Asian Dragon Magazine gave five presidential candidates 20 questions, sounding them out on hot button issues such as investments, a business-friendly environment, poverty, climate change, education, the South China Sea and Muslim Mindanao, food security, and state corruption. Readers should get a good idea of the candidates’ priorities and direction. It’s you who would have to discern whether the questions were really answered by the candidates themselves, or by their spin doctors.
Look out for motherhood statements that do not get down to specifics. For instance, if a presidential candidate promises free college education, how would this be operationalized considering the high cost of tuition? Does the candidate have any idea how much this promise would dent the budget?
After looking at the answers of the candidates, the task of the reader is far from done. The answers have to be compared to the reality on the ground. Part of that reality is discerning the following:
• Who are the members of the candidate’s inner circle (because they will probably be appointed to the Cabinet)?
• Who are the political allies of the candidate (because they will have access to the presidential palace, will have the president’s ear, and will likely influence decisions and policies)?
• In connection with the above, readers also have to find out who are the businessmen openly and secretly supporting the candidate (because they will likely be “thanked” by the candidate in various ways, and if the reader happens to be a business rival, that will not bode well for the latter’s business).
• Just as importantly, find out the attitudes of the candidate’s spouse and children of voting age (because their opinions matter to the candidate).
Those who read the candidates’ answers must in turn ask themselves two questions. First, which candidate gave the most number of answers that would be good for the reader’s own business interests? And second, which candidate gave the most number of answers that would be good for the future of the reader’s children and grandchildren?
Sometimes, personal business interests are incompatible with the interests of the next generation. For instance, question number 18 asks: What is your stand on foreign ownership of property and business?
If a candidate vaguely states that he or she is for allowing foreign investors to own personal and other kinds of property in order to attract foreign investments, that could, in the medium term, translate to a property boom (which those in the realty sector would welcome). However, in the long run, that could prejudice the future generation of Filipinos who would find it more difficult to afford their own homes, since property rates would skyrocket because realty firms would be catering more to the foreign market than to the local market.
Finally, the reader has to sit down with a pad paper, tablet, or computer and note down what he or she thinks are the pros and cons of each of the five candidates. What does the reader like and dislike about each one? Whom is the reader prepared to see at the helm, looking out for the country, in the next six years?
The next six years will inevitably be a “crisis presidency” because of what is happening in the South China Sea, in the global economy, and internally. Who does the reader think can withstand all that pressure, has a deep understanding of what is happening, and will respond to and anticipate crisis? Which candidate has a solid team that can back up the candidate from Day One?
If the reader has done the necessary analysis, then all that remains is to trust his or her own instinct. Sleep on the analysis, and a name will float to the top of your head. And that is the name to be checked on the ballot come election day. If you up with two names, well, analyze some more, this time comparing only the two. See who has the edge.
Sit down with a pad paper, tablet, or computer, note down the pros and cons of each of the five candidates, and ask yourself: Who am I prepared to see at the helm? Who will do right by the country?
Read the profiles of the five presidentiables and our comprehensive Q&A with them inside Asian Dragon Magazine’s April-May 2016 issue, available in all leading bookstores and convenience stores nationwide. You can also purchase the issue from the Asian Dragon Magazine App, free to download on Google Play Store, iTunes, and Amazon. For orders and other inquiries, contact tel. nos. 361-7491 loc. 811, 845, 846.
[Cover art by Dessa Reyes]