The situation in the Philippines is getting dire every day, not just economically and socially, but also politically. Cries and grievances of those, who are deeply and heavily affected by the current situation, echoed in our society.
For this reason, the youth and their role is extremely important. They have the potential to push for drastic change and to advocate for a society that is beneficial to all. Their sheer will is supported by courage and manifestation, reaching far beyond their doubts and hesitation.
Election day is fast approaching and the youth needs to know who their candidates are and what are the issues and platforms that concern them. There are a lot of websites and groups that would assist them in scrutinizing candidates, both at national and local level, but I would like to share some standards for voting that the youth can take a look on.
First, rule of law. We need leaders who are compliant with the law and who understood that they are as equal as their constituents, which is that they are not above the law. Also, rule of law enables citizens, like you and me, to be comprehensive in accepting that without law, there is no freedom, meaning that they could not exceed what their conscience requires them to do, especially following rules and regulations on traffic and other things in life. This is essential in ensuring us a society, where crimes would be lowered and transparency would be strengthened. Choose leaders that would ensure to you that they would follow their mandate given to them by the highest legal authority of the land, while, at the same time, following the mandate given to them by the people, in order to have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Seconds, human rights. We need leaders who understood the importance of people’s rights and their way of exercising them, such as free speech, due process, right to trial, right to food and shelter, and other rights. Rights are the framework of a liberal democratic society because they define the society that will never be the same and they would play a key role in structuring the relationship between the state and the people. One thing to understand is that human rights should be preserved and done in a peaceful, truthful, and balanced manner; otherwise, such absence would lead to tyranny and anarchy. Choose leaders that are capable of protecting and preserving your rights, but also choose those who believe that the person’s dignity must be protected and the corporal punishment of a child must be abolished.
Third, climate change. We need leaders who are aware of the continuous existential threat of climate change and its devastating impact. Our planet is the only place that we have, given to us by God with the purpose of safeguarding the creation that He had done, such as land, water, air, and natural habitat that He had envisioned. We have seen a lot of tragedies that claim the lives of many, mostly some would sacrifice themselves for the safety of their love ones. At this moment in our lifetime, we cannot wait for another decade to see if the climate change has subsided, but really, it will not be eased, unless we take action. Choose leaders that would guide us to a sustainable future, and those who practice zero waste and ecological practices, such as using eco-bags or paper bags, prioritizing the use of glass containers or the use of second-hand containers, and other things.
Lastly, fourth, systematic reform. We need leaders who are willing to adapt to the times, especially now that we are in an era of globalization and in a continuous pursuit towards a peaceful, prosperous, and stable society. Moreover, leaders have to accept and understand the importance of reforming the system that is no longer appropriate to us, specificially our national constitution, our economic system, and our political system, because these are no longer reflective of our current ideals and aspirations as one nation. And also, leaders must go forward with the ideas of having a federal parliamentary republican political system with an economic system that would encourage competition and protect consumers, providing a liberalized variety of choices and decisions regarding goods and services, because these would increase our living standards, enhance accountability and transparency of public officials, and encourage regions to have their own way of governing themselves. Choose leaders who are open to reform our system and eagerly adaptive to changing times.
Exercising your right to vote means that you are voting for the future that will be reaped by all generations. Voting wisely is not enough without voting for reform. We have our own conscientious discretion to choose those whom we believe will serve us with benefits and accomplishments.
We should choose leaders who are inclusive and united, fair, law-abiding, patriotic, willing to promote the common good, enviromentally concerned, peace-loving, adoring, faithful to God, industrious, willing to protect our freedom, just, honest, concerned for the future, respectful of life and family, and orderly in living.