By Valerie Uy
#Halalan2019 lit up the internet with varying opinions—and dismay—at the recently concluded local elections. Sadly, in some ways, the elections also brought out a darker side of the Filipino electorate—social media was flooded with division, judgement, mockery, and, sometimes, flat out insults.
People who classify groups or classify as a certain group are missing the whole point. The election is supposed to be about choosing the right people for unity as a nation, for the betterment of the nation. It's apparent that there are two sides that are prevailing, which, supposedly, is counterproductive because both sides, at their best, share the same hope for a greater and better Philippines. Divided, we always fall—whatever side you’re on.
But before we are too quick to assume and/or judge, we should mull this over: Are we simply just hating on a certain type of people?
Voting is a right (and a privilege,) but voting for the right people is a responsibility of the voter. It is our responsibility to learn, research, and be informed. With regards to who these right people are (without political biases,) there's no excuse for voting for people who have an actual track record of crime or those who are simply incompetent. We should at least apply our basic princple of right and wrong when making such decisions.
Some of us are privileged enough not to depend on hand-to-mouth existence or experience heightened effects of the minimal rise in prices of basic necessities, unemployment, lack of access to health and education, and the like. But for the majority of the country, which is living through poverty, it is the responsibility of the system we vote into power to help them live a better, safer life. Thus, it goes back to informed voting of the right people who will take action according to the needs of the nation. Bayan muna, bago sarili, as they say. And we should elect candidates who share the same principle.
People must vote based on who they feel can serve the country best with no personal interest—whether or not their last name sounds familiar or they have much more experience in high positions. But, as it turned out, the majority of the Filipino people elected otherwise, and the rest of the population are taking it out on them. But, judgement should be passed on those who knew better and still voted for the “wrong” people for the wrong reasons other than the true purpose of the election.
It's not the people, but it is the system—a system that refuses to educate its people.
As we live in the aftermath of the elections, the informed citizens, the youth included, should forge on—without the hate—and keep working for the betterment of our motherland. Keep educating yourself and pass on the knowledge to our fellow countrymen, be it on social media or by taking action outside the internet. Volunteer, be part of organizations that support your cause, join rallies, if need be.
There is hope, and it is us. Our country needs us now more than ever, so let's not succumb on those petty battles on the internet. There's real work to be done, and we should start now.
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas.
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