November 30, 2006 : Thursday
Party List System
By: Don Emmanuel Nolasco
It was July 19, 1994 when the “PARTY LIST SYSTEM ACT” has been passed in the Congress. RA 7941, it will promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives through a party list system of registered regional, national and sectoral parties that will enable marginalized and under represented sectors, org. or parties be part of the legislature. These “party-list” will be the voice of the ‘marginalized sectors’ in the hall of power, all ‘party list rep. has given full function as a legislators which in return be the voice of the sector he represented. The establishment of the party list system of representation is a direct response to dominance of powerful trapos in the Lower House. It also empower the
PO’s, NGO’s and the civil society to be involve in the law-making process through representation. The party list system set a new arena of struggle, a struggle through parliamentary and legislation process.
THE 1ST EXPERIENCE
A new and innovative process of electing lawmakers is quite new to our nation, as a nation that political parties lack genuine plans for the Philippine society. As a society where the economic and political elite has always held on tightly to helm of power, the current party list system put a new trend in Philippine politics. According to the law, 20% seat allocation is granted to the winning parties. But the mechanics or even the party list concept is too complicated, it can be viewed on the result of the
election in May 11,1998, on the 27,333,772 voter turnout, only 9,155,309 voted for a Party list representative. But these figures is not a surprise, a new and complicated concept of electing lawmakers through PL turns novelty to the voters. The general public has been used for voting a single rep., and they are not that aware of that new concept of PL. Some Political Analyst attributed these scenarios due to the lack of education to the public. The comelec performs badly in educating the public with the new system. The first party list election seems like a dismal failure with its low turnout and the poor performance of a great majority of the parties, but as beginnings go this was a significant first step. It is just a first step for many NGO and
PO’s who are alien to mainstream party politics, toward a full pledge participation in the elected process. Many lessons learned in the
elec., and all of these should be noted and be rectify in thenext PL
The succeeding party list elections, basically the 2001 and 2004 national election shows a little improvement based on the turnouts of the votes in the party list race. The 2001 elections of party list dramatically changes due to rising political consciousness of the majority of
PO’s and NGO’s, and the participation of ND forces in the said elections. The 2001 election shows a great change in the performances of the parties it may be attributed to the many mistakes and trials they encountered on the
election. The 2001 and 2004 election clearly shows the political dynamics of political ideology in the
Philippines, BM, GAB, and AB, represents the ND advocates, the A! represents socdem, both ND and socdem are left wing advocates differing in their ways of achieving people’s democracy. By these indications, the progressives’ critical view to the elite and traditional politics has been validated the results. This show the electoral strength and popular support, progressive PL and developmental PL is on the ROAD to becoming a significant player in national politics.
Thus, the PLS is an advantage of the people, it can frustrate the ruling elite’s scheme that promotes traditional and dysfunctional politics against people’s interest. The PL system brings the voices of farmers, workers, peasant, elderly, fisher folk, the voutt, professionals to the HALLS of congress advocating bills that will benefits the sector, opposing the attack of government to the interest of the sector, and significantly transforming the HOP to a hall of people’s interest. In more specific terms, the PL should (1) actively oppose and expose anti-masses policies, (2) promote fundamental economical, political, and social change through parliamentary struggle backed by mass movements, (3) use congress as platform to put forward laws that will embody the sector/sectors it represents, (4) defend the people’s human and deem rights and aspiration, (5) expand and strengthen its organizational party building mechanism.