Monday, October 25, 2010

Politics devolves into blood sport in Philippines

This is the type of wanton election violence that the Armed Forces of the Philippines is trying to end.  This particular massacre in Maguindanao happened in 2009 when a political rival of the then governor sent his wife, accompanied by dozens of reporters, to file his candidacy papers.  The convoy was stopped and all were murdered. 
The Washington Post reports on what is, unfortunately, a fact of life in the Philippines.  From the time I first went to Manila in 1991 there was talk in the local new media about the problem of the Three G's:  Guns, Goons and Gold.  Those problems pre-dated my arrival and successive government administrations have been unable or unwilling to solve the problem.

The Philippines is a vibrant democracy that is tainted by a strong oligarchical power structures who will use any means necessary to preserve the status quo.  No one is immune or exempt from this social/political system and the higher up an individual is on the social ladder the more necessary it is that they have political ties to protect their status.  In many ways the Philippines reflects America's own democratic development where, in the 1800s, oligarchs strongly influenced the direction of government to their own advantage and, as it did in America--remember that Philippine democracy only truly began in 1946--it will mature.  That comforting thought. however, does little to ameliorate the pain of those who are victims of election violence in the Philippines.  It is the efforts of men of good will, like the military officer highlighted in the accompanying article, that are to be lauded.  They fight an uphill battle but one that they are sure to win if only they persevere.  

Follow the link for more.

No comments: