Time for a Long Overdue Change

The Philippines is on the hands of the Filipino voters with only just a few days before the National and Local midterm elections. Is it time to change the same old system of the Philippine Government?

It is now April 2019 but this is no ordinary April. The full campaign period has just started for candidates for local posts, coinciding with the existing campaign period for candidates seeking Senate and party-list representation posts. With one month and 15 or so days left before the May 19, 2019 midterm elections, expect both candidates for national and local posts to become more aggressive, promising people even the moon and the stars in hopes of getting votes.

That has been the "system" in Philippine politics since February 25, 1986. Politicians from both the administration and the opposition resorting to populist sweet words and near Utopian promises, such as free college education, free housing and free health care, during the campaign period; the voters falling for them hook, line and sinker, causing them to choose their names on the ballot on Election Day. After the votes have been counted, and the winners have been declared and formally assumed office, it is back to reality- the politicians not knowing their voters while pursuing their agenda now that they are again in power; the voters are either going to the politicians in hopes of receiving money for their needs or want or be taken in for open positions at the bureaucracy or expecting them to be even noticed.

Thirty or so years of the same old system, same old cycle but the Filipino does not seem to get tired of it. The system has not resulted to real political and economic reforms that would have realized the successful potential of the Philippines. There is still no economic development and progress in rural areas and other places, no thanks to Corazon Aquino-era protectionist economic policies that heavily favored the local economic elite, worked against small- and medium-scale enterprises, resulted to lower than average foreign direct investment inflow compared to other ASEAN countries, and caused vital infrastructure such as roads, ports, agricultural storage facilities and railway networks to be either decrepit or non-existent. Worse, the system has perpetuated patronage politics, mediocrity and mendicancy, all of which have been present since the American colonial era.

It is time for voters to realize that the power to change the destiny the course being taken by the Philippines is in their hands. It is time for them to exercise such power on May 19, 2019. It is time to elect politicians who are pragmatic, capable and competent to challenge the norm that has been in place since February 25, 1986 and introduce long overdue political and economic reforms that will uplift the lives of millions of Filipinos and bring long overdue economic development to all corners of the Philippines. It is time to do away with left-wing populism, patronage politics, mediocrity and mendicancy in favor economic liberalism and the free markets, meritocracy in government and the private sector, and people empowerment through the ballot.

About the Author
Benedict is an agricultural economist, academician and writer. He has gained experience and expertise in various fields of economics, business, political science and public relations after through professional ventures in the academe, and in the public and private sectors. He has authored or co-authored key publications on topics ranging from agriculture and food security to global affairs and politics.
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