MANILA, Philippines – “Hindi puwedeng hindi ako boboto, boboto talaga ako (I cannot not vote, I really have to vote),” 55-year- old Nelson Almario said matter-of-factly.
Nelson had been standing outside the voter’s registration site in Arroceros, Manila, for almost 4 hours carrying his two-year old grandson. He was keeping close watch of the doors that led to a building where hundreds were registering to vote in the 2019 national and local elections. (First-time voters: ‘As young people, we could change something’)
“Basta may tumatakbo, dapat magboto. Lahat, pati barangay (We should vote for as long as someone is running. All, even barangay [elections]),” he told Rappler on Friday, September 28.
Nelson waited for his wife, Cristina, 51, whom he accompanied to make sure she registered. A few minutes later, Cristina emerged with their 22-year-old daughter Nerissa.
“Okay na (It’s okay),” said a visibly tired Cristina. She told Rappler she got up at 3 am that day to prepare breakfast for her family and finish house chores in time to line up at the registration center at 1 pm. The family came from Tondo, Manila. It was nearly 6 pm when they finished.
Cristina is among those who registered for the upcoming elections a day before registration closed on Saturday, September 29. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said there would no more extensions for people to register. (LIST: Satellite voters’ registration sites in Metro Manila open on September 29)
Cristina is not a first-time voter. She reactivated her voter’s status after she found out in the last national elections in May 2016 that her name was no longer on her precinct’s list of active voters.
She said she wondered why her name was deleted in the list then because she was a regular voter. She said she has to vote to make sure her choice candidates would win.
“‘Yung gusto mong iboto at ‘yung mga ibang gusto mo, ‘di mo mapipili “(You can’t choose who you want to vote for if you don’t register),” she said.
READ: #PHvote: How to register as voter in the Philippines
What does she want from the next set of elective officials? Simple: “Tulungan ‘nyo lang kami, ‘yun lang. Kung sino man mananalo (Help us, that’s all. Whoever wins).”
Like Cristina, Nelson hoped that after the 2019 midterm elections, he would have better chances of finding work.
Nerissa said it was her also father who got her to register.
“Bumoto sila para ‘yung gusto nilang manalo, manalo. Hindi ‘yung hindi sila boboto tapos rereklamo sila bakit hindi maganda (People should vote so who they want to win would win. Instead of not voting and then they’ll complain),” she said.
Nelson and his family then made their way back home. Tomorrow would be another day, Nelson said, as he would return of the Comelec office to make sure his other daughter, who was at work that Friday, would get to register, too. – Rappler.com
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