Genuine democracy should not look like a political dynasty, but here we are today. As President-elect of the Philippines, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. promises to unite the country, but how much does a people’s democracy cost? Apparently, the Marcos family can afford it. During the 20-year rule under his father and former president, Ferdinand Marcos Sr., an estimated $5-10 billion was stolen; after being ousted and shortly exiled to Hawaii, only a fraction of that money has been recovered. After the Marcos family returned to the Philippines, they regained government positions to maintain their influence—Bongbong became a provincial governor, congressman, and a senator; former First Lady Imelda was able to become a congresswoman; and his sister, Imee, is a senator and former governor. All the while, the family remains surrounded by controversies involving tax liability, including a graft conviction for Imelda in recent years for funneling $200 million to Swiss foundations during their regime. Notably, no one in the family has ever served jail time. As a result, we are justifiably wary of how this family has maintained its political prowess. Bongbong is not his father, but he strikes an uncanny resemblance when leading a campaign based on disinformation to protect his family from accountability.
The People Power Revolution was not the result of a misunderstanding. There were over 70,000 human rights violations committed: 3,000 extrajudicial killings, 35,000 tortured people, and 70,000 incarcerated without trial. These numbers must be remembered and cannot suddenly disappear like the activists of that time. History should not repeat itself, and a family should not benefit from the spilt blood of thousands and spent funds of billions.
Coupled by the expectation that Marcos will shield outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte from possible persecution for the thousands of extrajudicial killings during his six-year drug war, it appears that erasure is the proposed solution to unite the Philippines. Moreover, Marcos ran with Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, creating a political tandem for two of the most powerful dynasties currently. Political dynasties are rooted in colonization, which systemically privileges those in class positions of power—this is not genuine democracy.
KmB / Pro-People Youth demands an end to current and future dynasties in the Philippines because oligarchies only value the preservation of themselves and disregards the right of others towards self-determination. Our organization does not endorse political parties and remains committed to a people’s movement which criticizes a democratic system that parades fairness but, in actuality, benefits the wealthy who have the most resources to influence voters over the span of decades. As Filipino-American youth based in the United States with familial and organizational ties to the Philippines, KmB / Pro-People Youth supports the education of the masses about the People Power Revolution of 1986 and the dangers of repeating history. In turn, KmB / Pro-People Youth challenges the mass disinformation and revisionist history of Marcos propaganda. Concerned for the safety of people peacefully protesting in the Philippines, KmB / Pro-People Youth stands in solidarity with them to hold Marcos-Duterte fully accountable for past crimes against humanity and to remain critical of two combined dynasties who claim to desire a united Philippines.