Philippine politics has often been described as a circus. From electoral campaigns that mimic variety shows to political debates reminiscent of tabloid talk shows, much of what happens in our political arena can hardly be taken seriously by anyone with a rational brain. Gone are the days when the voices of great men and women of state dominated the hallowed halls of our democratic institutions. Today, watching a Senate debate is no different from watching a noontime variety show.
It all begins with a candidate’s campaign. What you see is what you get. A lot of voters are drawn to candidates who can woo crowds by dancing or throwing lousy pick-up lines. Plans and platforms are often sidelined because they are thought of as boring and unexciting. The result is a government with dozens of elected officials who know how to entertain but are incapable of governing.
However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic might change the game for Philippine elections. Aside from the possibility that election protocols might see some major changes next year, people’s priorities have changed. In 2022, voters will be asking about post-pandemic recovery, which can be summed up in three security concerns: food security, job security, and internal peace and security. People will be asking for plans that can deliver them from their plight.
Perhaps 2022 will be the year most of us will realize that singing and jokes can’t feed the hungry and provide jobs for the jobless. But a solid plan can.