After six years under President Rodrigo Duterte’s tumultuous administration, Filipino citizens are eager for the next generation of leadership. The 2022 national elections included a deeply competitive presidentiable slate which included Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, global boxing champion and sitting Senator Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao, Vice President Leni Robredo, and of course, former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr.
Over the past months, colours red, pink, blue, and more invaded our social media platforms, subliminally conditioning many into political divides and ultimately strengthening partisanships (even among friends and family members). The campaign period was nothing short of historical and quite frankly, acrimonious—especially between the camps of frontrunners Marcos and Robredo.
Hashtags #Kakampinks and #Uniteam became gun and fodder for stronger and stronger competition between the two. Recovering from two years of a crippling pandemic, many Pinoys took to the streets in support of their candidate. Seas of crowds in red and pink invaded our news feeds and our collective consciousness—reminding us (or perhaps reawakening us) to the fact that beliefs are fortified not merely through our screens but in real life - amongst fellow supporters.
The Marcoses Return to Malacañang
Today, as partial and unofficial vote counts roll in (98.26 per cent of precint returns as of writing), all eyes are on the man of the hour (or should I say ‘of the next six years’?): presumptive president-elect Bongbong Marcos. There’s no denying that, even with over 31 million votes, Marcos faces overwhelming pressure from all sides—the opposition, the victims of his father’s regime, and even his own camp who pin the country’s next ‘renaissance’ to him and his promise of a ‘united’ Philippines.
While not shocking (as many pre-election surveys already put Marcos at a large margin against all other presidentiables), many Filipinos remain perplexed as to how the son of a former dictator could make it back to the Malacañan Palace within a single generation. But that is where our country stands today—at the precipice of new governance meanwhile confronted by the realisation that life, indeed, is stranger than fiction.
Millions await Marcos’s next move and who he will be appointing in key government positions. Although the future remains uncertain, the 2022 national elections had marked a staggering voter turnout of about 67 million Filipinos – the most in the country’s electoral history.