POLITICS IN THE PHILIPPINES
There is a song “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.” It was composed and sung in the 1980s by a musical band “Tears for Fears.” Whenever this song goes into the airwaves, I remember how politics stand in this part of Asia. Here in this country, everybody also wants to be a stand out leader or a ruler. Politicians of every stripe want to rule this country, as if it is for them the only world. They wanted badly to be on top, to be at the helm. One who can command progress, promise prosperity and promote development. This has been a recurring theme if not a cyclical pledge whenever there is election. Yet nothing has been done yet to prove that there was indeed a change. Singapore, Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Thailand have since then leapt into the ranks progressive nations but our country remains as it was—placid, sleepy and conservative. Worst, those below poverty line is even increasing, if at all there is decrease, it is minimal and expectedly nil.
One is surprised to hear that there is no such thing as below poverty line in New Zealand! The poor in the Singapore were not loafing in the street with outstretch hands. They are properly dressed and selling something. Here in this country there were “greased” people walking aimlessly amidst a sea of street urchins prodding every pedestrian for morsels. These are modern day zombies scattered in broad day light threatening public safety through their menacing presence. But these are not denizens of the nether world; they are actually the dispossessed sector of the community, the immediate family if not themselves the unemployed and the disenfranchised. Well, so much for self flagellation.
Let’s get down to the brass tacks. Politics. Yes, that has been the color of money whenever election is just around the corner. Even if the Constitution would disallows members of family to run for public office as in pursuing as it was what has been referred to as family dynasty in government service, no one would mind it anyway. Those concerned would merely brush the issue aside and would just quip “let the people decide.” So there goes the Constitutional prohibition. For them it seems, the Constitution is merely written for the ordinary folks. Politicians, their entire family, who are actively geared to run for public office, are a cut above the rest and never within the principled limits of law. For them, to get elected is an end in itself. Let the world crumble as long as they are above the heap.
It has been said before and still the facts stare the Filipino people in their faces that only a handful of families control the political landscape of the country. It can also be inferred that the country’s land and resources are also owned by these same families. In other words, the Philippines whatever its democratic pretensions are, is unfortunately still living under a feudal regime.
If at all investments would flow into the country, it is not so much as to benefit the great masses but more advantages accrue in favor of ruling families. That is precisely why political dynasties will continue to haunt Philippine politics and its economy. Progress is not designed to be shared to the greater population but limited to a few ruling elite.
Unlike before where the educated, the so called illustrados, cornered the controlling pillar of politics, now it is taking shape in another form. Celebrities, like thespians—actors and actresses, who were merely called in to entertain the voters, are now at the forefront. They no longer position themselves as workers for their principals, but themselves wanting to be principals and a major part of the country’s elitist circle too.
In my youth, I wanted to be a top notch lawyer so that one day I will be elected to serve the people. Now it is different. My son wanted to be an actor so that he will definitely be elected for public office and ENTERTAIN the people.