Time to Vote Wisely: Electing the Right Political Candidate
by Anne Marielle Eugenio, April 26, 2019 6:06pm
Art by Dani Elevazo
The Philippines is a democratic country—the country’s progress in the citizens’ power to vote the right leaders. So, political candidates do everything within their power to woo the masses until they can get their support.
Given this freedom, how do we determine the right candidates for the post? How can we, the voting mass, make sure our candidates will not turn out as irresponsible and corrupt leaders in the administration? How do we know if a candidate will contribute to the nation’s progress and stability? As people of democracy, do we properly exercise our power to vote?
Popularity and personality matters
In a past psychographic study, Filipinos most likely vote for candidates who are known personalities, endorsed by a traditional network or organization or have ideal Filipino value characteristics: being God-fearing, compassionate, decisive, intelligent, and trustworthy. Meanwhile, in the 2016 poll elections, about 34% percent of Filipinos said there’s nothing wrong with voting for candidates from political dynasties—candidates came from a family of politicians and some of them are tried and tested in leadership. They are popular among the masses, which is one reason a hopeful political win. Background and advocacies may help, but popularity is still a major reason for victory.
People will most likely remember the political hopefuls who have TV and social media ads. Media has the power to influence a voter’s decision—even memes can be used as tools for political campaigns. These “harmless” and funny videos or pictures are useful to boost a candidate’s name.
Recent statistics show young voters are most likely to pick a candidate of character. Voters would like to see how a soon-to-be official can relate with and help the community. One who will they put up livelihood programs, provide assistance in times of calamities, or offer scholarships to underprivileged youth? But there are still people who would still vote for “Trapo” (Traditional Politicians), those who have criminal records. These people are not well-informed about the candidate’s profile, do not give much attention to their performance in a political debate, or are sold on their campaign gimmicks. Don’t get fooled by their catchy jingles, search way beyond their front acts. The people we vote will lead the nation for the next three or six years—it’s time to make a proper research.
The right person to vote
Above personality and popularity, voters should consider a candidate’s platform the most. Their political advocacies should deal with contemporary social issues, which involves problems in the justice system, employment rate, access to education, equal rights, domestic violence—the list goes on and on.
How will we know these components? The answer is educating ourselves. Let’s take time to know the candidates, their backgrounds, and platforms. If they have held a government position in the past, take time to research and ask the people they had served. It also helps to read the news, but be wary of those fake and deceiving announcements—use the internet and social media wisely and responsibly. We should be careful about who are we are electing in the position.
We should only give our votes to those who have the heart to serve the people, not money or position. Vote those people who have a clean track record and have great platforms—those who you think would be a game changer in our corrupt government.
The Philippines deserves more
Our country deserves more than inconsistent leaders and temporary solutions. We’ve been colonized by different countries and once ruled by a ruthless dictator. Every time, we fight our way towards freedom and democracy. Those sacrifices are not meant to be wasted. Let’s eye those candidates who aim for our country’s success.
The fate of our country is in our hands. Electing the right leaders is both our right and responsibility. But we cannot rely on our leaders alone if we aim for progress. Our discipline and unity should be a priority, too. Let’s have a habit of respecting our similarities and differences and be one with the government. Only then we can achieve the progress we have been eyeing on.
We have the power. Let’s use it wisely and for the greater good.