The Noted One made the following remark in a comment in his article The platform problem apparently in response to understandably adamant challenges to politicians to shut up and cough up a proper platform that is actually useful for the purposes of real debate:
it would be interesting to see platforms in other asian countries or in other countries. a fairer comparison is between actual political platforms. and then how the platforms are implemented once in office. in a previous entry i showed how the 1935 platform was fleshed out if you look at the 1936, 1937 and 1938 sonas. a similar process can be seen with the admin platform of 2004 and subsequent sonas.
Oh Noted One: Why do we need to rely on precedents or “models” for us to appreciate what real platforms can do for us? Our implementation of American-style “democracy” was itself a massive implementation of a foreign model — one that was seen to have a successful precedent. And yet it failed miserably in its implementation in the Philippines.
We keep lamenting the Filipino’s lack of the courage to be truly original. Well, folks, here is the opportunity staring us in the face. What is being proposed here (google this: Platform Plez!) is quite straightforward. Voters should demand a detailed platform from their candidates, and candidates should deliver one that (1) describes their position on relevant matters in categorical terms and (2) describes clearly what the Philippines of 2016 that they envision would look like. Voters should then use that platform as a baseline for evaluating the person who wins the election over the length of his/her term. A simple three-step concept that can be addressed by a document that can be developed in four simple steps.
If there is no precedent elsewhere, then that’s Da Pinoy’s chance to show how original he truly could be and that he has the courage to be original. There’s nothing like the real deal to separate the men from the boys. No amount of “heroes” will change the perception of Pinoys as no more than a bunch of flaccid mongrels. That’s because we focus on the wrong thing. There is a big target staring us in the face — step up and take our politicians to account using the right information for the job. Are we gonna at least try to aim for it? Or do we prefer to continue muddling along in mediocrity for the next 20 years again?
It is glaringly obvious that Filipino politicians don’t want to get too specific about what they believe in (if indeed they actually believe in anything other than their bank accounts). It’s because belief in something is necessarily premised on the existence of an ability, a will, and the courage in the belief-holder to stand up to challenges to said belief.
I see now why no real debates ever happen in recent Philippine elections.
If the Law does not require presidential candidates to engage in a face-to-face debate, then fair enough. We can’t force them. They can even simply not show up at private initiatives to organise them. And Noted Bloggers can keep coming up with their justifications as to why such challenges are pointless and use lack of precedents and “models” to highlight the more popularly-held view that such challenges are silly.
But just because debates are not required by the Law, does not mean we should not have them. Indeed, politicians worth their salt (because they believe in something) would likely even encourage them and look forward to slugging it out in one. If these politicians truly believe in something they plan to implement as President, one would expect that they’d be rarin’ to expound upon that something given every opportunity. That answers the question of why presidential debates do not happen in the Philippines. Filipino politicians simply are not up to it. Even more disturbing, voters don’t seem to care.
What a country. And one that presumes to call itself a “democracy”!
We have politicians aspiring to be president whose knees tremble at the thought of participating in a debate on the issues, and voters who don’t care that no such debates may ever transpire in a Philippine election. And we wonder why our country sucks. It’s because we — the Filipino people — think nothing of voting babakla-bakla (roughly translated: “limpdick”) politicians into office.
Let us stop treating our politicians like princes and princesses. In a modern democracy, government officials are public servants. They should be regarded as such and their proposed services closely scrutinised. Each one’s all-too-familiar tagline is that he or she is supposedly more ballsy than the other. Well, prove it then Mr/Ms. Politician. Show us a detailed plan of how you see yourself bringing the Philippines a few steps forward between 2010 and 2016. Show us you have the courage not only to make truly bold visions but to actually articulate these visions clearly. Doing even just those two things proves (1) you truly got balls, and (2) you really got the smarts. You’ll need a lot of both to lead the sort of people Filipinos have proven to be over the last 100 years — a bunch of cud-chewing cows that need kicks in the ass to get moving, yet once moved can be ushered into a slaughterhouse without the slightest hint of a questioning glance from them.