Wenceslao: Failed promises

·3 min read

In the last elections, Alan Peter Cayetano promised voters that he would work to give P10,000 to every Filipino family affected by the crisis we are in if he won for senator. He won. He even used Robin Padilla in one of his election spots on TV. Padilla also won.

Recently, I got interested in looking down the comments section of articles to find out if readers mention the Cayetano promise no matter the topic. And I smile every time somebody does so. Some commenters do find ways to introduce the topic even if the discussion is about another issue.

A wise guy even came up with a meme showing a P10K bill with Cayetano’s face printed on one of its faces.

This has so gone viral that some commenters have started hitting back by claiming that those posting comments on the Cayetano promise merely want easy money. But one time, I did read a comment supposedly from Cayetano’s wife explaining the process of approving congressional bills and the length of time that passes before a bill becomes a law. The Cayetano promise needs such a law to be realized.

Meanwhile, the last presidential election conjured another still unrealized promise. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. promised to work to reduce the price of rice to P20 per kilo. Bongbong is now our president. Yet the price per kilo of “Ganador” white rice is currently hovering at more than P50.

Of course, nobody believes that such a reduction could be done. Which means that the Marcos Jr. promise should go the way of former president Rodrigo Duterte’s 2016 promise to ride a jetski while carrying the Philippine flag to stake our claim to contested islands in the West Philippine Sea. Before Duterte’s term ended, however, he already said he was merely joking re that jetski promise.

Which brings me to what Philippine elections have become. With the current proliferation of fake news and historical revisionism, it has become a matter of time before politicians would come up with promises that are impossible to fulfill. The pastor of a religious group in the Philippines has even upped the ante, sort of, by claiming he is the appointed son of God. One can really be blasphemous in this day and age.

Can Cayetano fulfill his promise of working to give P10K to every Filipino family? He can if he files a bill to this effect and get the support of his fellow senators so it would be passed. A similar bill needs to be filed in the Lower House and processed. Cayetano should convince lawmakers that the government has money for it.

Bongbong’s promise is, of course, the one that is more difficult to fulfill.

One can’t just reduce the price of rice without affecting Filipino farmers whose earnings have long been affected by rice importation and the plummeting price per kilo of palay. The lack of government support is also obvious. In the city of Carcar, rice fields are being converted to commercial use, something that is not limited to that city.