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Preparing for Philippine Elections (May 2001)
For Love Of Country
By Angelica Bautista Viloria
February 13, 2001
In a few months, we will see if indeed the Filipino has learned his lesson from People Power 2. Yesterday was the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacies for those who want to be senators of the republic. Overnight, posters of "senatoriables" like Dong Puno, Ping Lacson, and Ralph Recto have mushroomed left and right, cluttering our already dirty city walls. I don't know what it is with posters that politicians love having them. I, for one, will not be swayed to vote for a particular candidate just because he or she bombards my conscious or unconscious mind with cute pictures or witty slogans.
I've been looking over the list of candidates and I know I'll have a difficult time filling up all 13 blanks. It's a pity but in a field of more than 60 people running for election, I still can't use all of the fingers on my two hands to count candidates whom I feel would be worthy of my vote.
"New politics," that's the buzz word of the administration these days. If we are truly entering the age of "new politics," how come most of the names still sound old? Can't we move into "no politics" at all, where compromise and personal ambition become things of the past? Politics, as a word, has just become too dirty and for a country where garbage disposal is still a problem, we already have more than enough trash to handle.
How do we rid our society of trash? Aside from campaigning for the candidates we like, we should also try to dissuade other people from voting for the wrong candidates. Remember what happened in 1998 when we failed to convince others not to vote for an immensely popular presidential candidate? Well, we had to mount a revolution in January 2001, that's what happened.
So, whom should we not vote for? We should not vote for candidates whom history has repeatedly shown to not have done anything good for our country. We should not vote for candidates who do not seem to have a mind of their own, who appear to be a mere clone of someone else. We should not vote for anyone associated with the past administration for why did we boot them out of office, only to have them return?
By the way, an election is not a popularity contest. Just because candidates are well known (or their wives are famous) does not mean they are the best ones for the job for to maintain one's popularity, one may not be willing to take drastic or unconventional measures or risks that the times may call for. In addition, an election is not a raffle where the winner takes all. All as in all the money, all the credit, all the glory. It is the voting public who must emerge as the winner and all candidates must prove themselves as worthy servants of the people.
Let us remember well and let us remember long. People Power 2 reminds us how crucial the choices we make every time there is an election are. The coming elections this May will give us a chance to vote for principled, upright, and knowledgeable individuals who will shape our country's laws and policies. People who understand their jobs as legislators and who understand that "this is not entertainment." People who will do the Filipinos proud. It is not enough that the candidates wooing us for our votes have good intentions. They must have the ability and the determination to make these intentions realities.
So, on the second Monday of May, I urge every Filipino voter to go out and make your choice. Select wisely. Then we shall know if People Power 2 was all that we remember it to be or if it was just one big street party. Have we finally learned our lessons? Cast your vote or forever hold your peace.
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For Love Of Country
Written February 13, 2001
Copyright © 2001 by Angelica Bautista Viloria of http://www.viloria.com