As the partial and unofficial counts from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) continue to come out since the night of election day, Filipinos have been glued to the news to keep vigil and see the results of the most consequential elections in the Philippines. But it’s not only Filipinos — the whole world is watching, too.
Why should we care about how the international community perceives us? For one thing, our world is becoming more and more globalized, and much of our livelihoods are tied to our relationship with the global community. The Philippines is one of the largest exporters of labor power, with 10% of our population working overseas. Our country’s GDP (gross domestic product) relies largely on foreign investments, including but not limited to our large industry of business process outsourcing (BPO) companies.
We may already be seeing this election’s impact on foreign investments. After the poll results started coming in, multinational investment bank J.P. Morgan Chase dropped the Philippines to the bottom of the ASEAN investment preference list.
So if our image among the international community changes — whether for better or worse — it would cause a huge impact on Filipinos, especially those who are most vulnerable. That’s why it’s important to understand just how the international community is looking at the Philippines. Here are the reports of some international media on the Philippines’ Election 2022:
US-based CNN International describes Marcos Jr. as a “dictator’s son,” with the article post’s comment section being flooded with calls to use his name and not label his father a dictator.
“Marcos Jr tied his campaign to his father’s legacy, with his slogan ‘rise again’ tapping into the nostalgia of some who saw the period under Marcos Sr as a golden era for the country,” the CNN article reads. “The Marcos family has repeatedly denied abuses under martial law and using state funds for their personal use. Campaigners say the Marcoses were never held fully accountable and victims of martial law are still fighting for justice.”
The UK’s BBC News compares Marcos Jr. with incumbent president Rodrigo Duterte, saying that both positioned themselves “as the candidate for change . . . promising happiness and unity to a country weary of the years of political polarisation and pandemic hardship and hungry for a better story.”
“There was a social media campaign to rebrand the old Marcos era, not as the period of martial law with its terrible human rights abuses, corruption and near-economic collapse, but as a golden age of crime-free prosperity,” BBC’s analysis read. “This began at least a decade ago, with hundreds of deceptively-edited videos being uploaded to YouTube, which were then reposted on sympathetic Facebook pages.”’
The Washington Post
In reporting the lead of Marcos Jr. in the partial and unofficial count, The Washington Post describes voters’ struggles with the voting machines and quotes several voters about their thoughts on the leading candidate. “‘From what I know, he was already rich,’” one said, while another echoed a theory that Marcos Jr’s father was paid in gold before.
“The Marcos-Duterte tandem is a political marriage of two of the most powerful dynasties in the country,” the article read.
William Pesek, a columnist for Nikkei Asia, wrote in an op-ed that Marcos’ win is “less a return to the past than a chilling escalation of the pivot from investment darling to a cautionary tale”. Later on in the article, he said that he hopes to be proven wrong, but that investors should take a look at how Marcos fills his cabinet. “Will he pick blind loyalists and family members or skilled policymakers?”
— TIME (@TIME) May 10, 2022
TIME draws attention to the possible repercussions the world may face in the aftermath of the Philippine elections. “Their restoration presents a democratic—indeed existential—crisis for the Philippines,” TIME reports.
“A Marcos Jr. win would complete his once-disgraced family’s resurrection arc.” But the article also notes that this “resurrection” should not be surprising if one traces the efforts of the Marcos family over the decades since they’ve been back in the country.
The New York Times
The New York Times reports how Marcos Jr. has taken the lead in the elections: “Mr. Marcos, 64, won the support of millions of voters who have grown disillusioned with their country’s brand of democracy and its failure to address the basic needs of its citizens. Poverty is widespread, inequality has widened and corruption remains rampant.”
In German broadsheet Bild Deutschland, the Philippine elections is described in a headline as “the return of the most greedy dynasty,” accompanied by a photo of a younger Marcos Jr.
The Standard (Hong Kong)
There’s no sugarcoating this. Kulang na lang sabihin nilang ang bobo ng mga Pilipino. pic.twitter.com/MNyytp8yH8
— Gerry Cacanindin (@GerryCacanindin) April 2, 2022
In Hong Kong’s The Standard, the international community criticizes and condemns Filipinos for “fall[ing] for fake history.” It gave a brief rundown of the misinformation machinery at work against candidates.
“Since Marcos Jr’s narrow loss to Robredo in the 2016 vice presidential race pro-Marcos pages have pumped out misinformation about everything from electoral fraud and the family’s wealth to economic achievements during his father’s rule,” the article read.
“Members of the clan are often portrayed as victims in misleading posts claiming they receive unfair treatment from mainstream media,” which the article compares to similar claims by former US president Donald Trump.
What are your thoughts on these reactions about the Philippine Elections 2022 from foreign media outlets and the international community?