It’s an election year in the Philippines.
We are called to vote for our next President, Vice-President, and legislators, all vying to ‘serve’ the public. It’s that time of year when we see candidates buying up blocks and blocks of television/radio/print ad time, ensuring their chances of victory are shored up by every peso spent in their campaign.
Yet, I see no (publicized) effort to keep the electorate informed. I don’t see any organization, news or public service that organizes forums or debates to gather the most pressing issues that need to be tackled and give the voters a chance to evaluate the candidates ideologies, views, strategies and plans.
All I see is mud-slinging, senseless dwelling on things that have come to pass and point fingers to people no longer in power. We don’t hear concrete plans of actions to solve the recurring problems in our society – rainy season floods. Traffic. Inadequate public transport. Corruption.
We keep hearing of great economic gains, and the traffic is the most ominous sign of growth, that we should feel blessed to be stuck in traffic, as long as the economy is growing, than see the value of what we own diminish.
It’s the most pathetic and elitist statement that reeks ambivalence at the plight of the majority, especially coming from someone in a very different stature in life. It’s the kind of insensitivity that has been traded for comforts in exchange for compassion and empathy.
It is downright shameful.
What we need is a leader that will make Filipinos believe that we can do things – ourselves. A leader who will buy long in the ideology that our citizens are more than capable, that we don’t need to sell our soul for economic numbers to climb at the expense of exhausting our natural resources, that there are alternatives to stimulate economic growth.
We should start investing in the people. Bet on the Filipino spirit. It doesn’t mean only patronize Filipino products and services, but put money on great ideas, build on them and create an industry that focuses on the needs of the citizens.
We, the Filipinos, should start changing from within. Do away with crab mentality. Keep our heads down, work hard and put our hearts into it. Accomplish more, complain less. Keep our leaders accountable. Ask for more from them. Do away with traditional politics, ask questions, and not let them off the hook. We need to pray more and humble ourselves. Serve each other. Be kind to each other. Support each other.
We do all these wonderful things outside in foreign lands, for foreigners, for people who are not even of our same heritage, but we do gladly, willingly and whole heartedly. Why can’t we do it for our fellow Filipinos, in our home land.
It’s time to stop claiming that we love the Philippines but hate Filipinos.
It’s time to do right by our country, and the only way is to stop the circus, stop peddling ignorance and inform the voters properly of who they’re voting for and what they really stand for.