Sunday, February 8, 2009
Gearing Up for Election 2010: Will Overseas Absentee Voting Make a Difference?
Isla de Nebz's Blog on Infodrive-Let's Register for 2010 Elections inspired me to reinforce his call for OFW's to register for the 2010 Elections. Will the OFW vote really make a difference in this election?
A little more than two and a half decades ago, I was one of those young students who called for boycotts during elections. We would march from the State U to Mendiola in kapit-bisig fashion shouting anti-government slogans and the call to boycott plebiscites, referendum, and elections. To boycott was a call that we can no longer tolerate the political system! If we vote, we just reinforce the idea for the politicians that we tolerate the Circus where they play the clowns. To boycott was to show our care for the country by letting the politicians know that the citizenry has awakened from their political slumber, and that we're no longer traditional voters. To boycott was to let them know that they don't deserve any of our votes. I would often say that yes it’s my “right” to vote but why should I exercise such right when I know that the political system stinks. So the best alternative was to BOYCOTT!
What made me sing a different tune? "Balimbing" as how others would put it. But bahala na kahit balimbing I realized that boycotting the elections was like tolerating these clowns to continue on with their stage shows. To boycott means that I lose a chance to cast a vote to whom I believe is the better candidate. I have realized that a vote cast to a loser, will be a message to the winner that a voter did not like him to be there and it is for him to prove that he deserved it. In the case where the vote is cast to the winner, that vote will send the message that voter trusted him and that he should not disappoint the trust given by his supporter... Call it wishful thinking but I believe that I need to exercise my right to suffrage. I don't live just for myself now as when I was a young student. i also live now for my children and my children's children. I cannot imagine a country continuously run by clowns from the Election Circus.
Also, I could have probably matured and awakened to the reality that a cornerstone principle and the bedrock of our Philippine Constitution is our being a republican and democratic society (Yes, I got that from my Consti Law Class). And one of the hallmarks for our country to be truly democratic is the people’s right to suffrage or right to vote. When we vote, we exercise our political right to suffrage and our power to choose our leaders; When we vote, we send a message to the world that democracy and republicanism are not just concepts but a reality in the Philippines; When we vote, we voice out sensitive issues that we face as a nation; When we vote, we cleanse the misfits out from public service; and When we vote, we vote for life, freedom, liberty, democracy, prosperity and progress!
The old proverb Vox populi, vox Dei “the voice of the people is the voice of God” does not refer to infallibility but is an acknowledgement that the choice of the people during elections is verdict equivalent to mandate. But if the voice of the people is the voice of God in that sense, it must be heard, and the condition that is possible only if all those who are qualified and registered to vote, or at least a majority, participates in the election. And for us who are approximately 7M OFW's all over the globe (even excluding the undocumented ones, it's a big bloc to reckon), the only way for us to vote is to register. I often hear excuses for not registering for the OAV. I don't want to be influenced by the lame excuses as I have not registered yet but I have resolved that I will because I believe my one vote will make a difference in the 2010 Election. (Deadline is 31-August-2009).
We can no longer afford political upheavals and rumors of coup d etat. We should not look at elections as just personal “beauty contests” or popularity contests among the candidates. We should look at it as a sacred exercise of our right. It is not even the losing candidate who loses in a manipulated, fraudulent and rigged election but the Filipino people who embodies the republicanism and democracy of our Constitution.
Other Related & Useful Links:
OFWs in Saudi Arabia find OAV registration schedule impractical
Araw ng pagpaparehistro ng mga OFW sa Saudi para sa OAV ipinapalipat
Saudi Gazette: Filipino absentee voting registration opens Feb.1
Philippine Embassy Seeks Saudi Approval for Mobile Registration
OAV Downloadable Forms (COMELEC)