Philippine Elections - In comes Benigno out goes Gloria.
One thing’s for sure, you can never say that election time in the Philippines is a dull affair.
The campaigning by the candidates is always filled with boisterous activities of loud music and rhetoric.
The recent election for the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines had been a first among many things within the context of Filipino political history.
The conduct of the election itself represented a milestone in the sense that it was the first national election held in the Philippines that was fully computerized.
In fact, this achievement was also a first among the nations of ASEAN.
There were also numerous other ‘firsts’ during the Philippine elections in May 2010. Perhaps one of the most talked about controversies was the fact that for the first time in Filipino political history we got an outgoing president running as a congresswoman. For many of us foreigners to the Philippines, we can never comprehend how this can be. I mean, you hold the highest official position in the country and then due to constitutional limitation imposed on a presidential term, you were supposed to retire gracefully from politics, but instead, we find an ex president becoming a member of Congress.
The excitement of the May 2010 national election didn’t end with the former Madam President Arroyo in becoming Congresswoman Arroyo in the House of Representative. Another notable first in Filipino political history was the election of the seven (7) times world champion boxer, Manny Pacquiao, as a member of the House of Representatives.
His life story is certainly an inspiration to not just Filipinos but also to many people around the world, that being born in extreme poverty and lack of education, is no excuse for not being able to succeed in life.
Comparative with the previous presidential elections, the May 2010 election was not marred by the extreme violence that plagued the previous national Philippine elections.
That is not to say that there were no tragic losses of life. Late last year, the world bore witness to the grisly election-linked massacre of 57 people in the southern part of the Philippines.
Often touted as the epitome of the U.S model of democracy in South East Asia, the ‘Ampatuan Massacre’ served as a gruesome reminder of just how deadly the practice of democracy can be in the Philippines.
Nevertheless, despite all the challenges and controversies, record numbers of voters turned out to exercise their democratic right to elect Benigno Aquino during the Philippine elections, the son of the late Corazon Aquino, as the 15th president of the Republic of the Philippines.
In his first State of the Nation (SONA) address, he stressed that:
“For a long time, our country lost its way in the crooked path. As days go by (since I became President), the massive scope of the problems we have inherited becomes much clearer. I could almost feel the weight of my responsibilities”.
Indeed with just 10% of the money allocated for the 2010 national budget remaining and while there are still six (6) months of the year 2010 to go, he will be hard pressed to find the funds to finance the governing of the Philippines.
One of the things that are so admirable about the Filipinos is that they thrive in the face of adversity. We hope that with the strong mandate that President P’Noy received from the Filipino people he will be able to uplift the hopes and aspiration of the nation.
In the mean time, we wish him all the best in his endeavours.