The 2022 Philippines elections concluded on May 09, 2022 naming Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as the new President and Sarah Duterte as the Vice President, continuing the trend of dynasties, or political succession of people in power coming for the same family. What will be the reality of the Filipino people with the Marcos – Duterte tandem in power? While they are not their fathers, they continue to deny the societal realities of widespread poverty, rampant corruption and will continue to uphold the criminal actions of their families.

Seek the Truth and Persevere for Change

The Marcos dictatorship is riddled with brutal abuses and economic decline. Over thirty-five years after he was removed from power, there is still a widely held belief that Ferdinand Marcos Sr., the dictator who ruled the Philippines from 1965 to 1986, and his family actually improved the country. This myth continues to gain traction despite the fact that the Marcoses were some of the most greedy and corrupt families in human history, stealing billions of dollars from the Philippine state, while also engaging in a vast array of human rights abuses. So prevalent is the myth of the golden age of the Marcos dictatorship in social media, and even in the education system that does not teach the truth of the damaging effects of martial law, that led many to have voted Marcos Jr. for President.

The Philippines had absolute stagnation in the 1980s, which only highlights the damage which was inflicted on the country’s economy by Marcos, his family and political allies. The limited economic growth of the 1970s was obtained largely through massive borrowing. This ratcheted up the Philippine national debt and in turn contributed massively to the economic decline of the 1980s. By the time Ferdinand Marcos was removed from power, the country’s debt was enormous. In 1989 the Philippines ranked sixth highest in the list of indebted nations worldwide as presented in the World Bank’s debt tables.

The Duterte regime is known for over 30,000 human rights violations and murders brought about by his brutal war on drugs and the failed pandemic response. Almost two months after confirming the first COVID-19 case in the country, the Philippine government implemented the enhanced community quarantine, or ECQ, which restricted citizens movement and transportation, instead of enforcing actual public health measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. In addition, Filipino health workers are not just suffering in the field; they are also being targeted and killed for providing their services to the community in times of crisis. In the past two years, there has been little to no economic or emotional support for health workers despite growing calls among the people.

Challenge the integrity of the questionable 2022 Elections

The call for vigilance before, during, and after the elections to resist manipulation, disinformation, violence, and abuse of power has been taken up by the Filipino people in the Philippines and Overseas.

The integrity of the 2022 election is questionable. We denounce the lack of preparation and hold the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), Smartmatic, and F2 Logistics liable for widespread vote counting machine failures. These machine failures, along with irregularities such as people receiving their Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) ballots late and more 13,000 ballots being returned to their senders, make visible the attempt of disenfranchisement and have robbed our kababayan of the opportunity to contribute to the change they want to see. Let us continue to be vigilant and hold the new administration accountable to an effective response to the many crises we are facing.

Continue Finding Your Voice and Power

Though the 2022 elections illustrated the limitations of an electoral process influenced by those currently holding seats of power, we must remember that the true power capable of boundless change is and always will be in the hands of the Filipino people. The 2022 elections have been particularly unique because millions of Filipinos have been inspired to find their power and voice for hope & democracy. In Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, we saw an increase in active participation, passion, and perseverance for the aspirations of the Filipino people who have endured immeasurable hardship under the Marcos dictatorship and Duterte regime. The issues and hardship faced by the Filipino people will continue and so we must persevere in connecting the aspirations of a free and healthy society with involvement and mobilization for active change.