And so the unimaginable occurred — the results of the Philippines’ long-awaited 2022 presidential elections is that Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son of the previous dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., will turning into the nation’s seventeenth president, succeeding the controversial Rodrigo Duterte in June. Marcos Jr.’s victory in one of many Philippines’ most consequential elections for the reason that 1986 Folks Energy Revolution introduced again democracy to the nation after 21 years of Marcos Sr.’s rule — 14 of them below martial regulation — has alarmed individuals who lived via one of many darkest intervals in Philippine historical past.
After greater than three many years, nevertheless, the historic reminiscences which might have prevented the return of one other Marcos to energy have been misplaced to an assiduous and systematic revisionist marketing campaign efficiently orchestrated by the Marcos group, utilizing completely different social media platforms. The efforts, reported to be a decade within the making, led to an unprecedented landslide victory for Marcos with over his nemesis, Vice President Leni Robredo, and the opposite candidates.
As Ferdinand Marcos Jr. prepares to imagine workplace, what’s in retailer for the Philippines?
Political dynasties vs. Folks Energy 2.0
The 2022 presidential elections compelled the Filipinos to confront their checkered historic understanding of the Marcos martial regulation regime in early Eighties, recognized for its human rights abuses and corruption which bankrupted the nation and made the Philippines the “sick man of Asia.” The elections additionally noticed a replay of contests of political dynasties. On one aspect is Marcos Jr. and Vice President-elect Sara Duterte (daughter of the present president), and on the opposite is the reformist group led by Robredo. Throughout the 2016 elections, Robredo confronted off with Marcos Jr. within the contest for the vice presidency and received. Robredo represented the Liberal Social gathering of then-President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino Jr., son of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Sr., the archrival of Marcos Sr.
Aquino Sr. was assassinated in 1983 upon his return to the Philippines from exile in america. His demise triggered large demonstrations throughout the nation, led by his widow, Corazon “Cory” Aquino, and culminated within the Folks Energy Revolution that led to the ouster of Marcos Sr. in 1986, forcing the dictator and his household to stay in exile in Hawaii. Corazon Aquino was elected president the identical yr. Marcos Sr. died in 1989 and his household was allowed to return to the Philippines in 1992.
Since 1992, the Marcos household had made no secret of its plans to reclaim political energy and affect and reestablish the so-called Marcos “legacy.” Marcos Jr., was elected governor within the household’s bailiwick northern province of Ilocos Sur in 1992, turned a senator in 2010, and ran for the vice presidency in 2016 solely to lose to Robredo. Regardless of Marcos Jr.’s defeat, his vice-presidential bid was stated to be a dry run for a presidential marketing campaign in 2022. Having ready the groundwork a lot earlier, Marcos clearly had the benefit over Robredo and different opposition candidates. His strategic partnership with Sara Duterte as a working mate (although the positions are elected individually) allowed him to considerably strengthen his help base. In distinction, Robredo’s presidential bid got here late and was below resourced, relying extra on grassroot help and volunteerism. And whereas the Robredo marketing campaign could have captured the hearts and minds of tons of of hundreds of her supporters who got here in droves to her “pink” rallies organized by primarily younger individuals, drawing comparisons to the “yellow” Folks Energy rallies in 1986, it was dwarfed by the immensity and the attain of the Marcos-Duterte sources. With a head begin, large sources, and the strategic partnership with the Dutertes backed by a powerful political equipment, Marcos Jr.’s victory was not surprising. With a decisive mandate, Marcos Jr. is now set to reverse his household’s fortunes. He has promised to convey again the “good old days” of the outdated Marcos regime, which in line with his revisionist marketing campaign was affluent and secure.
How will Marcos govern
Aside from the darkish pall forged over Marcos Jr.’s presidency by his household’s historical past of repression, cronyism, and kleptocracy, a lot of the priority expressed not solely by the opposition but in addition significantly by sure quarters of the Philippines’ coverage group, have a lot to do with the dearth of readability of his platform. With the candidate having snubbed all presidential debates, many are left guessing how the Marcos administration goes to deal with the numerous challenges dealing with the Philippines. There are additionally fears that with Sara Duterte as vp, Marcos Jr. will defend his predecessor from investigations and potential prosecution for human rights violations and extrajudicial killings carried out throughout his “war on drugs” coverage.
To make sure, Marcos Jr.’s easy message of “unity” conveyed all through his marketing campaign has failed to stipulate any concrete insurance policies on how, for instance, he’s going to steer the nation into financial restoration after the devastating influence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Different urgent points — just like the rising meals disaster, compounded by the continued conflict in Ukraine; water and useful resource shortage; rising power calls for; and the pressing must marshal ample sources to deal with the multifaceted influence of local weather change on individuals’s security from extra frequent and extreme pure disasters — additionally want clear coverage path.
Philippine international coverage
It’s not solely the lack of understanding on Marcos Jr.’s plans for governing the nation that’s worrying. International coverage was principally absent from his marketing campaign. This lacuna is especially regarding given the essential points affecting the nation’s safety and its relations with america, China, and its Affiliation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) neighbors.
Considered one of these points is the way forward for the West Philippines Sea, the official designation by the federal government of the Philippines of the components of the South China Sea which might be included within the nation’s unique financial zone, and China’s refusal to respect the arbitral ruling that offers Philippine sovereignty over this disputed territory. The outgoing Duterte administration has taken a non-confrontational method towards China and to a sure extent adopted an virtually fatalistic angle on the West Philippine Sea challenge, selecting as a substitute to lean extra on Beijing’s promise of extra commerce and investments to the nation. Marcos Jr. is reported to wish to proceed with Duterte’s pleasant coverage towards China, and has declared that the nation ought to “engage with China” to the fullest, whereas cautious on the identical time to not get drawn into U.S.-China competitors.
This brings to query how Marcos Jr. would take care of the U.S. and the way forward for the U.S.-Philippine alliance. Throughout the outdated Marcos regime, the army partnership remained resilient regardless of vocal U.S. opposition to martial regulation, even after the assassination of Aquino Sr. Though the strategic setting has considerably modified for the reason that Eighties, one would count on extra continuity than change in U.S.-Philippines relations. And in contrast to President Duterte who had borne a private grudge towards the U.S. and was vocal about it, Marcos Jr. has no recognized baggage. Given Marcos Jr.’s “cosmopolitan” background, he would maybe be much less insular and extra inclined to pursue nearer relations with the U.S. whereas adopting a balanced place in coping with the U.S.-China rivalry. Furthermore, most Filipinos have a extra favorable view of the U.S. than China. Given the form of transnational financial and safety challenges dealing with the Philippines, one would additionally wish to see whether or not and the way the Marcos administration will help multilateralism each regionally and globally.
Whereas the Philippines’ ASEAN neighbors could also be too preoccupied with their very own issues, significantly as they emerge from the brunt of the pandemic, it might be attention-grabbing to see how they may have interaction with the brand new Philippine administration. That Marcos Jr. was democratically elected no matter his political baggage is a welcome growth for ASEAN, significantly when stacked towards the continued disaster in Myanmar. With pronouncements of returning the Philippines to its “past glory” as a number one nation in Southeast Asia, Marcos Jr. could wish to be seen as being extra current than Duterte in ASEAN conferences and add his nation’s voice to regional and world points. A lot of Marcos Jr.’s international coverage choices may also rely upon who he brings into his cupboard, significantly within the international coverage and protection portfolios.
As Marcos Jr. takes over the presidency in June 2022, many questions stay. Will he present a greater life for Filipinos and unite a polarized nation? Can he allay rising fears in regards to the return of dictatorship, and assure that human rights shall be protected and democracy will prevail? Will he make sure that the nation’s sovereignty and nationwide pursuits won’t be compromised vis-à-vis worries of Chinese language aggression? Can he restore confidence and guarantee the nation’s exterior companions, significantly the U.S. and Japan, of the Philippines’ dedication to a rules-based worldwide order? With many extra questions to return, time will inform if Marcos Jr. will rise to the event.