Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The 2013 Election and My Vote

This post should have been done and posted yesterday (May 13, 2013), the actual election day here in the Philippines. But due to the lack of internet connection in our other home, I will only be able to do so now. Oh well... Better late than never.

My family and I went to the polls yesterday morning - around 8AM. As expected, as soon as our feet landed on the street where the local school was, hordes of supporters came rushing, most of them handing us flyers, leaflets, and sample ballots containing the name of the candidate. Some who were more well-off handed cardboard fans containing not only the name, but even the faces of the candidates. I received one of the flyers with a name of candidate who I do not know. The middle-aged lady who handed me the piece of paper said "Iboto mo neng.. Magaling yan.. " (i.e. Vote for him. He's great). I looked at the piece of paper and found nothing but the candidate's name - not even his political party, much more his public service record. I then looked back at the lady who gave me that sheet of paper and asked her, "Paano nyo po nalaman na magaling, wala naman nakalagay dito (in the sheet of paper) na plataporma man lang nya?" (i.e. How did you know he's great when there is not even a plan of action written on this (sheet of paper)?). The lady frowned at me as she turned away. Perhaps, she was irked by my questions. Oh well...

The elections in our precinct (in Novaliches, Quezon City) this year was definitely better than the one we had 3 years ago (2010) - the first time an automated election was held in the Philippines. There was a separate line for the senior citizens, pregnant women, and PWD (people with disability). There were also volunteers who managed the lines to ensure that order is maintained. The lines for the regular voters were really long, but since a holding area was present, everyone had the chance to sit down while waiting for their turn to vote. Most of the voters too were smarter this time (smarter in the sense that they do not seem lost, dazed, or confused) that they brought with them valid ID cards, and they knew their exact precinct and voter's number when they reached the election precinct chairman. That was really helpful and a great time-saver because there was no more need to search an entire folder of registered voters looking for a single name. Of course, there were those 1 or 2 or 3 individuals who pretended they do not know where the end of the line is, but the more vigilant voters were able to reprimand and direct them to the "correct" end of the line. Even the teachers who man the ballots and PCOS machines were more knowledgeable this time. The process of signing forms, handing the ballot, receiving the accomplished ballot, and feeding it to the PCOS machine seem to be smoother this time, than it was 3 years ago. Overall, as a regular voter, it took me about an hour and a half to complete the entire voting process (i.e. searching for the location of my precinct and voter's number, falling in line, and the actual voting itself). For my parents, who were both senior citizens, it only took them 30-45 minutes, as they have a separate line. The one and a half hour total was nothing compared to the 3-4 hours I've had when the first automated election happened in 2010.

Upon reaching home, my 7-year old son came to meet me. Upon seeing the indelible ink mark on my right index finger, he asked me if I have already voted and what was the purple ink for. I answered on the affirmative and told him that the purple ink is placed on the right index finger to mark that a particular person had already cast his voted. He then asked me what was my criteria in selecting who to vote and why it was important to vote. Kids can ask the darnest questions... I had to search both my mind and my heart in answering these.

To the first question (what was my selection criteria) I answered..

"Nung una akong bumoto, pinipili ko yung mga candidate na sa palagay ko mananalo, kahit na yung paniniwala at paninindigan nila eh hindi kaparehas sa akin. Sayang naman kasi kung boboto ako sa hindi naman mananalo. Sa pagboto ko kanina, pumili ako ng mga candidates na gusto parehas ng puso at isip ko - kahit na alam kong malabo silang manalo dahil hindi sila kilala at sikat - mga candidates na naaayon ang paninindigan sa sarili kong prinisipyo at paniniwala."...  

To the second question (why it was important to vote), I answered,

"Tungkulin ng bawat Filipino ang bumoto... Sa pagboto, binibigyan mo ng kapangyarihan or power ang sarili mo na iparating sa mga lider ng Pilipinas kung ano ang gusto o ayaw mong mangyari sa bansa... Sa pagboto, sinusulit mo ang buwis or ang tax na binabayad mo bilang isang manggagawang Filipino... Sa pagboto, pinapakita mo na mahal mo ang bayan natin kasi pumipili ka ng mga taong sa palagay mo ay magpapaayos at magpapaunlad sa Pilipinas... Sa pagboto rin, pinapakita ko na mahal kita anak, kasi pumipili ako ng mga taong kayang magbigay sa yo ng isang maayos at magandang kinabukasan..  "....

My right index finger marked with purple indelible ink -
a proof that I have exercised my right as a Filipino. 

No comments:

Post a Comment