MANILA, Philippines – With less than a week left before the May 13 elections, expect the political scene to heat up even more as senate and local government candidates try to hustle and shove their names and faces into every radio ad, TV spot, broadsheet space, and lamp post.
With all these distractions, it becomes increasingly difficult to wade through the muck and uncover the real issues and platforms. Now, more than ever, is the appropriate time to pause, analyze, and think about how to vote smart.
“I’m actually very excited because this year is going to be the first time I’ll be voting,” says actor Elmo Magalona. “I can actually be part of it and feel that I contributed something to the development of the country.”
The first thing one should do when voting smart, according to the 19-year-old son of music icon Francis Magalona, is to simply participate in the voting process. “Every vote counts. But of course, voting smart isn’t just about voting; it’s about genuinely thinking about who to vote for, knowing what the candidates’ platforms are, and deciding if that is what the country needs to move forward.”
For his sister Maxene: “Voting smart is a combination of voting wisely in terms of knowing the candidates and, at the same time, falling in love with one of the platforms of the candidates and dedicating yourself to it. Having your mind and your heart connected while voting, that’s voting smart.”
But when most candidates’ platforms are filled with trite rhetoric, sometimes, finding the right candidate is about looking for the one that inspires you the most, says Maxene.
“There are so many problems that need to be solved in this country that no single person can solve on his own,” she says. “And because of this, I want a candidate who will inspire everyone to make a change within themselves. One person just can’t do it. It has to be a conscious effort made by the whole Filipino community.”
For the men of hit radio show Boys’ Night Out, voting smart begins with taking it seriously. “On our show we talk about kalokohan and we mess around a lot,” says Slick Rick, one-third of the comedic triumvirate. “But when it comes to politics and the coming elections, we want people to know that we’re informed and that we take it seriously.”
For Sam YG, voting smart is about “finding out the morals and values of the candidate. What does he really stand for as a human being, more than as a politician? It all boils down to the character of the person because that’s what he or she will be using to carry out decisions that will affect the entire country.”
For a lot of people, says Toni Tony, “they depend upon the candidate’s name on who they should vote for. But it’s not just about their name; you need to look at the background of the person: what he has achieved so far, what he stands for, and what their plans are for the future.”
And when you do find out, says Sam, “Why not share it with your friends and family? Everybody has an equal responsibility in helping others vote smart.”
Meanwhile, according to self-professed pretty boy Ramon Bautista, “voting smart means researching and using common sense to choose the best candidates to vote for.
“It’s not about joining bandwagons or making last-minute decisions based on how good a name sounds.”
While the latter is how many Filipinos have come to vote, there still is some hope. “I’m inspired by the Filipino people’s optimism that somewhere out there is an honest person whom they can elect to be the hope for the country of their children.” – Rappler.com
Visit #PHvote, Rappler’s coverage of the 2013 Philippine elections. Get to know the candidates through our comprehensive profile pages.
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