No honeymoon for Marcos – Manila Bulletin
In his inaugural address, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. politely congratulated and thanked his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte.
Certainly, Marcos owes much to Duterte for paving the way for his family’s triumphant return to Malacanang Palace, beginning with the 2016 burial of Patriarch Marcos’ remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The other is the indirect but powerful endorsement of allowing Sara Duterte to run for Marcos’ vice president.
Duterte, however, left a big challenge for Marcos: national government debt fell from £5.9 trillion in 2016 to £12.7 trillion in 2022. Unemployment fell from 2.4 million to 3, 7 million. The number of poor Filipinos has increased from 23.7 million to 26.1 million. Dependence on rice imports has increased significantly: from 5% to 15%. The Ibon Foundation has compiled these verifiable figures from official sources.
Duterte refused to waive the excise tax and VAT on petroleum products, even temporarily, to relieve consumers. Yes, we are not only confronted with the big oil companies allegedly engaged in overvaluation and transfer pricing. We are also confronted with the government’s position: the higher the oil prices, the higher the government’s tax revenues.
Mass public transport is in near ruin, with the previous regime taking advantage of the pandemic to bankrupt jeepneys and city buses in favor of “new modes” and traffic plans that unduly favor private motorists.
Education at all levels remains in suspended animation. While business operations, games, concerts and public gatherings have been allowed, schools remain non-operational in the true sense of the word. Education policies based on incompetence and pseudo-science have failed teachers and students for over two years now; the Philippines is the only remaining major country not to reopen schools.
To be fair to us Filipinos, it would be exactly the same crisis situation that Leni Robredo, Manny Pacquiao, Isko Moreno or Ka Leody de Guzman would have faced, if one of them had won the most votes and emerged victorious.
We could be certain now that Marcos and his new administration are only beginning to realize the full extent of the country’s problems. Whether he still sincerely thanks Duterte, we can’t be sure. If Marcos would complain loudly about the problems he inherited from Duterte, we can’t be sure either. The vice president and the new vice presidential security group are there to protect the so-called Duterte legacy.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, Representative Gabriela Arlene Brosas, Representative ACT Teachers France Castro, Representative Kabataan Raoul Manuel and those who would join the opposition in Congress have an obligation to tax the plans of the new administration and propose alternatives.
What can we do? A lot. It all starts with a reset of our mindset.
With the elections and the mourning of the results over, we could focus on educating, organizing and mobilizing for important causes. We have a lot to learn from workers, farmers, fishermen, professionals and entrepreneurs. They don’t ask for charity. They demand that we fight alongside them. Any improvement in their conditions benefits everyone.
There is also a lot to defend: history and the whole bill of rights, in particular due process, freedom of the press and freedom of expression. We must keep Rappler, ABS-CBN, Bulatlat, Pinoy Weekly and the entire Filipino internet safe from misinformation, censorship and takedowns.
Former Vice President Leni Robredo’s NGO Angat Buhay is a welcome development in promoting volunteerism and civic action. Hopefully, the volunteers would become leaders, ready to participate in future elections. From an NGO to movements and parties willing and ready to offer our people new leadership, new narratives and a new vision.
The severity of the nation’s problems may not give Marcos a honeymoon period. He has to get going, prove to those who voted for him and to the whole nation that he has what it takes to lead. The public is not in a festive mood either. Although Manila, Pasay and San Juan declared holidays last June 30, only a few thousand people bothered to attend the inauguration and the planned thanksgiving celebration in Mendiola.
Public transport is so bad, prices are high and people need to work. Their president and their government should work harder.
Fact check: Marcos (58.77%) and Duterte (61.53%) did not win the largest majorities in Philippine electoral history.
Manuel L. Quezon won the presidency with 81.78% of the vote in 1941, while Ramon Magsaysay won with 68.9% of the vote in 1957. Sergio Osmena won the vice presidency with 92.1% of the vote. vote in 1941. Carlos P. Garcia (62.9%) and Fernando Lopez (62.75%) also scored higher than Duterte.
This is according to the Election Almanac of the Philippines.
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