Published on February 6, 2024, 10:27 am
A mayor from the Philippines who leads a good governance movement has urged leaders to focus on tackling more urgent issues such as corruption and poverty in government. This comes amidst a growing division within the ruling coalition led by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.
Benjamin E. Magalong, the mayor of Baguio City and convenor of Mayors for Good Governance, emphasized the need to address prevalent issues like poverty, lack of infrastructure and educational facilities, high costs of basic necessities, and a highly politicized system that breeds corruption. Mr. Magalong stated that Filipinos are already tired of political intrigues and conflicts among politicians.
The Philippines recently saw a slight improvement in Transparency International’s 2023 Corruption Perceptions Index, moving up one spot to rank 115th out of 180 countries. However, the country’s score remained at a record low level.
Instead of engaging in political disputes, Mr. Magalong announced that his group, consisting of mayors across the Philippines, will prioritize campaigning for good governance leading up to next year’s midterm elections.
During a political rally on January 28 in Davao City, former president Rodrigo R. Duterte openly criticized the Marcos administration, referring to his successor as a drug addict while condemning an international investigation into drug war killings during his presidency. The 78-year-old politician from Davao City also linked Mr. Marcos and his congressional allies to a campaign aiming to amend the 1987 Constitution through a people’s initiative. He cautioned that such actions could lead to him being ousted like his late father and namesake.
In response, Mr. Marcos fired back by suggesting that his predecessor might still be suffering from the effects of using fentanyl as a pain reliever.
Rather than engaging in verbal confrontations, Mayor Magalong emphasized the importance of unity between leaders to collectively address serious contemporary issues.
Recently, the mayor held discussions with former senators Vicente “Tito” C. Sotto III, Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson, and Paolo Benigno Aquino IV regarding efforts to amend the 1987 Constitution. According to the statement released by Mayors for Good Governance, they all agreed that ordinary citizens should have a voice in amending the 37-year-old Charter.
In conclusion, Mayor Magalong’s call for focusing on critical issues such as corruption and poverty resonates with many Filipinos who are weary of political dramas. By promoting good governance, unity among leaders, and inclusive participation in constitutional amendments, progress can be made in solving pressing societal challenges faced by the Philippines today.