Why business as usual will prevail in the Philippines

5 May 2022 12:13 PM


The explanations for Marcos and Duterte’s impending victory lie mostly in the country’s economic, social and political divisions.

On 9 May, if present trends continue, the people of the Philippines will elect as their president and vice president the son of a discredited dictator and the daughter of a man being investigated for crimes against humanity. Opinion polls suggest the presidency will be won by Ferdinand Marcos Jr, better known as ‘Bongbong’, and the vice-presidency by Sara Duterte.

Bongbong’s father was Ferdinand Marcos Sr, who was elected president in 1965 and imposed martial law in 1972 before being deposed by a ‘people power’ revolution in 1986. During those two decades his family amassed billions of dollars in private wealth, oversaw the killing and disappearance of thousands of political opponents and created a debt-fuelled economic boom which ended in a major recession.

Sara Duterte’s father, President Rodrigo Duterte, has ruled the Philippines for the past six years during which he oversaw a ‘war on drugs’ that resulted in the killing of between six thousand and thirty thousand people and polarized the country’s politics.

Despite these warning signs, the two appear to be heading for electoral victory. The explanations lie partly in the Philippines’ electoral system but, more importantly, in the country’s economic, social and political divisions.

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