13 days to go ’til another historical day in our country begins. When 54.4 million voters get to practice their right of suffrage in order to place the people of their choice into more than 20 positions on the line. When the whole nation unites in making a difference as we, once again, face the elections which would either bring us onto an era of progress and change or back to the same old state of poverty and corruption.
As the Philippines is beset with many problems, either new or continuing, there is no doubt that this year’s elections (especially for the presidency) is one of the most relevant ones throughout the years. With the increasing tension on the West Philippine Sea, we are in need of a president who knows how to deal with this, through diplomacy, tactfully and to fight for our sovereignty rights effectively. With the continuity of corruption as evidenced post Typhoon Yolanda and by previous elections (a disease so inherent within our government that even the ‘Daang Matuwid’ could not correct), we need a leader who is credible and adamant; capable enough to clean up the pretty mess left behind by past administrations; one who cannot be bought by anything. (More importantly, he or she should never be tainted with corruption issues.) And even though our GDP may have increased in the last few years, a 2016 survey spills the bitter truth: 50% of the population rate themselves to be poor. The economy is still improving I believe and there are still lots of unemployed Filipinos seeking jobs and the better life. This situation entails for someone who is rightfully educated and also aware that there is still an economic crisis going on. In addition, realities of worsening health conditions of some fellowmen as AIDS cases increased, of criminality never losing its toll and of the impending doom of climate change, necessitate the citizenry to vote for a person who has full and rich experience in government service. (Whoa! Such heavy burdens for the next president but these are only a few that we are dealing with now, right?!)
If you think deeply on who fits the qualifications for the situations mentioned above, there is no other name but Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago that comes to mind. But she has chronic fatigue syndrome. Worse, she has cancer. And all the rationalization begins which bears fruit to saying no to MDS because she might not last if elected as president. This was my case before as election season went on. VP Binay might be decisive as he says but I don’t want a man with plunder charges or with the tendency of evading questions thrown at him. Senator Grace Poe seemed eager and promising but her lack of experience clearly speaks in volumes of why voting for her is truly unwise. Sec. Mar Roxas looks like a fitting successor for PNoy but come on, if he wins, I guess it will just be the same as his predecessor’s regime. I bet many people would agree with me that they want to experience something ‘new’- wherein every Filipino gets to live fully. And when all hope seemed to be lost, Mayor Duterte came to the scene. With a serious fortitude and a genuine appeal to the Filipino people, one cannot help but decide to support him. To add, he has an impressive background and Davao City is plainly the living evidence. Although he did have a history of being a ‘bad mouth’, I read from a Yahoo article that he was willing to change that for his country. And for other reasons which I cannot include here, I chose to vote for him.I was willing to give him a shot! My decision was final and I supported him all the way until AFTER, just recently, the rape comment controversy exploded and even became international. Just as one supporter would do, I investigated and searched for the truth. I understood the whole matter completely, considerate of why Duterte made such remarks. Yes, it was uncalled for but it was all street slang. His actions while he was still mayor proved that he despises rape to its very core. How I wish he was just careful with his words then as I hope he would be in the future especially if he would become the president. So, personally, not too good for the ones trying to bring him down through black propaganda!
However, as the news went global, things got from bad to worse for Duterte. And instead of learning from his mistake which might affect subsequent surveys in the next weeks, he has made more controversial statements. One particular thing he did which bothered me was his dare to sever ties with the US and Australia. Although I just learned that it was a hypothetical question according to him as stated in a news article, such conception is too provocative. The page turner for me was a statement indicating that he won’t change who he was; therefore contradicting his words before (which I specified above). It occurred to me that if he was not open to change within himself, then how can he become a model of change for us? With this inconsistency and also with his flippant behavior during debates (how much more his answers which feel more like jokes!), I started to evaluate my decision. Another rationalization began for me and I asked for divine guidance since I know this matter is contributory to how my country would be in the next 6 years. And before I forget, this is my first time to vote so this is meaningful to me somehow. I want to vote according to my conscience despite what the surveys say or what my family thinks. I want to vote wisely, without regrets later.
And with this heartfelt concern that must be addressed with mindfully, the Presidential Debates 2016 last April 24 sealed the deal for me as I made the SWITCH TO SENATOR MIRIAM-DEFENSOR SANTIAGO. My FB status after watching was:
It was a tough choice but I have finally made up my mind! Thank God! Well, more of like changed my mind… 😊
“Despite battling with cancer, I can see the determination of this woman in leading our long lost country. Talk about this selfless and sacrificial willingness which appealed to me through tonight’s debate inspite of her stark struggle on stage! Anyhow, I will vote for the person, though with cancer but has the full potential to spearhead the cure for the cancer (corruption) which has crippled this nation ever since!” – KBH
In support of my views, MDS has less of the controversial side to her in relation to the world community which is beneficial in tackling international issues. Plus, as I don’t want to vote by the ‘lesser-evil’ principle (well, come to think of it, she has not been accused during her political career as far as I can remember) I feel like her achievements and her expertise far outweigh all her opponents combined. And what about her cancer? She has survived a lot in her life already. I believe the Lord can do a miracle for her; sustaining her or the better, curing her. (I will pray for that!) It might not happen but I’m giving her a shot this time. Yes it is a risk but one I’m willing to take because after all, I know deep within, I made the right choice this time- conscientious, free of unnecessary influence, guided by above!
To end, I just would like to ask you, dear reader, to pray for our country. If you are Filipino, please pray for wisdom to select the appropriate leaders. If not, kindly intercede for us to have clean, safe and successful elections come May 9! Without God, our Highest Hope, not the candidates, our country would never survive or flourish. Let Him be our Guide as we enter into a better Philippines as we constantly speak in the words of Miriam: “God preserve this country and begin with me!”
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!