MANILA, Philippines – In a country where elections are characterized by personality politics, campaign jingles, and snappy TV advertisements, issue-based discussions are often the first casualties.
The challenge for voters then, especially during the campaign season, is to cut through the noise and make the elections all about pressing issues facing the nation, not the personalities vying for public seats.
But what are the issues important to Filipinos?
In colloquial terms, ano’ng hugot ng mga Pilipino?
To encourage Filipinos to discuss issues that matter most to them and their community, Rappler launched its interactive meme generator and asked Filipino netizens: Ano’ng hugot ninyo?
Hugot is a Filipino term which means “to draw from” or “to pull out.” Online, Filipinos typically attach it as a hashtag when they express their emotions or deep sentiments.
Taking off from this pop culture practice, Rappler challenged social media users to spark discussion by sharing their election hugot through potentially viral memes.
Hundreds responded to the challenge with their witty answers. As of this writing, the campaign has generated 375 memes spanning 6 pre-selected categories: corruption, social inequality, peace process, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), environment, and foreign policy.
Based on the submissions, corruption seems to be the top issue of Filipino netizens, with 255 hugot memes about it. Social inequality comes next with 65 memes.
Like falling in love
If there’s one major takeaway from the memes, it’s that elections are a lot like love.
Oo, parang pag-ibig.
Social media users drew parallelisms between elections and love to emphasize the value of everyone’s vote. The meme which got the most support went: Ang pagpili ng liderato ay parang pag-ibig. Huwag ka doon sa gagamitin ka lang. (Choosing who to vote for is like love. Don’t choose someone who will just use you.)
Another netizen said that, just like in love, it’s difficult to decide who will be worth it.
Aside from comparing the elections to love, netizens raised current and long-standing issues that they want candidates to address. These include the state of public transportation, farmers like Carrot Man, traffic, disasters, price hikes, and pollution.
“‘Yung ginagawang auction ang boto mo, maraming kandidatong pataasan ng bid,” Valerie Ann Saavedra also said to discourage netizens from selling their votes. (When your vote gets auctioned off, with many candidates trying to outbid one another.)
This was echoed by Arielle Go, who added that voting, like love, should be priceless.
But perhaps their collective election hugot was best summarized by Marville Espago, who said: “Elections, like love, is a tricky game. Guard your vote the way you guard your heart.”
Moving forward to a #WonderfulPH
Through the interactive meme generator, Rappler’s readers have shared the issues that are most important to them. Now, with just a little over two months before we cast our votes, it’s time to discuss the goals that we want our future leaders to pursue.
We challenge you to take part in building a vision board for the country. For you, what would make a better Philippines? What should be high on our leaders’ agenda? What are the concrete actions that you can commit to doing in order to be part of the change?
Visit the #PHVote site to share your answers and see how others envision a #WonderfulPH. – Rappler.com