The campaign season officially kicked off Tuesday, with the administration party and the opposition quickly firing salvos against each other in separate proclamation rallies. Mudslinging and lip service by opposing senatorial candidates were, as usual, the order of the day.
Missing in the cacophony of political speeches and grandstanding are the economic platforms of the opposing parties. The candidates and their respective figure heads chose to dish out empty rhetoric instead of programs that aim to alleviate widespread poverty, reduce unemployment and advance the general economy.
President Benigno Aquino III again disappointed the nation with his mantra blaming the past administration for the country’s economic ills. He even had the audacity to say that the May 13 elections would be a referendum on his administration’s accomplishments and on the mistakes of the past.
United Nationalist Alliance leader and Vice President Jejomar Binay, meanwhile, stooped in response to the mudslinging of the ruling party, despite his vow to avoid that style of politicking. He accused the Liberal Party of being “racist and elitist” for portraying itself as white and the opposition as black, and dared the LP to name those it accused of pretending to be allies of President Aquino.
It may be too early in the campaign season for the rival parties to delve into the critical issues hampering real economic progress. But candidates down to the local level should familiarize themselves immediately with the problems dogging the economy and the reforms required to uplift the well-being of each Filipino.
The electorate must be made to weigh the respective economic platforms offered by the rival parties. Political candidates, for their part, must explain to voters what the economy needs in order to achieve a more meaningful progress.
President Aquino is convincing voters that his anti-corruption efforts have paid dividends and contributed to investors’ confidence on the economy. His agenda and sincerity, however, have not been enough to ease poverty and improve the lot of Filipinos.