After a controversial presidential campaign, Marcos faces the challenge of uniting the Philippines

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MANILA: Days after winning a landslide victory in one of the most divisive presidential elections in Philippine history, Ferdinand Marcos now faces the challenge of delivering on his campaign promise to unite the country.

Marcos, the son and namesake of the late dictator, is set to succeed President Rodrigo Duterte as leader of the country for the next six years.

While the election results are still unofficial, more than 98% of an initial tally has been made, with Marcos having more than 31 million votes, more than double that of his closest rival, the Vice President. outgoing Leni Robredo.

Just stabilize the economy, curb inflation and don’t kill us.

Jarrah BrillantesCommunity Development Officer

Other competitors included boxing legend Manny Pacquaio, who is now a senator; Isko Moreno, former actor and current mayor of Manila; and Panfilo Lacson, senator and former police chief.

Marcos’ running mate, Sara Duterte-Carpio, the incumbent president’s daughter, is also leading in the running for vice president with more than triple the vote of Senator Francis Pangilinan, who backed Robredo. They are expected to take office on June 30.

During his election campaign, Marcos, who is widely known by his childhood nickname “Bongbong”, presented himself as the candidate for change, promising unity to voters tired of years of political polarization and pandemic hardship. .

“He promised unity. I hope he can,” Eccleo Gregorio, a taxi driver in Manila who voted for Marcos, told Arab News. “I also expect him to provide a better life for Filipinos by lowering the prices of raw materials, gasoline, electricity and ensuring that workers’ wages are increased.”

Allan Bergonia, a journalist, expects the incoming administration of Marcos “to show us the real change”.

“As they promised, together we Filipinos will rise again,” Bergonia said, adding that the victory proved that the Filipinos wanted a return to “Marcos’ old style of government”.

In the months leading up to the elections, an online campaign presented the Marcos regime as a “golden age” in the country’s history.

Yet for other Filipinos, Marcos’ surname remains a painful reminder of two decades of widespread corruption and human rights abuses committed by his father, who was ousted in a popular uprising 36 years ago. .

Jarrah Brillantes, a community development worker, told Arab News she believed Robredo could solve the country’s problems, not the president-elect she had low expectations of.

“It is enough to stabilize the economy, curb inflation and not kill us,” she said.

Angie, a writer who gave only her first name, said she was unsure what the future would hold for her under a new Marcos regime.

“I hope and pray that the new leaders will be able to deliver the promised peace and unity by digging deep and working hard across political colors to overcome the challenges of the pandemic for the benefit of all. Filipinos,” she said.

With Marcos promising voters he will continue Duterte’s policies, Jude, a supporter who works for the current administration, said he expected the future leader to “support the projects and programs” launched by his predecessor.

“The majority of Filipinos have spoken, which should be respected,” he said, asking that his last name not be revealed. “They want a real, pro-poor, pro-people government that can sustain and further improve what the current administration has put in place.”

Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said he would reserve comment until the final count is made public.

But he said if Marcos takes office, a quick return of his father’s faithful is likely.

“The immediate thing that will happen is that there will be a redeployment of political forces,” Casiple told Arab News.

“But if he reaches out to his political opponents, which is highly doubtful, then he might be able to achieve his unifying battle cry… All political forces should adjust their strategies in the face of the new Marcos regime. “

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