Filipino voters are just so done over by those “helping the poor” ululations that pepper today’s “activist” rhetoric. This is the big lesson the Philippine Opposition need to learn if they are to win in 2022. That sort of rhetoric is simply not consistent with the way Philippine society is structured. You can see it most starkly in the way the rich cloister themselves within fortified residential enclaves patrolled by private armies. That reality does not sit well when one considers that the most chi chi “thought leaders” of wokedom grew up — and continue to tap their “activist” slogans into their 1000-dollar iPads — within those very walls. The sight of this private school set pontificating about the “plight” of the “poor” is quite rich indeed. Literally.
This pretty much illustrates the crisis of relevance the Opposition suffers today. They foolishly built their entire political brand on “helping the poor”. No less than their default “leader” of the moment, “vice president” Leni Robredo, had channelled most of her media mileage expenditure to publicity stunts that aim to showcase her “helping the poor” initiatives. Suffice to say, all of these PR stunts fell flat on their faces. Many have backfired badly thanks to the silly grin Robredo habitually sports while inserting herself in the midst of otherwise grim situations. For that matter, many of these supposedly “grim” situations were only made to look so on the back of the million-peso creative license Robredo’s army of consultants apply to these PR jobs.
Looking further back, this was also the same idiotic approach that resulted in then presidential candidate Mar Roxas copping derision and ridicule from across a big swathe of the partisan spectrum. Roxas, like Robredo, amassed a trove of “helping the poor” collateral owing to a similarly tone-deaf PR team. Photos and videos of Roxas doing masa stuff like carrying a sack of onions on his shoulder, directing traffic in the rain, and doing carpentry work on school desks set social media on fire in the Philippines — in all the wrong ways. This poor form carried over to poor poll results, all but paving the way for a landslide victory in 2016 for current President Rodrigo Duterte.
The message is clear — or, more importantly, should have been clear — to the powers-that-be of the Philippine Opposition:
Poverty porn no longer works.
That’s bad news for the Opposition. The Yellowtards (the biggest bloc within the opposition consisting of chi chi members rabidly-loyal to the Aquinio-Cojuangco clan) and the communists (consisting of the most militant and most violent of its members) set the themes and lead the thinking that define the Philippine Opposition today. Both sport ideologies built on the back of doctrines that frame the the poor as “victims” of “sinister” and “reactionary” state forces. Presented this way with the state and government always portrayed as the bad guys, the Yellowtards and communists are at liberty to espouse and justify illegal means of acquiring power — the Yellowtards with their “people power” street “revolution” (fancy words for coup d’état) and the communists with their “people’s revolution” that aims to install their dreaded “dictatorship of the proletariat”.
Those notions are now all but obsolete yet the Opposition stubbornly adhere to them — and remain beholden to the personalities behind them — despite suffering no less than two catastrophic national election defeats in 2016 and 2019. You wonder then: Do Filipinos really deserve the idiocy that today’s Opposition habitually exhibit? Definitely not. A modern and intelligent Opposition is essential to the modern, stable, and healthy democracy that Filipinos aspire to. An Opposition led by the Yellowtards and communists is anything but any of that. It’s time Filipinos put their foot down and demand that their Opposition ditch all that baggage and step up to be the Opposition Filipinos deserve. The next elections are just around the corner. The clock is ticking fast.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.