Yes, I am disappointed and I am also surprised. I am disappointed that our fellow Filipinos still voted for people who does not have a sense of accountability and guilt over what they have done to our country. I am surprised that none of those from Otso Diretso, event those who are popular, did not manage to get even a single seat in that 12 open posts. I guess I am sad because I have always believed that us Filipinos are capable of discerning what is right and wrong (we are a dominantly Christian nation, aren’t we?); that we Filipinos are smart enough to decide based on facts rather than their ability to dance over Budots music (Filipinos are considered one of the most hard-working and smartest people abroad); that we Filipinos have learned from our past (we already have a long history of being used and abused. Have we not learned?). I have always been hopeful. I have always believed in change. I have always loved the Philippines despite the many hurt. I cried.
I cried so bad. This is another heartbreak, an acceptable reason to leave the country and let it suffer for its choices. I am in a country busy with something else to do than be bothered over election matters. I have an option to stay abroad and bring my family out of the sinking ship. I will not be affected as much as other Filipinos who have no jobs or have nothing to eat. I can choose to ignore and not be bothered. But is that the solution? Is that what I want to happen? Do we always have to blame others over bad decisions? What have we really done to change this system?
Yes, there are a lot of reasons to hate the country but thinking about it critically, there are more people that us who have the right to give-up but they did not. Think of the thousands of government employees and NGO workers who have been working so hard to keep the country running despite the frustrations and low pay, have they given up? There are thousands of teachers who endured the hunger and sleep deprivation to support the elections, did they go home and not do their job? There are those community leaders and volunteers who walked the extra mile just to educate our fellow Filipinos to not sell their votes, even putting their lives at risk, did they stop? Who are we? Who are you who can read this online in an English language even think of leaving? Who are we, especially those who were given all the opportunities (education, job, and travels) even think of giving-up? We can rant but we must not surrender. There is much more to do.
As a scholar of various social science degrees, I think it will be selfish to just talk about this and not do anything. We already know that most Filipinos would choose personalities and artists over credentials. We also know that several Filipinos would still choose to sell their votes even if they are aware that it is wrong. We already know that Filipinos forgive and forget easily; that those who have money and power can easily tweak things to their favour. So what now? The easy answer is education. The harder answer is socialisation. Education refer to the awareness raising activities and other instances that we give people several information with the hope that they can have choose wisely. Socialisation is much more complex. It involves deeper understanding; the formation of shared values and beliefs; a deeper sense of connection; a compassion that transcends class and education. We do not have that in the Philippines. We are a divided nation. We call the poor stupid and the more educated ones elitist. We block or unfriend people who do not share the same choices as we do. We put up the wall of language, resources, and education to separate us from those we do not identify as us. We judge than we converse. We call people with other names that undermine who they are. We pull each other down. We talk more than we listen so we fail to socialise and education. Think about those strangers who preach religious verses to us, do really listen?
The change we want to see requires more than educating the population, it is building relationships…a unity rather than a division. Now that the election is over, let us rethink. What are those instances that we created a divide? How can we use our relationships, our families, our friendships, and the environment we are working to create the space for conversations? How can we better understand people different from us? How we as scholars, professionals, business people and ordinary citizens do something to change our country? Do a values check. Think what is important to you. Reflect on what you can compromise and what will make you uncomfortable. What is your dream for our country? When you realize what that is, share it to others. Create a common narrative. Agree to disagree but understand each other. Maybe in 2022, we can get better results. This is not the time to give-up and create more divide. We need to be more vigilant and work together better. This is not the time to selfish and create more divide. We need to be more vigilant and work together better.
Be sad but do not give-up.
P.S. I am thinking of mobilizing some human and financial resources to conduct a research on how to make political change using the key topics of my PhD research: learning, socialisation, and norm development. If you are interested to help out, please send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: GMA News Online #Election2019 #Halalan2019 #PhilippineElection2019 #SDGscholar #Doc4Devt #PhDiary2019