To heal the political divide, Pinoys should deliberate, not debate — sociologist

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 17) — The 2022 election has put the Filipinos’ varying political stands under the spotlight, and the difference of opinion has created friendship and family rifts. To heal the political divide, Pinoys should deliberate and not debate, a sociologist said.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Final Word on Monday, sociologist Nicole Curato said Filipinos need to learn how to deliberate with each other. Instead of debating, which is the "art of argumentation," deliberation should be practiced as it is "the art of learning how to listen to the other side" and "the art of learning that it's okay to change our minds."

Curato, an associate professor at the Center for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra, also said that the “cancel culture” resulted in rifts.

“There are many ways that we can do to heal, but I think there are two schools of thought that I've observed with people's behavior. One school of thought is the cancel culture, where they feel that they have to block and unfriend friends and family members who voted for different candidate because they think that is an indication of that person's values, and therefore, if you don't share the same values, you have no business being friends or having close relationships with them,” she explained.

According to Curato, the disagreements on social media are a "collective problem" that doesn't have an individual solution and is a result of a dysfunctional political system.

"I think we have damaged relationships not simply because of moral failings or character flaw, but also because we have a dysfunctional political system now," she explained.

She noted that in mending relationships affected by politics, it is important to maintain "spaces" where people can maintain "politics-free" relationships. In order for the nation to heal as one, Filipinos need to realize that "we are not against each other" and there are business interests that stand to profit from the divisions.

She pointed out that citizens live in a political system where “troll armies” sow conflicts and these are led by strategists who earn from the arguments and divisions.

"Once we realize that we shouldn't turn ourselves from each other, we have to point to the right people when we need to hold people accountable instead of being preoccupied in fighting our friends and family members," she added.