Posts Tagged ‘Philippine elections’
A few days ago, I had a great debate with our dear and brilliant friend, Flower. It was fired, it was informed and more importantly, it was fun! I welcome discussions like these not because I am a highly opinionated bitch loose canon (Don’t laugh. You are too!), but really because it pushes me to question the things I hold true in my mind. Our discussion centered on the candidacy of Noynoy. I particularly liked this dialogue because it forced me to question why I’m hands-down supporting this man.
It can’t just simply be because we belong to the same yellow-clad tribe. Nor am I supporting him because “if not him, who else?”. Are we just hanging on to the high brought about by the inspiring life and death of his mother? Are we just waxing nostalgic, trying to relive those shining yellow days of yore? These are questions I am certain you, yourself, are asking. After giving this a LOTof thought (hey, what’s a girl with no iPod to do in the train?), I think I know why I want him to be our next president.
Before I tell you why, I want to first give you a snapshot of our country’s dire situation. Let’s start with corruption. It’s rampant and brazenly done by those in power. In the 2008 Consumer Perception Index submitted by Transparency International, the Philippines scored a 2.3 (0 being the most corrupt and 10 being the least). We don’t even need an index like this to believe it. I mean who isn’t talking about the clip below? Nuff said.
Also, we have a highly divisive society and a severely fragmented political system. As a result, any effort with the purest intentions to rebuild our country will be mutilated because everybody wants to push their own agenda, because everybody wants a piece of an already depleted pie and well, because we all just can’t seem to get along.
We don’t have a substantial middle class. Why is it important to have one, you ask? To put it simplistically, if you have a growing middle class, that can only mean a shrinking population of families below the poverty line. Expanding the middle class means facilitating the emergence of a real working poor. Which leads me to my next point: Poverty. Where do we begin? While the poor are probably not getting poorer, their lives aren’t getting any better either. We learned in Theology of Liberation that because there are no real pockets of opportunities that come by their way, we can expect that their children and perhaps their children’s children will live in the same dire conditions they are living in now.
We learned that children can’t focus on learning simply because they are hungry.
We learned that due to the lack of legitimate opportunities in this country, poor women are forced into prostitution and worse, slavery!
So you see, Lala, to put it lightly, we’re in a bit of a pickle here aren’t we? Whoever we elect to be our next president (capable or not) has a lot of fixin’ to do. Can Noynoy fix this all and more in 6 years? Can he eradicate corruption, de-fragmentize our society, create a bustling middle class? Can he alleviate the lives of the poor? Probably not. But neither can Gilbert, Manny, Cheese, Erap and anybody else audacious enough to want to be president. Not in 6 years. Why? Because they are not Superman and we shouldn’t burden them with that unrealistic expectation. Not Noynoy, not anybody.
We need someone to create real conditions for real and sustainable change to manifest. We need someone to be able to unite, to mend, to lead an alarmingly fragmented and wounded society. We need someone to bring democracy to the poor so that they may accelerate to be part of a growing middle class. For me, this someone is Noynoy.
SIDEBAR: I refuse to use the word HEAL because in 2001, with her hand on the Bible and in front of a hopeful Filipino People, GMA carelessly promised to heal our land. She failed miserably.
But I digress, back to Noynoy. So what’s his platform? Apart from declaring that he is heeding the call of the people, what is his plan? He said it himself : “to make democracy work not just for the rich and well-connected but for everybody”. For the cynical, this sounds like a mother statement overflowing with fluff. But it actually makes sense. Making democracy work means making everybody free, giving them options, giving them the freedom to chart the direction in their own lives. You do this by giving the poor jobs, by extending credit to them, by educating them, by providing them with assistance and tools so that they will be empowered enough to make good decisions. Guess what? The Benigno Aquino Foundation does that already! He’s got honest people with the skills, the expertise and the resources to launch this on a much larger scale. This is how he is going to build a vibrant middle class.
Does he have the charisma to unite a people? Well he is slowly uniting political parties and thats a very good start given how shy and unassuming he is. Politician’s are setting aside their own ambitions to rally behind him. A feat that our current (and capable, i might add) president cannot seem to do. Is that not charismatic enough? And because he is known not to compromise his values, we can believe that he won’t be selling the island of Mindanao in exchange for support! This is the same charisma that will unite a wounded society.
Let’s not get lost in past achievements, laws passed and education because he’s got all of that already. But let’s face it, even the most capable and brilliant also fall prey to the evils of power and corruption. We are a nation with great potential. Its been proven many times before. Unfortunately, we are also a sick nation. And before we can even start talking about progress we need to make sure that we are well first. That’s Noynoy’s job. Baby steps.
One of the great aspects of a democracy is that it allows us to get to know the candidates and to make an informed decsion. So I say let’s give Noynoy a chance to prove himself. Let’s see how this very exciting campaign will pan out. Let’s give democracy a chance.
POST SCRIPT: Gilbert Teodoro seems to be the buzz these days. His credentials are very impressive but I’m looking for more than just a Harvard Law degree to make the cut. So just as I’m appealing that we all give Noynoy a chance, I’m going to give Gilbert a chance to prove himself in the campaign. I’m going to keep an open mind. But until I’m convinced otherwise, I’m going with the guy in yellow.