Gov?t Funding for Political parties.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)

Article excerpt

THE First Political Summit, invariably called First Political Parties Conference or First All Parties Summit, may yet fulfill the Filipinos' enduring dream of peace and prosperity for the nation.

That may be too optimistic, but already it has been hailed as an "historic event marking the advent of a new culture of cooperation among political parties and political leaders," as its main convenor, House Speaker Jose de Venecia, puts it.

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The summit, in fact, has unequivocally succeeded in bringing together disparate groups in support of a political action plan that includes good governance and economic and social reform program, among other articles of faith.

Of course, the boycott staged by Senator Edgardo Angara of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino and his partymates and Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. is noted, but they have their own reasons that need separate footnote for full reading.

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Of the declarations reached at the conclusion of the three-day conference, the proposal that is expected to provoke widespread comments is that which seeks to extend government financing to political parties and candidates.

The reason for the proposed entitlement is to reduce incidence of political corruption.

As everybody knows, our political process is driven by the size of the campaign chest.

This early, eyebrows are already being raised but its proponents are also eager to answer questions that may be raised against it.

At the moment, at issue is the capacity of the government to finance political parties.

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One thing is sure: It is a feature of the American political campaign finance system, with basis on the provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act of the United States.

The underlying principle of the campaign finance law is for the people to know the source of the candidates' fund they spend in their campaign so that the voters may properly gauge whom to vote for on the basis of the candidates' contributors.

It is also meant to create a level playing field for the candidates.

Those entitled under the campaign finance law are candidates for President and Vice President, and those running for the US Senate and the House of Representatives.

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The matching fund program is handled by the Federal Election Commission, an independent regulatory agency, under which candidates may receive public funds to match the private contributions that the candidates raised. …