Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Guidelines on Voting Wisely: PART II

by Rizsa Rose S. Baer (IV AB PoS)
Head, Issue and Policy Analysis Cluster
Council of Organizations of the Ateneo (COA

1. Vote right.
Vote for the person who is right for the position, not just because they're a relative or an acquaintance. Elections may be, in part, a popularity contest, but let it not stop there. Personally, I am more weary of the flashy candidates than the quiet ones. Silent water runs deep (although we have to remember that politicians can NOT be forever silent).

2. Information is key.
Gather and study the candidates' credentials well. Be aware of the bias of the source and know how to balance the two sides. Listen to jingles and campaign ads but KNOW that it is possibly only half true. Don't take any info at face value. Corroborating evidence usually never fails.

3. Be sensitive.
Action speaks louder than words. There are always documents or statistics or studies that candidates can use to back their claims to greatness but be aware and conscious. When in power did they do something? If they did, what did they do? How did their constituents benefit? Flashy projects may be just that, flashy. What was the trade-off that happened? The most beautiful park for a lot of starving and uneducated children?
Or another simple telling factor: if they can't follow the simple rules that the Comelec has about posters and whatnots, will you risk putting them in a position where they can ensure no law touches them?

4. Discuss.
Discuss who you'll vote for with your family or your friends. Ask the opinion of the people you share the same interests and views or principles with and share your ideas with them as well. Chances are, you not only get to have an intelligent conversation with your peers but you will also gain their respect for having such well-informed opinions (you might even have a complete senatorial slate without breaking a sweat, to boot). Just don't forget that, in the end, it is YOU who will still make the final decision.

5. Don't be a cynic.
A healthy dose of cynicism is always good, but if you always look at the glass half-empty, it will be. Nobody's perfect but a good question to ask is, who will most likely try to be?

6. Pursue accountability.
The problem with citizens is that they don't hold their incumbents accountable. This apathy allows the rotten politicians to get re-elected and therefore adds more fuel to the corruption and inefficiency in the government. We have to remember that the election is the FIRST step, not the last. Keep track of the candidates that you voted. Before writing down a name, be sure that in the end you will not be ashamed to show everyone who you entrusted your future to.

7. Be an active stakeholder.
Politics affects everyone. Regardless of your main interest, whether it is in arts or science or business, you are a Filipino and whatever happens to the Philippines WILL reflect on you. I don't want to sound crude but most of the candidates are, frankly, old. They will not be the ones who will suffer the consequences of their actions, we are. The youth will be the ones who will bear the full brunt of the outcome of this election. So guard your vote. Vote wisely and report any anomalies or fraud that you see.

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