Amer Hussien Mangray In the heart of the Philippines, where traditions and values run deep, the concept of family dynasties has taken on a unique and enduring significance.
Filipino society places immense value on familial bonds, considering family as the cornerstone of one’s identity. This ideology is a driving force behind the emergence of family dynasties in various spheres of life. The idea of carrying on a family legacy, be it in politics, business, or showbiz, resonates deeply with Filipinos, reflecting their strong sense of loyalty, honor, and obligation. Filipinos hold diverse opinions about family dynasties. Some argue that dynasties bring stability and continuity, while others decry them for perpetuating inequality and hindering progress. Public sentiment often oscillates between admiration for the achievements of these families and calls for greater transparency and accountability. As the nation progresses in an era of shifting paradigms and heightened expectations, it’s time to examine the political dynasty phenomenon through a revolutionary lens, where the difference between tradition and transformation blazes with fervor. In the realm of Philippine politics, family dynasties are a common sight. The phenomenon of a father passing down a political position to his child is almost a rite of passage. We can see this in every corner of our country, one of the most notable examples being the Marcoses in Ilocos Norte. In 1998, Ferdinand Marcos' son, Ferdinand Jr., and daughter, Imee, were elected as governor and congresswoman in Ilocos Norte. They served three consecutive terms until 2007 when term limits prevented their re-election. This case is not unique; many families held power for up to 19 years in around 50 congressional districts despite term limits. But, just because they have been on the throne for so many years does not necessarily mean that they have done so much for the said province. "Noong gobernador si Bongbong, wala naman po siyang naibigay. Hindi naman po natin puwedeng ipagkaila na ang tatay nila maraming nagawa, pero ‘yung mga anak eh walang nagawa,” former Ilocos Norte governor and First District congressman Rodolfo “Rudy” Fariñas said in an interview with radio DZME on November 22, 2021. Even Lanao del Sur is not exempted from this phenomenon, people are starting to complain about why officials are always related to the major political families even when incompetence is evident. This means that as soon as someone reaches legal age, they are delivered to engage in the bloody politics of the Philippines. Moreover, the hard pill to swallow here is that this is what’s happening in most provinces here in the country. Yes, crooked family dynasties are not just in Filipino teleseryes. It is times like these, that we question every single government official. The problem with this is that when it comes to government actions, it's hard to ignore the prevalence of minimal efforts—to the point that in the long run, people confuse it with contentment. While many view this as a way of maintaining stability and tradition, some Filipinos argue that it perpetuates corruption and limits political diversity. Despite the debates, dynastic families continue to command significant influence and a loyal following among the electorate. Whilst tradition may dictate the inheritance of political power, it’s equally essential to recognize the sharp edge of the sword that can be cut both ways. The perpetuation of political dynasties has, at times, cast a shadow over the promise of democracy. Critics argue that this practice concentrates power in the hands of the few, limiting political inclusivity and stifling the voices of those who aspire to lead. The coexistence of democratic ideals and traditional values is at the heart of the debate surrounding family dynasties. The Philippines’ democratic framework allows for open competition, yet the allure of dynastic rule persists. Striking a balance between honoring tradition and fostering a more inclusive and equitable society remains an ongoing challenge. For decades, we’ve witnessed political dynasties rise to prominence, creating legacies that span generations. But as the Philippines stands at the crossroads of history, it’s imperative to cast aside the rose-tinted glasses of tradition and delve into the intricate layers of this double-edged sword. Promised legacies are nowhere to be seen. We see that family dynasties are not that efficient and promising when it comes to the narrative that this brings stability and upholds tradition. This is very detrimental as Filipinos are still left hanging like dried fish out in the sun to dry up and rot. As the sun sets on one era and rises on another, the Philippines stands on the brink of a revolutionary moment. For in this battle between blood and ballot, it’s not the dynasty that prevails, but the promise of a Philippines where every voice resonates, where every citizen’s dreams are given the chance to flourish. The legacy we forge today will define the Philippines of tomorrow. It’s time for the nation to rise, not as a mere witness to history but as the author of its destiny, weaving a tapestry of democracy that is strong, inclusive, and unstoppable.