Lolas vote in Laoag
ILOCOS NORTE, Philippines - I arrived at Laoag Central Elementary School Monday (May 13) morning looking for signs of satisfaction among people waiting in line for their turn to vote.
I hoped to find a first-time voter who could prove that today's youth believe in their power to vote.
In days past, all I heard from teenagers were dismissals of the significance of elections. They would tell me that nothing would change -- no matter who wins.
In my search, I instead found something totally different.
Along the corridor of Laoag Central’s West building, I noticed an old lady with a hunched back looking for her name on the voters’ lists. Within minutes, she found her way to her assigned precinct, just behind the wall on which the list bearing her name, Pilar Garma, was posted.
The 93-year-old Garma, a widow and resident of Bgy 16, came to vote with her two daughters and two grandchildren.
She has never missed a chance to vote, said her elder daughter, 68-year-old Conchita Garma-Delgado.
Garma said she constantly makes an effort to participate in the elections because she is simply following what the Comelec says.
Delgado added that her mother believes that every Filipino should vote for as long as she or he is able to.
In the middle of our conversation, Modesta Jose, also 93, and from the same barangay, sat beside Garma. They spoke with each other in hushed voices.
Meanwhile, Delgado conversed with Jose’s granddaughter, mentioning a 97-year-old neighbor and friend of the old ladies.
Delgado later told me that had their 97-year-old neighbor not been ill and hospitalized, she would have come to vote.
Jose’s granddaughter said that both Garma and Jose see each other only during elections. They use the time to catch up and chat, even if briefly.
That their old age didn’t stop them from heading out to vote is remarkable, particularly since some eligible voters prefer not to exercise their right to choose their leaders.
I always assumed that optimism fades as one grows older. Today I saw otherwise.
Like the elderly I saw today, I’d like to believe that we decide our future with the votes we cast today. On this one day, we are all equal in our ability to bring about change. That one vote can make a difference, no matter the age of who casts it. - Rappler.com
See the tweet that started it all:
— Faye Sales (@fayeqsales) May 13, 2013
Faye Sales is a Rappler Ambassador. Follow her on Twitter for real-time updates.