“Ah, the chill of consciousness returns”, the poetic drunk Uncle Seamus would groan after a bender the night before. Morning after the May 13 elections, what do we wake up to?
The wife and I glimpsed first outlines of reality emerging in Precinct No. 513A at Lahug Elementary School . This Cebu City classroom turned-into-voting booth is replicated countrywide
We’ve voted in this precinct since 1994, after retiring from United Nations posts in Bangkok and Rome . Grey hair and bifocals opened the senior citizens lane for us. After a 30 minutes, we shoved our filled ballot into a PCOS computer. It worked.
So, why does this queasy feeling persist? Half a century of journalism drills one lesson: the significant story festers below the obvious.
Underneath Lahug’s placid surface, Rep. Tomas Osmena pulled all stops to achieve what he never managed in two decades: to topple councilor Mary Ann de los Santos, known for spine and guts. Will today’s computer count award De Los Santos’ scalp to Osmena?
Candidates ignored maternal deaths and abortions. We’ve been swamped by posters to text by those against “Team Patay.” But Sri Lanka and Honduras slashed maternal deaths far below ours. Abortions exceed probably 500,000 a year. It is harsh to say campaigners turned a blind eye to massacre of innocents and a deaf ear to the death rattle in the throats of mothers. But it is true.
No one hit the alarm button over a crucial red line breached Friday. The level of carbon dioxide — a key heat-trapping gas — breached 400 parts per million.
CO2 in the air has not been this high for three million years, says National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pieter. Tans. That was before we humans evolved. It flags climate havoc.
Rising sea levels could uproot 13.6 million Filipinos levels in 2050, Asian Development Bank estimates The severest threat is “along the Pacific seaboard: from Samar to eastern Mindanao,” scientist Wendy Clavano wrote . High risk provinces flank Lingayen Gulf, Camotes Sea, Guimaras Strait, waters along Sibuyan and central Sulu, plus bays in Iligan, Lamon and Bislig.
The new C02 report came from analyzers atop a Hawaiian volcano. Mauna Loa is ground zero for tracking CO2 ”The time to do something was yesterday,” said Yale geochemist Mark Pagani. No candidate mentioned available climate mitigation programs.
Instead, names peddled at every turn are younger editions of old dynasties. These monopolized and largely misruled power over the decades.
Dynasties have become more brazen, Inquirer’s Solita Monsod notes. Examples include the Angaras of Aurora; the Estradas – Erap, son Jinggoy, candidate JV , mayor Guia Estrada /Ejercito (widely known as Erap’s No. 2), The Cayetano family boasts of three members in politics, The Binays will have four.
Boxing superstar champion Manny Pacquiao raised the hand unqualified wife Jinky for vice governor. Next door, his brother is running for congress. Mommy or “Aling Dionisia” always had better sense. Did she decline?
The 169 political dynasties “ make up 0.00001667 % of the country’s over 15 million families,” an earlier study, by political analyst Roland Simbulan, noted. They’ve hoarded power for the past 30 years, churning out seven Presidents, two vice presidents, 42 senators, and 147 congressmen.
Today, the dynasties are up to 178. They dominate 73 of the 80 provinces. Remnants of the Arroyo-Macapagal clan remain. The Marcoses seek to reinforce rehabilitation from People Power exile.
Imelda’s 1,089 pairs of shoes are shrugged aside in her re-election campaign. The unopposed Ilocos Norte governor candidate Aimee is never asked about her SALN and undeclared Virgin Island secret stash. The former dictator’s namesake Ferdinand Jr, is a senator. He casts a moist eye on 2016.
Clans today no longer settle for fielding two or three family members in each election. Members of the Ampatuan family and guards were implicated in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre that killed 34 journalists . Today, 80 Ampatuans seek public office.
Political in-breeding embeds penury, Asian Institute of Management’s Ronald Mendoza, told AFP. Poverty levels in areas ruled by dynasties are five percentage points worse than in those that are represented by politicians without family links. Electing politicians, from a constricted gene pool. That shreds “the potential of countless other talents.”
Seven out of every 10 members of the Lower House sports a political dynasty tag , Mendoza pointed out. The total bolts to 80 percent in the Senate. Dynasties rule regions like fiefdoms over generations. They clamp strangleholds on economies and political structures.
When PCOS machines tally all votes today, 21 of the 24 Senate seats could slump into under the control of political families, some forecast. “That includes former President Joseph Estrada’s two sons from different mothers.”
After voting, the wife and I pulled up at the Cebu post office’s front steps. That’s where the beggar Raul parks on holidays — and nights. The wife hands Raul something for lunch.
“As suggested by Mareng Winnie. we did not vote for anyone whose surname is the same as, and/or who is related to, an incumbent public official.,” we told Raul. “What about you?”
“Me?” he replied: “I stopped voting years ago”. As the drunk Uncle Seamus would groan after a night-before-bender: “Ah, the chill of consciousness returns.”
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