Yes, indeed! The Philippines had just elected a new president. And this is a huge deal for all of us – the Filipinos. And why is that? One might ask. Let me give you a brief view.
After the People Power in 1986 that paved the way for the first woman president former President Corazon “Cory” C. Aquino, the Filipinos had the long and much awaited freedom, the restoration of democracy as we call it. For 2 decades, the Philippines was under a dictatorship ruled by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos and it was the revolution that unchained the Filipinos from tyranny. A revolution that was so nonviolent which made the Philippines more popular than ever. However, Pres. Aquino’s term was far from rosy. Her reforms were criticized, the country was plagued with series of natural disasters and calamities, existence of electric blackouts that hindered business functions and there’s the case of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines) stating the Philippines can’t even pay to import crude oil.
Pres. Aquino was then succeeded by Pres. Fidel V. Ramos. During his term, the Philippines was widely known as one of the four tigers of Asia or as the world put it the “Tiger Cub Economy in Asia”. He led the country into a newly industrialized country in the world where the Philippines savored economic growth and stability. He was then succeeded by Pres. Joseph E. Estrada who was impeached and was ousted after 3 years of presidency due to allegations of stealing $80 million from government. His then Vice-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo succeeded him and was elected anew in 2004. During her term, there were ups and downs. Leading a country with a very low economic growth rate, she managed to turn it around at an average of 4.5% from 3.7% with more than 7% GDP growth, thanks to her master’s degree and doctorate in economics. However, before her term ends, inflation rate soared so high it affected lots of businesses, institutions and families.
Now comes my favorite part that inspired me to write after long period of absence, the part that highly motivated me and taught me to be exceedingly patient due to astonishingly slow net connection (might have been directly affected by having to go through a firewall) and constant reconnection to VPN to make this article possible.
President Benigno “Noynoy” C. Aquino who succeeded her excellency Pres. Arroyo, the third youngest president to be elected, first bachelor president, a non-alcoholic drinker to name a few. His administration was condemned due to the handling of the Manila hostage crisis, the supposed slow response during and after the Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Typhoon Yolanda, and the death of the 44 Special Action Force during an operation in Mamasapano. However, he did make some development in the Philippines in terms of the education system by shifting it to K-12 to be at par with the USA, Canada and Australia. He was also able to tap social service programs through Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation. Still his presidency has been widely denounced by a third of Filipinos or even more.
But let me point a few things the Filipinos like me should be grateful for. His excellency President Pnoy Aquino has done so much for the country and our people. First, he tried so well to deal with the Scarborough dilemma as peaceful as possible,so as not to escalate existing tension, otherwise our very own Filipinos working and living in China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan would be greatly affected. Secondly, he has done so well building better bilateral ties with Australia which used to be very futile along with other Trans-Pacific members,which opened doors for more opportunities overseas for many Filipinos. Thirdly, I see no evidence of accumulated and questionable wealth compared to so many others. He tried to do what he can and one can only do so much. So to you President Pnoy, THANK YOU.
2016 is a year filled with so much outcry from the Filipino people. And it has been empowered by the fact that this year is election year where the people were given a promise of stability, possibly a new beginning, and conceivably a year that could resolve the uproar for change by presidential candidates. And on May 9th, 2016 the people have cast their votes and the results have shown on May 10th that Rodrigo Roa Duterte is the newly elected president. Personally, I have chosen Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago as my president but as results would have it, she is at the bottom list. I have chosen her for 3 simple reasons namely; first, zero record in terms of corruption, second, tried and tested during her years of service to the Filipino people and the country, and last but not the least, highly educated in terms of legislation ( as I have this belief that a president’s main task is to lead the executive branch and to do so must also possess broad knowledge on legislation). There are many other reasons, but these 3 are my primary concerns.
Now let me get back to the newly elected president before I lose track. His candidacy has been filled with controversies from petty bickering to grave misconduct. In fact, the Philippines made international headlines due to his foul-mouthed that made other countries expressed disgust and disappointment to a future leader. To the international world’s surprise, he won by a large margin and the COMELEC (Commission on Election) stated that this election has the highest voters turn out (needless to say 6 years ago there were lots of teenagers that were expected to be voters today). Point is, they did come out, registered and exercised their right to suffrage. So why Duterte? His promise to crackdown on crime as supported by his Davao City record with zero tolerance policies against criminals making the city that used to be a hub for murder incidents to one of the safest city in the country, he’s seen as a tough leader, he’s known with minimal corruption cases, and some would say he is genuine while others are not. The Philippines’ long existing flawed political system, the high rate of corruption, and crime issues are the main hindrance to the country’s growth and development. And for the Filipino people, Duterte embodies the solution to these troubles, he exemplifies renewal and development the people are longing for.
On May 10th, 2016 the Filipinos have spoken and as a citizen of this nation, I respect the result of the election. I hope and pray the change we clamor for is not farfetched. I hope the Filipinos will unite and help promote the change we want to see in our country despite our different president choices.