Election fever heats up
INTROSPECTIVE - Tony Katigbak (The Philippine Star) - December 29, 2015 - 9:00am

As the holidays near their end, it’s time we start to focus on the presidential candidates who will lead our country for the next six years after the May elections. We’ve all had extensive discussions over this undoubtedly and as we’ve come to see on social media, many of these discussions have become heated as we push for the candidate we feel would be the best choice to run the Philippines. I think it’s come to a point that we are all longing for a change and we look forward to the elections with almost fevered anticipation.

While many of our voters are educated and should vote wisely enough, my biggest fear is that, in the end, monetary gains will still prevail, especially in provinces where several of our countrymen remain poor. After all, who can blame them? We may admonish them to vote wisely and do what’s best for the country, but at the end of the day, they will also do what is best for the moment and if a candidate gives them money that can put food on their table, then why wouldn’t they give them their vote? That is the grim reality for many of our registered voters in the Philippines.

It’s a sad truth, but money talks – loudly. After all, a large portion of our population are still in desperate need despite the government loudly and proudly proclaiming that the Philippines is the leading nation in Southeast Asia in economic growth because of the “Daang Matuwid” of the Aquino administration. While there might have been economic growth, I know as well as most of the people in the country that this growth did not have a “trickle down” effect to the poor and that many of them hardly felt it. I think it’s important that we address the fact that while the country did experience growth, the larger percent of the population did not.

Overall, I truly do think it’s time for a change. The current setup in the government feels like it has run its course and is barely holding on until the new set of leaders take over. A good metaphor to describe these last few months feels almost like too little butter spread over too much bread. Like so many things are going by unnoticed and that nothing is really being done.

In a previous piece, I wrote I firmly believe that a “Ro-Ro” (Roxas-Robredo) combination is the best choice. I still believe this now and I am set to vote for them in the coming May elections despite their current low rating in SWS and Pulse Asia. After all, as we have seen in the past few weeks, ratings can easily change. We all have to do what we think is best for the country. That is the beauty of democracy. I believe this tandem can achieve great things for the Philippines.

So as the year draws to a close, and what a quick year it was, I look back at what has passed with thankfulness and look ahead with hope. Allow me to paraphrase what I wrote once before, “So as we begin 2016, let us do so filled with hope and a lasting peace in our hearts, entering this next chapter with deep optimism.” With that in mind, please allow me to wish you a very meaningful and blessed New Year with all of your loved ones. May the coming year bring you everything you pray for and more.

* * *

I wish to congratulate my good friend and distinguished member of our weekly Tuesday Club at the Edsa Shangri-la, BSP Governor Amando ‘Say’ Tetangco Jr. As 2016 opens, our first meeting for Tuesday Club happens on Jan. 5 and we could not ask for a better guest to honor and to open the New Year on a high note than Say who has consistently remained on the list of the world’s top central bankers.

Just last August he was cited by the New York based magazine Global Finance as one of the world’s top central bankers for the seventh time. He earned a prestigious grade of “A” on Global Finance’s Central Banker report cards together with eight other heads of central banks worldwide. This is the fifth year in a row since 2011 that he has received this honor, having also received an “A” in 2006 and 2007. He is also the first central bank governor to serve the BSP in two consecutive terms after having been appointed by Aquino in 2011.

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