Poor tell presidential bets: Don’t use poor in candidacy

Poor tell presidential bets: Don’t use poor in candidacy
By Abigail Kwok

MANILA, Philippines—Urban poor groups on Tuesday criticized several presidential candidates for using the poor to advance their candidacy and called them to stop using the poor for their presidential bid.

As a show of protest, an estimated 700 members of the urban poor group Kilos Maralita held a protest march from Plaza Miranda in Quiapo to the Don Chino Roces Bridge (formerly Mendiola) to call on candidates to stop their “election propaganda.”

Around five protesters flagellated themselves as a show of protest, while others carried crosses marked with the words “landgrabbing,” “trapo” (traditional politicians), and “demolition” to protest the lack of reforms to help the poor.

Nick Salameda, spokesman of Kilos Maralita, said that presidential bets should stop using the poor in their political ads.

“They should stop using us. This (protest) is to show the true state of the poor,” he said, adding that there was no improvement in the lives of the poor.

“There is a difference: We only became poorer,” he added.

“We are popular to politicians only during the elections, but once they get elected, we are out of the scene and all hardships are made to bear on us,” said Bernardo Quiming, also from the group.

Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Manny Villar has already earned flak for using the poor in his campaign ads.

“Stop using the poor,” Salameda said.

Karen Ang

A plebeian who is trying to make small changes in this world.