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GFN Group Says It Will Not Engage in Partisan Activities in 2010 Elections

June 29, 2008

The group Global Filipino Nation which held its founding congress In Makati City at the local government owned-and-operated University of Makati has sent an email seeking to clarify that the GFN will not involve itself in any partisan activities attendant to the 2010 elections.

The email signed by one Grace Gacatulan a copy of which was cc’d this writer also referred to what it said was our “erroneous report” in this corner which the email assumed was based solely on an Inquirer.net report by Veronica Uy on the same GFN proceedings.

Here are the salient points in that email, edited only for brevity::

It is good to make a distinction between being political and being partisan. Politics, which is a neutral concept, is the management of the affairs and decision-making process of groups of people, including civil government and private institutions. Partisanship, however, is the tendency to favor one group or point of view vis-a-vis alternatives.

“.. the GFN Conference has a Political Module with its own logframe. “…GFN’s agenda is anchored on economic, social and political empowerment. The political logframe includes, among others: governance principles, program of government and performance standards; voter registration; and voter education — all positive concepts. All of these elements are political in nature: they are integral components of responsible citizenship. However, these elements are not partisan in nature.

“… political advocacy such as voter registration and voter education are permissible activities of foundations, based on the rules of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and tax authorities of many countries. Politics has a noble purpose: to meet the needs of constituencies. Unfortunately, corrupt politicians have given the word politics a negative connotation. On the other hand, partisan advocacy, e.g., support for a political party or candidate, are not permissible activities of foundations.

Neither the Political Logframe nor the GFN Conference made any reference or announcement as to the formation of a party.

The GFN Convenors announced that: 1) GFN will continue to support the quest of politically marginalized groups to assert themselves in the country’s mainstream political life; and 2) GFN would launch the Good Governance Movement cum Coalition. GFN would encourage different groups to coalesce but would not form a party itself. GFN respects the individual existence and autonomy of different groups and leaders, who are part of GFN, e.g., Ang Kapatiran Party/Nandy Pacheco; Christian Social Democrats/Fr. Archie Intengan, S.J.; Unlad Party/Pepe Abueva; and others. Different overseas/onshore groups were planning to form a new party, viz: Partidong Pangdaigdigang Pilipino (PPP).

GFN is a catalyst, not a principal, in the formation/integration of political parties. We hope you would appreciate that distinction, in the same manner that the words “political” and “partisan” are distinct, i.e., not the same.

To summarize:

1. There is a major difference between being political and being partisan.
2. GFN is non-partisan.
3. It appears that MIDFIELD relied on an unverified misleading article as the source of its commentary.
4. Mediatrade likewise relied on unverified sources as the basis for forming an opinion.

We trust that, having explained the details of how the erroneous commentaries might have originated, you remain convinced about the noble intentions and lofty goal of GFN.

Taking the above-quoted dispatch at face value, this writer is thankful that the GFN group is seeking to make clear it position not to get involved in partinal political activity.

It is important that the entities involved with GFN speak, and act, in one voice on this matter.

While this writer did not directly participate in the conference’s closing sessions, we were quietly on the sidelines and directly spoke to sources who clearly said, and here we are quoting, “GFN can and should be a player in the coming elections so that our reform platform is adopted by the candidates.”

The months leading up to the actual elections will show just exactly how GFN will play its cards, given that among its known ‘logistical movers’ are strong supporters of very POLITICALLY PARTISAN figures.

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