Philippine’s new president, and it what it means for the nation

Zahra Khan, World/Business Editor

On May 9, the Philippines’ presidential election was held, resulting in Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s victory by 60% of the vote. While there was a relatively peaceful transfer of power from the previous president Rodrigo Duterte, many have reservations as to how this new presidency will look for the country. 

The primary concern is Ferdinand Marcos Jr. “the son and namesake of the dictator Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos Sr. who was overthrown in 1986. Under Marcos Sr., the years were considered to be some of the “darkest periods in the nation’s history” according to BBC news. Throughout this dark period, Marcos Sr. suspended the parliament, politicians opposed to him were arrested, the army and police tortured many of his opponents, and Marcos Sr. had taken full control of the courts. Throughout his presidency, there were a plethora of human rights abuses. Furthermore, millions of individuals lived in poverty, and the country’s debt only went up. It wasn’t until 1983 when a high-profile murder case which was the assassination of opposition leader Benigno Aquino who lived in exile in the United States ended Marcos Sr.’s presidency. According to BBC News, Benigno Aquino was “determined to bring democracy to his country” but was shot dead after flying back to the capital, Manila. 

Looking at the present day, the question then becomes, despite the bloody and unjust period under Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos Sr.’s rule, why would his descendant get elected?  Ferdinand Marcos Jr. secured victory by promising rather vague promises about his future goals for the nation, and NBC News reports the wide margin in which Marcos Jr. won was “tainted by rampant social media misinformation.”  According to NBC News, Facebook and Tiktok specifically were “flooded with content casting martial law and life under Marcos as a ‘golden age.’” These social media platforms are where many Filipinos get their information. On top of this, more than half of the country’s population was born after Marcos Sr. was overthrown in 1986. With the additional lack of learning about martial law (which was prevalent under Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos Sr.’s presidency), no one can remember nor connect to the country’s dark past. 

 The unofficial results from the vote were released which showcased Marcos Jr. securing “more than 31 million votes” which was double the votes of his opponent, current Vice President Leni Robredo. Marcos Jr. wrote in his speech during the results of his victory “To the world: Judge me not by ancestors, but by my actions.” Despite this sentence, historians will keep a sharp eye on Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s future years as president of the Philippines.