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Friday, February 22, 2013
THE campaign season has began for candidates for the Philippine Senate and, as usual, we are gettin the usual doses of drama and entertainment.
While there are senatoriables addressing serious issues, others are simply relying on their familial relations with incumbents or perceived name recall.
As the elections draw nearer, local candidates will join the fray and expectedly there will be much mudslinging, character assassination and, sadly, violence.
Election is the exercise of democracy. It is a cycle that gives losers a chance to regain power and provide incumbents opportunity to further extend their hold on power (and public funds). How important is politics to the development of a nation, or to raising the living standard of the people?
While in the past politics controlled the destiny of a nation and its people, the present and the future show the diminishing power of politicians, as private and commercial institutions have financial resources that encompass those of national governments.
It is no secret that people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have more cash under their control, while most governments thrive on borrowing to keep public services operational. Governments are slow to adapt to changes because politicians fight over who gets the credit for solutions to problems that besiege their countries.
When people thought that the European Union (EU) would create the mightiest economies in the world, it has become nearly inutile, as politicians in member-countries play a cat-and-mouse game with the Union and with their own people. It takes a long time to get decisions made, and by the time these are implemented, great damage has been done.
In the corporate world, decisions are made promptly by a closely knit board of directors. When a chief executive officer or president fails to deliver, all that is required is a vote of no confidence from the board. So when a company bleeds from losses, a new management team can be put in place to address the situation.
That is why governments now have come to rely on the more efficient private sector to build public infrastructure, operate public utilities and even manage prisons. Local governments now subcontract garbage collection, road maintenance and other services. This trend only proves that governments failed in doing what they are supposed to do.
So what good are elections? In a few instances, ideal persons are voted into office, but in most instances the names change, but the corrupt and inefficient systems remain.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 23, 2013.