Oldtimers are sure to remember the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL or New Society Movement), the political party created by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the height of his martial law regime.

The KBL eventually became the most dominant political party in the country during the martial law years, remaining so until the Marcos dictatorship ended in 1986 following the EDSA People Power revolt.

The KBL still exists in parts of the country today, particularly in the Ilocos Region but while it remains essentially a pro-Marcos organization, a faction within the party announced last week that it was withdrawing support for the presidential run of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in favor of Isko Moreno’s.

Specifically, leaders of the KBL in Baguio City and Benguet province last week announced that they were abandoning Marcos Jr., and switching their support to Isko Moreno.

Provincial chairman Bernard Ellamil held a press conference to announce the move in Baguio City, considered the Philippines’ summer capital.

Ellamil was joined by nine district coordinators of the party and he said they could count on more than 3,000 members to vote for Moreno.

The group cited several reasons for their shift.

For one, Ellamil said, Moreno “acts and works faster.” He added that there was a lot of proof of the Manila mayor’s accomplishments, “not just promises.”

Another reason for the shift was because of Marcos Jr.’s failure to deliver any form of assistance to them, specifically the allowances that had been promised before the start of the campaign period.

Baguio City District 9 coordinator May Jane Bagay told local media that Marcos Jr. had not talked to them since September last year.

Another coordinator for the same district, Susan Matic, added she was among the first to flip to Moreno because they had been waiting for assistance from Marcos Jr. during the pandemic but none ever came.

Because of this, she said they had been depending on their own limited resources to get by, while still campaigning for Marcos Jr.

She said they had been waiting for “months” for the promised assistance.
“The pandemic came and went; we went through hardships; we were hoping for a little help just to get by as promised but it never came,” said Matic.

The only assistance they got was a hundred pieces of t-shirts which they wore during the campaign period, “which is not enough,” said Ellamil.

The 3,000 active members were expecting to get one t-shirt each and having no t-shirts to don resulted in their losing interest in Marcos Jr.

This, despite the fact that Baguio-Benguet is considered part of the “Solid North” that Marcos Jr. is counting on to deliver the votes that would help him win the presidency.

Ellamil said the issues raised by the district coordinators were long-standing concerns, and not enough was done by the camp of Marcos Jr. to address these concerns.

Another leader of the Koalitiong Bongbong Marcos also decided to shift his allegiance to Moreno after reviewing the presidential candidates’ “positive and negative aspects.”

Aries Mendoza joined the Alliance for Isko Movement Cordillera as chairman in an area also known as a bailiwick for Marcos Jr. But his reason for transferring was different from the KBL coordinators.

Mendoza cited the unpaid PHP203 billion (US$4.06 billion) in estate tax of the Marcoses, adding that the “accomplishments of Marcos Jr. were actually achieved by his father, the late dictator.

“Someone with heavy baggage like this is not qualified to be president,” according to Mendoza.

The unpaid estate tax had also been mentioned by Ellamil in passing but his main concern was their lack of financial resources to effectively campaign for Marcos Jr.