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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

On the Collective Amnesia of the Philippine Electorate Regarding the Marcos Dictatorship

Filipinos of a certain age have been lamenting about the collective amnesia of the Filipino Voter regarding the Marcos years, particularly now that the Marcoses aim to recapture the Presidency in 2016.  This is one such lamentation.

Why is this so?

Some have attributed it to the lack of education. For instance, there are reports that the current textbooks on Philippine History that are in use throughout the nation's public schools are hopelessly outdated, containing almost zero information on Martial Law and the Marcos Dictatorship.

Others have attributed it to the social media onslaught of the Marcos family, wherein they have scrubbed popular online repositories of information of any meaningful information regarding the Marcos Dictatorship.

All this maybe true.

But another factor is age.

For instance, many baby boomers may have heard what it was like during World War II or even World War I from countless books, movies, newspaper articles, and personal stories from parents and grandparents.  But all this imparted knowledge just resides in their brains, somewhat cold, distant, and abstract.  In other words, baby boomers have no living memory of those events.  They have not lived in those times at all.  And that could make all the difference.

So the same could be true of the Filipino voter.

Population Distribution

As of 2013, the Philippine population was estimated to number around 98.4 million people.  So far, population growth has averaged 1.7% a year.  By 2016, the total population could number 103.5 million people.

The Philippine population skews very young.  The Philippine Statistics Authority placed the median age at just 23.4 years as of 2010.  That means half the population is younger than 23.4 years old.  This, believe it or not, represents an increase over the year 2000, when the median age was only 21.3 years.  Despite this increase in median age, we still have one of the lowest median ages in the ASEAN region. Only Lao PDR has a lower median age - 22.0 years old.

Another way to look at it is through the Philippine Population Pyramid, again courtesy of the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Projected Philippine Population Distribution

Based on projected population distributions from the 2012 World Population Prospects, a publication of the Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations, the total population will number 101.8 million people by 2015.

Around 43.60% of the population, or 44.4 million people will be younger than 20 years old.  Around 57.4 million people or 56.40% will be 20 years or older.

Philippine Voting Age Population By 2016

Conservatively, this means that 57.4 million people will be eligible to vote by 2016.  This is a conservative estimate is because the actual minimum voting age requirement is 18 years old and not 20.  Moreovoer, the projections are for the year 2015 and not 2016, when the total population is expected to grow by another 1.7%

Again, the voting age population will skew to the young side:

Based on this data, by 2016, at least 16.67% of the voters will have no living memory of the Cory Administration, 31.74% will have no living memory of EDSA I, 44.68% will have no living memory of Martial Law.  Moreover, 65.78% of the voters will have no living memory of the declaration of Martial Law, and a stunning 74.47% of the voting population will have no living memory of what life was like before Marcos assumed the Presidency in 1965!

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