PHILIPPINE SITUATIONER: On November 25, 2015 a symposium featuring Ms. Solita Monsod as guest speaker, was held at the PCJ parish church. The affair was under the sponsorship of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and entitled “Ang Tamang Panahon – Philippine Situationer”.

The mandate of the PPCRV is to assist the COMELEC in ensuring a Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful (CHAMP) elections. In order to have meaningful elections, it is essential for the voters to make an informed decision; but in order to make an informed decision, it is necessary for the voter to be aware of the issues involved, the qualifications of the candidates and ultimately, who among the candidates is best qualified for the job they aspire for. This explains why the PPCRV readily embraced the suggestion of Fr. Rodel Paulino to have a seminar to expose and educate voters on the various relevant issues.

Ms. Monsod graduated cum laude with a degree in Economics from the University of the Philippines School of Economics. It was at the Wharton School of Business in the University of Pennsylvannia where she received her Masters Degree in Economics. She worked as a professor at the University of the Philippines School of Economics and in 2010 was named Professor Emeritus. Ms. Monsod also served as Director General of the National Economic Development Council (NEDA) from 1986 to 1989 under the presidency of Corazon C. Aquno.

In her talk, Ms. Monsod discussed extensively the adverse effects of graft and corruption on the economy. She cited facts and figures from various UN studies showing the direct correlation of graft to GDP or Gross Domestic Product. The UN studies are very persuasive in illustrating that where graft and corruption is pervasive, the reduction in GDP is equally pervasive. According to her, the GDP of the Philippines has improved in recent years because of less graft.

Ms Monsod did not limit her discussion to economics and did not hesitate to answer questions on the qualifications of candidates. She emphasized that over the years, a lot of Filipinos voted for candidates for the wrong reasons. This leads to her current advocacy, the Movement for Good Governance (MGG), which deals primarily with the proposition – How to choose candidates correctly. Stated differently, how to separate the chaff from the grain. Essentially, it requires voters to study carefully the candidates’ bios and their track record on certain issues and match these with the answers to questions pertaining to the candidate’s integrity and competence.

She mentioned that there are three (3) characteristics of a candidate to be examined before a vote is cast for him or her. These are KARAKTER, KAKAYAHAN AND KATAPATAN. To determine whether a candidate possesses any of the desired characteristics, the voter must examine each candidate and ask relevant questions.

For KARAKTER, voters need to ask about the candidate’s lifestyle and if they are good examples. On KAKAYAHAN, the questions focus on their ability to serve particularly the poor and if their platform for governance is relevant to the nation’s issues. Lastly, KATAPATAN asks people if they can trust the candidate and their supporters in terms of honest living, being law-abiding, making good on campaign promises, and if they are members of political dynasties.

The talk is part of PPCRV’s desire to educate voters which will hopefully result in meaningful elections.  PPCRV is now in the process of completing its teaching modules and will begin cascading its ONE GOOD VOTE (OGV) campaign early next year.

 

-Bobby del Castillo