For the first time in voting history, I went to an election without a clear president in mind. I am usually not ashamed to reveal who I will be voting for but this time around, I could not pick anyone.
During election, especially a national one at that, we usually choose the best leader for our country. But this time around, I had to choose the lesser evil. It's saddening because I felt that nobody was fit enough to be what this country need AND deserves.
There were so many arguments floating around like we NEED this leader but we DESERVE this leader. What is the difference between the two anyway?
The Philippines has sadly devolved through the years--from the traffic, to inefficiency to several unfortunate national and international issues. We are a country that has lagged behind our Asian neighbors as we continue to be bogged down by graft and corruption.
I honestly had high hopes when PNoy got elected to office. I really did. To be fair to him, we made headway in our economy but there were too many glaring instances that I felt, would've been handled in a better way (e.g. Hongkong tourists held hostage; Mamasapano; Yolanda; decline of the MRT; traffic; among others).
I am 40 years old and among my siblings, I am the only one who has chosen to stay in this country. Like some of our countrymen, they chose to live their life abroad because they believe that they have a better future there. I chose to stay here as I still believe in this country (in reality, my husband does not want to live anywhere else so I had to make it my reality as well). But seriously, I still have hope for my homeland regardless of all the issues that we're facing. This is my home and being Pinoy (even if I use a foreign language to write this post) will always run through my veins.
While casting my vote at the precinct last Monday, I still had doubts on who I was voting for. I shaded his name with an accompanying prayer that I hope I will not be sorry that I chose him. I wanted to cry afterwards because my heart was not fully in that vote, but I had to make a choice. I knew I could always abstain, but for my country, I had to decide.
Though he has yet to be proclaimed, the clear winner and our soon-to-be 16th president is the former mayor of Davao City, Rodrigo Roa Duterte. As a reluctant candidate, he won the hearts of more than 38% of the voting population translating to an absolute value of more than 15M.
When I was at the voting precinct, I was still deciding between him and Mar Roxas as both had pros and cons. Now this is where the "DESERVES" and "NEEDS" statement come in.
We are sadly, a nation who lacks discipline. One of the reasons why traffic is horrible in Manila is that most of the drivers disregard traffic rules and make their own rules instead. Being a driver for more than 7 years, I can relate to the frustration when somebody cuts me because he/she refuses to line up; or when I'm driving at the maximum speed limit but the person behinds me flashes his/her lights because they want me to speed up; or when someone counter flows because they want to be first in line.
Discipline is basically doing something right even when somebody is not looking. I am reminded of this group from the Bureau of Customs who refuses to have CCTVs installed because they say, it violates their human rights. They even said that their salaries should be increased so they would not be forced to resort to graft. It was a facepalm moment right there and made me more ashamed of my poeple.
A lot has been said how Duterte imposed his own form of discipline in Davao and made the city progressive and one of the safest places to live in in this country. Imposing your will in a city that is only 2,400 square kilometers and with a population of 1.4M is different from a 300,000 square kilometer country and a population of almost 100M. The difference is actually daunting so I do not blame Digong for crying over his parents' tombs to ask for guidance. The challenge is quite intimidating indeed.
Perhaps Duterte is the leader that we need right now, and probably, deserve as well. Filipinos are known to be a happy lot and are known for our positive traits around the world. But our negative traits are the ones that bring us down and prevents us from moving forward.
We need a leader with strong political will and somebody who can instill the change from the usual traditional politics. We need a leader who can makes things happen and not let himself be bogged down by red tape. We need a leader who can show results and compassion for his people.
We also deserve a leader who will punish us whenever we cross the line. We deserve a leader who will treat us like children whenever we act like children. And most of all, we deserve a leader who will tell us if we are wrong and show us how we can be better.
Duterte trumpeted the word "Change" in his platform. But we should remember that change should come from us. We want change? Then start following the goddamn traffic rules! Start lining up! Start paying your taxes! Start throwing your trash in the right places!
Yes, Digong, I voted for you. Please prove to me that my precious vote did not go to waste. Please prove to me that you are the leader that we need and deserve. Please prove to me, and to the other 90+ million of my fellow citizens, that we are still a country worth living and dying for.