It’s too much to ask for a presidential candidate who will be able to help the Philippines rise up from the slump where it is stuck right now. This country and the Filipino people has so much potential may it be in any aspect. However, whatever good there is in us, it has always been masked by the dirty politics prevailing in the country. Asking for a “straight” president may not be too much of a request at all.
One of the things I look at in candidates is their platform. With the technology we have right now, discussing platforms in detail is not a very difficult task anymore. A platform is important for it gives you right away the priorities of a politician. The presidential candidates have been given a lot of opportunity to expound on their platforms, but they failed to do so.I’ve watched so many forums but every time I am disappointed. Why? Because instead of telling the audience what they plan to do and how they plan to do it, they are more concerned of winning the sympathy of the audience by tackling this soft spot: poverty. Again and again I feel I didn’t learn anything about them and it seems that they are not so sure of what they want to do.
Poverty is an issue. Yes. It’s probably the biggest issue in the country. Any politician who focuses on this issue will certainly win the hearts of the masses. Take for instance: Villar. Nakaligo ka na ba sa dagat ng basura? Namatayan ka na ba ng kapatid? etc etc. Look how that ad shoot up his ratings. I don’t like to be biased here but I’d like to remind him and the rest of the candidates to stop assuming that the voting public is stupid. I get it that tackling poverty will probably be their ticket to presidential-dom but what I want from them are concrete plans on how they plant to address poverty. Here are some of their solutions: improve education, improve agriculture, improve health care delivery, etc etc. We’ve heard the very same thing from previous presidents, look at what happened.
Personally, here’s what I want to hear from our presidentiables:
- Reform the Philippine education system and invest more money in education. The literacy rate of Filipinos is forever going down. The hours required to study in school is being reduced to what? 45 minutes? 30 minutes? I also support the idea of adding to more school years to basic education. Speaking from experience, sixteen years of schooling is not enough to prepare a Filipino for harsh realities of the world. The government also needs to allocate more funds for education. The center of excellence must also be removed from Manila and distributed to the rest of the Philippines.
- Address the issue of a booming population. Let’s admit it. Overpopulation is one the of the causes of the deteriorating lifestyle in the Philippines. We need a president who has a firm hand when it pertains to issues related to overpopulation. Case in point: family planning. I’m pro Reproductive Health Bill. It’s way overdue. So much for the “go forth and multiply” and “it doesn’t matter if we’re hungry as long as we are happy”. I need a president who doesn’t have to bow to every thing that the Catholic Church wants. That’s why we have ‘the separation of the church and state’. At times like this, should a politician be more concerned in satisfying the church than doing what’s better for his countrymen?
- Invest in research. Korea, China, Singapore and Japan wouldn’t be successful if they didn’t invest in research. India, Malaysia and Indonesia are slowly catching up. How about us? Researchers in the Philippines are leaving the country because they have no opportunity here. Being in DOST, I was able to get a bigger picture of the plight of research in the country. Filipino researches have a lot of ideas for vaccines, diagnostic kits, medicine development, etc etc. The only problem would be as always is the lack of money for funding. If only the government would invest money for these proposals and ideas, then we don’t have to resort to importing. Until the country have its own capability to develop its own medicine, vaccines, and diagnostic kits, the Cheaper Medicine Acts would remain useless.
These three points are just a part of my long list of what I want to see from our country’s would be president. The rest of the Filipino people have longer and bloodier list.
They say that this election is the start of the change that we all have been looking for. I doubt it. I am giving the automated elections a chance, but if you are faced with the same kind of candidates, what change would it bring? A bright future for the Philippines still has a long way to go, unless both our politicians and voting public truly learn something. Hmm… or maybe a new government system is really the solution?