ELECTION FEVER IN THE PHILIPPINES IS OVER: WE HAVE A NEW PRESIDENT
Election in the Philippines has always been very colorful, vibrant, and star-studded. Filipinos have been looking for that messianic leader who will bring the country to the right path. Certainly, election is one way of doing it. It is why political candidates have made their promises quite attractive and sometimes impossible. For instance, one candidate promised a straight path, the other a calm and decent administration, while there was one who claimed that she has all the qualities that a president should possess (credentials, performance, intelligence, etc). Aside from their campaign slogans, candidates were being endorsed through TV advertisements packaged as showbiz personalities. This what makes Philippine politics a circus-like political exercise with voters enthusiastically watching the gimmicks of the candidates and listening to their unbelievable political agenda.
Nevertheless, election period is still hard to ignore in the Philippines. Showbiz personalities were always part of the campaigns in plazas and other public places, which has been effective in attracting many Filipinos. We also have a boxing champion who won as a senator, a former president who won as a congresswoman, another former president (guilty of plunder but was given a pardon by his predecessor) who won as a Mayor, and many prominent personalities (basketball player, singer, former sexy star, comedian, etc.) who were successful in their respective political positions. Indeed, Philippine politics is a popularity contest, not really based on merits, performance, good reputation and track records. In most cases, Filipino voters tend to choose those who come from political clans or showbiz industry that contribute to the worsening condition of the country.
Now, we have a new president, a new hope has come, as they say. He is President Duterte and has been viewed as a strong man with a dictator-like style of leadership. Almost 16 million Filipinos voted for him, which erases any doubts of his presidential bid. Apparently, Filipinos already want a President with a layman’s personality and who has the political will to immediately solve all the problems of the country. He promised an anti-corruption government, and a drug free country among others, which have been two of the most serious social problems of most countries in Asia. Honestly, I did not vote for him but I’m hoping that he would deliver what he promised to the Filipinos. I just hope that he is not a TRAPO (traditional politician) just like those who won in most cities in the country. Sadly, there are still a handful of trapos in our country who engage in unethical practices such as massive vote buying, political dynasty, black propaganda, etc. They are not yet instinct because they have enormous survival instincts. I’m still an idealistic person. I still believe that good politics should prevail, not dirty politics. But, in the name of democracy, I am hoping for the best for our country for the next six years. May God finally give us the leader who would make us proud again to say, “I am a Filipino.”