We are watch­ing

Business Mirror - - OPINION -

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.

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