Posted at 05/10/2010 2:12 AM | Updated as of 05/10/2010 2:12 AM
LONDON – As the Philippine election is set to reach its climax, the next generation of British Filipinos revealed their skepticism on the state of politics in the country.
Speaking to The Filipino Channel, they expressed concerns on the Philippines’ political process, black propaganda during the campaign, disengagement, and progress, but still they also voiced their willingness to participate in the country’s development.
"Little has changed in terms of Filipino politics," said Adrian Williams, chairman of non-profit British Filipino organization, Philippine Generations.
He continued: "It has always been driven by those who own so much, who I believe are disconnected from the real Philippines. These kinds of individuals don’t inspire confidence from those who have experienced a more transparent political process."
He also believes that Filipinos abroad could help improve the country by using their experiences from other places and applying it in the Philippines.
Policies over propaganda
University of London student Mark Wolfisz, who launched OneFilipinoVote.org, believes that positive changes start at the elections.
"Like other Filipino voters, British Filipinos feel like nothing has changed in contemporary Philippine politics. It’s always the same black propaganda," he stated.
He added: "Albeit little has changed, some politicians are moving away from black propaganda tactics and are refocusing their campaigns on the actual policies, which is encouraging for Filipinos abroad."
He also commented on the need for more programs to engage and educate young British Filipinos on Philippine politics, as well as their heritage, which may encourage them to better participate in the electoral process.
Engage and inform
“A lot of second-generation British Filipinos are quite in tuned with what’s happening in the Philippines,” observed Sam Soto-Jennings, a charity worker and event manager for Philippine Generations.
She continued: “That said, there’s work to be done in empowering and informing a lot of Filipinos here, of what the politicians stand for and how it impacts the poorest of the poor in the Philippines.”
Responsibility and perspective
Twenty-two year-old British Filipino activist Alvin Carpio thinks that progress and development need to start from within the Philippines in order for it to be effective for Filipinos living in the country.
“As someone who grew up in London, I don’t feel that I can go to the Philippines and claim to know each and every issue which faces a person who grew up there. It’s up to Filipinos in the Philippines to make the changes that they need,” he explained.
He added: “But it’s also up to Filipinos in the UK to show that we support them from overseas, that we are still here, and that we are a community that understands, or tries to understand, and empathize with the issues. The great thing with living outside the Philippines is that we can see the issues from an external perspective and put it in an international context.”
He also encouraged everyone to use their vote because “people have died” for it and “our heroes have fought long and hard” for Filipinos to have this right. He believes that participation in the electoral process can make a real impact on the changes necessary for the country.
Whatever happens to the 2010 Philippine elections, the new government and its politicians have a task ahead of it in proving its worth to a whole new generation of Filipinos – not only in the Philippines, but all over the world.