Think PH

DEMOCRACY is supposed to be the rule of the majority, defined as 51 percent of the total turnout of voters. There is total registered voters and turnout. We look at the former as the sum total of registered voters broken down by island as: Luzon (56 percent), Visayas (21) and Mindanao (24).

Critics of whoever wins since 1998 have always cited that there are more voters voting for other candidates than the winner, making the president-elect a minority or plurality and, hence, having a shaky hold on power. Another fact is that whenever we have women presidents, we often have attempts at grabbing power, against Corazon "Cory" Aquino and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Another fact established since time immemorial is that we never had a president from Mindanao. Most are from Luzon save for President Carlos Garcia who was from Bohol. Luzon plays a bigger hand over things from politics to economics. Mindanao is no longer on the periphery. It is the center of power and it is to the interest of Mindanao to remain the center, for it changes how things are viewed from developmental to peace and security. With the buoyancy of support given to President Rodrigo Duterte, Mindanao will not allow its hold to end after six years. May 2022 will be Mindanaons fighting to keep their hold on power to have Mindanao a major agenda of government. We develop Mindanao, we refocus growth. We develop Mindanao, we attain equity in bringing Mindanao to the center of governance.

We are a country of 60-63 million voters come May 2022. Our average turnout during a presidential election is 80 percent. If we take the 63 million as the high end, at 80 percent turnout (50.4 million), we will have 28.2 million voters from Luzon, 10.6 million from the Visayas and 12 million from Mindanao.

If there will be five candidates (Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, Duterte, Sen. Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao, Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso and former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.) fighting it out for the presidency, each candidate will have to secure a minimum base of 10 million votes depending on each candidate's strategy in securing their command base, while the winning edge will come from market votes from the execution of their campaigns. The more candidates there are for president, the more the base is split and the less candidates can corner their respective bailiwicks. Lacson has Cavite and can break Cebu as well as Region 7; Marcos Jr. has the solid North and parts of Mindanao; Duterte remains strong in Mindanao and the Visayas; Pacquiao can steal Mindanao and Domagoso has Manila.

If Trillanes and Cayetano join the arena, that's a total of 7 candidates fighting out for the 50.4 million turnout. With seven candidates, it will be very hard to secure 25.7 million, or 51 percent. This is where the dominant position of 30 percent in survey outcomes becomes crucial for it means the candidate is able to corner 15 million votes at the get-go.

Now, the most important task is communicating a candidate's plan. Hitting each other is old style. Blaming an incumbent hard on dealing with the pandemic is a dangerous path. Those who built a career on policy have the advantage because they are capable of lateral thinking. Legislators have a macro view of things while candidates who are coming from the local can talk about what they have done at the local level on their own without assistance from the incumbent administration. The move of Pasig Mayor Victor Ma. Regis "Vico" Sotto to acknowledge the ayuda (financial aid) of the national government augurs well for the chief executive because he acknowledges assistance, makes things transparent and ensures accountability. How many will do that in the National Capital Region?

Part of campaigning is winning the hearts and minds of voters on what a candidate intends to do by June 2022. One has to have a plan on security and the economy. The existing economic path has to continue to avoid hiccups. Having the economic cluster stay in the transition assures a strong start for rehabilitation and reboot. Security is vital because of our flash points, both internal and external. And our security protocols need to continue with the independent and neutral foreign policy that Duterte started. The incoming has to have a road map and that it should continue on the successes of Duterte and offer solutions to the problems encountered by Duterte. Future planning and scenario building are necessary steps and tools to take for each presidential candidate's team.

Those who say there is no need for platforms and plans are making a joke of the electorate. It is one thing to plan and another thing to communicate the plan. So, if a candidate is settled on the belief that she or he should just throw mud and win, look at history and learn from them. On another note, if the candidate becomes the Trojan of the yellows, clearly, the voters have rejected that kind of politics. One can just look at 2016 and 2019 to say we have passed those elitism and oligarchic play on presidential elections. Those with money should stop increasing the egos of some candidates that they can do more than what Duterte did. Duterte is like a shooting star that comes once in a lifetime but if we are to again go back to pre-Duterte days, we actually throw six years of our lives just because Duterte does not sit well with people from Luzon and the oligarchs that cornered much for their own financial muscle only to be unmasked by the mayor from Davao as earning from the sweat of ordinary people.

The pandemic will probably be contained by 2024 and that is like the midterm of the winning presidential and vice-presidential candidates. They cannot afford a steep learning curve because we need to jump-start things. So, from the time you read this column, think of the Philippines, be reminded of the future and campaign hard for your candidate. Let the candidates feel what is important to you and shout loud to stop the mud-throwing and move the needle towards the interest of Filipinos. We have one nation. We are Filipinos. Let us together pick the candidate that is authentic, honest, principled and has a plan and can implement that plan. We do not need Trojans. We need a mature leader who can think on his/her own and has the courage to deal with vested interests who have caused such exploitation of the Philippine economy. We need a person who knows what it takes to be president.

Are there candidates who prepare for the presidency? All who ran and won had a vision clearly etched in the mind. Preparing for it is a lifetime effort. You don't prepare only for the campaign. Those who just look at timing are creating false hopes.


About the Author
Malou Tiqiua is the Founder/General Manager of PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. A noted political management expert in the Philippines and Asia, she brings over 20 years of professional experience in public, private and the academe combined. Author of the comprehensive book on electoral campaigns in the Philippines, "Campaign Politics", Malou is a graduate of the University of the Philippines with a Political Science degree and a Master of Public Administration. She completed her second master's degree (MA in Political Management) from the Graduate School of Political Management, George Washington University.
Other Articles

Sign up via our free email subscription service to receive notifications when new information is available.