Political franchises PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 23 June 2011 13:53

Franchising is the new way to get into business these days. It is not just the main business identity – from mini-bibingkas to degree granting schools -  that spreads across the nation,  but franchising has also spawned collateral businesses. And it looks like franchising has also jumped into  another field, which is politics. A similar approach - that is,  marketing a name -  has become a political game plan,  the quickest way to concentrate power in the hands of one family or clan.

Think of a place in the Philippines and invariably a family name surfaces. Davao?  Dutertes – one is a mayor, another a vice-mayor and still another a congressional reperesentative. Cebu? Garcias – one is a governor, and two are representatives in the house. Zamboanga Norte and Sur? The Jalosjos family,  but it is difficult to keep tract of what positions they now hold since there are so many of them.  Ilocos Norte?  Marcos – senator, congressperson, governor. Ilocos Sur? Singson – governor, representative and vice-mayor. When the representative lost his seat because he was imprisoned in Hong Kong, why his brother the vice-mayor simply ran for the seat and won it handily.   Maguindanao?  All those Ampatuans,   but they are currently pre-occupied with keeping their privilege status in NBP and keeping the law from freezing  their bank accounts.

The question might be asked:  Why are all those members of a family getting into politics?  In spite of the florid claims to “serve” the country,  if truth be told,  the simplest reason is that holding public office  provides a very profitable way to make a living. If I come across as superlatively cynical, go ask someone else. I bet you the PDAF that I don’t have that you will get the same answer I give here.
Why are there so many stores of  this hamburger chain throughout the country?  Because the brand owner has hit on the formula to make money hand over fist. The same thing may be said of the political families. And if the income is good, why let others get into the “enterprise”?  At least, in the business franchise one can buy into the business for a hefty sum of money. In the political franchise scheme one has to bear the name. On second thought you also need money to publicize the name.

If this keeps  up the way it is at present, we will have to redo the country’s map , with certain place names replaced by family names.  That should land the country in the Guinness Book of Records instead of those silly attempts to produce the biggest bibingka or the longest longanisa or the biggest bowl of green salad.  If I sound facetious it is because this is the only way I can stop myself from screaming.

If you don’t want our country in the Guinness Book for this particular reason, then it might be time to rethink what voting is all about. Keep this thought fresh till you go to the polls again, whenever that is. --REMEDIOS F. MARMOLEÑO