On Monday, May 9, Filipino voters will troop to the polls to determine the country’s direction for at least the next six years. Will we move forward? Or will we have a continuation of the last deplorable six years?
Indeed, this election is much more than just choosing candidates. This is about deciding the life that we will have. This is about the future of your children, and even their children’s children. This is a most definitive juncture in our lives.
Those of us who were in our early teens when the dictator Marcos declared Martial Law are now nearing the twilight of our lives. We lived through those dark years, fought against, and succeeded in ousting the dictatorship. We were jubilant. We were hopeful. We were happy when democracy was restored and thought that things would continue to turn around for the country. We were very wrong.
There were major bumps. The worst thing was that Duterte happened. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the country had to survive despite this inept, ineffective, and corrupt administration. Poverty has worsened and is now widespread. Millions have lost their jobs and livelihood.
We are neck-deep in debt. We are even threatened by China’s continued invasion of our territories.
The country needs to recover as fast and as best we could. We need an enabling environment for people to be able to again stand on their own two feet and restart their lives. Families in abject poverty need better basic services to be really helped. It is crucial that families can properly eat. Nutritious food is essential.
We are not completely over the pandemic. Our health system must be strengthened guided by medical experts, not former military men. Frontliners must be heard and supported. Facilities and equipment need to be updated, and drugs, commodities, and supplies replenished.
We need jobs for those who lost theirs. We need our people to feel capable of providing for their families. We need better education for our youth especially since their schooling has been disrupted in more ways than one. Our children need to be children again. Let them enjoy their childhood.
We need Filipino women to recover from being the constant targets of misogynist statements from those in government positions and their minions. We need women to feel safe and secure, not threatened by sexism and abuse at every turn. We need women to be empowered so they are able to take control of their lives, and contribute more to society.
We need a thorough government clean-up. The scalawags and the corrupt must be removed and brought to court. Justice must be served for the victims of Duterte’s “war on drugs.” The Philippine National Police needs purging so Filipinos again trust and respect the uniformed forces. Democracy needs to be strengthened, checks and balances between the three branches of government restored, and people’s human rights protected and upheld.
Consistent with getting rid of corruption, the government needs to pursue recovering of the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth. What they owe the people, they must pay. We must learn from EDSA. We need to show the people that corruption does not pay.
The next administration must inspire people to do good and be involved in government and governance. We must not make the same mistake we did after EDSA. We cannot just depend on the government to do all the work. After six years of Duterte who managed to bring out the worst in many Filipinos, we need a complete turnaround. The kind of volunteerism, investment, and cooperation showcased by the people during this campaign need to continue. Simply put, the government cannot do it alone.
Our kind of politics must be revamped. It is time to pursue the dismantling of political dynasties so exemplified by the Marcoses and the politicians actively supporting them—the Dutertes, Estradas, and Arroyos. It is high time for the Constitutional prohibition against political dynasties is operationalized through an enabling law.
We need to again be respected and regain our rightful place on the world stage. Working in solidarity with other countries is best as we deal with our foreign debt and pursue partnerships with friendly countries to help us get our bearings back. Being involved at the international level will help us defend our territorial integrity and sovereignty against China.
It is a tall order for anyone who becomes the next president. It is going to be a very tough six years no matter who wins the elections. Because of the state we are in, six years is not enough to solve our problems even if the next administration does very well. Imagine if we commit another grave error of judgment like Duterte! To accelerate our recovery, the best candidates must win.
The next administration must have a master plan, a blueprint that will set the country’s direction to recovery, and eventually, success.
Only the team of Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Kiko Pangilinan has this kind of platform. It is comforting that their plan is borne out of decades of involvement with ordinary Filipinos. For many of the issues, they no longer need time for study. Many of the solutions have been crafted with people’s participation. They will be off to a good start.
Of the top candidates, only Leni and Kiko have the track record showing integrity and hard work. Only Leni and Kiko have vowed to pursue the country’s interests against China’s acts of invasion and occupation of our territories. Only Leni and Kiko have shown their concern for justice and human rights. Only Leni and Kiko have vowed to go against traditional politics and “trapos.” Only Leni and Kiko can inspire Filipinos to do good and be continuously involved in governance and politics. Only Leni and Kiko have the valuable respect of the international community.
Of the candidates for President and Vice-President, only Leni and Kiko can! #IpanaloNa10ToParaSaLahat!
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