Magdalo, Marcos and Metro Manila

Analysis and Opinion

By Irineo B. R. Salazar

Social media reports of a Magdalo poll putting BongbongMarcos in the lead as the next President are making the rounds and have shocked many. Jozy Acosta-Nisperos brings the Luzon belt (Region 3+4 and NCR) into play which makes sense – and BTW does not doubt the veracity of the poll which Magdalo has, as far as I can Google, neither confirmed nor denied. Her bringing in many details make me see her post as credible. It also corresponds to polls by institutes that have so far been believable. Even if this is a hard to swallow, let us look at the results and think that they might very well be true.

The Luzon Belt and Metro Manila

The Luzon belt is probably what is called the Lingayen-Lucena corridor by some statisticians, the core of Luzon with 40% of all Philippine votes; fair enough as well, being without Region 1 (Ilocos) and Region 5 (Bicol). Ilocos is of course the mostly Solid North, and Bicol is strongly in favor of VP Leni. Looking at the results of the VP race in 2016, VP Leni was strong in most of the Visayas and Bicol. Bongbong Marcos lost in Mindanao most probably because many remembered his father’s wars. Indeed he was strong in Metro Manila, which is where he seems to be strongest even nowadays.

Joe in a tweet said that “all that Manila traffic has driven city dwellers nuts”, which in a way is true, one might add air pollution, sleep deprivation and urban stress. Or maybe like in the upcoming Netflix thriller Trese, Manila is not only inhabited by real people, but by mythical gods and creatures?What I find more shocking is that the good work of VP Leni seems hardly noticed considering her low numbers, is the Philippines truly such a senyorito culture that rejects honestwork in favor of drama? Marcos though could be a certainnostalgia of some for what they think were the “good old days”.

“Good old days”

Nice, airbrushed photos show Metro Manila of the Marcos era as clean and spacious. Well, a lot of us who grew up as teens in that era laughed about how these photos weren’t exactly reality. But I wonder how many of my generation – many are DDS, I am joyful at every single one who isn’t – have forgotten that. Nostalgia, psychologists now, tends to play tricks with our memories. Many people remember the “good old days” as they forget the bad things that happened. For me, having left the Philippines as a teen, those days are still very clearly in memory, and they weren’t all that good.

But sometimes I do feel the Borg implants itch, for instance when I hear the “Bagong Lipunan” song, which is based on a melody banned in Germany, the Horst-Wessel Song. Young Germans sitting outside in parks inspite of Covid sometimes make me feel “where has the DISCIPLINE gone”. But then again, Germans going for FUN and not just mainly hard work started in the 1990s, more democracy was accomplished the 1960s-70s, and dealing with a difficult past was the work of three generations. Whereas reactions to the alleged Magdalopoll show many Filipinos still dislike uncomfortable truths.

“City of Man”

Metro Manila Governor and Minister of Human Settlements Imelda Marcos called Manila “City of Man”. Help, what is happening to this blog, what strange virus is eating our brains, with Joe recently praising Locsin and criticizing yellow, and LCPL_X praising Inday Sara Duterte? Looking at opposing views pays off something Rizal did outlining his skepticism for elite reformism in the Noli and for premature revolution in the Fili – some still get him wrong there. Filipinos are at times too caught up in single-mindedness and miss on the strategic perspective of understanding different mindsets.

Aside from the propagandistic aspect of Imelda’s City of Man, there is the inhuman aspect also. In Trese Book 6 (High Tide at Midnight) “Madame” who is clearly Imelda tells Trese, looking at the pompous buildings across Roxas Boulevard, that pharaohs and kings also sacrificed people. Trese answers Madame that she is not a pharaoh or a king. A part of that Trese book is about urban poor who are victims of flooding (and sea monsters!) due to relocation and land reclamation. “Madame” is for all her beauty spookier than many of the supernatural beings that Alexandra Trese deals with.

Metro Manila Commission

But then again, the “good old days” of a Metro Manila where urban poor were hidden and “beautification projects” gave people a feeling of being in a great city may be a comfortable illusion, way easier than dealing with a city that has grown out of bounds and out of green space over decades and has its crime to deal with, its criminals not necessarily supernatural beings that someone like Alexandra Trese can easily spot, its drug addicts not “non-humans” like Duterte said. But unfortunately there is also a little good that people can use to bolster that too beautiful illusion.

Ismael Mathay was even in my book, and I am not a Marcos loyalist or even a sympathizer, no way, the efficient technocrat who ran the Metro Manila Commission. The big mistake of the post-Marcos era was to give too much power back to the component cities, castrate the MMC into the MMDA. Even though only partly executed as private bus companies were not disbanded, the state-owned Metro Manila Transit with its blue busses (its old depot was where SM North now is) wasgood, though it fell into a trap many government owned entities fall into – it was broke in the early 1980s.

Hitler and Autobahns

If one mentions as well that Marcos had what is now SLEX and NLEX built, one may mention that Quezon had what isnow EDSA built, or the EDSA flyovers and Skyways of the post-Marcos era. Marcos loyalists who mention his infrastructure are like some postwar Germans who proudly mentioned the Autobahns Hitler had built but ignored that in fact Cologne Mayor (and first postwar Chancellor) Konrad Adenauer had the first Autobahn in Germany built between Cologne and Bonn. It is a fascist myth that dictators get things done better. Democracy can be made to run efficiently.

The Balintawak exchange back in 1968

What if one was to point out not only that Metro Manila Transit eventually went broke, or that the much-vaunted BLISS social housing projects of Imelda were constructed with substandard materials? One reason why Marcos loyalists win the propaganda game is the silence of many a “yellow”, maybe. Another reason is possibly the non-confrontational aspect of Philippine culture. We don’t like to face people or make especially friends and family lose face, something I also must admit to as a failing. Teachers of course mention the failure of the post-Marcos era in educating people as another factor.

Of countries and their misery

History never repeats itself, but it rhymes, said Mark Twain. The French also went back and forth between different rulersand systems from 1789 to 1871: Kings, Republics and Two Napoleons. Not relevant to the Philippines? Clinton Palanca in 2017 wrote that a lot of Filipinos can be like the policeman Javert in the play “Les Miserables”, dyed-in-the-wool authoritarians who believe that “bad people don’t change”.Well, people with prejudices like that usually are too old to change, though those influenced by them can still be convinced, not simply brushed off as just being trolls or idiots.

Cuidado (careful) though:  the Spanish Carlista versus Liberal conflict, roughly traditionalists versus modernizers, took almost two centuries to resolve, ending when Franco died in 1975. And it took until very recently until Franco was exhumed. Spaniards can be quite single-minded too, charging at windmills like Don Quixote or having bulls charge at them, and yes they once were mostly religious. Some of the purists in the opposition still want to charge at windmills, while ignoring the bull that is charging at them right now and mightgore them, even worse the entire country, come May 2022.

Expectations and reality

The French had King Louis Philippe from 1830-1848, between two revolutions. Trying to please the more Republican Frenchmen of then by being a kind of “citizen king” failed as marvelously as PNoy’s telling Filipinos “kayo ang boss ko” (you are my boss). The French STILL expect a certain regal bearing from their Presidents until today. Germans usually still like patriarchs (or a matriarch like Merkel). Those who criticize giving VP Leni a matriarchal image – which she, seasoned by 5 years of struggle, fulfills more than ever – underestimate the staying power of cultural expectations over centuries.

Yet cultural expectations can also lead to spectacular failures. Frenchmen voted Napoleon’s nephew Louis-Napoleon as President back in 1848. He eventually called himself Emperor Napoleon III, yet he lacked the vigor of his uncle and ended up as a complete loser when he surrendered to Bismarck. Bongbong Marcos is older than his father was when he was ousted, and never really had the kind of vigor his father showed that impressed generations before. Those who wish to convince the unsure should try for instance to point out “his windmills” were built with ADB money where there is wind.

The 2022 Challenge

Back to the alleged poll: some Filipino liberals now even suspected Trillanes of being a closet loyalist, some said it must be from Faeldon or fake. Some loyalists considered the poll unbelievable coming from a “yellow”. But how far behind was VP Leni in the first polls for Vice-President in 2016? What changed that was her grassroots campaign AND a decision by major anti-Marcos groups for VP Leni, to prevent Bongbong. The present disarray and squabbling of the opposition makes it hard for her and I can understand her hesitation as of now. But I wonder if failure is an option, come May 2022.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 30 May 2021

54 Responses to “Magdalo, Marcos and Metro Manila”
  1. madlanglupa says:

    > The present disarray and squabbling of the opposition makes it hard for her and I can understand her hesitation as of now. But I wonder if failure is an option, come May 2022.

    They, the opposition across the spectrum, should consider the horror ahead of us — six more years of despair and horror under either a bullying daughter or an attention-seeking puppet, maybe even far worse and much longer than six years.

    It is time they have to craft something far more convincing, simpler and starker than desperately garish put-up artwork as the ones I have seen on Facebook — they should be asking the masses to whom they would place their votes as 2022 is more critical than ever.

    This is the elections which could either save us as a nation or mark the end of everything we fought hard for.

    However, how effective the opposition at grassroots would be is determined by, of course, candidates at the local level acting as “marketing” for the bigger national candidates, as right now such exploitative politicians — under either the HNP or PDP cloaks — are today at the apex of their absolute power as princelings… or as mob bosses (considering they also have their fingers into the underworld pie), so voters would be swayed so strongly by offers of money, food, perks, access to the inner circles, or (in the case of a certain overly powerful sect) salvation. The question is whether that preference have been affected by this pandemic and the parallel economic downturn. That some of the young, by this time, are so affected by defeatism that they desperately want to leave more than to save the country.

    Going back to the topic at hand, those loyalists of either despot then and today are so reliant on the edifice complex if only to bolster prestige of their masters, regarding such infrastructure as proof of supposedly growing national strength and pride, but strongly ignoring that more than half of the supposed projects promised in 2016 are stillborn by now.

    • Thanks. It is indeed a stark choice.

      You have also mentioned something I suspected but cannot of course prove – that many a local pol has underworld connections and for some on the edge it is kapit sa patalim.

      • madlanglupa says:

        Right now the twisted PDP has made a decision making the old man candidate for veep, in a bid to circumvent constitutional limitations, and at the same time shutting out a boxer and a strongman’s son; it’s now either that bully or that little mandarin.

        • Well, Inday Sara is also strong in the Luzon Belt, I quote from Jozy’s posting:

          “Former Senator Bongbong Marcos is now the leading choice for president of registered voters based on the latest Luzon-belt survey of the Magdalo group.

          In a face-to-face survey conducted last May 19-20, 2021, Marcos garnered 22 percent, followed by Sara Duterte, who got 18.9 percent..

          ..the survey covered only Luzon Belt areas, which include vote-rich Regions 3 and 4, Pangasinan, and the National Capital Region, and which comprise 40% of the voting population..

          ..Following Marcos and Duterte are: Grace Poe with 17.9 percent; Isko Moreno with 10.3 percent; Manny Pacquiao with 8.0 percent; Leni Robredo with 7.3 percent; Alan Peter Cayetano with 4.9 percent; Bong Go and Ping Lacson with 4.1 percent; and Cynthia Villar with 2.5 percent..”

          Bong Go is the very definition of dull and unsympathetic, I don’t think PDP will field him.

          The question is, who will 1sambayan choose to run for President in its approaching vote?

          • madlanglupa says:

            I sense that all that happened today is calculated to force the opposition to present their own champions. However, as a colleague had noted, this present “leadership” could have made full use of the six years of domination — legislature, judiciary, executive, the cabinet — to be able to set up a con-con/con-ass and change the Constitution to their own whims.

    • LCPL_X says:

      “some Filipino liberals now even suspected Trillanes of being a closet loyalist, some said it must be from Faeldon or fake. “

      This makes sense to me, Ireneo. Its like a moro-more play with him, IMHO. And that facebook comment I found on Trillanes, which karl said is akin to libel/slander seem to inform your blog now.

      Also the Carpio family connection for Inday Sara is just too coincidental. I know you’ve used the word incestuous or inbreeding to describe UP , and I know since the pool of political families there is so tiny, then this could just may all be coincidence.

      But I sense that the Dutertes are playing a much more nuanced game, and the yellows represented by madlanglupa’s views are just not up for it, still spouting the same stuff about conscience and human rights and stuff.

      Break out your books by Machiavelli and start out-manuevering them, Dutertes seem to be gunning for the Marcoses, not the Yellows (they’ve long been defeated unless Bam Aquino becomes Superman ).

      The Carpios and Trillanes are suspect to me. Like they are playing a role in this elaborate moro-moro play for public consumption. A Dick Gordon and Isko ticket, separate from 1Sambayan is probably your only hope. Throw in Teddy Boy in there, I’m sure Inday Sara will gravitate towards them. Call it Dick’s team.

      All 4 seem cut from the same stuff. IMHO. Study Gordon’s color scheme of jeepneys in Olongapo while the Americans were still there. Genius. You know where everyones coming and going, b4 cctv.

      • LCPL_X says:

        The only question really is who is for BSP adopting centralized crypto,

        And since this is MMT really, what’s their first order of business? If you play out this thought experiment , you’ll see everyones priorities. And whether they’ll follow China criminalizing de-centralized crypto, or be wise enough to have the two systems play out.

      • Hmm I think Gordon might be a spent force by now.

        Trillanes and Duterte have been seriously attacking each other for years now, including Calida (related to Marcoses) trying all his bag of tricks to jail Trillanes – and failing.

        Doesn’t look like moro-moro to me, nor does Carpio’s stand on the WPS look like something that would ever be negotiable for him, so I don’t quite see your scenario.

        • LCPL_X says:

          There’s no way to know either or, just probabilities I guess. Here’s a great article on this very matter,

          “A lot of times players just lose their minds,” Maletsky said.

          “There’s a guy here who last time we were together he was so mad he chucked a book at me,” said Haver. “When I saw that, I laughed, because ‘I win.’” For my part, I found it hard to laugh at rattling people to their emotional breaking point. As much as I was fascinated with this game, even the psychological elements of it, I was taken aback at how often players — even at the highest level — were pushed beyond their ability to think of it as just a game. Every single person I spoke with at Dixiecon told me the same thing, that to enjoy Diplomacy you need to leave all of that stuff on the board. After the 10th person told me, “We always go get a beer afterward,” I started to think it was less a practical maxim and more a personal mantra. It was a lot easier said than done.

          “This hobby has a real problem with player retention,” said Maletsky. “It’s easy to get new players into the game, but it’s hard to get them to come back.” Fans of role-playing games enjoy the social aspect but dislike the tactical elements. Eurogamers are interested in Diplomacy’s unique game mechanics but dislike the fact that there is player elimination and direct conflict with opponents. But for most people, the problem is always the same: Diplomacy is just too intense.

          Siobhan Nolen has tried to recruit other women to play the game, to no avail. “I don’t know that it caters itself to men, but it’s a very intimidating game.” Nolen once brought her best friend to an event. “Bless her heart she tried, but when we were finished she gave me a look and said, ‘Never again.’”

          Chris Martin won’t even let his own 14-year-old son play the game. “He could play against high school students, junior high school students, and he would be fine. I wouldn’t discourage him from playing a friendly game, a house game.” But in a tournament? No way. “In a tournament situation, you encounter people who care a lot more about winning than [about] the emotional fragility of the person they’re sitting across from.”


          How three shallow games make one deep game

          Our ambition to break down Diplomacy into its three sub-games of tactics, strategy and diplomacy hasn’t managed to reveal what differentiates it. Each sub-game is simple and offers little extra compared to games like Chess, ordinary war games and pure negotiation games. However, the fact that each sub-game is simple distills the diplomacy game experience to the one and only thing that really matters: TRUST.

          The tactical game prevents you from playing solitaire while the strategic game encourages you to cooperate. Since both those games are deterministic, you can predict the exact outcome of a certain set of moves. You won’t be distracted by die probabilities and you can’t blame bad luck. If you lose a battle, you can only blame the human factor. If you lose the war, you lose it because others were more trustworthy than you. Thus, the diplomatic game is not about conferring HOW to attack, it is about gaining and building trust so that the answer to the question of WHOM to attack will be another player.

          This is further strengthened by the simultaneous order resolution. You can’t wait for your partner to reveal his or her intentions first, you have to reveal them at the same time. Do you trust your partner enough to turn your back? And if you didn’t, how can you regain your partner’s trust? The diplomatic game in the corridors may be full of lies and deceptions but the tactical and the strategic game on the map will always tell the truth.

          Or will it? The map serves as a focal point around which the diplomatic revolves. Not only do you have to win the diplomatic battles before the order resolution but also afterwards. How should a certain order be interpreted? Did Italy really stab Austria or are they preparing the previously mentioned Lepanto? Was the Kaiser lucky to find the only combination of orders that saved the Reich or is there a traitor in your alliance? You have to make sure that your interpretation becomes the accepted one. A military victory is worth nothing if it’s accompanied by a loss of trust. Unless, of course, you follow the golden rule of Diplomacy to stab only when your victim can’t retaliate.

      • madlanglupa says:

        So easy to say they should go on the offensive like Binay did, but then to go down to their level would only them, the opposition, is to plunge into further moral dilemma.

  2. MLQ3 told me on Twitter that he can’t see the musical connection between Bagong Lipunan and the Horst-Wessel-Lied. I can’t confirm or deny it as the latter is banned in Germany and I will not even try to circumvent that block. Someone once told me it sounded similar and I didn’t recheck that, well OK. BUT BL was indeed composed by a Japanese occupation era composer, definitely a fascist tune which I heard too often and wish I could forget.



    Many talk about 2022 as if that would be the end of all our country’s woes. As if salvation is assured by one election. Or worse, as if to say, it’s our turn, losers.

    Halalan2022 is a popular hashtag used to warn the present admin to get its act together or else…

    I’m sorry, but i can’t be as smug as the others. First, because there was 2019. When we realized that, glitch or no glitch, after 3 years of experiencing dismal leadership and witnessing the president’s failure to deliver all his campaign promises, this country still opted for incompetence, corruption, injustice, and trapo leadership.

    Second because i do not believe we’ve learned our lessons.

    Many who voted for the D have already pivoted. For many valid reasons, the most glaring of which is this government’s mishandling of the Covid 19 crisis.

    But merely turning 90 degrees away from Duterte and a Duterte endorsed presidency just because their fandom has been shattered, just because he no longer satisfies their idea of our country’s messiah is not going to lead this country to a direction of real progress and substantial redemption.

    We’re just going to choose the next populist president who promises change, or fascinates us with dramatics, or enchants us with charisma. We’d still be easily duped. The bandwagon would still lure us away from real issues and true and positive change.

    If we shun Duterte because of his recent failings but fail to acknowledge the thousands dead due to EJK, we’d still buy quick fixes that eschew justice and long term effectiveness.

    It’s easy to blame others, but blaming them won’t necessarily change them.

    What we need is to realize our own contribution to the rise, election, and feeling of invincibility of Rody Duterte.

    We need to recognize
    – our cognitive biases,
    – our moral narcissism of not accepting our wrong judgment,
    – our mental laziness,
    – our ignorance, our fact resistance,
    – our regional & tribal affinities,
    – our indifference,
    – our fatalism,
    – our addiction to persona,
    – our attraction to macho leadership,
    – our total dependence on our leaders to do all the dirty work for us and remove our sense of culpability,
    – our blind fanaticism, our unconditional loves, our blanket hates,
    – our rabid religiosity,
    – our bigotry,
    – the fallacies and cliches that cloud our thinking,
    – our inability to see real progress and achievements,
    – our lack of critical thinking,
    – our fascist tendencies,
    – our awed reverence for and fear of power and authority instead of respect for real leadership,
    – our father issues,
    – the gaps in our souls we fill with idol worship,
    – our vested interests.
    Each of us is guilty of at least one of these. And I think I’ve encountered some people who might be guilty of all of these.

    We need to ask ourselves what we did or what we failed to do or what we did not do enough.

    Look back at 2016. First, did we even register to vote? Did we take the time to research on our candidates—really go beneath the surface of our instinctive choices and not just ask around to gauge the popular vote?

    Did we challenge our choices with the filters of track record, potential, principles, values, policies?

    Did we use our influence, not necessarily to tell others whom to vote for, but to educate others on the job descriptions of elective posts—that a candidate’s heart and perceived authenticity mean nothing if not backed with real competence, integrity, and a vision for the kind of public service they intend to deliver?

    Did we find ourselves too mentally superior that we considered it a waste of time to engage with those we considered intellectually inferior?

    Did we even care enough or did we have the attitude that our only job was to cast that ballot and get it over and done with?

    Were we one of those who said, to hell with this hopeless country only to realize that yeah, it actually became a darker, uglier hell?

    In many instances, real conversion, true redemption is only possible after remorse, after a sincere confession or humble acknowledgement of wrongdoing, after a deep understanding of one’s errors and the motivation that underlie those errors.

    All of us failed in 2016. Whatever political color we identify with, we are now reaping the effects of choosing bad leaders. Awful leaders from the occupant of Malacanan, our congress of buffoons down to regional and local officials.

    Maybe we’d have that miracle, maybe the incumbent won’t manipulate the results, maybe no other Duterte would get back into the palace. Maybe 2022 would give us that relief, the end of our nightmares. But if we don’t change the way we think, if we do not see our contribution to the problem, our country would never get out of the pit we so easily fall in every election period. We have to go beyond getting our favorites to be elected.

    What we need is to examine our citizen conscience, honestly and maybe even harshly; trace back the steps we took or did not take; learn from our mistakes; and go beyond our myopic tendencies, to do more, think better, influence others, and vote better.

    • Micha says:

      All that is of course well and good, except that it’s not clear who the “we” he’s addressing here. In a general election, the only “we” that matters are those majority who cast their ballot for the winner.

      And here, I am afraid, is where he is failing to address those “we” that matters because they are either out of reach or out of his sphere of influence.

      The Yellow Party, like its counterpart here in the US, the Dem Party, (funny how both countries’ political trends and fortune always somehow align) had been taken over by PMC (Professional Managerial Class). These are well educated folks, mostly upper middle class who were enthralled by corporate and financial elite donors and have embraced the neoliberal cake hook line and sinker.

      As such, they have abandoned their original constituencies from the working (poor/lower) class and thought that they could just manipulate the proles into submission.

      Well, as we’ve seen, the proles didn’t submit. They gave the middle finger to the neoliberal PMC’s and elected the two populist charlatans in 2016 instead.


      If the Yellows want to keep in the running, their task is clear : they need to re-calibrate and win back the trust of the poor.

      Bongbong Marcos might just be another charlatan but the proles just couldn’t see through his glazed skeleton.

      • You aren’t too far off the mark. 3 minor details: The Reluctant Activist is a she, she isn’t a manager but some sort of corporate trainer/coach, and she isn’t exactly yellow as she was also a critic of PNoy in his time but Dutz really made her the “reluctant activist”.

        Click on the FB link and you will see a woman whose shades and hairdo make one think Makati or BGC corporate setting. She has admitted in some postings to have the first time realized the situation some of the poor are in. I respect that kind of honesty.

        I don’t know though if the poor were the main supporters of Dutz. Manolo Quezon says it was the new middle class. The BPO workers and OFWs mainly. Not as safely tucked away in subdivisions as the old middle class. More directly affected by street crime and drugs.

        Seems the tax laws of Dutz are more neoliberal than anything else from what I heard. But that is something where maybe Giancarlo could fill in the blanks. Don’t know too much.

        Allowing foreign ownership of utilities, as just passed, wouldn’t that be neolib as well?

        • LCPL_X says:

          “The BPO workers and OFWs mainly. Not as safely tucked away in subdivisions as the old middle class. More directly affected by street crime and drugs.”

          The bargirls for sure would’ve been for DU30 landslide, those adiks and sigas were a hassle for anyone trying to enjoy the nightlife.

          Even if those bargirls themselves took shabu. Therein lies the irony, and I think even after seeing the bloodbath many of those probably they’ve known personally, they’d

          still would’ve thought that it was all worth it, just for a more quieter night. Because in the end really all the above behaviour is a form of slow unconscious suicide.

          If the well to do sheltered girl from Makati understands this worldview the Yellows (and anti-DU30) would understand the DU30 support.

          • LCPL_X says:

            How do you counteract all that? CBDC.

          • The Reluctant Activist once posted something where she first realized why poor people on highways wait for the bus on two lanes, something which had bugged her as an SUV driver. She did admit that in Manila everybody looks out for him/herself out of habit.

            Whether she has realized the situation re shabu and crime a bit more I don’t know. But as a trainer with high social skills and I think strong empathy she may, sooner or later.

            Of course she is in no official capacity for LP or anyone just a private citizen.

            • Karl Garcia says:

              Not only the poor do that.If they do not see their route from the sign board that is the time they move further as if it would make a difference and it is unnecessarily dangerous.

        • Micha says:

          I don’t know if your BPO workers and OFWs can actually be called the new middle class because there’s still an element of precarity in their situation. It is also not clear if their numbers were actually decisive in the last election.

          Denying the role of the poor (urban or rural) in electing Rodrigo would spell the doom for the Yellow PMC.

          • I have seen stats showing that Mar Roxas had pretty strong support among the E class, and it is indeed known that he campaigned in areas where there were a lot of 4Ps recipients – Pantawid Pamilya, a program to help poor mothers send kids to school.

            CD class I don’t remember exactly, but I can indeed imagine a lot of the not totally poor poor which I think is what D would mean and the lower middle class or C voted Dutz.

            VP Leni did get votes in places where she had helped rural poor like the Sumilao farmers.

            • LCPL_X says:

              That makes sense it s the connection to nightlife that’s the commonality really. OFWs because their kids are getting in trouble (at night). But it’s the connection to nightlife.

              • Well, in Netflix there is Alexandra Trese to deal with the evil that lurks in the dark of Metro Manila. Seriously, the popularity of that comic series – and the intensity of the imagined world it shows where the nightlife is populated by supernatural beings in league with the world of crime in Metro Manila – is straight out of contemporary urban Filipino Zeitgeist. The series got to Netflix because its intensity is authentically felt, see this trailer:

                Of course Trese seems to be more popular among the “woke” crowd, but it shows they feel the danger as well. It just might be that they are able to displace it more than those who can’t shield themselves as directly. The Reluctant Activist mentioned that she used to do some thousands of Fitbit steps per day but stopped DUE TO SAFETY REASONS so she can’t not know what is going on outside. Possibly she isn’t a subdivision dweller, maybe she is one of those who are in condos. Danger starts when you leave the building.

              • LCPL_X says:

                Aside from your sigas and adiks, there’s also rich kids in daddy’s car preying on the weak and poor in the city, Ireneo. Bargirls were also scared of them. And powerful old men with power in politics or business. All of whom paid little to none. Bad for business.

                So there’s a pantheon of evil monsters in the city.

                Oh, and all the bargirls from the province also had stories of white ladies and women crying in rivers at night. I’m thinking women as victims come back to haunt.

              • Yep, that corresponds to the anthropological evidence AND the folklore of our neck of the woods, the hills of Albay and adjoining parts of CamSur near the Pacific.

                German-Russian businessman and private researcher Fedor Jagor from Berlin (a contemporary of Rizal) wrote about tribal human revenge sacrifices in our area in his Travels to the Philippines book. He said they often involved females, pretty grim.

                Lots of white lady lore in our parts, might be related to that. Won’t go into details though.

              • Micha says:

                That’s the problem with the Yellow PMC – subdividing poor folks as if it really makes a big difference whether you’re a member of the precariat or a slum dweller.

                All the while offering no clear policy on what to do with the ugly class divide.

            • Micha says:

              “I have seen stats showing that Mar Roxas had pretty strong support among the E class…”

              Show the stats. And show why he still came out way short of Rodrigo’s 16 million.

              • This is one from Pulse Asia, OK survey and March 2016 but there are more like that.

                One can see extreme strength of Dutz in the ABC classes compared to all. His edge in E over Mar is minimal, Binay and especially Poe had a stronger share obviously.

                Poe and then Dutz were strongest in D in that poll.

                Mar, Binay and Poe are all not too strong in ABC.

                One reason also mentioned for ABC support was that Kim Henares went very strict on collecting taxes and some of the rich or upper middle hated that, some say in particular doctors practicing privately not hospital. I think one law Dutz passed was Tax Amnesty.

              • Micha says:

                That’s a pre-election survey and it’s not a definite gauge on how they actually voted on election day.

              • I have seen other stuff which confirms these trends. It would take some time to put all the data together and this isn’t time that I have.

                Possibly missing is a systematic study on motivations for voting a candidate.

                But no, I don’t quite see Dutz as a 2nd Erap, even though yes you did have a lot of people in slums wearing Duterte ballers. Sometimes even drug pushers and addicts. Maybe the others here can enlighten us with more conclusive or compiled infos, to see clearer.

              • Micha says:

                You’re not buying that Rodrigo won by appealing to populist (however false) rhetoric?

              • It was I think not the only factor. And the target group like OFWs and BPO people was different from that of Erap or Binay – the poorest.

                “Penal populism” was one term I read with regards to Dutz, I think Heydarian wrote that.

              • Micha says:

                That’s the problem with the Yellow PMC – subdividing poor folks as if it really makes a big difference whether you’re a member of the precariat or a slum dweller.

                All the while offering no clear policy on what to do with the ugly class divide.

              • What policy solutions would you suggest? 4Ps is at least trying to “end intergen

              • ..”end intergenerational poverty” by making sure the kids of the poorest at least finish school.

                PNoy had thousands of classrooms built. His Salary Standardization Law (I think that is the name) did not pass by the end of his term, Dutz increased only the salaries of cops but NOT of teachers as originally planned. Best way to make sure teachers leave to become maids in HK, I personally know of some from before. PNoy tried to get factories to come to the Philippines. What would you add to the mix?

              • Micha says:

                The rot is too deep it can’t be solved by cosmetic palitada here and there. Same reason why Leni’s “laylayan ng lipunan” campaign did not gain that much traction. Noodles and sardines – no meat.

                I propose a complete rethink of the neo-liberal project, meaning aggressive gov’t role and intervention in the economy.

              • LCPL_X says:

                Which is CBDC, right? it’s the only way. Digital MMT.

              • Thanks Karl:

                “..Only an exit poll has more details than geography. As of May 10, Duterte’s lead over Roxas was 26 points in urban areas, but only 2 points in rural areas.

                The higher the class, the more the appeal of Duterte: His lead over Roxas was 26 points in class ABC, compared to 17 points in class D, and only 7 points in class E.

                The more the schooling, the more the appeal of Duterte: His lead over Roxas was 28 points among college graduates, 19 points over those with some college, 8 points among those with some high school, and 7 points among others.

                The younger the voter, the more the appeal of Duterte: His lead over Roxas was 33 points in ages 18-24, 26 points in ages 25-34, 14 points in ages 35-44, 10 points in ages 45-54, and 4 points in ages 55 and up.

                Duterte’s lead was 22 points among men, versus only 12 points among women..”

                Rizal be like “nasaan ang kabataan, pag-asa ng bayan”?

                Many Filipino youngsters: “olol DDS kami”.

              • Karl Garcia says:


  4. Karl Garcia says:

    On neoliberalism.
    People are familiar with capitalist and fascists, in movies that iare activist themed you get to hear those two words, but I doubt the precariat or the nosalariat(if there is such a term) are familiar with neoliberalism and I doubt any candidate would bother to explain the pros and cons.

    • Neoliberalism to me is like yellow, a convenient term to apply to mean “the people I’m thinking about now” who either did good deeds or bad deeds depending on what I mean to say. In other words, it is a flexible word for advocates to use, totally apart from how political scientists or dictionaries would describe the technical aspects.


    ..Indeed, if the authoritarian past proves seductive, it is because the time of dictatorship has long been imagined as a time of creation: a period when the nation was being re-forged into a showcase of “development” through the construction of new roads, highways, and bridges; satellite systems and communications towers; airports, dams, and power plants; housing complexes; medical and technological centers; and, not least, spectacular Brutalist cultural buildings that were erected at breakneck speeds and on land reclaimed from the sea (Benedicto, 2013). Like all infrastructures, those of the Marcos years signal aspirations and serve as vehicles whereby collective fantasies about advancement through the linear time of progress are made “emotionally real” (Larkin, 2013: 333). Understood as the material effects of authoritarian power, however, the Marcos regime’s infrastructural remains do not only evoke a time when dreams of progress appeared within reach, but also, crucially, a time when those dreams could be willed into reality—a time, in other words, when the people could exercise a certain mastery over time itself, if only vicariously, through the medium of the dictator’s body..

    ..Writing this now, more than three years since Marcos’s burial, I am struck by how the indiscriminate seductiveness of authoritarianism has confounded attempts to make sense of its resurgence. Think, for instance, of how Duterte’s support across all economic classes has made it impossible to dismiss the return of “strongman” rule as a function of the poor’s susceptibility to populist appeals. Or of how Bongbong Marcos’s narrow defeat for the vice-presidency has put into question popular depictions of Marcos nostalgia as an affliction rife only in “Marcos territory.” And yet, despite the fact that the allure of the authoritarian turn has been able to cut through the political, economic, and social differences that have long riven the Philippines, we have, nonetheless, persisted in searching for fractures that might explain why and how the people’s collective disenchantment with the post-EDSA order has produced a split, a break between those who would meet the revolution’s shortcomings with the repetition of calls for a more meaningful democracy, for a “true” transfer of sovereignty, and those who would instead welcome the repetition of the authoritarian past that the revolution had ostensibly put to an end..

    • Missing in the Philippine sovereign equation is citizen accountability and inspiration derived from the State’s acts. If one felt accountability, there should be great shame. If one felt inspiration, there would be a drive for achievement.

      • Philippine democracy was built top-down, but so were most other democracies, the Swiss being a truly rare exception. As soon as bottom-up meets top-down and “People Power is institutionalized” (c) Karl, more might feel it is truly their business – and responsibility.

        The social justice aspect Micha mentioned is key as well – too large income gaps in the same country aren’t really conducive to even just theoretical equality. A large and stable middle class props up democracy. An unstable middle class might seek fascism.

  6. – by Richard Heydarian:

    “..Not long ago, the Philippines was being hailed as one of the surprise success stories of the 21st century. Under the reformist administration of Benigno Aquino — his senator father was assassinated during the Marcos dictatorship, while his mother succeeded Marcos as president — the Philippines simultaneously experienced good-governance reforms as well as an economic boom.

    Yet the macro-indicators of success under Aquino were misleading. To begin, the administration struggled to kick-start desperately needed infrastructure projects, just as major cities such as Manila and Cebu descended into a “Carmageddon” of suffocating traffic.

    But there were far deeper structural problems. The richest 40 families in the country gobbled up most of the newly created growth as the vast majority of Filipinos struggled to move up into the middle class. Meanwhile, the country’s elected offices remained a preserve of political dynasties, 178 of which dominated 73 out of the country’s 81 provinces.

    The situation was even more scandalous in the Philippine legislature, where 70% of members hailed from political dynasties. Even by the standards of other former Spanish colonies, including troubled democracies such as Argentina and Mexico, the Philippine Congress seemed more a democratic facade.

    The upshot is growing public nostalgia for authoritarian rule. Throughout the past decade, as many as 60% of voters expressed their willingness to embrace a leader “who does not have to bother with elections.” A more recent survey by the Pew Research Center showed that as many as 8 out of 10 Filipinos have expressed openness to a decisive and single-minded autocrat, with only 15% categorically committed to liberal democracy.

    This largely explains why an authoritarian populist like Duterte managed to secure a landslide victory in the 2016 election, while the sole son and namesake of former strongman Ferdinand Marcos Jr., known as “Bongbong,” lost the vice presidency by a razor-thin margin..”

    Hmm, Heydarian is not the only one to write “The richest 40 families in the country gobbled up most of the newly created growth” in Aquino’s time. What data do we have to prove or disprove that allegation? Or is it just another assumption about “oligarchs”?

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