Friday, September 11, 2009

Voting for Change in RP 2010 elections: Discerning between walkers and talkers

Voting for real, honest-to-goodness change in the Philippines has become more difficult even with the advent of the country's first automated elections in 2010.

With all the political advertisements and the media hype generously produced for the benefit of Presidential Candidate Yellow, Filipino voters may be too frenzied to think clearly if they can at all think about the decision they have to make in the May 2010 elections.

Now, I've received a fair amount of flak after dissing Presidential Candidate Yellow and drubbing Presidential Candidate Supertrapo for their political gimmickry.

Yellow's re-enactment of Cory Aquino's steps prior to her decision to run for President and assume the Presidency after the EDSA uprising in 1986 successfully rekindled political nostalgia. While some politicians were accused of using Cory Aquino's death to prop up their Presidential campaigns, it can be pointed out that the Aquino's are milking the nostalgia associated with both Cory Aquino and assasinated Senator Ninoy Aquino in order to convert public sympathy into poltical support.

Supertrapo, on the other hand, is banking on the impressionable youth who will vote in the 2010 elections and has sought to lock down support from first time voters by capitalizing on his rock star aura. Supertrapo even has a 30 second video where he reprises the role of a hero combating the minions of 'darkness' (aka corruption, lack of education, and such). I am sure this kind of branding campaign will gain adherents and I can already see it succeeding among those who simply feel their way towards a political decision.

Both candidates are exploiting a crucial flaw in the way most Filipinos make political decisions and this flaw is betrayed whenever you ask them why they favor one candidate over the other.

Both candidates, at this stage, have barely articulated a clear plan of action of where they will lead the country if elected as President.

To be completely fair about it, neither has Senator Manny Villar, Vice President Noli De Castro, Senator Loren Legarda, former President Joseph Estrada, Senator Jamby Madrigal, Defense Secretary Gibo Teodoro, MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando, Governor Ed Panlilo, and others.

However, there are exceptions to what seems to be a rule of not having a written platform, and they are JC Delos Reyes, Nicanor "Who is" Perlas, and my favorite undeclared Presidential Candidate Senator Richard "Dick" Gordon.

As far as platforms are concerned, I think JC Delos Reyes' platform -- who is the standard bearer of Ang Kapatiran -- is too Catholic Church-centric.

Nicanor Perlas' platform, or what I think is his platform seems to long on illustrations but short on details as to how he will achieve the objectives stated in his "Strategic Agenda".

Senator Dick Gordon's platform, on the other hand, has major directions in terms of upgrading public education, pursuing political reforms, creating a super eco-zone (his 3-2-1 Luzon Infrastructure Development Plan), developing tourism (the foundation of which is the Tourism Act of 2009), building up our country's defense capabilities, forging a workable peace program in Muslim Mindanao, and other directions. (I'll outline all of this in a succeeding post, which I will hopefully be able to put up tomorrow.) He also has directions that concern improving our countrymen's capability in the development of intellectual properties (books, songs, movies, computer programs, etcetera) and earning a larger profit from the product of their brain work.

However, his platform is lean in certain areas, such as agriculture and foreign trade -- which to me is understandable because of his background.

Even before considering his platform, he already scored points with me because he delivered on two important campaign promises when he ran as senator in 2004:

(1) The Amended Automated Election Law which made it possible to have automated elections in 2010

(2) The Tourism Act of 2009 which will enable Philippine tourism to catch up with Hongkong, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia

Before these achievements, of course, we already know that

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