As the Philippines head on the homestretch to the 10th of May elections, one can already see the rough outlines of the attack tactics and content of the leading parties. Against the presidential candidate of the Nacionalista Party, the issues have been landgrabbing, stock manipulation, and use of government position to advance one’s private corporate interests. Against the presidential candidate of the Liberal Party, the issues have been land reform, involving the family hacienda (sugar plantation) and mental health.
The last was fueled by two fake medical reports alleging that the LP candidate suffered from depression during the Marcos Dictatorship, when his father was in jail. Hello! The whole country was depressed during the Marcos Dictatorship, for chrissakes! If you weren’t depressed, you were a crony. Period. This prejudiced, biased and discriminatory attitude toward mental health issues is just barbaric beyond belief – Abraham Lincoln was depressive but that didn’t stop him from being a transformational president.
Considering this low level of political discourse, I am surprised no one has said anything about certain candidates' botox-ed frozen foreheads as indicative of their massive vanity and swollen egos. Pfft!
There’s been little discussion even of survival issues: typhoons and flooding, over-population, food self-sufficiency, health care, education, women’s rights, unemployment and labor export, sub-contract work by multinational corporations, the balkanization of the archipelago with the sale of land, islands even, to foreign corporations, etcetera.
Instead what’s on full display is the Filipino’s genius for propaganda and myth-making, reducing the whole sheebang into a spectator-sport, much like boxing -- which probably explains the orgiastic hysteria. This is what democracy’s all about?
What could have been an opportunity for mass education on what it means to truly have control over one’s country has been lost. -- #