If we’re to believe Mareng Winnie Monsod, the Opposition’s “Let Women Lead” initiative is off to a good start. P1M+ in donations she points out in her Inquirer piece “LetWomenLead: An idea whose time has come”. This despite no defined grant procedures for who may apply for funding.
It’s easy for Monsod to launch a fundraising initiative because she is also a TV personality. But what of those who are qualified and want to seek public office but are without funds? It will not happen that they will be able to get donations on the same scale as this initiative. At this point we’re suffering from a dearth of candidates because of the prohibitive cost of running for office. It shouldn’t be a surprise that those who win engage in one form of corruption or another in order to recoup expenses. The salary and allowances they are entitled to in office are not enough.
In the US, federal matching funds are given to candidates who qualify. Much has been written about the corruption in political action committees (PACs) which are the solicitation vehicles of candidates. But by and large, the system works. This was how the Squad led by Alexandra Ocasio Cortez won their seats in the House of Representatives. Think of how a federal parliamentary system works better for the country. Regional parliaments and one national composed of member of parliament from the regions who convene to enact national laws attuned to the needs of the regions.
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The reason why we fail most of the time is because of the wrong mindset. The 1987 Constitution was just an updated 1935 Constitution. The 1973 Constitution could’ve been amended to remove the powers which then President Ferdinand Marcos gave himself. It could have been modified with the best intent moving forward but because of a rabid desire to erase all vestiges of Marcos in government following that 1986 “revolution”, it was trashed along with everything else.
It’s about time we realize that the problem of bad government isn’t only the fault of “bobotantes“, as the elite refer to the masses, but also elite “thought leaders” like Monsod, who only adopt palliative solutions which still favor their class. This is why we have a socio-political problem which is the root of our political dysfunction. It’s about time that we take a serious look at constitutional amendments and bureaucratic reform seriously. We should ask this question of presidential candidates. Campaign finance is only one aspect. There are several other issues which needs to be addressed if we really want the best of the best to form the core of our government.
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