With the next presidential elections just 21 months away, we are already bombarded with PR stunts and black propaganda from all sides. If we want to elect qualified and honest-serving leaders, we should develop the skills to see through the deceptions and cover-ups.
The brickbats are far outnumbering the plaudits in most media platforms, especially in the social media networks. I wonder how it helps ordinary people in making decisions about the country and their future.
I seriously doubt if majority of those casting their ballots even think about the country when they vote. Most of them don’t even read the newspapers or watch or listen to eloquent discussions in television talk shows and radio programs, or follow the threads in the social media, simply because they are too busy trying to eke out a living. That is why campaign seasons are fiesta times for people living in poor communities because of the dole outs from candidates.
Many educated and socially-aware friends and acquaintances who complain a lot about how the government is managed or mismanaged are lamentably not interested in exercising their constitutional right to vote because they don’t even take the time to register and become qualified voters.
Leaders who are qualified to occupy public positions stay away from politics because they cannot stand how it has become a popularity contest instead of an opportunity to sacrifice and serve for the country by being true to every one’s campaign promise to deliver good governance and corruption-free leadership.
How can we elect good leaders when they are not among the choices? How will good leaders be lured to politics if voters prefer electing candidates who can either shower them with money or make them laugh, sing, and dance?
There were suggestions that only taxpayers be allowed to vote. That does not actually limit the number of voters. Who does not pay taxes? When you buy any item, or avail yourself of any service, you pay tax. If the suggestions were meant to limit voters to those paying income from salaries and businesses, will that mean lugging your Taxpayers Identification (TIN) card to the voting precinct? But maybe what is meant is for only those who can show their TIN and latest tax payment papers would be registered as voters. That will certainly disenfranchise thousands of voters.
Amid all the publicity, both positive and negative, we have to be discerning to see through false claims and distorted facts about the candidates and their past.
We easily forget about abuses of power in the past. We never learn from our mistakes.
While the Bible has several verses about forgiving and forgetting the past, it also abhors abusing or taking advantage of another person for selfish ends.
A sinner has to confess and make amends before obtaining forgiveness. Admitting a crime does not seem to exist in a politician’s vocabulary.
Recently, we came across articles shared on Facebook about how the Marcoses and their children wallowed in luxury at the height of the martial law period while majority of Filipinos were reeling in poverty.
There were also views that the Marcos children were unaware of the situation during those times because they were still young. Of course, that is not true. They were bright kids and they grew up in politics.
The personal accounts of British writer Carolyn Kennedy in her travel blog about the Marcoses that were written in 2010 and 2011 yet have been going around in the social media, and providing a glimpse of how immensely powerful they were.
For the few years that the Marcoses were in exile in the United States, their lifestyle might not have been as lavish as it was when they were in power but it was still way beyond the imagination of ordinary Filipinos who could barely have three meals a day.
Let us not forget the more than 10,000 recorded victims of human rights abuses whose claims of compensation have yet to be paid more than 30 years after the lifting of martial rule.
In the current debate over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) that the Supreme Court recently declared as unconstitutional, let us not forget that before this mechanism came into play, the President then resorted to budget impoundment to generate savings that she distributed to allies in politics and in the religious sector.
Let us not forget that during the administration of Fidel Ramos, the government sold many properties that yielded one-time revenues. Some say Ramos was the best president the Philippines had in recent history, probably because he raised money for the government coffers, but we lost valuable properties like The Manila Hotel, and the Philippine Airlines.
The same problems that beleaguered past administrations are still very much around.
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