Andy Speaks: On Philippine Election 2016

As I am currently writing on this entry, Philippines are still counting the votes for nationwide position and had initial results shown for those who have won. As of this moment, the battle for vice presidency is still ongoing due to neck to neck competition of gathering the number of most votes for two candidates: Bongbong Marcos and Leni Robredo. The president presumptive is waiting for his formal declaration and the unofficial declared winner is the person I truly wanted to meet in Davao way back in May 2014 – Mayor Duterte.

These past few months our country is geared up towards electing new leaders that will steer us towards progress and improvement. The social media was covered and bombarded by differing political opinions, memes, write ups and reposting of news articles from different sources. It even came to a point that FB became a haven for socio-political opinions and avenue for bickering with other people because of different “views” and evaluations. I must admit I was one of those people who got annoyed when my preferred candidate were bashed and criticized. Some posts generate annoyance and bad vibes so I decided to unfollow some of them in my FB feeds. There are even times that I am contemplating to remove these so-called “FB” friends on my list just to tone down my news feeds (I never did, because I feel like being nice at the end of the day). I never joined the fray in the discussing my personal opinion about the election. At the back of my mind, I already had selected candidates but I never went to social media to air them out and just have reposted some worthwhile links and/or news. I never put my opinion in my FB status based on the election debates, mudslinging and hurling of issues against each candidates – I stayed away from it and just posted something about respecting each other’s thoughts.

Last Monday, May 09, 2016 was the date that the whole nation was waiting – to elect new leaders that will provide long anticipated changes and address the frustrations that stemmed from current and previous administration. I had to admit I was already exhausted from weekend’s activity and having a good rest on a Monday holiday is a tempting offer I can’t resist. But still being a consistent voter since 2003, I got up, sent my son to my parent’s house, went to precinct and fall in line to vote.

Going to precinct is already a challenge due to a scorching heat and falling in line is another feat I need to overcome. Again, I was tempted to give up especially standing up for two hours waiting for my turn to vote. But being a determined person and willing to participate in nation’s election, I patiently waited along with hundreds of people wanting to exercise their rights to choose a right leader for their future. After hours of waiting in line and soaking in sweat, I was able to vote and let my tiny voice (and shaded ballots) be heard right across the nation to select the rightful leaders. I didn’t know where I got the motivation and encouragement to wait, but I always remember my parent’s advice which emphasized on having given a right to vote is a privilege that not everyone is entitled to. In this age and time, there are countries that still do not allow women to vote let alone express themselves freely without the critical eyes of chauvinistic and sexist men. Having a chance to decide and freely choose who I want to elect is a privilege that I don’t want to take for granted. Now, as the new government and changes unfolds into this country I am proud to say that I am exercising my rights twelve years and counting.

On my end note, always remember, we do not need new leaders to change us; change must first start in our selves.

P.S. Before I end up this entry, I would like to share Francis Kong’s words of wisdom on election:

The fever is heating up. Do not “unfriend” people, quarrel or break off friendships because of political preferences or differences. You may not agree with other’s people opinion but you need to respect them. They should respect yours too. Learn to disagree agreeably.

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