BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Negros Occidental chapter of 1Sambayan, a national broad-based coalition of pro-democratic forces, will be launched at the Grand Hall of Acacia Hotel in Bacolod City today.
Former Negros Occidental Gov. Rafael Coscolluela, one of the lead convenors of the group, said that 1Sambayan was initiated by a group of citizens concerned about the state of the nation and the quality of governance under the Duterte administration.
Negros Occidental organized the first provincial chapter after the national launch in Manila last month.
The launch coincides with the Day of Valor or Araw ng Kagitingan, a red letter day that marks the Fall of Bataan during World War II.
“We hope to galvanize Filipinos into a united opposition, rally inclusive coalition behind a single opposition slate for the next elections, systematize selection of the most competent and viable candidates to represent the opposition in the 2022 elections, and create conditions conducive to good and accountable governance,” Coscolluela said in a statement he issued.
He said that 1Sambayan rejects authoritarianism, opposes attempts to perpetuate power in the guise of continuity, liberates the country from incompetence and abusive rule, and empowers civil society under an effective and thriving democracy.
Under the 1Sambayan selection process for the presidential, vice-presidential and senatorial contests, candidates are nominated at large, Coscolluela said, adding that those who accept the nomination will be screened by a committee on the basis of a set criteria for the position sought.
“Shortlisted nominees will be interviewed by a panel assigned by the convenors. Public opinions will be solicited through various means,” he added.
The convenors will seek to gather a consensus and will eventually announce the most qualified and viable choices for president, vice-president, and senators, Coscolluela said, adding that the group will proclaim the common opposition slate at the appropriate time. The selection criteria include competence, integrity and good moral character, track record as public servant and citizen, position on critical national issues, trustworthiness, program of government or legislative agenda, and winnability, he added.*