Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Philippine Predicament

As the 2007 national elections draw nearer, the dilemma that has always haunted me every election emerges again. Do I actively campaign for the candidates of my choice, or do I simply ensure that the electoral process will be accurate and fair?

But at this point, I just realized that I may have been deluding myself into thinking that there is a clear dichotomy between the two options! They are not on the opposite poles of my choices for electoral involvement, as my previous dilemmas seem to show. Instead they are both, and complementary, elements of a struggle for electoral reforms in the Philippines. Indeed both the people involved and the electoral system itself must be the target of sustained advocacy!

I have long agonized over our predicament wherein electorates are supposedly made to choose between the lesser evil. Since when have we given up looking for the good as the opposite of evil? Why have we displaced the good in our choice? This situation is reflective of a shift in our socio-cultural characteristic.

Filipinos nowadays are more cynical, more pragmatic, and more confused! We distrust norms and moral values imposed on us. We even distrust the political institutions exerting power over us! Thus, we have clamped up into our own myopic shells. If it doesnt concern me, why bother?
Along the line however, we lost the moral grounding and ended up seizing every opportunity for self-enhancement. Consequently, we expected the same from others including politicians.

But the situation is also inluenced by social structures and systems. Our electoral system continues to be vulnearable to cheating and manipulation. We have instituted an electoral system that is vulnerable to the influence of money, guns, and personalities. Thus, our elections are characterized by the presence of the rich people, tv and movie personalities, as well as that of armed groups including the military and the rebels!

At this point then, the predicament of those working for a better electoral system in the country is a double burden. As we clamor for better candidates, we also struggle for a better electoral system that will weed out the evil candidates and inspire the good among stakeholders in Philippine elections.

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