By Jairo Bolledo, Oct 20, 2021
‘I have no other choice but to enter this fight against the greatest peril the country faces today, the Marcos-Duterte Axis of Evil,’ says Walden Bello
Former Akbayan congressman Walden Bello is running for vice president alongside presidential aspirant Ka Leody de Guzman.
Laban ng Masa, which Bello chairs, said in a statement on Wednesday, October 20, that Bello filed his papers to run for vice president through an authorized representative. He is substituting Raquel Castillo, who earlier filed her candidacy for vice president under De Guzman’s party, Partido Lakas ng Masa.
“I have no other choice but to enter this fight against the greatest peril the country faces today, the Marcos-Duterte Axis of Evil,” Bello said after the filing of his candidacy.
Laban ng Masa said the De Guzman-Bello tandem seeks “to forward a comprehensive agenda not just for regime change but also systemic change.”
Laban ng Masa said that if Bello is elected, he would “vigorously pursue accountability against the Marcoses and the Dutertes for their crimes against the people, as well as put into effect his plan to take the country out of the neoliberal economic crisis it’s been stuck in since the Marcos era owing to policies imposed by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.”
In June this year, Laban ng Masa launched a signature campaign to gather 300,000 signatures to urge Bello to run for president in the 2022 polls.
From 2010 to 2015, Bello served as the chairperson of the House committee on overseas workers’ affairs and promoted the protection of overseas Filipino workers.
Bello was the first to propose renaming the South China Sea as the West Philippine Sea – he filed a resolution on this to bolster the Philippines’ claim over the area. Aquino later issued an administrative order on naming the West Philippine Sea.
As a lawmaker, he was a principal author of three landmark laws: the Reproductive Health Act of 2013, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension Act of 2009, and the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.
On March 11, 2015, Bello announced his resignation as congressional representative of the Aquino-allied Akbayan, saying he could no longer support Aquino. Among the reasons he cited was Aquino’s refusal to accept command responsibility over the Mamasapano incident.
Bello has not been affiliated with Akbayan since then.
Bello obtained his bachelor of arts degree from Ateneo de Manila University in 1966, and his doctorate in sociology from Princeton University in 1975.
He has honorary doctorate degrees from the Panteion University in Athens, Greece, and Murdoch University in Perth, Australia. He also taught at the University of California, Berkeley from 1978 to 1982.
Bello co-coordinated the Anti-Martial Law Coalition and helped in establishing the Philippines’ human rights lobby in Washington. Following the ouster of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Bello joined US nongovernmental organization Food First. He had also campaigned for the withdrawal of US military bases in the Philippines, Okinawa, and South Korea in the 1990s.
He received the Right Livelihood Award – also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize – in 2003 for his work in exposing the negative side of corporate-driven globalization and was named Outstanding Public Scholar by the International Studies Association in 2008.
Bello, a retired University of the Philippine professor, is co-founder of think-tank Focus on the Global South. He is currently the Adjunct Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Binghamton.
He lost his wife, Suranuch Thongsila, to cancer in 2018.