The 2016 Philippine Presidential elections is less than a month away, and I can’t help but feel excited and dismayed at the same time. I’ve participated twice as a voter, but I’ve always been a curious observer ever since we helped our uncle campaign for a municipal post when I was a kid.
And I wonder, has things really changed since then?
More than bickering on which president is better, whose platform is better, shouldn’t we remember why we’re having an election at all— not to divide us, but to remind us that we are one nation?
Instead of tearing each other down, can’t we have campaign statements and strategies that foster nation-building?
We aspire to be a sovereign nation. One who can express pride and dignity in who we are, on what we call ourselves: Filipinos. Yes, that name has its reputation— both good and bad. Yes, that name has its strength and stigma.
And that’s why our fight for independence has never truly ended. No, we were never truly freed from colonization and invasion— both physical and cultural. We are still slaves to a disgusting mindset that is anathema to the solidarity we were supposed to dream about.
We claim to be decent people: then as decent citizens, let us confront our differences with decency.
We claim to want change: then let us change— in how we speak, in how we behave, in how we tolerate those who disagree with us, or even abuse and insult us.
We claim to have the skills and heart: then let our skills in influencing, persuading others show not just the heart of one party but a true heart for the nation.
Let’s be better than this— even if our presidential candidates can’t.