[OPINION] To the youth: Let's be the change our nation needs
More than 3 decades ago, we had a kleptocrat leader who had thousands of people's blood on his hands under his regime. When we got sick of it, millions of Filipinos fought hard to break loose from their chains, but here we are a few decades later with a replica of the president this country once loathed.
History indeed repeats itself. But it will not if we don't let it. It's up to us on May 13th.
Learn from the past
With our long history of abuse and corruption, we must have learned from our past. We must already know how powerful a vote can be. We must already realize that an election is not just a political routine where people create long queues to get their fingernails inked; rather it is a significant decision-making process where we determine the course of our country. With our long history of abuse and corruption – and I cannot emphasize this enough – we must know better by now. But with the people in charge and based on the latest survey results, this is not the case. (IN NUMBERS: Registered voters for the May 2019 elections)
We say we want change, we say we want progress for the Philippines, we say we no longer want the bad guys, we say we're against corruption, but here come the thieves, and even a fraud, a failed police chief and an alleged drug lord (who are both, by the way, nothing but the president's lapdogs) still topping the surveys.
If the Filipino people can only be charged with negligence, a lot of us would already be in jail.
Vote with your principles
People are also putting all the blame on these politicians on how poisoned the Philippine government has become, and while it is true, we should share the blame too. Because we are the ones who decide whether or not to put them there; we hold the power. But the problem is most people choose not to care. At least not enough.
If you are against a certain official in the government, you don’t just go on Facebook and complain about it. You find qualified and decent ones, then you cast your vote for them on election day. (READ: First-time voters: ‘As young people, we could change something’)
Negligence is one thing but electing the exact kind of people we hate this society for is another. It is not our fault if some of the politicians we vote for turn their backs on their promises and duties, but it is a betrayal of our country if we keep on supporting them.
If we are willing to give the liars and the corrupt a seat in government, it's time we question our choices. It's time we remind ourselves of our principles; it's time we review our morals and values. Because if we have compromised any of this by supporting someone who does not abide by even the most basic values we were taught – do not steal, do not lie, do not kill – we are not doing our country good.
Change begins with a choice
A good leader who deserves a seat in government requires more than a career as an action star, or a well-known patriotic singer, or the president's sidekick. (READ: Youth urged to vote in 2019 elections)
We must know that a good leader must be someone who values life, honors the law, and safeguards the rights of Filipinos, not someone who believes that justice could be served through war and guns, someone who thinks killing is the answer to criminality.
A good leader is honest and transparent, not a liar about her credentials in order to beautify her records. A good leader must empower the little and unheard voices, women, and the youth. He does not make jokes about rape and does not promote sexual violence. A good leader loves his country. He fights for the Filipinos' interests, he does not give away our land, and is not a slave of other nations. (READ: [OPINION] Campus mock polls show how different the youth vote is)
Go beyond Twitter and Facebook
Use the internet to get to know your aspiring leaders ,to study the issues that society faces nowadays. Tweets and Facebook posts should not be the mere basis of our decisions. Do your own digging. Smart-sounding opinions of people online should not necessarily become yours too.
Whoever deserves to be in office is for you to decide, but remember that your choices will greatly affect the future of this nation. (READ: Ilonggo youth to voters: 'If you love your country, fight for it')
To my fellow youth, let us all strive to be better. We have been called by many names, but “bobotante (dumb voter)” will never be one of them. (READ: Youth and elections: Is there such a thing as a 'youth vote'?)
Let us all be smarter and more informed voters. To all Filipinos, we can do better and we must do better. Our motherland has been repeatedly exploited and abused over the years and we owe her salvation and liberation. Let us help her move forward. Let us be the change our nation needs. – Rappler.com
Lea Anndrea Tayo is the Editor-in-chief of The Perspective, the official publication of Tomas del Rosario College Senior High School Department. The views and opinions expressed in the article are solely of the author and do not reflect those of her affiliations.