MANILA: Nearly 70 million Filipinos headed to polling centres on Monday (May 9) to elect the next president of the Philippines, hoping their pick will turn around a country battered by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years.
The fight for the presidency was centred between Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, the son and namesake of the late Filipino dictator, and Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, a human rights lawyer and economist.
On Wednesday, Marcos Jr claimed victory, after partial unofficial counts covering 98 percent of the votes showed he had obtained 31 million votes, double that of Robredo. Sara Duterte-Carpio, President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter and Marcos Jr’s vice presidential running mate, has also been reported to have won over three times more voters than that of her closest opponent.
Marcos Jr and Duterte-Carpio, who hail from the north and south of the country respectively, are now a few steps away from the doors of the Palace, with an official result expected at the end of May. But can they shake off the baggage of their family names?
VOTERS SEEM UNCONCERNED ABOUT PAST ISSUES IN MARCOS RULE
It seems voters, mostly from younger generations, were simply not interested in the issues that hounded the Marcos family – the corruption, human rights violations, and killings blamed against the family. In the past, the Marcos family added to the general hardship of Filipinos by plundering billions of dollars from state coffers
Disillusioned by unfulfilled promises from the Duterte administration to lower costs of living, end labour contractualisation and clean up corruption, they believe Marcos Jr could deliver change.
Support for Marcos Jr’s is phenomenal, doubling the number of votes of his highly popular predecessor. A big reason could ironically be the fervour of the 1986 revolution when thousands of people had gathered along the EDSA highway in Manila to drive the elder Marcos from office, overturning 14 years of martial law. Nothing has brought Filipinos together like that historic event ever since.
Marcos’ campaign, focused on unifying the country and bringing it back to the global stage must have resonated. His message of “look at us, we have been severely affected by the pandemic but will get back on our feet” was something many Filipinos were eager to get behind.