by Kassie Fallorina || Illustration by Sophia Cabalona
We need change.
Since 2016, the country has seen everything except the change it was promised. From social injustices to widespread poverty, the “Change is Coming” mantra seems to have taken a turn for the worst.
As Duterte’s war on drugs continues on, so does the call for justice by the slain victims’ relatives. “Mahal na mahal ko ang anak ko at hindi ako papayag na ganyan na nga nangyari sa kanya tapos makakalimutan pa ng mga tao na walang hustisya para sa kamatayan niya. Nilakad ko iyong police report, hindi sila willing ibigay kahit ano. Marami silang dahilan,” Nanette Castillo told Rappler as she recalled how her son, Adrian, was killed by seven masked men in Tondo, Manila on October 2, 2017. (I love my son so much and I won’t allow that this happened to him only for his death to be forgotten— without justice— by the people. I went to the police; they aren’t willing to give me anything. They gave many reasons.)
In a survey conducted by the ASEAN Studies Centre, 53.7% of the participating Filipinos disapproved of the administration’s pandemic response—the highest among Southeast Asian countries.
In the midst of the chaos, thousands of Filipinos took to social media to express their disappointment on the Philippine government’s lack of action and urgency, with posts including hashtags such as #OustDuterte and #DutertePalpak. However, these complaints seem to fall on deaf ears as people in power continue to turn a blind eye, leaving citizens to fend for themselves.
We have lost trust in key institutions and seen our sovereignty handed away on a silver platter. We have witnessed how the innocent were accused and ruthlessly killed in the brutal campaign against drugs. We have had too many preventable deaths from a pandemic that the government belatedly responded to and still inefficiently deals with.
Our democracy is crippling right before our eyes, and we need more than just social media posts and Twitter hashtags to restore it— we need strong, competent leaders. Leaders who will live by their constitutional promise of service to the country. Leaders who will take criticism as a step towards improvement and not as a threat for deposition. Leaders who will listen and take accountability for their actions.
So, with less than a year until the 2022 elections, the difficult decision of whom to put in power now rests on our shoulders.
“As of September 11, we already processed 63,364,932 registered voters,” Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Sheriff Abas told CNN Philippines on September 29.
While this may seem like a big number, it is still 9.7 million short of the total number of voters eligible to vote in the 2022 polls. It is important to note that every vote wasted is a step taken back in the march towards restoring our democracy.
To the individuals who haven’t registered yet, your country needs you now, more than ever. With the looming voter registration deadline on October 30, don’t look away, especially when so much is at stake. For you, for us, and for every Filipino deserving of good governance.
One vote, may it be yours or someone else’s, could be the deciding factor that would either plunge us deeper into crisis or shed light amid the darkness.
Change shouldn’t be left to chance anymore, because as we have learned the hard way, it is a choice that will determine how the story sees itself through.