12
for overcoming unemployment and underemployment in the country, because it provides
human beings with the opportunity to develop their talents and skills for a productive
participation in economic life. The Philippines is the country in East- and Southeast-Asia
spending the lowest share of its GDP for education. We will triple the national budget for
education within 3 years. We have to ensure that each child will be enrolled in school and
that at least 90% of all children can finish high school. In order to achieve this goal we have
to extend the Conditional Cash Transfer Program beyond its scheduled limited duration and
sharpen its focus on the basic education of poor children. We have to offer free meals for
children of poor families during their school classes and assure the free provision of school
books and learning materials for them. We have to rehabilitate school buildings and facilities
all over the country and to provide the schools with decent teaching facilities and
equipment. And we have to increase the salaries of the teachers to enable them to live by
these salaries without being forced to look for other jobs and sources of income.

(21) Education Initiatives

The system of education must be crafted to serve the citizenry, especially the young people
as an entry into the labour market. It is a betrayal for the young to waste precious years
paying exorbitant fees at educational institutions that are unable to provide them the skills
that are demanded at the labour market. We also acknowledge the diverse and disparate
aptitudes of the populace and therefore the system must be so designed as to serve well
both the professional and vocational calling. The dual system of education shall become, in a
medium term perspective, dominant. To this end:
-we will shut down state and private education institutions which lead their students
into a future of unemployment and frustration;
- we will promote the establishment and further development of institutions offering
engineering and other types of vocational technical courses attuned to market driven
demand; and
- we will systematically develop the dual system of professional/vocational training by
involving the private local and foreign companies into an effective cooperation with
technical schools and academic institutions both in the development of curricula and
in the integration of major modules of practical learning in factories, workshops, 13
offices and laboratories in the respective careers and professions, under the joint
supervision of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the respective State

(22) Improvement and extension of the public health care system

Health care is another fundamental right of each human being. The public health system in
the Philippines is in a miserable condition. We have to ensure access to basic health services
for all people in all parts of the country. Members of very poor families are entitled to free
medical care & medicines. The PhilHealth insurance system has to be cleaned from
corruptive practices – like the distribution of PhilHealth membership cards during election
campaigns – and extended to all groups in the population, which cannot afford private
health insurances, i.e. small vendors, farmers, fisher folk. The prices of medicine in the
Philippines are among the highest in the world. We will open the pharmaceutical market for
real and fair competition and break the market power of the actual dominant distributors.

(23) Social Assistance – protection of the weakest

We believe in the principle of subsidiarity. When a citizen or a family is not able to cover
basic needs for survival, the relatives, neighbours, religious or private humanitarian groups
and services shall show solidarity and support them. However, if this private help is not
available or not sufficient, the state has to guarantee a minimum of material means to
ensure a life of dignity for these citizens. This social assistance shall focus on helping these
citizens or families to overcome the situation and not to create permanent dependency from
state subsidies. However, in cases of unsolvable problems or weaknesses, handicaps or
diseases the state support must be permanent. It shall be organized at the level of the
smallest local government units in order to ensure a targeted assistance based on a realistic
assessment of the situation of the respective citizens or families. The national administration
has to provide and transfer sufficient funds for this assistance out of its national budget to
the local governments.

(24) Address the problem of the slums and urban poor

The living conditions of huge numbers of Filipinos in the urban slums of the country –
including many millions of children and youth – are an unacceptable violation of human
dignity and a scandal for a value based democratic country. The key approach for the
solution of the urban slum problem is the reduction of the pressure from uncontrolled
migration from poor rural areas into the big cities through:

  • the systematic development of urban centers with modern infrastructure all over the
    country connected by efficient transportation systems; and
  • the reduction of the high population growth rates in the poor rural families.
    However, where huge slum areas already exist and cannot be dissolved in a humane way by
    enticing the inhabitants to go back to the places where they came from, integrated
    solutions have to be designed and implemented involving the residents of these areas
    assuring them of livable environments with prospects for decent, normal lives. As it has
    been demonstrated by so many civil society initiatives and projects, the solutions have to
    build on the empowerment of the target groups, their education and professional training,
    their self-help efforts for building houses and neighborhoods and developing sustainable
    small businesses. But the state has to systematically support these integrated, self-help
    based efforts by providing clear and supportive legal and political framework, schooling,
    access to electricity and fresh water at affordable prices with the necessary funds. We
    demand that each city government affected by these problems develop a realistic medium
    term plan to solve their slum problems. And we demand further that the national
    administration develop a national coordination and support programme in tandem with
    these cities.

(25) Improving the situation of the Labour Sector in the country

In recent years the number of Filipinos employed in call centers and other out-sourcing
sectors of international companies and factories has been growing continuously. However
much more growth of these employment opportunities would be possible, when the
- would open up its economy to more international investors;
- dissolve monopolies and cartels in local and national markets; and
- reduce cumbersome bureaucracy. 15
Less than 10% of the Philippine labour force is currently included in the formal sector – the
rest is working in completely unprotected conditions. The Philippine labour laws follow
international standards, but in many cases they are not implemented. We promote a
continuous, institutionalized dialogue between the Philippine employers’ associations, the
trade unions and the government on:
- the development of decent and realistic labour laws and protective regulations and their
strict implementation;
- a labour market policy drawing more and more of the informal sector into this protected
framework; and
- at the same time improve overall productivity and increase the competitiveness of the
major economic sectors in the Philippines in the regional and global framework.
And we will promote the development of a co-determination model in which elected
representatives of the workers and employees in major companies will share responsibility
for the management and strategic decisions with the representatives of the capital.

(26) Adopting and implementing a fair land use law

We support the adoption of a fair land use law by Congress. The majority of the farmers and
small house owners have to live in locations where they do not have clear legal ownership of
the land. This creates complicated situations with regard to the use of income and profits
earned on this land and a major disincentive to potential small and medium investors from
putting in businesses with the attendant jobs creation. We believe that a fair and socially
just land use law is a precondition for social peace and successful economic development in
each country. We demand that government give priority to the adoption of such legislation
and set up effective monitoring and control systems for a transparent and fast
implementation of the law in all parts of the country.

(27) Protecting the consumers in a highly cartelized market

The Philippine markets for food and goods for daily consumption are dominated by few
powerful businesses and conglomerates, restricting competition to the disadvantage of the
consumers. This is further complicated by the overwhelming, uncontrolled and omnipresent
advertising and a nearly complete absence of control of quality standards and proliferation16
of fake products – even in sensitive markets like medical products. We demand the
development of a strong consumer protection authority with branches in the different parts
of the country. This authority should have the right to monitor and investigate the
authenticity and quality of products and should have access to the main popular media in
order to inform the population. Furthermore it should be able to initiate law suits against
the producers and distributors of fake products and dangerous products on behalf of the

(28) Protecting culture, rights and equal opportunities of indigenous people

Several million indigenous people from many different tribes are living on the different
islands of the Philippine archipelago. There is discrimination against the use and practice of
their culture and language, the respect of their traditional rights and mores and in their
participation in social, economic and political life of the country. The problem is not so much
the absence of protective laws, but the lack of implementing secondary laws, contradictions
between the laws protecting them with other laws of the country and the lack of systematic
implementation of these protective regulations. We have to support the many initiatives
from civil society organizations and some less powerful state agencies to empower them and
to bring them into the mainstream of the socio-economic development and political life of
the country. The improvement of their situation has to be a cross-cutting issue to be
considered systematically in the impact of all new legislation and policies.

Chapter 2: Democracy and Rule of Law

A. Taking democracy seriously: equal opportunities for democratic participation
Democracy is not just an electoral system, where the majority of the voters decide who
governs the country or the local community. Democracy is a set of values and principles
which ensures the integration of all citizens into a decision making process in the community
as well as the installation of a fair, transparent and effective procedures of governance. It
determines the proximity of decision making closer to the citizens in accordance with the
principle of subsidiarity. It calls for the accountability of the elected representatives of the 17
citizens and all civil servants and the preservation of the integrity of the political life of the

(29) Establishment of a truly democratic political party system

Political parties are key actors in a democracy. Without political parties, citizens are not
represented and have no voice in governing institutions. They cannot control power and
participate in decision making process that affects their lives subsequently they are unable
to prevent abuses by those they install into office. As such:
- political parties need to be owned and controlled by their members and by extension the
citizenry who elect their members to office;
- political parties follow strictly internal democratic procedures;
- they need to have a clear programmatic orientation and provide policy options for the
electorate; and
- they need to organize ongoing activities for members involving too the communities
and hold accountable the elected representatives between the election and campaign

We do not have such parties in our country. Our political party system is weak. Therefore
our democracy is weak. We, the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines, demand a
reform of the legal framework for political parties in the country. Only parties, which are
member based, with internal democratic structures and procedures and clear programmatic
orientation shall be permitted to file candidates for elections. Turncoatism has to be
restrained. The amount of donations for the work of political parties has to be limited to 1
Million Pesos per natural person and 10 Million Pesos per juridical person (corporation). The
state has to provide subsidy for the truly democratic political parties in accordance with the
number of votes they obtain during elections. Government funds allow them to be
independent from big donations and influence of patrons. These grants can be used toward
training of their leaders, political education and initiation of continuous dialogues between
the citizens and their elected representatives.

(30) Political Education

We consider a sound political party system one cornerstone of a vibrant democracy –
another is a well-educated citizenry. We will introduce a systematic and intensive element
on political education as part of the national curriculum for secondary level schools,
providing the young citizens with a sound knowledge and understanding of democratic
mechanisms and good governance.

(31) Reform of the electoral system

Our electoral system reinforces the perpetuation and sustainability of political dynasties and
powerful families all over the country. The party-list system with pretensions to provide
access to political power by marginalized groups, in fact leads to a proliferation of factions in
Congress and is heavily misused by powerful and rich families and influential personalities
and celebrities. This system, which through the Constitution and in its implementing law was
introduced only for a transitional period of three elections, has been prolonged due to
vested interests.

The CDP position is for members of the house to be elected in a mixed system of 50% direct
elections in the Congressional Districts and 50% election in a proportional system through
party lists from all parties registered and accredited for participation in the elections without
limitation of seats for each party. This will ensure a very effective representation of different
sectors and marginalized groups as candidates on the party lists of major national parties,
competing with each other for the votes of the respective groups of citizens.
Furthermore the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines will fight for the reform of the
election periods of national and local elections. Members of the Senate and of the House of
Representatives shall be elected for a term of four years with re-election for two more
terms. Governors, Mayors and all elected local officials shall be elected for a term of five
years with re-election for two more terms. This will strongly improve the quality of the work
of these democratic institutions, enable them to follow more medium and long-term
objectives for the benefit of the citizens and save money through the reduction of the
number of costly election campaigns. In addition people must have an election recall 19
mechanism for failed elected local officials but installing the necessary safeguards against
arbitrary use.

(32) Strengthening of Local Democracy and local Self-Government

In spite of the bold intentions and far-reaching provisions of the 1991 Local Government
Code our political system continues to be highly centralized. Provinces, cities and
municipalities are widely dependent on financial transfers from the central government. This
Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) is often used as a mode of central control by the ruling
administration undermining local self-government – through undue delays or denial of

We demand an immediate review and general overhaul of the Local Government Code,
which Congress, mandated by law to do so every five years has never done since the law’s
enactment in 1991. This review of all state powers and administrative services must lead to a
set of amendments following the principle of subsidiarity - devolving from the central
government to the lowest possible level of administration the following: the decision making
powers; and the human resources necessary for the respective tasks and services with the
appurtenant financial means. This must take into account the optimization of the
community’s involvement, fulfillment of their real needs and the accountability of the
respective offices and civil servants as to the economic rationality.

(33) Strengthening of the Regions as a first step for the establishment of a Federal System

The Archipelagic character and the diversity of the population of the Philippines are facts
which make a Federal System of Government highly recommendable for the country. As a
first step we demand the establishment of a limited number of 10 – 12 regions, covering the
whole country, as autonomous, democratically controlled sub-national entities. The division
of power between the central government and these regions shall be discussed in line with
the principle of subsidiarity, providing the regions with a high level of autonomy focusing on
issues of culture, education and economic development. The regions will share direct
responsibility and authority to collect taxes and remit their respective shares to both the
National Administration and the component LGUs. The regional governments shall be 20
controlled by an elected regional council. The election of the Senators shall be amended
from national to regional elections, changing the role of the Senate in the government
system of the country into a National Representation Chamber of the Regions in legislation
and supervision of the Central Government.

(34) Replacing the Presidential System by the Parliamentary System of Government

The first Democratic Constitution of the Philippines in 1898 decided to establish a
parliamentary form of Government. However under the influence of the American Colonial
Power, the American Presidential System of Governance was copied, revised and rewritten
in the 1935 Constitution. We strongly promote the replacement of the Presidential System
of Government - which has been endorsed again in the 1987 Constitution - by the original
Parliamentary System. The last 25 years under the 1987 Constitution has shown that there is
a compelling imbalance of power under this system, leaving it vulnerable to its misuse by a
strong president protected by the immutability of a six-year term. We have to provide a real
balance of power and oversight on the Administration by the elected representatives of the
people in the Congress and clarify the role of the Judiciary as co-equal by creating a
Constitutional Court. This will allow the Judiciary to disengage itself from the daily political
struggles and decision making of the executive and legislative branches.

(35) Fundamental Reforms of the Constitution

The creation of a Federal Philippines, the replacement of the Presidential System by a
Parliamentary System of Government, the meaningful reform of the electoral system to a
more participatory democracy, the opening of the Philippine Economy for international
investments and free trade need constitutional reforms – as it has been demanded by
responsible patriotic politicians and experts for many years. Without these fundamental
amendments of the 1987 Constitution the patronage system, the weaknesses of democracy
and rule of law and the miserable living conditions of so many Filipinos cannot be
transformed in a relevant and sustainable way. The Centrist Democratic Party will make this
fight for constitutional amendments a priority program.

(36) Removing structural incentives for corruption and unaccountability

The existing political structures, policies and procedures include many elements that tolerate
and allow unaccountability by major public office holders which lead to graft and corruption.

- We will eliminate the system of pork barrels. They have been used in all administrations
during the last decades as an instrument of control of the legislative power by the
– undermining the independence and responsibility of Congress. They are
often used to finance projects, which are not in line with or have no priorities in the
socio-economic development plans of the legitimately elected representatives of the
citizens in the local administrations and councils – serving mainly the re-election efforts
of the incumbent. And in many cases the costs are inflated in order to provide the
respective members of Congress with funds for the reimbursement of their election
campaign costs or for other non-legitimate purposes.

- We will support the long-term efforts of civil society to adopt the Freedom of
Information Act as an important instrument for more transparency in public service.

- And we will work on an overall reform of the civil service with the objective of creating a
lean, highly professional, well paid bureaucracy – with focus on the fields of customs,
taxation, biddings, police and other departments prone to corruption and misuse of

(37) Strengthening independence, quality and responsibility of the media

The media has to play a crucial role in a democracy. It has to provide the citizens with
unequivocal and understandable information on events, developments, problems, decisions
to be taken and options promoted by various political stakeholders. Unfortunately in the
Philippines many of the influential print and audiovisual media are under the influence of big
families, lack independence subsequently biased in reporting and analyzing issues and
positions. The information quality is often poor, many journalists are not qualified and do
not act responsibly or are open to bribery. On the other hand journalists who try to address
serious problems of social injustice, corruption, impunity, unfair trade practices are
intimidated or do so at the risk of their lives. Enabling media to play their role as the fourth
estate in a democracy will be a priority consideration by the CDP. We will enforce 22
transparency with regard to private ownership and dependencies of major media, improve
its economic independence, develop measures and standards for professionalism of
journalists and practitioners and institute more effective protection of journalists against

(38) Respect for the moral authority of the religious communities

The Roman Catholic Church, Christian and Muslim Religious Communities and other
nondenominational churches are important institutions for the well-being of the people. In

promoting a society that protects and fosters the core value of human dignity they can use
their moral authority for providing orientation to the citizens and political decision makers
on direction and priorities for the solution of the serious problems in the development of
society at large. We, the Centrist Democrats of the Philippines, are looking forward to a
continuous fruitful dialogue with the leaders of the religious communities. However we
believe that it is in the responsibility of the elected representatives of the people to discuss
and decide upon the concrete options and technical solutions for the implementation of our
core value of human dignity and of our principles into political strategies and actions. The
leaders of the religious communities shall respect this authority of the democratic
institutions of our state – as long as they do not violate basic ethical principles as enshrined
in the natural law.

B. Making justice work for all citizens: effective protection for people and business
the rule of law is weak in the Philippines and plagued by many problems. People need a
functioning law and order, human security, protection against aggression and injustice,
predictability, effectiveness and transparency of the legal system and the judicial
procedures. To improve and even rehabilitate the rule of law is a precondition for the
protection of human dignity and for improved economic productivity in the Philippines. It is
a priority for the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines.

(39) Reform of the police forces for the improvement of human security

The police as currently instituted is not effective in preventing the high level of daily violence
and in bringing criminals to justice. This can be attributed to insufficient training, poor
equipment, low wages and pervasive corruption within the ranks. We will speed up the
reform of the police of the country. Key elements of these reforms will be:

- police forces in the cities and municipalities have to be put under the control of a special
police command chain , at regional and provincial/independent city level;

- all police officers have to undergo a capacity analysis, leading to a regrouping for
different tasks for the best 60% of them in accordance with their respective capacity
profile, followed by specialized trainings for their new tasks;

- the salary of qualified police officers shall be increased by 100% in 2 steps within 4 years,
meanwhile the number of the individuals serving in the police force can be reduced by
the 40% with the lowest competence and performance scoring during the same period;

- the regrouping and training of the police force to specific tasks have to go hand in hand
with the procurement of modern equipment for the respective tasks. One priority is the
acquisition of modern forensic equipment and the training of the respective officers in its
use. This will improve the solving of criminal cases without solely relying on oral
testimonies of witnesses, who often will be intimidated in spite of improved witness
protection measures;

- training and education on human rights and on respectful treatment of all citizens shall
be a core part of the retraining curricula; and

- an effective monitoring and evaluation system for the performance of the police officers
has to be developed and implemented, with focus on the rapid early discovery of failures
and strict punishment for corrupt behaviour and other transgressions.

(40) Reform of the court procedures and other measures in order to make justice work
Impunity is high and the rich ones have ways of buying themselves out from trials or even
from prison. Further to the reform of the police force we shall focus on the following
reforms in order to make justice work:

  • in criminal court trials the party losing the case has to take over all court fees and costs
    for the procedures (lawyers) of the winning side. This will lead to a much more careful 24
    consideration of each party on avoiding ineffective prolongation of trials and
    unsuccessful appeal against court rulings at the next level;
  • the right of appeal against court rulings at higher courts shall be drastically reduced for

            normal and minor cases;

  • an effective monitoring and evaluation system for the performance of judges shall be
    developed and implemented, with focus on early discovery of corruptive practice and
    unnecessary delay of proceedings. Administrative sanctions, removal from office and
    severe punishment shall be applied in accordance with the gravity of the offenses; and
  • the access of the poor to courts and justice system must be improved through the
    countrywide installation of a scheme of state funded legal aid.

(41) Strict implementation of existing laws

Many laws in the Philippines follow international standards. However, their implementation
often is not monitored and enforced. This creates a general atmosphere of disrespect for the
law and the state by the citizens. It also creates legal insecurity with very negative
consequences for business activities. And it provokes corruption and extortion activities by
the law enforcing agencies. In some cases the influential, powerful or rich simply do not
respect the laws and they get away with it. In many cases the non-enforcement of laws
leads to severe violations of human dignity with weak or poor citizens being the most
affected victims. This is obvious in the fields of environmental protection, traffic laws and of
labour conditions etc.

In order to improve law and order, legal security and the equality before the law, the
Centrist Democratic Party will focus on the following measures:

  • assessments shall be made by the respective Departments of the National
    Administration in cooperation with major Universities on the degree of implementation
    of major legislation in the fields of administrative services, business and trade, labour
    conditions and contracts, health and education, mining, fishing and farming, housing,
    traffic and environmental protection;
  • these assessments shall include an analysis of the reasons for non-implementation, i.e.
    confusing or non-existing secondary legislation and lapses in administrative procedural 25
    rules, weak or non-existing monitoring and enforcing structures, lack of awareness or
    even rejection of the substance of the respective legislation by the population, and
    impossibility of implementation due to natural, financial or other reasons; and
  • in a next step, tailor made targeted action plans shall be drafted and implemented within
    three years in all these different fields with the intention to clean up unrealistic or
    outdated legislation, to set up clear and practicable necessary secondary legislation as
    well as enforcing and monitoring structures and to educate the population in accordance
    with this new regime.

(42) Enforcing the State Monopoly of Force

In a modern society with its numerous interdependences and vulnerabilities of its citizens, a
precondition for decent life is the legitimate state monopoly of physical force. The State
cannot allow any group, family or other actors to usurp this right of exercising physical
power. The Centrist Democrat Party will make the fight against violence and physical force
exercised against citizens a top priority of our political agenda. This includes:
- the complete and immediate dismantling of all private armies, paramilitary forces or
“volunteer citizen forces” – whatever the justification for their build up has been;
- the review of the legal provisions for the private ownership of small arms with the
intention to limit the reasons for their purchase and legal possession;
- the strict control of the implementation of registration and monitoring regulations for
private people in possession of small arms; and
- the limitation of legal framework for the use of private guard services and stricter
observation of their performance and actions.

(43) Addressing the problems and conditions underlying the Communist Rebellion

The Communist Rebellion, continuing for many decades in a high number of Philippine
provinces, is a serious violation of the principle of State Monopoly of Force, a grave threat to
the lives of citizens and members of the security forces and a huge obstacle to the socioeconomic
development of our country. Nowadays the strength of this rebellion seems to have diminished, as
international support for the different groups has nearly dried out.

However reasons for the continuation of this rebellion still exist - the shameful hardening of
poverty and inhuman miserable living conditions of major parts of our population during the
last decades is the driving force behind it. As long, as this situation will not be altered and
prospects for decent life, of equal opportunities and an end to the poverty-conserving
patronage structures is achieved, the Communist rebellion will not end – and certainly
cannot be defeated by military forces.

We, the Centrist Democrats of the Philippines, suffer with the millions of desperate farmers
and fishermen in the countryside and the urban poor in our big cities. And we understand,
that some of them, driven by desperation, dream of an exit from their nightmares by
following the recruiters – and often through intimidation – by these communist groups.
However, we appeal to all of you: Stop using violence! Here is another option. We will
change the situation, will improve your lives through the termination of the patronage
system and the building up of a fair society and productive economy through a new policy
within the democratic system of our country, a policy grounded on the core value of human
dignity, a policy consequent in overcoming poverty and injustice.

(44) Ensuring Good Governance, Peace and Development in Mindanao

The problems of violence, bad governance, poverty and miserable living conditions in major
parts of Mindanao are a huge obstacle for the development of our whole country. They are
the results of a complex bundle of causes and cannot be solved simply by a peace agreement
between the Philippine Government and the MILF. We will contribute, as a truly democratic
party, to a sustainable solution of these problems through the strict orientation of all
political decisions and actions in Mindanao and related to Mindanao with our core value of
human dignity, which includes the principles of personal freedom and responsibility, justice
and solidarity. We will improve the security situation by consequently dismantling all private
armies and paramilitary groups and organizing a close cooperation between civil society, the
religious communities, the local governments and the security forces. We will fight against
the widespread misuse of power by oligarchs, warlords and irresponsible local government
leaders. We will terminate the discrimination of the IP localities and Muslim-majority
provinces by the central government. And we will work on strict transparency, integrity and
accountability of all elected local and regional bodies in their dealings with the citizens and
their use of public funds.

(45) Peace through a Bangsamoro Political Entity towards the vision of a Federal Republic
of the Philippines

The request of the Muslim people and Bangsamoro leaders for a Bangsamoro political entity,
in which they can organize and govern themselves in real autonomy – including fiscal
autonomy - continuing to be part of the Republic of the Philippines, is legitimate. As long, as
this request is rejected by the Central Administration, the modest Bangsamoro leaders of
the Philippine Muslims will not be able to control fanatic groups which boycott and
undermine any peaceful cohabitation. They need real cultural, financial and political
autonomy in order to feel respected and to develop loyalty and affirmation to the
Philippines as their motherland. This solution is possible in a Federal Philippines, in which all
the diverse ethnic groups of our Archipelago will be able to contribute to a strong nation,
unified in diversity.

Chapter 3: The Philippines - a proud nation in a peaceful world

(46) Promoting our values in a globalizing world

The Philippines has been known in the World as a promoter of human rights and democracy.
However our reputation and our capacity to work worldwide for these values, which are
enshrined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and in our own Constitution,
have been strongly affected by the poor records inside our own country. We will improve
our international reputation and our weight in fighting for these values worldwide through
the consequence and seriousness of our efforts to make human dignity the core value in all
our internal politics. By signing all the international treaties which shall help to implement
these values in a highly diverse, but interdependent world, we can strengthen institutions
and become an example in our own region, encouraging our neighbors to go in the same

(47) Good governance practices at international capital markets

International Capital Markets today play a crucial role for the socio-economic developments
in all countries. They have to be limited therefore with regard to the use of instruments and
strategies which create major damage to the economies of developing and developed
countries. We will make sure that the Philippines strongly support all international efforts
introducing and monitoring good governance practices at the International Capital Markets
as part of our value based foreign policy.

(48) Peace and mutual respect as guiding principles of our foreign policy

We believe that mutual respect between different states – regardless of size, economic and
military power of each one – and the peaceful resolution of contradicting interests and
conflicts are beneficial for all countries and in the interest of all human beings who would
suffer so much in armed conflicts. The Philippines shall give a good example for such policies,
contributing especially to peace and development in the East- and Southeast-Asian Region.
However there is no guarantee that other countries and their leaders will develop the same
attitude. Therefore we have to make sure that we are able to defend our legitimate national
interests also against aggressive neighbors. We will build up a strong and modern navy and
air-force in order to become a relevant partner for our friends and allies in Asia and in the
world, in case that we have to defend our country or our legitimate interests in the
Philippine Seas against aggression from hostile neighbors.

(49) Sovereignty of the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea

We will strongly defend the sovereignty of the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea in
accordance with the UN Law of the Sea. We envision promoting a peaceful resolution of the
conflicts about the sovereignty over the Philippine Sea through multilateral negotiations
based on international laws and agreements.

(50) Strengthening ASEAN and increasing our regional integration

The Association of Southeast-Asian Nations (ASEAN) is of utmost importance for our country.
The strengthening of this institutional cooperation of small and middle-sized countries in our
region will provide us with much better opportunities than we would have alone to fight 29
against any economic and political domination and bullying efforts by the big Asian powers.
ASEAN is today no longer just an economic cooperation and integration instrument. With
the set up of a first Human Rights Body and the unanimous confirmation of a democratic
development perspective, ASEAN has made some first important steps in direction of
political integration during the last years. We will strongly support the further development
and integration process of ASEAN in all these different aspects. We will specifically support
political development in its member states in direction of democracy, rule of law, respect for
human rights and good governance. And we will work for the development of close strategic
partnerships of ASEAN with the EU, the United States, the other Western Democracies and
the democratic countries in East-Asia.