Tags: Vantage Point

All over but the counting?

Elections are among those exercises through which a free people are able to delegate their sovereign powers of self-government to their chosen representatives. Surely the Comelec knows that elections have to be free, honest, and fair to be legitimate expressions of the people’s will. It was precisely to make sure that they are, rather than the means through which the oligarchs can endow themselves with a semblance of legitimacy so they can remain in power, that the Comelec was created in 1940 through an amendment in the 1935 Constitution.

Quid pro quo

Both China and the US have such an interest, and so do other countries with which the Philippines has trade and other relations, albeit perhaps to a lesser extent. Only the naive would harbor the illusion that no foreign power would support anyone in the May elections and beyond.

Controlling the media narrative

From what he said during those interviews, it seems that what he is trying to pass off as his platform of government mostly consists of plans to revive his father’s discredited and long-dead programs. Among them is the revival of the training program for OFWs that during the Marcos Sr. dictatorship encouraged the export of Filipino labor as a cure-all for the unemployment problem that the Marcos Sr. regime could have solved by making more jobs within the country available.

The elephant in the room

Marcos Junior’s claim about self-sufficiency in rice was similarly false. There was a rice crisis during much of his father’s reign, with people lining up for the cereal for hours, and mixing rice with corn. Alternative means of generating power were indeed explored during the last years of Marcos’ rule, but these attempts, such as the corruption-ridden, badly designed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, never made any difference in assuring reliable power sources beyond the 1980s.

Marcos slogans are just tactics, but…

If elected President, expect his policies in such areas as dealing with social unrest and the armed social movements to be influenced and shaped by the military’s perspectives and interests. Among other consequences, it will mean the persistence and worsening of the human rights crisis that has constricted what little remains of what passes for democracy in the Philippines.

No Exit

Well thought-out, pro-active policies based on informed and rigorous analysis could have helped the country navigate the treacherous waters of the pandemic from its very onset in 2020. The need for them was especially evident during the last quarter of 2021, as well as at the present time. But they are precisely what were and are still missing in the far from strategic and purely reactive government response to the pandemic.

Much of the lies and rewriting of history that feed that preference are deliberately cultivated by the trolls and hacks in print and broadcast media in the pay of those handful of families that have monopolized political power in these isles for decades and who want to keep it whatever the cost to this country and its people. Those dynasties are not only threatening to completely overwhelm the relatively few adherents of reason, democratic choice, reform, and just plain civility among the citizenry. They are also flourishing by using the ideology of dominance, repression, and exploitation that lives on in what passes for the minds not only of the ruling oligarchy but also of its benighted followers.

Skepticism pays

To Filipino skepticism over Mr. Duterte’s seeming turn-around over China’s latest act of intimidation in Philippine territorial waters must thus be added the need to be especially alert over the distinct possibility that the 2022 elections will not solely be a contest among Filipinos but also another arena of contention between two of the most powerful countries on the planet.

Reporting the circus

As part of the commitment to issue-focused reporting, they also pledged to look into and report on the track records of candidates, check and challenge false information and hate speech, provide the context of whatever events and issues may arise, monitor the independence of the State and other agencies involved in the elections, and encourage and support best practice in journalism.

It should be more than evident by now that only the election of a halfway decent, competent, and honest alternative to the present regime can at least begin the process of halting the country’s descent into failed State sta-tus. But that can happen only if the mass of the electorate has learned enough from the experience of the last six years to elect the officials the country so desperately and so urgently needs.