"The Comelec has a big task ahead of it."
With the conundrum over the West Philippine Sea on the frequent incursion of China in disputed waters, we can be sure that it will be one of the issues in the 2022 election.
This is a threat to the country’s well-being and national interest, and so the country’s future is in jeopardy.
President Duterte himself has admitted that despite what China is doing in the South China Sea, we cannot afford to go to war against China. This being the case, it would seem that Duterte has adopted a policy of accommodation and acquiescence.
In a series of surveys by the Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia, it has been found out that the majority of Filipinos are aware of what’s been going on between China and Philippines. The sentiment has been generally against China.
There could be more issues that could come up in next year’s polls. The failure of the Duterte administration to eradicate the problem of illegal drugs, the continued scandals and corruption in government and likewise the failure of Duterte to stop criminality are issues that could be thrown against him.
Recall that during his campaign, Duterte vowed to end illegal drugs and government corruption. And yet even in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, every day, there are reports of buy-bust operations of the police against the proliferation of illegal drugs nationwide. My gulay, where do you think these illegal drugs, mainly shabu, come from? China, and they are smuggled to the country through Customs, with the police killing those involved. Just how many people have been killed in Duterte’s war on illegal drugs is another thing.
Then, there’s this vicious cycle of government corruption. Duterte has made it worse by recycling his favorites. What happened to PhilHealth, and the pastillas scheme, and the anomalies in the distribution of cash through the Social Amelioration Program?
It seems that Duterte’s war on corruption is just lip service.
What is unfortunate is that the opposition remains divided.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has started studying the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the 2022 elections and has begun a study on how voting would happen.
Initially, according to the Comelec, there might be a need to extend voting hours which in pre-pandemic times should normally end at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Initial reports say that voting hours may have to be extended for two to three hours.
It would also do well for the Comelec to find out ways and means of enabling the people to make national and local candidates to campaign face-to-face since it would be impossible for candidates to rally as they did in pre-pandemic times. Candidates must face the voters.
Campaigning would now have to be conducted virtually, but only in limited ways . This gives undue advantages to moneyed candidates. I can only imagine how much it would cost a national candidate to set up a virtual campaign through the Internet. Santa Banana, the cost would be tremendous. The use of radio and television would also go sky-high. Candidates will exceed the allowed level of expenses!
I have been told that some candidates are already trying to book radio and television time.
Another problem in campaigning is the need for candidates to hire jeepneys and buses early enough to ferry voters from areas kilometers far from the place of voting precincts. They are the “hakot” voters who normally wait to be transported to a place where they can eat and wait and then vote. That practice has a long history in Philippine elections. Restrictions on transport will be a problem.
If you wonder that during voting time, some people just stand by around the precincts late in the afternoon before the precincts close. These are the people who wait to sell their votes to whoever will buy them.
Counting of ballots is another. I don’t know yet what method the Comelec will adopt. It’s crucial.
Those who cannot go to the precincts because they either live very far or are prohibited to leave home for some reason is another problem. Using the postal system is impossible.
Comelec should make the elections fair, peaceful and acceptable to the people.
Today, May 14, 2021 is my 66th wedding anniversary. I thank God that my wife at 89 and I at 93 have lived this long to mark and celebrate it. We are blessed.
We have to stay at home to celebrate it just by ourselves, together with my daughter who always has a knack of making things beautiful for just three persons. While my youngest son is living separately, I am sure he will drop by to greet us. My two other sons are in the United States, but I am certain they will call us.
My wife and I got married in Cotabato City at the city’s Church Cathedral with the late Oblate Bishop Gerard Mongeau officiating it. Santa Banana, would you believe, the whole town was invited to the reception because the family of my wife are well-known.
My wife and I honeymooned in Davao City at the Apo View Hotel, the best hotel at Davao City at the time. I had wanted to go to Baguio at the time, but I could not afford it.
If you ask me how my wife lasted 66 years married, all I can say is it’s God’s will. God has always been the anchor of our marriage. This is how it should be for all marriages.