Vote for those who deliver
FILIPINO voters are not unique in their love of film stars and television personalities, nor in their tendency to allow regional loyalties to colour their view of national events. However, the people of the Philippines have paid a unique price for the poor quality of their politicians. The country sank into poverty as the rest of Asia was buoyed by affluence.
As Filipinos go to the polls today to choose senators, congressmen and local officials, they should set aside old loyalties and prejudices in favour of politicians who can deliver the goods and who can emulate the achievements of Subic Bay supremo Richard Gordon and the other architects of the national economic rescue mission being coordinated by President Fidel Ramos.
It is ironic that cynical politicians have been able to exploit the widespread bitterness over the execution of a domestic helper, Flor Contemplacion, in Singapore. Families suffering the heartbreak of separation from mothers and wives forced into contract work overseas are bitter at the arrogance of certain officials but electing opportunistic politicians will not help.
The Philippines must go through a period of economic restructuring. A successful market economy should reduce the country's dependence on income from overseas contract workers and limit the opportunities for bribery and corruption. Mr Ramos has made important advances in opening the country to investment. He deserves support - and congressional backing - in implementing his programme of reform.