It feels like forever since the last election season in the Philippines. I don’t know if the feeling stems from the frustration I have with the current government or the political arguments I’ve been hearing for the last six years. Either way, election season is coming and I breathe a sigh of relief.
Just a week ago, the COMELEC extended the voter’s registration for 30 days after thousands of Filipinos appealed for them to do so. As of writing this article, the registration is paused to make way for the filing of the certificate of candidacy (COC). The extension will resume from October 11 to October 30.
Speaking of COCs, while waiting for the registration to resume, we’re already getting a stream of aspiring candidates. All eyes are on the people filing their candidacy for the top spots: senator, vice president and president.
So far, the current roster is receiving a mixed reaction from the public. Others call it a circus; some people think this is the change they have been waiting for. Then, there are those people who just don’t care at all. They are so apathetic with the elections that some of them cannot be bothered with even registering.
Why People Can’t Be Bothered to Vote
Voter apathy refers to an individual’s lack of interest in participating in the elections. This manifests in the form of a high proportion of donkey votes or spoilt ballots.
Two causes of voter fatigue are:
- This occurs when voters feel that the current political system doesn’t work at all. Any attempt to influence the system is considered fruitless; therefore, they think their vote won’t make a difference.
- Voter fatigue. Voters experience fatigue when they’re asked to vote too often. They can also feel tired to vote when they are exposed to a barrage of political messages frequently. Excessive exposure to political messages can cause fatigue, which results in voters turning away from the voting process.
We’ve all had an apathetic voter or two in our friend group or families. Most of the time, the reason behind their lack of enthusiasm in voting is either alienation or fatigue (or both). And to be fair, we understand where they’re coming from. We’ve seen politicians make empty promises over and over again.
But the current climate should convince you that we should take part in the coming election.
COVID Showed Everyone’s True Colors
The hardships that came with COVID-19 revealed the best of us, including our politicians. The news showed us the people who truly worked for their country. We’ve heard notable names of politicians who rallied their teams and used the country’s resources to purchase vaccines, start more COVID-19 testing centers and provide for the people during ECQ seasons 1 to 3 via financial assistance (aka “ayuda”).
But there are people in power who took advantage of the pandemic for their personal gain. The Philippine debt climbed to P11.166 trillion in June 2021, with most of the borrowed money dedicated to the country’s COVID-19 response. Still, many people are starving, healthcare workers are tired and under-compensated and COVID-19 patients are dying in overcrowded hospitals. On top of that, the Commission on Audit exposed the mismanagement of funds by important government agencies (here’s looking at your DOH).
Corruption is nothing new in the Philippines, unfortunately. But when it happens during a massive crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, you can’t help but feel frustrated, if not furious.
Don’t Complain; Do Something
It’s natural to feel furious with the country’s current situation. It’s also OK to express your opinions and frustration with how the government is running things. But can I offer a better suggestion?
Why not vote?
People tend to complain about this and that but don’t do anything about it. This time, you can do something and that is to register and vote. Your vote may seem useless, especially if you’ve been disappointed with previous elections. But a single vote can still make a difference. It may be a single vote, but when combined with others, it can either plunge the country deeper into a crisis or finally shed light on our situation.
Plus, complaining doesn’t achieve anything. If it does, you just gain bashers online. On the other hand, you can quietly vote and know that you’ve done your part.
Election season is coming, which means we have another chance to make a change. The voters’ registration is also extended. If you’re not registered, you’re tired of complaining and want to see a change, I appeal to you: please, go out and register to vote.
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Ashley is an awkward potato in love with words, Kpop, and corgis. She spends her free time dancing like one of those balloon things you see in malls.