Vox Populi, Vox Dei

Vox Populi, Vox Dei

A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.
— Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu

MANILA — Now that it’s nearly over, except for the release of the official canvass of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and proclamation of winning candidates in this year’s national and local polls, the foremost question in mind is what happens next?

The fact is that the people have spoken and everyone needs to respect that. Scoring an insurmountable lead of more than 17 million votes over his closest rival as of Wednesday’s latest but unofficial count, president-elect Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. (BBM) is poised to become the country’s 17th president.

Admittedly, though, this victory has been tempered by issues on the voting process that the Comelec has yet to fully explain, including at least 1,800 incidents of malfunctioning vote-counting machines that forced voters to resort to manual voting, the inordinate delay in transporting replacement SD cards (secure digital memory cards) and the unbelievably speedy transmission of the bulk of election results even as a large number of registered voters were still lined up to claim their constitutional right.

Outgoing president Rodrigo Roa Duterte himself saw the need to look at the alleged irregularities, saying on Thursday: “I hope the Comelec will find time to investigate. Just to disabuse the minds of those (who think) that there was cheating.”

But since it is nearly over, we must now look into what will happen when Marcos Jr. finally takes his oath as president of the Republic and assumes to take hold of the reins of power.

People are hopeful that things will change for the better and that promises made by the incoming chief executive will be fulfilled for the benefit of the nation and the Filipino people.

Given that, many are still asking about our future. It’s a fair question actually, especially when you look back and remember that BBM, the only son, and namesake of the late president Ferdinand Edralin Marcos Sr., has avoided public debates, media questions, and interviews as well that might shed light on his plans and platforms beyond his team’s call for unity.

Besides suggesting tax breaks and setting aside a portion of the internal revenue allotment for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), Marcos Jr. has noticeably opted not to boast about how he would handle the country’s myriad problems amidst an ongoing pandemic and the economic downturn.

So far, the president-elect’s spokesperson, Atty. Victor ‘Vic’ Rodriguez, has revealed in the course of the campaign that his ‘boss’ is inclined to continue his predecessor’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program while also strengthening government support for farmers and the agri-business sector.

And when our children ask us why we have deemed another Marcos to assume government over the lives of more than 110 million Filipinos, we would be reminded of what we face today.

Aside from the major challenge of reviving an economy overburdened by a crippling P13-trillion debt from the Duterte administration’s pandemic spending, BBM must also deal decisively with a corruption-ridden bureaucracy and shrinking remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) forced to come home because of the global health crisis.

The president-elect might have to spar with policymakers and finance managers on how to fully open the country’s tourism and business sectors while also implementing strict pandemic protocols.

Another crucial issue that Marcos Jr. has to deal with is the government’s campaign against illegal drugs and the prevalence of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) that prompted the International Criminal Court (ICC) to accuse Mr. Duterte of crimes against humanity.

Thirdly, while during the height of the election campaign period BBM’s team had brushed off questions about the concern over ill-gotten wealth and non-payment of taxes, these issues are bound to crop up when the time comes to ask taxpayers to cough up more or higher taxes to finance the government’s key programs.

Then, a fourth item the incoming president should consider is the perilous path that he must negotiate with great caution and sobriety regarding the battle for supremacy between the United States (US) and People’s Republic of China (PRoC).

How to fight for the country’s sovereignty, without alienating its allies and neighbors, is a crucial issue that must be addressed in Marcos Jr.’s foreign policy—given that both countries have signified their support and willingness to work with the elected leader.

Washington, so far, has declared that it looks forward to strengthening its “enduring alliance” with the Philippines, but Beijing did not take this sitting down as it stressed its “long-standing traditional friendship” with our country.

In this, we believe that the new chief executive should seize the initiative in establishing trade deals and treaties in order to advance our country’s interest with these two superpowers—but without his predecessor’s stance of not standing up against incursions in our territorial waters.

With all of these at the back of our minds, we hold on to hope that the tenet of ‘vox populi, vox dei’ would bring us God’s grace to achieve the best for our country and our people.

BBM would hopefully listen to the Divine Will.

FOR your comments or suggestions, complaints or requests, just send a message through my email filespolice@yahoo.com.ph or text me at cellphone numbers 09054292382 for Globe subscribers and 09391252568 for Smart. Thank you and Mabuhay!


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