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Philippines
Thursday, May 23, 2024

Never again!

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“Yes, we are very—too—invested in this campaign.”

Why are Vice-President Leni Robredo’s volunteers invested in the coming elections? The kind of commitment and enthusiasm shown by #kakampinks is one that has never been observed in previous elections.

Many are VERY, some would say, TOO invested in this campaign. to the point that people are the ones spending their own money to design, produce, and distribute campaign collaterals, organize and mount rallies, go campaigning house to house using own resources, cook and prepare food shared for free with other rally attendees, and prepare and come up with other activities that will contribute to the Leni-Kiko campaign.

We know of people happily volunteering their talents and services for free—artists who do murals; popular bands, singers, and other performers do their thing during rallies; graphic designers using their skills for collaterals, and many others.

Why are people doing these? Why do people invest in Leni and Kiko?

Truth be said, we invest not in Leni and Kiko BUT for the country. We invest for a better future for our youth, our children, and their children. We invest in a kind of governance that gives hope and inspires people to work hard and do good. We invest in a leadership that will protect the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and will respect and honor the Filipinos’ constitutionally guaranteed human rights. We invest to protect our hard-earned democratic gains that we won by kicking the Marcos dictatorship out.

I am horrified each time I think of the possibility of the dicator’s son winning the elections. This will be devastating for the country and us, Filipinos.

Imagine a Philippine president who will not even be able to set foot in Switzerland because the Swiss government declared Marcos, the dictator, and members of his family as persona non grata on November 12, 1986. Marcos Jr. will also not be able to travel to the United States because of a contempt of court judgment against him and his mother, Imelda Marcos.

The Marcos name carries the images of dictatorship, corruption, and human rights violations. It is not regarded well internationally. Imagine a Philippine president who cannot be a source of pride and honor for Filipinos. The consequence may probably be less official support for the country from the international community. This cannot be good for the country and our people.

Remember that the Duterte administration is leaving us with P3.66 trillion worth of foreign debt as of March of this year. This means that whoever succeeds him as president will need to enjoy the respect and trust of the international community if the next administration would hope to renegotiate for better terms with our creditors.

Moreover, should the country’s recovery from COVID-19 program require the government to borrow more, a good reputation will help in getting the support we need.

According to former Chair of the Predidential Commission on Government (PCGG) Andy Bautista, an estimated US$6 billion or more than P300 billion worth of Marcos ill-gotten wealth is still unretrieved. So far, the government has only recovered US$3 billion or P171 billion. Should Marcos, Jr. win, we can say goodbye to the possibility of recovering more from the Marcos’ wealth from corruption. This means less resources that can be used for our people’s needs.

The same is true for the P204 billion estate tax owed by Marcos, Jr. to government. Surely, when they are in power, they will be able to manipulate things so as to free the family of any and all liabilities.

And what about the sequestered Marcos ill-gotten properties and other assets including the Imelda jewelry stash that’s fit for a queen? If by now they are still under government custody, we can be assured that if the dictator’s son wins, he will move heaven and earth to gain possession of all these assets.

Candidate Marcos, Jr. has yet to face the people in a presidential debate to expound on his platform of government and explain his position on critical problems faced by the country. Like the true brat that he is, he refuses to explain just because. If he can do this as a candidate, how is he going to conduct himself IF he makes it to Malacañan? Will he be as bratty as he is now? What will happen to transparency and accountability?

As early as now, his campaign has been repeatedly accused of vote-buying as evidenced by videos showing money and goods being distributed to those who attend his rallies. Artists performing for his events are said to be paid in the millions. Should he make it, how is he going to get the money back? Will he be like his father who emptied the people’s coffers?

The return of the Marcoses in power CANNOT be good for the country. Marcos Jr. is their last card. Among the younger Marcoses, there is no one in the near future that can be considered as “presidential material.” It’s all or nothing for them. It is plain to see that if Marcos Jr. wins, the family will again be in a position to cling to power. The country cannot afford this.

We, the people need to block this from happening. The power is in our hands. Our vote should go to the best qualified candidates with proven track record and unassailable credibility, the candidates who also happen to be the ones who will not allow the Marcoses to be back in power. We need Leni Robredo and Kiko Pangilinan to win. This is why we invest in them.
Never again to the Marcoses!

@bethangsioco on Twitter Elizabeth Angsioco on Facebook

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