I Voted for Change

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PCOS machine precinct count optical scan

PCOS machine (photo from Philippine Star)

Today, this Philippine elections 2013 edition, I voted for candidates who:

  • have shown to put the interest of the people first before personal, family or party ambitions;
  • have experience in public service;
  • are not tied to corruption issues or whose immediate family is not tied to corruption issues;
  • have no immediate family members who are already in elective posts;
  • are independent-minded.

(*Immediate family – candidate’s own parents, siblings, children)

I didn’t vote for a complete Senate slate. And I didn’t have a vote for any of the local posts because the candidates are old faces or old names. Like, the candidate for mayor is the son of the incumbent who is now running for congressman. Their main opponent is also a father-son tandem! I didn’t have reliable information on other candidates to make an informed choice.

I voted for change. I want fresh faces in the Senate, House of Representatives and even in local executive positions. Our country has not benefited from the leadership of a few families who have ruled the country and its provinces through the years.  Even if the country has recently achieved investment-grade status from leading credit rating agencies, majority of our countrymen remain poor, and lasting peace and order remain elusive.

Of course, these new faces won’t guarantee that our country’s problems will disappear overnight. But the old ones have had their chance at power and they blew that chance to make our country better. So I’m giving my vote to new names, to give them their shot to serve the country.

What is it about Philippine politics that candidates will do anything to win? Is it about the absolute power that one wields when elected? Is it about the money from public funds that one can spend any which way? Most probably, it’s both.

We have switched to an automated as opposed to manual voting process but reports of vote buying, disenfranchised voters, intimidation and even violence still persist.

As I write this post, partial unofficial results from PPCRV (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting) are coming in. Sadly, name recall seems to be still the name of the game. TV still rules! Internet usage in the country is still low for voter education thru social media to be truly effective.

What will it take for meaningful change to happen in the political landscape?

  • For more people to be involved in the transformation process.
  • For more people to believe that their one vote counts.
  • For those already in power to use that power in uplifting people’s lives, not just their own and their family’s pockets.
  • For more people to believe in their own capability to change for the better, and not rely on politicians to make decisions (or not) about their future.

The Philippine midterm elections 2013 edition is finished. Initial results are disappointing. But I’m glad that we Filipinos get to exercise this democratic process. Small victories, yes. I hope we take the right little steps towards real meaningful change.

xxx

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