Programmatic and Policy-based Politics

It sounds so typical nowadays to hear of personalities, groups and parties positioning themselves for the upcoming 2022 National Elections. There have been several political backroom operations wherein small parties have either coalesced or entered into partnership agreements with bigger political parties or groups. Those who are leading the surveys are in better shape to negotiate to acquire more political assets, secure contributions and funding, and gain allies with established bailiwicks and clout.

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Always secondary or even tertiary among talks are programs and platforms of government in running the country. People have become so accustomed to discussion personalities in the formation of political blocs and alliances. What most fail to realize is that personalities are only secondary or tertiary to policies and programs of government which have a direct impact in our everyday lives as Filipinos.

Sure, you need a poster boy to champion platforms and programs of government. The essence, however, of an electoral campaign is to show people how this country will be governed programmatically and policy-wise in the next six years. It takes more than one or two personalities within government to carry out an effective program and policy. A whole of government approach is needed to ensure policies and programs become beneficial to every Filipino, which ought to be at the heat and spirit of policy and programmatic development.

Filipinos, at the end of the day, will not bother about political brands such as being DDS or Dilawans. They are focused on how government can help them recover and rehabilitate given the impact of COVID-19 on their financial, physical, and mental conditions.

It is so crucial that the correct set of policies and programs are put in place on Day 1 of the next administration so that there is some semblance of continuity in terms of those policies and program that worked, and a change in direction based on a diligent programmatic and policy assessment and evaluation. First on the agenda should be on how to fast-track the economic rebound of the country, with unemployment rates at about 7.1% as of this writing which is a far cry from about 5% pre-pandemic.

Hence, what should drive the election narrative is the kind of programmatic/policy direction each party/ticket intends to head into post-pandemic. One hot-button issue to discuss is whether the current and future situations necessitate the immediate passage of charter reform especially on lifting economic restrictions on certain industries. 

The post-pandemic environment requires so much social and economic dynamism and innovativeness from the next set of leaders. Unless we realize the great value of programmatic and policy-based politics in the selection of our leaders, I expect more of the same frustration, apathy and disconnect between government and people in terms of socio-civic and political participation and engagement post-elections.


About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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