11 May 2010

What Happens After the Elections?

By Wilfrido V. Villacorta

May 10 is a crucial day that will significantly shape the future of the Philippines. It is a make-or-break event for us Filipinos. Either we remain a hopeless country, sinking deeper in the quagmire of criminality, poverty and corruption. Or we finally assume our deserved place in the world community: a highly respected nation that guarantees jobs and a decent quality of life for its people—a model of a working democracy and a center of peace and prosperity in Asia.

Our country belongs to Southeast Asia, the world’s fastest growing and integrating region. In its recent summit, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) set in motion ambitious measures to make itself a more effective, rules-based community by 2015. The last thing that ASEAN needs now is another member-state that is afflicted by social unrest, like Thailand and Myanmar.

The Philippines has had the ignominy of lagging behind most of our neighbors by UNDP human development indices, by UNESCO educational standards, by WHO nutrition and health requirements, by World Bank and ADB economic development and good-governance indicators, and by universal criteria of justice and human rights.

How could we have allowed this to happen to us? We have world-class professionals and business leaders, fine universities, excellent ICT practitioners, and a supposedly globally minded and hard-working population.

For the past 12 years, we have squandered our God-given assets and opportunities by resigning our fate to plundering officials. Our nation’s retrogression has been exacerbated by the culture of impunity perpetrated by the web of corruption.

If we truly love our country and have the slightest national self-respect, we should extricate ourselves from this deplorable situation. We would like to see a new Philippines with leaders who enjoy the trust not only of their own people but of the rest of the world as well. A Philippines that derives maximum benefits from its strategic partnerships with neighboring states as well as with global economic powers. We should be a major actor in regional trade and a major beneficiary of development cooperation and foreign investment. We should be one of the winners in the global competition.

That is why we should vote for Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas. They are both principled leaders who know what is best for their people as well as what is needed to succeed in a globalizing world.

They also have an honorable legacy to speak of. The values that we learned from the examples of our parents mould our character. It is difficult to understand why their detractors find it so reprehensible whenever Noynoy and Mar invoke their family’s tradition of decency, integrity and patriotism. To a Filipino, the good name of his parents is life’s treasure that must be cherished most.

The platform of government of the Aquino-Roxas team is the social contract of the two leaders with our people. It directly addresses the obvious root of poverty and bad governance: corruption. Unlike some of their rival candidates, they do not resort to populist rhetoric and do not promise to “eliminate poverty” through a dole-out policy. We should not forget: Hitler, Peron, Mugabe and some leaders in our part of the world employed the populist approach to acquire and expand power, and consequently, brought their countries to disaster. That is why populism has been branded as “the seedbed of fascism.”

Instead, Noynoy and Mar focus on battling corruption to remove poverty. Their platform sets out specific, results-based measures with which to battle poverty and corruption. Most of all, both of them have the credibility and courage to combat corruption because their record in public service is unassailable. It is certain that a Noynoy-Mar victory will be acclaimed by the international community and will open up opportunities for enhanced economic and political cooperation with partner-countries. Because of the high level of public trust in them, the Aquino government will be the instrument for attaining the long-awaited peace in Mindanao and reconciliation with various rebel groups that will attract investments and create more industries and jobs.

At my age, I have not stopped dreaming. I dream now not for myself but for my grandchildren. I want their generation to inherit a whole and flourishing nation that would unleash their full potentials. I am sure your dreams are the same as mine. That is why most of you, like me, are determined to ensure the victory of Noynoy Aquino, Mar Roxas and the LP senatorial team.



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