The challenge after the 2022 election
“Nanalo o natalo?” (Win or lose?)
What is important now is how to uplift Filipinos belonging to classes D and E, the big majority who live in hunger and depravity and are burdened with the government’s almost P13-trillion debt.
Sri Lanka, where I was a missionary, is now in deep financial crisis; Pakistan is in turmoil; there are predictions of more developing countries facing similar instability in the near future. How will the present administration fulfill its avowed P20 per kilo of rice in a world hardly coping with the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?
We need to be united, but with sincere efforts to restore the credibility of the Commission on Elections and its Smartmatic computers that churned superfast results compounded by massive vote-buying. Is democracy still a reality or has it been made obsolete by manipulative technological advances? Whatever, we have to move on and our Faith has to face the challenge.
The social action arm of the bishops has articulated a strategy: “principled collaboration” in areas that benefit the people. Will the present administration—to bolster its credibility—come out with legal safeguards to prevent ordinary people from being bombarded with untruths? A systematic annihilation of the monster of “vote-buying” has to be institutionalized to prevent the government from falling into the hands of the highest bidder.
“Peracracia” not “democracia” is what we have in the Philippines with a past president justifying that “vote-buying” is part of our culture. I strongly disagree with this rationalization. I still believe that the Filipino is basically honest and “makatao” (people-oriented). Such values are embedded in the lives of our katutubo (ethnic population) and the simple provinciano, and have been reinforced by four centuries of exposure to the teachings of Jesus. Yes, deep inside the Filipino can distinguish what is right or wrong but unfortunately, we may have been misled and mesmerized by social media
Finally, will the present administration fully respect the dignity of the human person by ensuring that the genuine will of the people surface in the barangay elections in December this year? Or, as in the past, will it again utilize its political power to solidify its future?
“Nanalo o natalo.” God wants all his creatures to enjoy the benefits of the Philippine archipelago—not only those who have amassed wealth and power by hook or by crook. May this God empower us, believers, to be undaunted despite our crucifixion to attain that overwhelming power of the Resurrection. Let us start laying down the solid foundation of a democratized Philippines by making vote-buying and deceptive labeling events of the past. We must move on for the poor wait for us—nanalo o natalo. We are one Big Force to reckon with because LOVE has promised to be with us till the end of time.
FR. PETE MONTALLANA
Indigenous Peoples’ Apostolate of the Diocese of Infanta
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