The Third Way

Despite criticisms and attacks, some violently, aimed at militants, I have always defended these groups’ right to do their thing. Governance is better served with people’s vigilance. What saddened me, however, was the lack of unity. This is a point I have raised in private and in my writings since the ’90s, making me sound like a cracked CD.

I was therefore pleasantly surprised when I heard about Monday’s launching of the “movement” called Kalihukan alang sa Katilingbanong Kausaban (KKK). Among its members are groups that previously could not see eye to eye: the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Sanlakas, Bukluran sa Ikauunlad ng Sosyalistang Isip at Gawa (Bisig), etc.

The movement’s initial salvo was the protest action in Colon St. against President Arroyo’s State of the Nation Address. Change was immediately visible. Attendance was bigger than in past mobilizations (when, say, Bayan and Sanlakas held rallies separately). With that, the articulation of their cause boomed louder and thus got better attention.

Which brings me to my insistence on a “Third Way.” I have criticized the militants’ obsession with forging alliances with politicians—even those identified with the sorry regimes of former presidents Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Estrada. That took a big chunk of their credibility in leading the fight against the “hated” Arroyo government.

Ironically, while these militant groups have no qualms uniting with politicians, they could not forge an alliance with themselves. Had they junked those politicians, united among themselves (increasing their number and strengthening their position) and plotted an independent course, they would have been in a better position against Arroyo.

This is what I mean by the “Third Way,” which is neither for the Arroyo administration nor for the discredited opposition, one that is more discriminating in the choice of politicians to align with. This could have attracted a big number of people who could not countenance an Arroyo presidency but also hate discredited politicians.

Anyway, an interesting sidelight to the formation of the KKK is the presence of former governor Vicente de la Serna. Even if he dabbled in politics years ago, he was not a politician in the traditional mold. So he is a good choice of an ally—he pushes up the credibility level of KKK instead of pulling it down, unlike the Marcos and Erap types.

(Iwrote this for my July 26, 2006 column in Sun.Star Cebu–Candido O. Wenceslao)

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