Are you wondering why the vice presidential campaign of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is making significant headway despite his being the son of a former authoritarian President?
This phenomenon, according to University of the Philippines (UP) professor Popoy de Vera, has an explanation. He said 70 percent of the voters are 34 years old and below who were born after martial law or toward the end in 1982.
“These voters do not have the element of the present. They can’t relate. Most of all there was no dramatic change. The same problems during martial law are still here. It appears that martial law is not totally bad. It appears that there is no martial law narrative. You cannot paint black and white because the same problems are here,” de Vera, a political analyst, said on Friday.
“It is difficult to demonize martial law because poverty is still prevalent. People realized that [it]is not the root cause of all problems we are facing now,” he said.
De Vera added that people have separated Bongbong from his parents.
“He has +68 approval rating while Imelda [his mother]has -62. People have separated Bongbong from the atrocities of martial law.”
The professor said he witnessed this attitude of the millennials when he organized recently a forum at UP on the proposed Basic Bangsamoro Law (BBL).
“Students were taking selfie photos with him. And the venue is UP,” he said with eyes wide.
The University of the Philippines has been known as a hotbed of activism.
While the young Marcos is etching his own identity, old folks see in him the image of his father, one with charisma to a point that they embrace him and cry in his arms like what happened last Thursday in a poor community in Malabon City (Metro Manila).
“Your father was the one who reclaimed our sitio,” Thelma Arias, 67, said.
Martial law was declared by the elder Marcos 1972.
Retired military colonel Alex Noble echoed de Vera’s observation, saying people then were disciplined.
“Thirty-years after [the]Edsa people power [revolution],nothing has changed. In the early years of the presidency of[Corazon] Aquino we realized that ‘kamag-anak’ [relatives]incorporated was in place. We were so frustrated,” said Noble, one of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) coup plotters which staged eight uprisings against the late President.
He is now campaigning for the party-list RAM, which he renamed Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabansa (Revolutionary Nationalist Alliance).
“We are supporting Bongbong because we see in him the sincerity to serve this country,” Noble said.
When asked about the atrocities committed during martial law, he replied that it was necessary to arrest the Left and “to clean the society.”
“The only problem was those who handled them were not properly trained that’s why they ended up torturing them. The Reds were in the brink of taking over the country. We were then intelligence officers,” Noble said.
Meanwhile, Marcos also on Friday continued his sorties in Pangasinan, attending the event of 2,000-strong Barangay Health Workers (BHW) in Alaminos City where he was accompanied by former congressman Mark Cojuangco, who is running for governor, Mayor Arthur Celeste, and First District Rep. Jesus Celeste.
He went to Bolinao town to meet the 200 barangay (village) chairmen to whom he explained his pet law on establishing a retirement pension for barangay officials and volunteers.
In a morning radio interview over dzRH, Marcos explained that once elected Vice President his first job is to “report for work” to the elected President.
And one of his first acts is to consult traders on a program he calls “Business Directed Infrastructure” wherein he will ask the investors of their immediate plans for the next five to six years, in such a way the government may know exactly what roads to build.
“This will have a positive domino effect. Their business will improve, their operations will expand, more investments will come in, they will need to hire more people, we will have more jobs for our countrymen and this will alleviate our unemployment problem,” Marcos said.
This way, he added, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will have an option to return home since there will be jobs waiting for them.