Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, should be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for helping start a movement which could radically change Philippine politics and Filipino’s lives forever.
At 62, I consider myself a veteran in politics, both as an avid student and observer and active participant, as well.
But in all of my years in politics, I have witnessed only one instance where the Filipinos virtually pushed an unwilling person to become President and this was in the 1986 People’s Power Revolution when people asked Cory Aquino to lead the country.
Now, I am about to witness that phenomenon for the second time and I thank Facebook for allowing me to be part of this historic revolution.
Since I started the advocacy to convince Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte to consider the Presidency two years ago, I witnessed first hand the evolution of people’s emotions in relation to their search for the country’s next President.
When I started writing about Duterte, the people’s first reaction was excited curiosity and expectation which later turned to adulation.
It was followed by mass frustration when he refused to file his Certificate of Candidacy for President on Oct. 16 and renewed hope when he agreed to substitute for another PDP Laban candidate.
The emotions turned to frustration following the Pope Francis gaffe and many were disappointed by what they perceived as a flaw in Duterte’s character which is his propensity to use vulgar language and cuss words.
Today, people seem to have moved on from that feeling of frustration.
There is now a realisation that Duterte, in spite of his human frailties, is still the best choice to lead this country because he is the only candidate who has the track record and the plan on how to address corruption, drugs, crime, food security, the Bangsamoro issue, the Communist Insurgency and the lack of jobs.
He is also perceived as the only candidate who is untarnished by corruption issues and who possesses the political will to get things done.
People all over the country are moving on their own with many of them using my Facebook page to seek guidance on how to do things and to share what they are doing to support Duterte’s candidacy.
Last night, I received a message from a Facebook user who identified himself as Sikite Ne Basilanen, obviously a Yakan, inquiring whether Duterte has a scheduled visit in Basilan.
When I responded that I am not involved in the scheduling of the sorties, he sent me back several pictures of what he and his group were doing in Isabela City.
What I saw really touched me.
A group of men, who have not even identified themselves, was working together to set up a headquarters for Duterte.
These people are spending their own money to finance their activities. Many are even asking me how they could send little amounts to support Duterte’s candidacy.
Last week, a group of medical doctors from the Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi areas met with Duterte in Zamboanga City to inform them that over 300 of them have formed the ZAMBASULTA D4D or Doctors for Duterte.
They were moving around the region to explain Duterte’s advocacies, especially on Federalism which they believe would address the Mindanao conflict.
This is actually what is happening all over the country right now. People are just doing things on their own to support a leader who they believe could bring change to the country.
They print tarpaulins and t-shirts copying the designs they see on Facebook.
They are connected only through the social media, specifically Facebook which allows them ample space to share their thoughts and photos.
Are their similar groups working feverishly to support the candidacy of Jejomar Binay, Manuel Roxas or Grace Poe?
I have neither seen nor heard of any movement.
Whatever the surveys conducted by SWS and Pulse Asia say, the fact remains that millions of Filipinos are moving on their own and waging a revolution to confront their fears and frustration.
The spectacle that we are seeing now is what I would call a “People’s Revolution for Change” and Facebook provided the bridge that linked the millions of revolutionaries involved in the struggle.
This is unstoppable.