THIS country’s hands down number one problem is the poverty of millions (one third) of its citizens. The dignity and rights of these people have been trampled on for so long it simply has to stop.
But until we get to true our democracy with majority rule, proportionate representation and free elections, 80 percent of the country’s political, economic and cultural resources will continue to be enjoyed by only 20 percent of the population. A crying shame in a country that prides itself of a religion that holds the dignity of a human being as inviolable.
The 2022 elections will again be done under rules skewed to favor the rich and powerful. Hence, all candidates will come from 20 percent of the population, none from the 80 percent. No candidate will win by a majority, only by a plurality, of votes. No candidate will get votes without overspending (to advertise, to buy, feed, transport voters), without cheating and without some form of coercion.
No winning candidate, therefore, can be expected to have the motivation to liberate millions of Filipinos from poverty. As usual, the new President will prioritize delighting his/her funders (big business and big landowners), his/her clan, and his/her top campaign staff with juicy government positions.
Our prevailing social structures are not programmed to produce a selfless and honest civil servant, a patriot and liberator of the poor. The former is based on raw power not on socio-moral principles. Thus, whoever is in power is easily corrupted, if he/she is not that already, into doing whatever he/she wants for him/herself, his/her clan, and his/her business and political allies.
Filipinos are left only with the choice of which privileged individual will continue trampling on their dignity as human beings and marginalize them.
One peaceful way concerned citizens could mitigate such a grim circumstance is to conduct forums where candidates are asked to propound in detail on their anti-poverty program. Ideally, the candidate with the most realistic and feasible anti-poverty program should win.
Poverty has to be the principal issue candidates have to address. I do not see the China issue resonating with the 30 million poor who care only to be given the right of freedom from poverty.
Yet, I do not expect much from this project. A program can only be pushed effectively by a genuine political party organized around a socio-moral principle and not by an individual or a party loosely organized around personal interests.
But this can be one good way concerned groups could get people to realize they alone can free themselves by demanding for social structures that hold their dignity inviolable. They have zero hope under existing political, economic and cultural structures.