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Home Columns A Voice From America Will 2010 Fulfill the Filipinos’ High Hopes for a Better Life?
Will 2010 Fulfill the Filipinos’ High Hopes for a Better Life? PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - A Voice From America
Written by Ernie Delfin   
Tuesday, 19 January 2010 16:52

 

By Ernie D. Delfin

 

T he last year has not been so kind to the Filipino people with all the unusual devastations of life and property brought by typhoons Ondoy and Peping in addition to ever-increasing unemployment, amidst a highly-distrusted administration of President Gloria M. Arroyo. As if that is not enough curse upon the Philippines, the so-called Ampatuan or Maguindanao Massacre happened that made it the worst human-rights violation against journalists in the entire world, when 30 of them – out of 57 victims – were brutally murdered allegedly by the Ampatuans. The alleged masterminds of the massacre belong to a clan that was the close political ally of  President Arroyo that made her win the last presidential election in 2004. The Arroyo victory was clouded by the infamous “Garci” machinations in Mindanao.

 

It was a blessing in disguise that the so-called modern heroes of the Philippines, the Overseas Filipino Workers, (OFWs) sent more dollars to the country. Yes, the OFWs and Overseas Filipinos can be counted when the tough gets going, owing to the culture and close family ties of the Filipino people. These foreign remittances continue to save the Philippines from a looming economic meltdown.

 

It’s also an amazing grace that the Filipinos are very-patient and religious people, bordering on fatalism that condition them to become quite resilient to withstand all economic challenges and sufferings. I was in the Philippines for about a month last Christmas and indeed and from my westernized perspectives I reached the conclusion that for them, all these serious problems of the country have to be in the freezer simply because it was Christmastime! Add to this national landscape – the advent of a national election where a new President, Vice President, 12 senators, provincial governors and mayors were to be elected come May 10, 2010. The Philippine society simply metamorphoses into a country full of traditional merriments and parties wherever you go. The political circus, oops, campaigns where millions upon millions of pesos are spent, trickling down to the village voters as “political investment” by wealthy candidates, add more gasoline to this unique fiesta-like-atmosphere of many villages, where the very rich to the very poor of Philippines society happily participate.

 

This year when Mrs. Gloria M. Arroyo, the most-loathed and unpopular Philippine President, after Dictator Marcos, is succeeded supposedly by a new President on June 30th this year, the Filipino people become irrationally hopeful and blindly optimistic that their lives will be better. – Ernie D. Delfin

 

A gainst this background, one can easily  feel the excitement of the Filipinos pinning their hopes for a better life to the results of the next election. Rightly or wrongly, millions of Filipinos seemingly believe that their standard of living will improve with another set of political leaders – totally oblivious, may be, that the vibrant life of a nation  is never  dependent upon one  set of politicians who are elected but  the accumulated productivity of all its citizens. On a macro economic level, progress happens when the country’s gross national product  increases, when exports exceed our imports and the balance of payments improves. In simplistic terms, when the national revenues exceed our expenditures, when disposable income of our people increases, then economic progress occurs.

 

This year when Mrs. Gloria M. Arroyo, the most-loathed and unpopular Philippine President, after Dictator Marcos, is succeeded supposedly by another President on June 30th this year, the Filipino people become irrationally hopeful and blindly optimistic that their lives will be better. The average Filipino voter believes that his vote will change the country YET, there is that lingering suspicion among the more-educated and sophisticated population that there is a great possibility of a “failure of election” of the national officers due to  the futility of the automation of the election process. This fear is founded upon many factors such as  the complicity of those in power, to inefficiency of the COMELEC, the questionable Smartmatic machines, lack of adequate  training of teachers in using these new computers, the influence of a biased pro-GMA military establishment and even a Supreme Court whose members were all appointed (by then) by the Doña of Malacañang who now wants to be a congresswoman hoping to become the next Prime Minister if her dreams would ever come true.

 

The Presidential Campaign Heats Up

 

T he presidential campaigns have started to heat up, causing expected  mud slinging  of all the candidates against their opponents. With the wonders of the internet and the instant communication of Twitter and FaceBook, the Filipino people all over the world  can have instant information of who is UP or who is DOWN  in the surveys. I believe  the contest will eventually be between Sen. Manny (MONEY) Villar and  Sen. Benigno “Noynoy”  (BINATA) Aquino, III. It appears that the great wealth of Villar may prove as too-much weight to prevent him from rising in the surveys as more and more people start questioning how he amassed his great  wealth from his Tondo beginnings as a fish vendor. On the other hand, the  lack of spectacular achievements of Noynoy as a congressman and senator and his non-assertive personality and the perception of having a personality that can be easily manipulated by those around him (as many took advantage of the naiveté of his mother during her presidency) may be the major challenges that Senator Aquino must overcome .

 

Like the Obama campaign in the USA, however,  the number-one campaign slogan is “CHANGE” from a  perceived corrupt  Arroyo administration to another administration that promises to be the exact opposite. On this criteria alone, Senator Aquino appears to be winning the presidential contests as more and more media personalities, including popular columnists like the Inquirer’s De Quiros and Montelibano, PhilSTAR’s  Esposo and Malaya’s Banayo, (and many others that I may not even know) are drawn to him, and often verbalize their preference of his candidacy, as a battle between “Good vs. Evil.”

 

The election is less than four months away, but if the trend continues, the Philippines would have Noynoy Aquino as the next President (who like his mother never intended to become a candidate but became a President by accident AKA “destiny”) come May 10th 2010, UNLESS there is a “failure of election” due to the massive questionable voting processes in Mindanao, reminiscent of the Maguindanao voting of 12-0 results in favor of Mrs. Arroyo's party in 2007.

 

Will this lingering fear of a “Failure of Election” become a self-fulfilling prophecy? Only God knows, and time will tell us on or before June 30, 2010! # # # 

 

E ditor’s Note: Readers may e-mail the columnist at ernie.delfin@gmail.com or  drbannatiran@yahoo.com or post their remarks in the User’s Comments after the article.

 

 



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Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 17:04
 

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