I guess it is a bit improper to say that politicians “probably” do not know or understand the situation of the Filipinos. (Or it is a bit safe to say so.) I’d like to believe that these politicians are actually well aware of the troubles that the masses go through. For one, they wouldn’t be able to promise things like “iaahon ko kayo sa kahirapan”, “libreng edukasyon at libreng pagamot”, “mababa at tapat na presyo ng bilihin”, etc. etc. if they do not know who are people they are supposedly serving in the first place. These people running in the coming elections are smarter than we thought of them. They know what the people want and what the people need. Now, it is just a matter of “will they give what the people want and need?”
I might sound a bit too fast and straight to the point. Of all things, what I do not want is to sound too simplistic or downright negative. But I hope I am making a clear point here.
The thing is this: I don’t expect politicians to actually “have a change of heart” or suddenly be pro-people and become genuine representatives just by integrating with the masses once in a while. Or by living the lifestyle of the poor for a day or a period of time. Why? Because they’ve been doing that since time immemorial! A politician won’t win in the elections without talking to his constituents. That is actually a prerequisite for being a politician. In fact, one of the major challenges faced by a politician is to identify himself or herself with the poor. That is why every election season, aside from the bright promises they bring to the voters, what they also do is convince the people that they are “ang tunay na mahirap”, “champion ng masa”, “di trapo - karaniwang tao”.
And this stuff is for real! And mind you, this is not a simple thing. Remember 2010, when Erap won over Villar in the presidential race? It appeared Erap was still the one-and-only legit “tunay na mahirap”. Sorry Manny Villar; thank you for trying. :p
What I’m trying to say is identifying with the poor or the non-elites, being able to talk to them, knowing their problems is not a big concern. I mean, it is not an issue at all! Yes we are all aware that majority of our politicians come from rich families. That’s a given. But do we stop there? Can we already justify the existence of elite political clans in our government just by believing they could or would eventually understand the plight of masses through research or integration?
Say Noynoy Aquino. Is it enough that he integrate with the HLI farmers for a day or a week or a month? Is it enough that he conduct a research and learn how much the farmers there earn per day? He needs to deny the class where he comes from. He needs to deny his family in order to finally and honestly grant the land to the farmers. Would he do that? That is the bigger question.