Considered the poorest nation in Asia after Bangladesh, notwithstanding all the promising local and national elections in the recent past, as a people we Filipinos are still waiting for the illusive “better tomorrow” in the stark presence of the needy today.
Decade after decade our politicians made pro-poor promises, pro-people pronouncements, even pro-God affirmations. But truth to say, to date, many of our poor became even poorer, people are more restless, the Good Lord himself is waiting to be obeyed—still.
It is not the democratic system per se that is wrong. It is certain corrupt political personalities, misfit political appointees and abusive political side-kicks who seriously undermine the system. Neither are our present electoral processes perfect. But it is more the presence of certain individuals in the national, regional down to the municipal electoral office who are either incompetent or bought by the highest political bidders to work in the latter’s favor.
As to the electorate themselves, they cannot vote freely if they have nothing to eat, nor can they vote wisely if they are uninformed, unconcerned and/or uneducated. It is said that democracy and poverty and illiteracy are rather hard to put together, to keep together. There seems to be a good amount of wisdom and truth in this thinking.
Conclusion: No political system can be good for people who do not know it, appreciate it and protect it. In the same vein, no people can be good for a system that divides them instead of harmonizing them, that fools them rather than serve them, that exploit them in lieu of building them up as persons and as citizens.
One question only: Would it not be good for the country as a whole if Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao could have some legitimate needed autonomy from the centralized Malacañang governance—for their respective particular initiatives and pursuant regional development? Just asking.
25 March 2000