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Politics in the Philippines

It’s election time in the Philippines!

As he does at election time, “Mindanao” Bob Martin, an acquaintance of mine and probably the most well-known American ex-pat voice in the Philippines, made a request for his followers to keep Philippines politics off of his Facebook wall.

Filipino law forbids foreigners to interfere in that country’s politics. Deportation is a possible consequence of running afoul of that portion of the law so I don’t wonder at his strong stance against political postings.

He’s right – and smart – to ban political posts all together. But he mentioned something in his announcement that got me thinking. He said he had no interest in Filipino politics.

I starting thinking about myself. Do I have an interest in Filipino politics? As someone not yet “in country” as they say, I have no restriction on what I can say or write about the Philippines. But as someone who wants to live in Davao with his beautiful wife, I realize that I still must be careful with what I say, especially on the Internet. Things live forever on the Internet.

It would be not only meaningless but silly and rude for me to endorse a candidate or party. There is a very real and very valid dislike of Filipinos for foreign opinions offered like that. I wouldn’t even know where to begin to decide something like that. So let me say that my interest is much more general.

Because I want to live in the Philippines in the near future, I think I should have at least a surface understanding of the issues, and the history behind those issues, facing Filipinos. The issues affect my wife, her family and other people I love. I think I should at least put the effort forth to gain some general knowledge of what they are.

There’s the issue of electric power, issues regarding land, equity and business ownerships for foreigners, social movements, transportation, food production, territory disputes, so many things to learn about and understand!

So, yes, I have an interest in politics in the Philippines because my loving Filipino family is affected by them but for me, it’s only academic.

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