We are watching
IF politics is any indication of a nation’s character, the Philippines is in poor condition. As the campaign season winds down to the actual voting, the discourse has deteriorated to the point where the people must be fed up with the whole process.
Lies are becoming inseparable from truth and no one knows which is which. The candidates’ campaigns are at the lowest possible level with little respect for the people, institutions, or even the rules. It has become a fight for power, not unlike a pack of vicious dogs fighting over the carcass of a dead animal. Unfortunately, that animal is the Philippines. While the candidates were playing their political games, a fiveyear-old girl died after a huge fire razed Barangay Tuktukan in Taguig City this past Thursday morning. Around 300 families were left homeless, and, of course, these people are of the same socioeconomic class that all the candidates are so concerned about.
Talk is cheap, but which of the presidential candidates took even one moment to acknowledge or do anything concrete to reach out to these people? But we do understand. Dying children and homeless poor people are with us always. But a presidential campaign only comes only once every six years.
The administration assures us that all is well and under control. It is fully aware and on top of problems, such as the insurgency in Mindanao. When the headless body of Canadian John Ridsdel was turned over to the Canadian embassy, the government gave this assurance. “President Aquino has promised to devote his remaining days in office to crushing the Abu Sayyaf.” What happened during the last six years?
We have no particular anger or disappointment with the current administration. It is just “business as usual,” with little indication that much is going to change regardless of who becomes the next president.
At some point, though—as always eventually happens—the people are going to say “enough is enough.” Regardless of any successes of the current national government—and there are many—the incoming elected officials should realize that this time it is different. When a government fails the people’s expectations—and there have been many failures—citizens become cautious and suspicious.
The economic progress we have experienced in the last 10—not six—years may have made the people a little lazy and complacent. But the problems that have been ignored or improperly handled are beginning to take center stage. Unlike in the past, the incoming administration is going to have 100 million Filipinos looking closely over its shoulder, and that is a good development. We are watching.