Six months is a long time to campaign exactly the same way the Yellowtards have been campaigning. However, it is not much time to adapt to recent developments. In just the last week, a Super Bloc has formed following what had been a mysterious meeting between presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos and Inday Sara Duterte. The recent announcement of the latter’s Hugpong Ng Pagbabago (HNP) party throwing its support behind Marcos’s campaign effectively creates a vast voter base that potentially dwarfs the combined base of the Opposition encompassing not just Isko Moreno and the Yellowtards but the rest of the nuisance camps. To give a bit of credit to Leni Robredo and the convenors of 1Sambayan, only a “united” Opposition could have hoped to win in 2022.
Unfortunately, hope of that “united” Opposition ever seeing the light of day has been all but crushed. Each of the current crop of Opposition players have revealed to the Filipino public their respective true natures and share only one thing amongst themselves — that they all individually want power and lack any appetite to do things for country. Indeed, the sight of Marcos and Duterte agreeing to a sensible sharing of power would indeed have been a confronting sight to Imperial Manila’s Yellowtards and those Cold War relics, the Philippines’ communist bloc. Solid Philippines supersedes old notions of a “Solid North” and “Solid South”. What is unique about this alliance is that it is founded more around two parties sharing fundamental political values — a stark contrast to the negative campaign of just about every one of the Opposition parties taking aim at national posts today.
The irony here is that while the Opposition noisily talked about “unity” for months and then failed to walk their shrill talk, the admin camp went about achieving the same quietly and with grace. That feat bodes well for what a Marcos government, supported by HNP from the south, would mean for a country long wracked by petty regionalism. Where the Opposition failed to string together words to articulate their platform, the Marcos-HNP alliance built one with no words. The impossibility of an Opposition unified bid serves as a stark backdrop to the Marcos-Duterte alliance on exhibit today.
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Dream of a Solid Philippines seemed to be such a far-fetched aspiration even up to recent times. Filipinos were ruled from Imperial Manila for decades until Rodrigo Duterte finally came around and planted a Mindanaoan behind on Malacanang’s seat of power in 2016. But even with a Mindanaoan in power, the Yellowtards and communists crafted bites of rhetoric out of their crooked narrative and ideology which they used to continue to foment division across the archipelago and create an environment to perpetrate their seditious agendas. These elections now promise an entirely changed game — one where the wind had effectively been knocked out of Imperial Manila and redistributed north, south, and in-between.
Whatever credible “thought leaders” the Opposition are left with will have to get back to the drawing boards and craft new strategies to deal with the changed game that the Marcos-Duterte alliance has created. First is a credible forward-looking platform. It will have to be just as compelling as the idea of a Solid Philippines that the admin camp now walk (having had very little need for talk about it). Second is to put a stop to negative campaigning. Several decades of demonising the Marcoses and five and a half years of destabilising the Duterte administration evidently did not yield results for them. Only fools would continue this approach over the precious next six months. Third is, well, to unite under a single all-encompassing Opposition leader. Let’s just keep that last one on the table, shall we? After all, “Laban” is the Yellowtard call to action as one might recall. Never say die, right? Then again, maybe another one needs to.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.