All throughout Philippine history, a small number of extremely influential families possessing vast lands and huge corporations have ruled our government. The notoriety of patronage system and oligarchic culture in the country has inspired numerous experts and scholars to coin equally notorious terms to describe the severity of conditions underpinning Philippine politics – anarchy of families, booty capitalism, non-substantive democracy, ersatz capitalism and cacique democracy, among others.
The candidates for President at the 2nd leg of the PiliPinas Debates 2016 held at University of the Philippines Cebu on March 20. Photo from Philstar.com
One could only hope that what happened during the second presidential debate between candidates Jojo Binay, Rody Duterte, Grace Poe, and Mar Roxas was the kind of debate that the Philippine society seriously needs. But it did not seem so.
Yesterday, all roads led to the University of the Philippines-Cebu (UP Cebu) campus for the much-awaited second leg of the national presidential debate organized by the Commission on Elections.
It is a credit to the leadership of the Commission on Elections under its Chairperson, Andres Bautista, that meaningful and quality discourses of political, social and economic issues by aspirants to the highest position of the land are happening. The activity caters to a wide audience and not just at the local level as national media from print and television are partners in this political endeavor. Net citizens from all over the world was able to access the same by logging on to news5.com.
With two female Presidents in tow, it looks like we can boast of being a country where women can aspire to serve in government and succeed. But the milestones aside, the current situation of women in Philippine government is wanting. With this year’s Women’s Month coming on the heels of an important national election, it is important that we consider how we can improve the quality of women’s participation in politics as we look at the important milestones as well as the current picture of how women fare in government.
Photo from http://tumblr.malacanang.gov.ph/
Is the president’s job easy? That might be an absurd question to ask. But considering the record number of wanna-be’s who filed their COC’s for the job—130 for this year’s election—there must be something in the job itself that draws people to try.
However selfish, ludicrous or lofty a person’s reason for seeking the presidency is, it is important that he or she knows the responsibilities of the job. But the voters are not free from that equally important duty of knowing what the presidency really entails.
Photo from gov.ph
The week is fresh with commemorations and discussions of the EDSA 30, with the government going all out in celebrating three decades of its democratic spirit. And while everyone seems abuzz with the prospect of another Marcos sitting at one of the highest offices in the country (for better or for worse, we’ll eventually know), it is worth noting that many other presidential and vice-presidential candidates started their political careers or gained more prominence in politics during and after EDSA 1986.