Change is coming for an austere government


The winners of the national elections may not have been proclaimed yet but the Filipinos are now heaving a sigh of relief. All the recriminations, all the name calling, all the bad mouthing are over and emotions that shot up to boiling levels are now fast cooling down. The healing process has started and reconciliation among the bitter contenders is shaping up. Thanks to the pronouncements of Mayor DigongDuterte.

During the campaign, Mayor Digong was perceived as the fiercest fox among the pack of wolves donning the ship’s skin. But now the way the media reports and describes his person, Mayor Digong is actually, and in reality, a ship after all, in the process allaying the fears of those who thought he was really the “berdugo” that his opponentsdescribed him to be. As one of his campaign slogans said it “Change is coming.”

The promise of change by Duterte has won over the promise of status quo by Liberal Party’s Mar Roxas. As many analysts have said, Duterte’s victory is a result of the masa’s protest against the continued ruling of the oligarchs.

If we have to analyse the last elections from our experience in Bohol, we know now that political parties no longer count in our electoral system. Political party decisions no longer mean a thing to its local chapters and members.

Let’s takethe example of the Liberal Party. Even Pres. Pinoy could not get everybody in the Liberal Party to toe the line. He vigorously campaigned for Mar Roxas but down in the chapters some of the Liberal Party’s stalwarts campaigned for Senator Grace Poe. The same is true with the NPC, UNA or what opposition political party have you. The NPC decided to support Grace Poe but down below the chapters freely supported other candidates.The politics of money and personality have thrushed out of the way party ideology that used to be observed when we still had the two-party system.

Is this good for the country? That is why change is coming. May be Federalism will correct all of this and redirect the sails of the Philippine Voyage to the direction of real progress and development for everyone. Let’s see how the people will decide finally when President Rody (that is how Mayor Digong would like people to call him when he assumes the Presidency) pushes for it.

What are the proofs that politics of money and personality have taken over our electoral system? Just look at what happened in the municipalities in Bohol. In the past, Presidential elections attracted so many aspirants especially for municipal elective positions. That’s because while the sitting President can exert influence on people to vote for his political party official candidate, the pressure is no longer there since he or she would be out by June 30, theend of his/her term. It was different during mid-term elections because the President needs only to look one in the eye to drive his wishes clearly. And so there were very few prospectivecandidateswho would dare oppose the President’s candidates.

But in this year’s Presidential election, there were many municipalities that had unopposed mayoralty candidates. Not even the major political parties could persuade their party mates to run for mayor against moneyed and powerful incumbents.

If change is coming, let it come early in the term of President Duterte otherwise it will be overcome by the Filipino’s ningas cogon mentality. Then we will know that he really meant what he said and promised during the campaign period. We banked on his political will. Let that political will be seen and felt in his first 100 days in office and onward until the end of his six-year term.

We are happy, though, that from his initial pronouncements, this will be an austere government.

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