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Aug 12th
Home Sections Politics PERCEPTION VS. REALITY: The Numbers Tell the Story
PERCEPTION VS. REALITY: The Numbers Tell the Story PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Politics
Written by By Benjamin G. Maynigo   
Wednesday, 30 June 2010 21:25


By Benjamin G. Maynigo


In Politics, perception is reality. Politics is a numbers game. Politics is about obtaining governmental power. The perception, the numbers, and the attainment of power in a democracy like the Philippines are all based on facts and figures.


I learned in Philosophy years ago that “Argumentum contra factum non valet illatio” Arguing against facts is an invalid inference.


In Philippine politics, what are the facts relating to the Presidential Campaigns in the United States?





A ccording to the US State Department, there are now about 4-million Filipinos in the United States. Of the 4-million, it is estimated that there are about 3.2-million or 80% who are American citizens. Perceptively, we are talking here of a substantial number of potential dual citizens and future registered voters to draw from when you want to be competitive in a Philippine Presidential or any National campaign.


With that perception, the Filipinos in the United States became a target market for votes in order to have a winnable chance of obtaining a substantial number of votes and correspondingly gaining the desired governmental power.


It is also reported that in 2009, the amount of $17.348-billion was sent to the Philippines by Overseas Filipinos. Of this amount, at least $10.5-billion or more than 60% actually came from the United States. Furthermore, based on a 2004 data, Filipinos had a Median Household Income of $65,700 compared to the US Population whose average was $44,684.


US Filipinos value and give importance to education. Statistics in 2004 cited that the High School Graduation rate was 90.8 % while the College Graduation rate was 47.9%. The US Population rate was lower with 83.9 % and 27% respectively. In fact, the number of professionals especially Nurses, Doctors, Dentists, Physical Therapists, CPAs and even Teachers are quite impressive.


So, perceptively, the potential amount of financial contributions coming from an already top remitting population would make Presidential hopefuls target the United States for sourcing their campaign funding. Even under-funded but smart, “galing at talino” candidates could hope and expect greater support from a more educated, enlightened and discerning group of voters and campaigners.


Politics also being a numbers game, with figures supporting the perception as analyzed above, it is indeed not surprising that the United States became the breeding ground for campaign operators and perceived leaders commissioned to convert perception into reality, or changing the potential to the actual.






L et us look at the resulting facts and the unfortunate and sad reality. Out of 3.2 million potential dual citizens in addition to other Filipinos remaining as such as target markets for the registration of voters, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs reported that the total number of registered voters for the 2010 Presidential elections in the United States was about 12,000. That’s pathetic and unbelievably low. My small hometown of Rosales, Pangasinan, with about 32,000 registered voters had almost 3 times more. What is even worse is that in 2007 the registered voters numbered about 14,000. Despite the involvement of several self-proclaimed Filipino leaders using national organizations and networks in the United States as a base, the number even decreased rather than dramatically increased as predicted.


In California, the home of at least one-million Filipinos and the residence of many of the active leaders of the Noy-Mar and Villar-Legarda Campaigns, you would expect a high number of registered voters, right? WRONG. They only had 4,630 registered voters statewide, compared to 5,507 in 2007.


In Hawaii where there are more Filipinos than Hawaiians and where they compose about 23% of the Hawaii state population, the number of registered voters is only 130. It even decreased from 158 in 2007.


One of the nation’s largest settlements of Filipino Americans in the Northeast is in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and other states served by the New York Consulate. There are about 200,000 Filipinos in the area. This is also home to several Filipino national leaders running some perceived national organizations. The number of registered voters here is 1580, also down from 1914 in 2007.




As officially reported in the canvassing, the total number of votes canvassed coming from the United States is 11,825. Of these votes, Noynoy Aquino obtained over 6,000 while Mar Roxas got a little less. Noynoy and Mar obtained more votes in one small town in Guimaras, Philippines, than the entire United States.


Politics is also an expectations game. On the registration of voters, on the numbers who actually voted and on the financial contributions, the numbers tell the story. The perception has been negated by reality and the facts and figures now support the stunning reality that US Filipino leaders failed to live up to expectations.




R emember, the expectation is to draw financial contributions from about 3-million people, quite educated, with an average household income of about $66,000 annually, totally remitting more-than $10-billion yearly.


According to my contacts in the campaigns in Manila, the total amount of financial contributions generated from the groups in the United States is insignificant. A figure was mentioned but not for public consumption unless the contributors themselves would want to reveal them. To be fair, some contributions could have been given directly to the candidates themselves. But admittedly, the US Filipinos’ contributions although helpful were a very small part of the multi-billion peso presidential-campaign funding.


Politics is also an expectations game. On the registration of voters, on the numbers who actually voted and on the financial contributions, the numbers tell the story. The perception has been negated by reality and the facts and figures now support the stunning reality that US Filipino leaders failed to live up to expectations.


When I received an invitation to attend the inauguration of President Noynoy Aquino and other festivities which included a dinner in Malacañang, I asked my friend who decided to go, if we could also invite our local friends and relatives to attend. My rationale was that it was our friends and relatives in the Philippines who actually delivered the votes. My friend said that it was exclusively for US Filipinos. Who is paying for the dinner in Malacañang? Is the people’s money going to be used to host US Filipinos exclusively?


The only perception that is closer to reality and that could be supported by facts is, US Filipinos influenced their friends and relatives in the Philippines to vote for their choices and that they complied and delivered. This convergence of perception and reality could have been or could still be reinforced if the US Filipinos and their friends and relatives would celebrate the victory together with President Noynoy Aquino either in Malacañang or some other inexpensive place. Dinner does not have to be served!


The US Filipinos who campaigned hard for the Noynoy Aquino-Mar Roxas ticket are entitled to celebrate at least Noynoy’s victory. Being a supporter, I did celebrate and continue to do so with great hopes for our country. The e-mail I received from Marge Juico attaching the Thank-You letter from Noynoy more than compensate for all our time and efforts. Just remaining true to the hopes and aspirations of the Filipino people as envisioned by his parents, is all we ask from Noynoy. Providing honesty, hope, honor and humility in governance would be sufficient to merit our continued support of his presidency.


As I told my friend who is joining the celebration in the Philippines, we elected a humble President born to a humble mother and Revolutionary President. We, US Filipinos, while entitled to claim some credit for his victory, should also be humble enough to admit our failure to deliver what was expected of us. THE NUMBERS TELL THE STORY! # # #


Editor’s Note: The author is an International and Cyber Lawyer with an LL.B and LL.M; An Educator with an M.A. in Human Resource Development; An IT Chief Executive Officer with M.B.A.; Community and Trade Association Leader; Lecturer/Speaker/Writer; Political Strategist; Technology Pioneer. He is based in Washington, DC.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 June 2010 21:29
Comments (2)
1 Thursday, 01 July 2010 15:58
Yes, Atty. Ben Maynigo, you said it right. Many Filipino-American leaders do not understand that in politics, it is not only enough to deliver the votes but also the campaign donations to the Political Action Committees (PACs) of American politicians.

Unfortunately there are no organized PACs in the Philippines. Many of the Filipino politicians just pocket campaign contributions.

But this article can begin the real "reinvention" of Philippine politics and the participation of US-based Filipinos in American and Philippine elections.

Good reading and good luck,

Maria Clara
2 Friday, 02 July 2010 22:03
Hi Maria Clara!

Thank you for your comments. The recognition of political realities in relation to a perceived notion is the first step to a planned and successful programming of action.

The actual numbers in terms of potential Filipino voters and expected financial contributors in strategic places like California, Hawaii, New York, Chicago and other areas could easily provide a perception of strength which we know to be “reality” initially. Your idea of PAC to pursue Filipino interests in Washington, D.C. is a good one so as to maintain that perception of strength.

Add that to coalition building with other minorities such as the Hispanics with whom we share cultural heritage, the Blacks, other Asians and the Native Americans who now claim to have come from Asia.

From actual registration of voters and larger amounts of financial contributions to the delivery of electoral victories to our chosen candidates, the reality of Filipino strength would be unquestioned. The delivery of goods and services benefitting our constituencies would further reinforce both the perception and reality.

I look forward to working with people like you in this endeavor.

Best regards,


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