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[LISTEN] The Asia Pacific Report: The Return of the Marcos Family

May 12, 2022

 

Umm Muhammed Umar

Radio Islam interviewed expert Sanusha Naidu on the Asia Pacific report. It seems the Marcos family has returned to the political helm in the Philippines. The infamous Marcos family were ousted in the 80’s, because of corruption. Imelda Marcos gained notoriety for her incredible collection of designer foot wear. Naidu said, “so the son, Bongbong (Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr.) has come back into power.” She added, “Opponents claim that he used disinformation to win the election, but it’s also interesting, because he comes on the back of Duterte, who was quite a quite steadfast, and a very hard-line president.”  There are now questions being raised regarding to what extent Bongbong would continue with the kind of political dynamics in the country: foreign relations, regional engagements, would it be moving closer to the US, would it be continuing with the previous regime’s engagement with China, and the regional implications this has.

Two civil suits lodged against the Marcos family are pending, with one already having been served. This raises questions around how Washington and Philippines will go forward. Naidu said, “So I think it’s quite important to look at some of the dynamics – what does this mean for democracy in the region? Is democracy progressing or regressing? More importantly, what does it mean for regional politics?”  She added, “And there’s also questions around whether Marcos Jr will use this opportunity to try and repeal some of the bad publicity and the bad images of his family.”

Marcos Jr had cut a deal with former president, Rodrigo Duterte, that he would ensure his daughter gained the position of vice president. According to Naidu, it appeared likely that he would keep Philippines on Duterte’s trajectory.  She added, “Now, obviously, it all depends on what she brings to the whole political structure and political game; for now, I think it will be something that he’ll honour.” However, Naidu warned that, if Marcos Jr continued looking at how to secure his own political power in the country, Sarah Duterte could find herself under attack.

Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has resigned. The political – economic situation has become deadly with government issuing a shoot to kill order. The prime minister resigned because they were protesting outside his house, using the fact that the country has not progressed economically as the basis of the protests. While the family is largely disliked by Sri Lankans, the Prime Minister’s brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has remained as president of the country. Naidu says that he has sweeping powers. Naidu said, “So the government is now just no government, so to speak, and has to put something together very quick, and that also depends on what the President will do.” She added, “what went on in Sri Lanka is really the tipping point of corruption, of maladministration, governance deficit, malfeasance, fiscal recklessness, and also just greed.” The shoot to kill order followed clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters.

Finally, Elon Musk tweeted that Japan would eventually cease to exist. This provoked anger, but not just at him. Naidu said,” it was expected that Elon Musk would be controversial once he acquired major shares in Twitter. His Tweet was based on Japan’s demographic profile – that Japan’s population is not growing – it’s still very much an aging population, and there’s a lack of a youth dividend, and that’s going to have an important, if not negative, impact on economic growth.”

She said that in reaction to the Tweet, some people have acknowledged that the government in Japan, struggles with the question of how to create the next generation, and how to make sure that Japan’s future was sustainable. However, she added that there are those that have argued that Elon Musk has made a statement that is not new, and that he he sees this as the context of what’s going on in Japan – that there are serious challenges demographically, economically and developmentally, around the future of the country, or, “is Elon Musk just being Elon Musk?” Naidu said, “I think there’s also been reaction against the government for not being as innovative or more pragmatic, when it comes to how to deal with the challenge of the future of the country, based on the aging population and the cost of living.”

 

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