Since he formed the CoRRECT Movement in 2010, Orion Perez has been a champion of political and economic reform in The Philippines. The CoRRECT Movement advances a three point agenda aimed at transitioning the country to a parliamentary system of governance, federalism across the regions of The Philippines and a new constitutional order that promotes rather than prohibits the free flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country. The aim of the CoRRECT Movement is simple. CoRRECT seeks to improve the lives of ordinary Filipinos by creating a more prosperous society based on a higher number of modern quality jobs, new entrepreneurial opportunities and the ability of the country to export goods, services and technology as opposed to exporting people.
The CoRRECT Movement is non-partisan but when Rodrigo Duterte endorsed federalism, spoke about his preference for parliamentary governance and promoted the freer flow of investment into The Philippines, he quickly became a man that many supporters of the CoRRECT Movement rallied behind.
I myself am both a supporter of President Duterte and of The CoRRECT Movement as I realise that in order for Duterteism to outlive his term-limited presidency under the current obscurantist rules of the 1987 Constitution, it is necessary to develop a system where someone of Duterte’s high calibre can continue pursuing the reforms that no man in any system could easily finalise after a mere six years.
As Rodrigo Duterte has spoken of not wanting to carry on any longer than he has to, even and especially if some variety of reform is passed prior to 2022, many Filipinos and supporters of Philippine peace and prosperity looked to other viable men and women capable of advancing both the Duterte agenda and the related agenda of the CoRRECT Movement after the retirement that Rodrigo Duterte himself has claimed to desire on countless occasions.
As Davao Mayor Sara Duterte is widely thought to be her father’s natural successor at a national level just as she was at a municipal level, Orion Perez was very frank about his disappointment with the fact that Sara Duterte stated in no uncertain terms that she is not in favour of federal reforms, although she conceded that in her current position it is not within her powers to enact such reforms in any case. This was seen by many as a big blow to one of her father’s flagship policies – policies more famous for being opposed by the hysterical Yellow opposition than by any other quarter of the political sphere in The Philippines. As such, it was rather devastating to hear such remarks from the daughter of the President.
Whilst Orion Perez took umbrage with what he called Sara Duterte’s “foolish” “betrayal” of her father’s pro-reform agenda and that of millions of Duterte’s supporters, many supporters of Sara Duterte took exception with the way in which Orion Perez made his criticism known.
Such (over) reactions make several things clear. As President Duterte himself has proved over and over again, if one wants an important issue discussed in The Philippines, one cannot calmly and politely attempt to bring it to the public’s attention. Instead, one needs to make a controversial statement that will eventually get people talking about the substance of the matter.
Secondly, it proved that as the CoRRECT Movement has stated for years, a political system based on vainglorious personality contests and hyper-sensitive aversion to critical thinking cannot produce the best results that the people ultimately desire and deserve.
Thirdly, it revealed a double standard whereby some political advocates are allowed to use sharp language to make an important point but others are not.
Like myself, Orion Perez has reiterated his support from President Duterte which has only compounded his disappointment in Sara Duterte’s recent statement. What The Philippines needs most of all are those willing to sacrifice the popularity that comes with being congenial in order to enlighten minds that have not yet accepted the dire nature of the present situation.
This is why Orion Perez should be supported by all those who realise that if reform does not come soon it may not come at all. If reform does not come, it ultimately will not matter who wins the next election because whomever the victor might be, the real losers are those shackled to a broken political system that no amount of good intentions can fix.
Like another famous Filipino, Orion Perez cares about the facts and about the future of the people, even if it means alienating some of them in the process of trying to force enlightenment on a complacent political culture.