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What do Filipinos want from candidates in May 2022?

What do Filipinos want from candidates in May 2022?“Voters want candidates who are clean and untainted by corruption, and they do want clear answers to the nation’s problems.”

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In a previous column, we wrote about the criteria followed by the opposition coalition 1Sambayan in choosing their candidates for president, vice-president, and senators. These criteria were: (1) integrity; (2) competence; (3) track record (4) patriotism; (5) vision for the country; and (6) winnability. After months of deliberations, they finally chose Vice President Leni Robredo as their presidential candidate and Sen. Kiko Pangilinan as her running mate.

1Sambayan took the right step in coming up with a set of criteria for opposition candidates. (If you ask me, I would have added another criterion: a genuine commitment to democracy, but that’s just me.)

In making public the criteria they used to select the most capable among probable candidates, they also gave voters a set of standards by which they can assess the qualifications of candidates.

The other political parties/coalitions, as far as we know, did not come out, at least in public, with such a clear set of criteria.

The first tandem to announce their candidacy, Lacson-Sotto, did not explain in detail what made them decide to run for the two highest elective positions, or what they wanted to do if elected. But their campaign slogan in posters that we’ve seen recently—”Aayusin ang gobyerno”— suggests a strong stand against corruption.

The Duterte-Cusi wing of PDP-Laban initially came up with the tandem of  Bong Go as presidential bet and Rodrigo Duterte as vice president. Later, the party changed its mind and came up with Ronald de la Rosa for president and Bong Go as VP, with a platform of “continuity” of Digong’s policies. If elected, Bato said he would continue the bloody  war on drugs. Hmm.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Willie Ong then announced their candidacy, but also did not come out with a comprehensive platform of governance.

The fourth tandem of Manny Pacquiao and Lito Atienza, as far as I could gather, want to focus their attention on fighting corruption and poverty.

Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Kiko Pangilinan have vowed to restore democracy after six years of the authoritarian Duterte regime.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., has not spelled out what he wants to do if elected, but apparently wants to woo voters on the strength of what he claims to be his father’s accomplishments in his long years in office.

But what do ordinary Filipinos expect from their candidates?

We can take the June 7-16, 2021 Pulse Asia survey as indicative of what Filipinos consider the most important traits or characteristics national candidates should possess. The majority said they look at integrity first and foremost. Other traits they consider important are a concern for the poor/pro-poor (48 percent); not corrupt (47 percent); trustworthy and honest (37 percent); has a good platform and can offer solutions to the nation’s problems (32 percent); fights anomalies in the government (25 percent), untarnished name and reputation (22 percent), and fulfills promises (21 percent).

But what are the issues that Filipinos want candidates to address once they’re elected?

We can also take the Sept. 6-11, 2021 Pulse Asia survey on “most urgent national concerns” as reflective of their sentiments.

According to respondents, these are: controlling inflation (41 percent); increasing the pay of workers (40 percent); controlling the spread of COVID-19 (29 percent), reducing the poverty of many Filipinos (29 percent), fighting graft and corruption in government (26 percent), and creating more jobs (25 percent).

In the June 2021 Social Weather Stations survey, the top three issues Filipinos considered important were providing jobs (56 percent), controlling the prices of basic services and commodities (54 percent), and eradicating graft and corruption in government (43 percent).

Reflective as well of how Filipinos view the Duterte administration’s performance in office at this point is the September 2021 survey that showed significant declines in a broad range of issues by an average of 24 percent: controlling inflation; fighting graft and corruption in government; controlling the spread of COVID-19; increasing the pay of workers; reducing the poverty of many Filipinos; creating jobs; and providing assistance/subsidy to those who lost their livelihood and jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Respondents in the June and September 2021 surveys also considered the West Philippine Sea issue as important: 14 percent believe it is one of the national issues that needs to be addressed by national candidates, while 22 percent said candidates should offer clear solutions to the problem. Sixteen percent of respondents said they found the Duterte administration’s performance in addressing this issue in 2020 as less than satisfactory.

The survey results point to one thing: Voters want candidates who are clean and untainted by corruption, and they do want clear answers to the nation’s problems. Beyond this, they want to elect leaders whom they can  trust to get things done—for the better, not for worse.

Email: ernhil@yahoo.com

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