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“Swakto!” simply because I can’t describe PSF passing 2nd Reading any better

by Kairos dela Cruz

“Swakto” is a Pinoy slang for something exact and provides perfect fit. It is redundant and maybe not even a part of the Filipino vernacular, but I think it perfectly describes how the People’s Survival Fund ran and passed the 2nd Reading in the House of Representatives last May 30,

2012.

erin-tanadaCongressman Erin Tañada talked with a delegation of fisher folks who lobbied for the immediate passing of the

People’s Survival Fund. This photo was taken few minutes before the passing of PSF in the 2nd Reading.

Passing the People’s Survival Fund Bill in the House of Representatives appears to be a no brainer to everyone who literally wants to survive the impacts of the fast changing climate. Unfortunately, advocating for a cause is very different from passing a bill. I learned this the hard way. I am pretty sure that PSF Bill will pass but I doubt that it will pass on time.

With the clock ticking closer and closer to the long scheduled recess of HoR this seventh of June, all of us prayed and even cursed just to see PSF through. At exactly 5:36 PM during the regular session convened by Deputy Speaker Isabelle Climaco of Zamboanga City, PSF Bill or HB6235 (formerly HB3528) passed 2nd Reading without any opposition. Nightmares, glitches, jinxes and Pandora ’s Box were kept at bay and we were successful.

The success did not came about through free-riding; it was hard-fought.

After a successful run in the impeachment court, Cong. Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III of the 4th District of Quezon Province pushed for the immediate tackling of PSF regardless of the time constraint, marching orders to put PSF in the plenary from the Committee on Ecology, Appropriations Committee, and Committee on Ways and Order also helped. Amidst all the political limbo needed to ensure the passage of the Fund, civil society organizations as led by the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC) and coordinated by Aksyon Klima (AK) lobbied tirelessly in the lower house to make sure that the bill will where its champions need it to be.

As a matter of fact, fisher folks from Malabon, Navotas, Las Piñas, Batangas and Quezon braved the rather alien structure of HoR and found their way into the rooms of congresspersons where they shared their personal experiences and pressing need for a People’s Survival Fund.

Online lobbying as executed by Greenpeace Philippines and Dakila brought the campaign in front of million internet users. They fought a hard fight outside the House.

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Fisher folks found a champion in PSF’s main author Cong. Erin Tañada who led the lobbying until the

PSF’s passage to the Second Reading in the House of Representatives last May 30, 2012.

The People’s Survival Fund Bill is now being scheduled for 3rd Reading, which is the final step before being fully ready for converging with the Senate’s version of PSF as championed by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

PSF Bill’s passage exemplifies how advocacy work can transform into effective policy lobbying through the dedication and hard work of its Champions inside and outside the House of Representatives.

Definitely, 5:36 PM will always be remembered as the exact time when 284 congresspersons crossed party lines and rallied behind the People’s Survival Fund; thus, making OUR survival at the top of their list. Everything was perfectly placed, everything was done in opportune time, everything in a way was “Swakto”..

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