… It’s often said that Filipinos habitually elect bad leaders because of our short memories of the past. But as temperatures and sea levels rise, resources grow more scarce and population increases, the effects of corruption and irresponsible planning promise a difficult future. It seems unlikely that our present politicians can lead us against such inevitabilities.
When the news cycle moves on from Haiyan and returns to the Senate investigation, the spotlight will again fall on familiar faces: Senator Juan Ponce Enrile was once the lap-bulldog of dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Senator Jinggoy Estrada is the son of former president Joseph Estrada, who was ousted and convicted of plunder. Senator Bong Revilla, a popular actor, is the son of a former senator and movie legend. They, along with dozens of other politicians and officials, must now answer to accusations that they plundered public funds earmarked for reconstruction and development.
Alas, for Filipinos, this is an old, familiar story. Just as deadly typhoons are an annual reality.
To the international community, I urge you to donate what you can through reputable channels. And to the millions of Filipinos at home and abroad, let’s use this tragedy as a reminder to take our leaders to task. What’s at stake is nothing less than our future.