Dear Filipino Youth Voter

Dear fellow Filipino youth voter,

What have you been doing lately?
Have you already seen the aspiring candidates for the 2016 elections? What are your thoughts and realizations?

The filing of certificate of candidacy has already ended. The most talked about event gave us a glimpse of the people who wanted to lead our country. We saw different types of ‘servants’. Majority are familiar faces, few are those who want to try their luck again, some are newbies, and the latter appear to be random people inspired to run by weird interventions.

Politics is over social media and hopefully it somehow helps us, youth, to be conscious of our significant role in being the hope of this country.

Our role

What then is our role? Cliché as it may sound, our vote can change the future of our country. The youth, being part of the electorate may contribute a huge percentage in getting the right leaders for our country. To get this started, of course we have to register as voters. We may do this by visiting the nearest COMELEC office. Complete the registration process and make your vote count.

Our contribution

Our wise vote is all that matters. What picture of the Philippines do you want to see in the next 6 years? What kind of leaders do you want to have? I think that’s some of the important questions to consider in choosing who to vote for. Our vote in every election is a step in dedicating ourselves to the change.

The culture of the Filipino electorate plays a big part in the elections. Based on my observation, the Filipinos are after Popular Voting. Sad as it may sound, there are voters who support popular people regardless if they are well-capacitated or not to serve our country. This I think is the reality that we have to improve. Let’s not only vote just because these aspirants are ‘residents’ in our government for long years, celebrities, or social media icons. Let’s be intelligent to assess if they meet the criteria of the leaders that we want. It may take a little effort but please be encouraged to at least read about the profiles of these candidates.

What to look for in a candidate

Maybe now that we’ve seen the aspirants in the 2016 elections, we start to ask ourselves who to vote for. I’d like to give a general picture of what to look for in a candidate. Let me share you my What-To-Look-For checklist. I personally have three aspects to consider, (1) Character, (2) Experience, and (3) Platforms.

1. Character

Like one of my favorite Filipino public servants said, “The most important ingredient of leadership is character”. It’s great to have leaders who are firm and consistent with their character and principles. Those leaders who serve even without media attention on them. Those leaders who will fight against the current of the ocean just to get things done. Those leaders who always say “It is possible.” Those leaders who you know will remain loyal and true to the people even after elections. Those leaders whose character sets a good example to the service and to the nation. May Character be non-negotiable to us voters.

2. Experience

As I have been working in one government agency now, I learned that in assessing a candidate’s experience, it’s not the length in service that matters but the relevance of that experience in the position they are vetting for.

Some of the aspirants had long years of experience. But the question is, “Are those experiences enough to justify that they can perform the job well?” I hope it does and I hope that through those experiences, they were able to produce outstanding accomplishments.

3. Platforms

The selling point of every candidate is always their platforms. The gala of some aspirants’ platforms caused netizens headache. Let’s be smart enough to understand the significance, impact, and feasibility of their platforms. Let’s consider the platforms that will benefit the majority. Let’s look for the candidates proposal on education, health, peace, environment, inclusivity of indigenous groups, culture, finance, transportation, economy, poverty, and how Philippines can be better (yes better, and not just at par) with other countries.

Let us also take into consideration the existing programs that the 2016 administration needs to sustain. Some major programs that they need to sustain and prepare for is the Kto12 implementation, ASEAN intergration etc. Let us check if the platforms of the candidates include these reforms.

We don’t have to be political analysts to be wise voters. We just have to be an educated one. Make our youth count by shaping a Philippines that the future generations will be thankful for. Let us make sure that we play our part in the coming elections.

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