A Vibrant Democracy
On June 30, 2022, Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. shall be sworn in as the 17th President of the Republic of the Philippines, not only winning by a majority vote that is unprecedented in Philippine electoral history since 1986, but also bringing forth the message of reawakening the former glory of his father’s regime. Beside him as Vice-President of the Republic shall be another symbol of autocratic leadership- Sara Duterte, daughter of outgoing President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. It was this strategic tandem that actually earned both their individual political victories. On the other hand, we see defeated Presidential candidate from Bicol Leni Robredo, who ran to oppose a Marcos comeback to Malacanang, but who instead created a strong political movement- one that is fueled by hope, the thirst for political reforms, and a deep concern for the marginalized in Philippine society, and who is aspiring to be able to sustain such movement through her ANGAT BUHAY NGO come July 1. Who could have imagined that the 2022 elections would lead to these two opposing yet equally formidable forces-one that clearly used the tactics of traditional politics and seeks to revive what it has peddled as the “golden era” of the country, and another that aspires for a new kind of politics grounded upon decency, genuine public service, and integrity of leadership? And sadly but very clearly, the Filipinos’ preference for the strongman rule has once again overcome what could have been a democratic evolution.
The nation is waiting to see what happens next. The new President is faced with gargantuan challenges, and 30 million Filipinos have high expectations of his Presidency. His campaign did not lay down clear plans and economic policies, yet the challenges that await him include an economy that has been castigated by the COVID 19 pandemic, a national debt of more or less 11 trillion in Philippine pesos, a controversial territorial dispute with China involving issues of national sovereignty, a huge deficit in the National budget for the first quarter of his administration, and the rising costs of fuel and basic commodities. The business sector and foreign investors are watching and waiting with much uncertainty. Will he be able to deliver his campaign slogan, “Babangon tayong Muli” (BBM)? And will all those who rallied behind “Gobyernong tapat, Angat-buhay lahat” continue to pursue the advocacy for accountability, honesty, and good governance under the putative President’s administration? At this point, nobody knows what the future holds for the country, and your guess is as good as mine.
Yet, in the light of all this, our democracy continues to be a vibrant one. A total of 55.5 million Filipinos, or 82% of the number of registered voters according to the Comelec, went to the polls to exercise their democratic right to choose their leaders. The losing candidates proved to us what real statesmanship is like- that in the end it is not winning or losing that matters, but respecting the democratic process for the country’s greater good. Civic engagement in the electoral campaigns has shown us what the Filipinos are capable of, when we are awakened to take a stand and be counted, to fight together for the ideals we believe in. As far as elections go, our democracy may still have a long way from achieving maturity, but we can say with confidence that the May 2022 election has been worth it.
Birthday greetings today, May 25, 2022 to my lovely daughter Gigi. Many happy returns of the day to you!
QUOTATION OF THE WEEK:
“YOU CANNOT LOVE YOUR COUNTRY WITHOUT LOVING YOUR COUNTRYMEN. WE DON’T ALWAYS HAVE TO AGREE, BUT WE CAN BUILD BRIDGES ACROSS OUR DIFFERENCES TO PURSUE THE COMMON GOOD” - CORY BOOKER
FOR OUR WORD OF LIFE:
“...WITH ALL HUMILITY AND GENTLENESS, WITH PATIENCE, BEARING WITH ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE, EAGER TO MAINTAIN THE UNITY OF SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE.” - EPHESIANS 4:2-3