Joel Ruiz Butuyan asks a question in his Inquirer piece “Two worlds at war” to which he already knows the answer. He just doesn’t want to admit it. Butuyan writes about “the existence of two different worlds in our midst” that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte supposedly “exposed”. Interestingly though, he highlights an important contribution to the situation he laments by the very partisan camps that profess to champion “democracy” in the Philippines…
One very impactful cause of the dual realities in our midst is the kind of leaders who have caused extreme and longstanding disappointment to many of our countrymen. These leaders have perverted and destroyed our people’s view and experiences with our version of democracy, our brand of economic development, and all the other ideals upon which our people have looked up to for deliverance and salvation. The resulting disillusionment has caused our people to associate democracy with unresponsiveness, intellect with arrogance, and civility with insensitivity.
Indeed, the “restoration” of “democracy” in 1986 led to a free-for-all in anything and everything. This is why we’re in the mess we find ourselves in today. It’s been proven that Western-style democracy does not work in an Asian setting. I have no clue as to when colonial-minded public intellectuals and politicians will finally realize that it simply doesn’t and will not work for Filipinos.
Our ASEAN neighbors overtook us after they gained independence from their colonial masters because they had the advantage of the latter rebuilding what was destroyed during the war. In contrast, the US abandoned the Philippines by granting independence while retaining their bases and giving Japan a free pass with respect to war reparations. It was only during the administration of Ferdinand Marcos that vital infrastructure was built. The advantage then was we had a smaller population. How much has our population grown since 1986 when the Church became a governance partner through its alliance with the Yellows?
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This is why it is ironic that certain comebacking Senators are taking potshots at the administration. They were in office before Rodrigo Duterte became President in 2016. What did they do during their tenure is the operative question? Butuyan is the same. Public opinion is divided. There are sectors whose members don’t care about the fatalities of the drug war because they believe it is justified. There are those in the Opposition who profess to believe in the value of human life but are just posturing and virtue-signalling for the sake of it.
The 2022 election is a referendum on what kind of governance the public prefers. Vice President Leni Robredo has harped on what she claims is not the true public sentiment about the support of citizens for the administration. Yet, the Opposition lost in the 2019 midterm election. The Opposition can’t claim they are the silent majority if they continue to lose electoral contests. Vox Populi is the principle at work here. The minority can’t impose its will on the majority. When they will get this is the question without an answer even now with just 10 months to go.
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