Recipe for Disaster in 2010

by Harvey S. Keh

At the rate things are progressing with regard to the 2010 elections, it seems that the number of Presidentiables are growing every month. Just this morning, I woke up to the news that known environmental advocate Nicanor Perlas has also declared to run for President while there are also news stories that last year’s Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Government Service, Gov. Grace Padaca of Isabela is also being prodded by peasant and youth organizations to consider to also run for the highest position in the land.

This just goes to show that there is indeed a growing discontentment by many Filipinos here and abroad about the current state of our politics and a great longing for better leaders who will advocate good governance and ethical leadership in our country.

Yet, the sad reality that many of these reform candidates face–including the likes of Gov. Eddie Panlilio of Pampanga, Chief Justice Reynato Puno and Jesus is Lord (JIL) Evangelist Bro. Eddie Villanueva–is that if all of them decide to run for President in 2010 then I can guarantee every Filipino that all of them will also end up as losers in the said elections.

As I have mentioned in my previous blogs, good intentions alone will not be enough to elect a reform President, financial resources are a given. I remember a conversation I had with former Senate President Franklin Drilon. He told me that you need millions of pesos to run a national campaign not to buy votes but to actually take care of your operations such as hiring campaign staff, paying for the rent and utilities expenses of your campaign office, organizing and feeding your volunteers, traveling expenses and most importantly, paying for television and radio advertisements.

With so many reform candidates positioning for the 2010 polls, I doubt that there would be enough donors and resources that they will be able to raise to put up a viable campaign.

I think the real strategy now should be to look at the current survey results (SWS and Pulse Asia) and assess the chances of each candidate.

In my conversations with both Panlilio and Padaca, who are both Kaya Natin! leaders, they both told me that they will always do what is best for the country and not their own personal ambitions.

I think this should be the attitude of all the current reform Presidentiables, they should all work towards unifying their forces in the hope of supporting a common candidate or even running under a common unity reform ticket.

Recently, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan also declared that he will run for Vice-President as an independent while he also launched his Register to Vote (R2V) project that also brings together known reformists such as Panlilio, Padaca, Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo, Ifugao Gov. Teddy Baguilat, Jr., Atty. Alex Lacson, former Rep. Neric Acosta and Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel together for a common cause of encouraging the Filipino youth to register for the upcoming polls.

Imagine if all of these groups converge under one common reform ticket in 2010, I am sure that whomever they decide to support for President will surely have a strong chance of winning. If they don’t and they decide to go on their separate ways then this will just benefit the present administration and we can all rest assured that another corrupt traditional politician will win in 2010.

This coming 2010, courage, genuine love for country, openness and more important, humility will be factors to avoid a recipe for disaster, which will leave us again wondering what could have been if only we made a sincere and genuine effort to be united for a cause that is much greater than each one of us.

(Harvey S. Keh is Director for Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship at the Ateneo School of Government and is also the Lead Convenor of Kaya Natin!)

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