“The Philippines’ economic miracle has come characterized by a strong political structure mandated by an amended constitution that is duly supported by the Filipino people. This is a result of an honest and clean automated plebiscite. This is cognizant now based from responsive political processes that promote transparency and accountability, electoral reforms, people’s support to the government, social equity, and a strong territorial integrity.”
A Competitive Philippines
The Philippine economic miracle is now felt. Its battle against corruption in this decade looks very optimistic. In 2016, the Philippines has achieved 134th place among 180 countries surveyed by the Transparency International-Corruption Perception Index. The improvement in the corruption rating is manifested by the unprecedented 100% yearly increase in foreign investments in three (3) years from 2014 to 2016.
A truthful Philippine government means that it totally and seriously embraces transparency and accountability. The public has now the right to know via the Internet and new media major laws of various government agencies that reflect their wise actions, decisions, and transactions which are now widely posted on the net. Because of this stride, government officials and employees have become accountable of their actions subject to scrutiny of free press and the public. Thus, a culture of professionalism and technocracy remains intact in many bureaucracies and private sectors.
Enhanced Electoral Reforms
The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has been revamped to perform competency and credibility. Traditional elitism has paved way to the reduction of political dynasties based from results of the 2016 elections. The candidates have espoused good governance with right platform, qualifications, and competence. Election laws are etched in the minds of candidates, voters, and the arbitrators. They deem that these laws are made tailored to stringently punish or sanction violators of the law.
There is now a high election turnout due to speedy and enhanced election automation both in the national and local elections. Because of credible results, the international community has applauded this great leap in the Philippine's electoral process. The voters are considered smart in choosing their candidates. They choose their leaders based from platforms and not by personality. The trust in the election process and that institutions that protect their votes has become credible. The will of the people is suddenly reflected in the ballot with integrity, following the principle of vox populi est suprema lex (the voice of the people is the supreme law).
Cognizance of the contributions made by massive information and education drive on election process, the people have appreciated the efforts of the COMELEC, teachers, and media. They taught voters especially at the grassroots level to choose conscientiously their leaders. Election automation is at its best in a decade comparable to technologically-advanced countries. The Filipino people and leaders have learned their lessons from recurring old age problem of cheating during elections.
The Road to Constitutional Reform
The Constitutional reform takes off in 2013 through a plebiscite dovetailed with peace process. The Filipino people realized to push for Constitutional Reform or Charter Change as amended by the Congress. The legality and constitutionality of the action rendered is based from the concurrence of the Supreme Court as the supreme arbiter. Two-thirds (2/3) of the joint House voted directly, without prejudicial questions whether it will be voted by both houses, jointly or separately, to amend the Constitution, which is the supreme and fundamental law of the land.
The Filipino people likely supported the government and the COMELEC to amend the Constitution. The president who has a very high trust rating supported the COMELEC which has adequate budget and strong manpower to conduct a plebiscite, despite the fact, that the public is in favor of Charter Change.
With the new Constitution, reforms in the federal form of government are now translated as good governance. There are great improvements on the national living standards and well-being of the Filipino people. They attribute this as a positive result of charter change. There are now wide reforms to attain good governance with great improvement in social, economic, and well-being of the nation. This improved the Human Development Index (HDI) of the Philippines in the world ranking, alleviating its position to 100 out of 180 countries.
Leadership by Example
With less corruption in the bureaucracy and leadership by example exemplified by the President and other public servants, the Filipino citizens are now obeying simple rules and other laws. Hence, the symbiotic actions that are taken by the government, civil society, and the whole citizenry, are such manifestations of participatory leadership.
There is political support and commitment by the politicians for every citizen to achieve the “Filipino dream” where each one of us can now dream again and achieve our dreams. Political dynasties are now positively perceived good because of good values shown through leadership by example. Nepotism is lessened in the bureaucracy, thus, equal distribution of wealth and power is now felt by the people.
A competent and qualified Ombudsman has become impartial, fair, and apolitical in the adjudication of cases. This is to truly show that the Ombudsman Office has been strengthened and is doing properly the job. The judiciary is credible in its position to strictly enforce laws on graft and corruption. henceforth, the Supreme Court and Sandiganbayan are now alerted to organize watchdogs and give teeth on its anti-corruption slogan. Lastly, the Philippines adheres to the UN Convention against Corruption as part of the law of the land by principle of Law of Incorporation in Public International Law.
Philippine’s Federal Republic
The Philippines has become a federal republic based from the newly-amended Constitution. It has retained the multi-party system which provides alternative platforms for a wider participatory-type of leadership among the elected and voting populace. However, the COMELEC as a quasi-judicial court has ruled based from standard qualifications to vying political parties including its representatives.
In 2019, an effective high-turnout of election returns is achieved because our electoral laws have transformed our culture and social values to be steadfast, efficient, and progressive. The diffusion of ideas and political ideologies brought by globalization and the advancement of technologies certainly improved our damaged culture to free our society from corruption, and certainly empower the Filipino power to choose well their leaders. Hence, the leaders they voted are now transparent and accountable.
A Well-Settled Peace Process
Cognizance of information and widespread consultation among stakeholders down to the grassroots level, negotiations have become important between the government and anti-governments (e.g. GRP-CNN and GRP-MILF). Stakeholders have understood the effects of armed conflicts and parties clamor for a peaceful settlement. There is assurance of a continuous people’s participation in the peace process; there are consultations for constructive exchanges between the government and local communities, especially on issues that affect the lives of the community.
In 2014-2016, the rehabilitation of Mindanao has been realized paving for continuous and robust direct investment. Peace negotiation is near to be realized with outmost trust and confidence. In the end, parties hope for a more peaceful resolution of conflicts between the government and anti-government parties. No new anti-government groups are formed that day on and beyond. And the principle of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws are observed by all the citizens.
Wealth and Power
Elitism in the Philippines has been redefined as achieved power rather than ascribed status. Because of the strength on the purchasing power of the Filipinos and the continuous positive outlook of the country’s economy, more lucrative investments are pouring in our country due to very intense culture of professionalism and technocracy. In the end, this has made the Philippines, truly a progressive nation-state.
Acknowledgement: This essay is the result of a series of workshops pioneered by the DND based from the inter-agency outputs of the Strategic Environment Assessment, in which, participants from various lead agencies share their expertise on the issues and prospects our country has experienced in the past, currently experiencing, and is about to experience through future scenarios to create an outlook. This scenario produces a dream of a wonderful Philippines which captures the emblem of a Philippines Reborn!® or a Whole New Philippines!
Pessimists and realist will certainly counter the future scenarios here. But what if we pause for a while, imagine and dream, and immersing ourselves in the movie-inspired Inception. But with a great twist that tomorrow will be the greatest generation for the Filipinos! Hold on to our dreams of a better Philippines :-)