The Philippines 2022 Election
The Philippine Presidential Election that took place on May 9th resulted in a 59% landslide (decisive victory) majority of votes for Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr., also known as BBM.
He is the son of Ferdinand Marcos who acted as a long-time dictator 36 years ago. Marcos Jr. held a 15-million vote lead against and economist and lawyer, incumbent (current) Vice President Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Gerona Robredo.
While there were ten candidates for presidency, Marcos and Robredo have been the front runners (strongest/leading) since the beginning of the campaign alongside their running mates for the vice-presidential race – namely, Sara Duterte-Carpio and Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan respectively.
The Platforms of the Candidates
The Marcos-Duterte pair both came from political dynasties and spawns (producing children or generating a lot of something) of dictators. Despite the persistent avoidance of attending public debates and interviews in the public media, they still remained front runners in the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections.
In terms of their platform, nothing concrete was drafted and presented to the masses (citizens, society), but they always leave a message calling for “unity” as if it is the solution to any social issue presented to them.
On the other hand, current vice president Leni Robredo managed to show up to every public debate or media interview and has an active group of supporters from different walks of life that made her campaign trail stretch far and wide around the country. Her visits to major cities turn into campaign rallies where celebrities, influencers, and local talents share the stage in the name of volunteerism.
With her campaign tagline, “Angat Buhay Lahat,” which could be translated as, “Lifting the Lives of Everyone,” her platform includes the Robredo Economic Recovery Program, which focuses on health, labor and employment, education, and a COVID-19 recovery plan.
Her running mate, Kiko Pangilinan, who is in his last term as a Senator has his tagline, “Hello Pagkain, Goodbye Gutom,” translated as, “Hello food, Goodbye hunger.”
Senator Kiko is a farm owner and a staunch (loyal, dedicated) advocate for agriculture, farmers, and fisherfolk as is reflected through the legislations (law formulation) he had sponsored and authored in Congress.
The Marcoses and the Philippines
As we consider the ramifications (consequences) of Marcos becoming the new president of the Philippines, it’s important to look back on his family’s history for more context.
When his father Ferdinand Marcos Sr. was elected as the 10th President of the Philippines in 1965, he managed to stay in power for the next 21 years because he declared martial law (military government) on September 23rd, 1972.
According to Amnesty International, the military rule ordered by the dictator unleashed (released) a wave (rush, flood) of crimes under international law. This included the torture, illegal detention, massacre, and disappearances of anyone who was critical of the government.
Alongside the violent acts were the Marcos Family’s and associates sudden increase in net worth (total wealth), which was a result of corruption, as confirmed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government.
Then First Lady Imelda Marcos splurged (spent a lot of money/resources) on luxuries and tried to present the Philippines globally through grand infrastructure which led the country to be buried in debt.
She pushed for the idea of a better Philippines even if it meant displacing indigenous peoples from their land so that she could place safari animals in Calauit, Palawan.
Also, when expediting (speeding up) the construction of the Manila Film Center so that the Philippines could host the 1974 Miss Universe, 169 workers were killed when they were buried in quick-drying cement due to a construction accident.
Eventually, millions of Filipinos from different walks of life (diverse beliefs and backgrounds) participated in a non-violent demonstration along the Epifanio de Los Santos Avenue (EDSA).
This People Power Revolution finally forced Marcos Sr. to be overthrown on February 25th, 1986, which ended the dictatorship and began a new era marked by true freedom and democracy.
Now in 2022, after 36 years of so-called democracy, the son of a dictator has managed to get elected by the majority. While it has always been a question of why Filipinos let it happen, it all boils down to (see English explanation below) the quality of information people are consuming.
Social Media's Impact
As social media has been a big part of voter education, it has been a double-edged sword (positive and negative thing) because content uploaded is not easily fact checked or monitored.
TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook were seen to be platforms of historical revisionism (editing/revising history) where the atrocities (horrors, brutalities) of the Marcos regime were hidden while the infrastructure and transportation development were celebrated.
However, no decent human being would say that all the bloodshed was worth all the infrastructure the Filipinos are benefiting from today.
President Rodrigo Duterte
In the 2016 polls, Filipinos had mixed emotions when President Rodrigo Duterte was elected.
He was popular among the masses for being vulgar (offensive, indecent, rude) and outspoken (straightforward), and for the past six years he stunk of misogyny (sexism) and fascism (authoritarianism, domination).
His rule paved the way (enabled) to the “War on Drugs,” which he proudly takes credit for and which has cost hundreds and thousands of lives.
The International Criminal Court has launched an investigation for these human rights violations but the election of daughter Sara Duterte, the presumptive (presumed, assumed) Vice President, might change the course of the case.
The Future of the Philippines
As President Duterte steps down, much of the country began hoping for vice president Robredo to be a replacement, but we will never have the chance to see her lead the country as the President of the Republic of the Philippines.
The future is bleak (unfavorable) and uncertain now that the successor as the head of state is a Marcos and his vice president a Duterte.
Many fear that this duo (pair) will continue their family legacies of authoritarianism that will further widen the gap between the rich and poor, and leave the most vulnerable behind in the dust.
As history is being revised before our very eyes, the Filipinos should challenge it with facts and help all citizens never forget the tragic mistakes of the past.
By talking about the horrors of the previous governments, we honor our survivors and those who lost their lives.
We should not let democracy be used against us. Because our democracy was fought for with courage and pride, so that we could enjoy true freedom.
Now our task is to continue that democracy and freedom by the way we speak, listen, act, and use our available information responsibly.
This article was written by Chiara Manuel in the Philippines.
Manuel is a lecturer at Thames International Business School and holds a BS in Development Communication from the University of the Philippines Los Banos and an MA in Women and Development from the University of the Philippines Diliman.
Boils down to – When something boils down to “something,” it all comes down do one key, foundation, and main cause or conclusion… “If you ask why businesses usually make choices, it all comes down to money and power.”
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