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Tipping the scale

With the recent election turnout in the United States, many are optimistic of a similar change that may finally occur in the 2022 Philippine presidential elections. Last February 18, Comelec announced that 58 million Filipinos have registered so far for the upcoming national elections. According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority and Comelec, 40 million Filipinos aged 18 to 35 are now registered voters. The youth has been an integral part of the democratic process and is being heavily challenged to amplify their voices and unite as a powerful force that will improve this administration. It is such an easy statement to impart, but completing the task is a grueling process. 

The shocking results from the 2016 elections could revolve around a plethora of reasons, ranging from the brilliant campaign strategy of President Rodrigo Duterte or simply the lackluster effort of his opponents. Having a specific target audience could also be applied in campaigning through various regions all over the country, and since getting the most votes in every region is a priority, it is a point to study certain areas wherein you must focus on and try gaining the trust of the Filipino people. 

Duterte had the style of portraying a personality that would make individuals from socioeconomic Classes C and D relate to him more as a person. He would curse on live television when he is pissed, but he always had a soft heart which would attract many Filipino people. 

Even with his atrocious and questionable actions, Duterte seems to always get away with it because many Filipinos continue to support him. Hence, one approach to try swinging the outcome is educating Filipinos and fill that gap of awareness in knowing the platforms of each candidate or party. Some may only use their vote based on external factors, such as speeches during campaign season or advertisements that appear on social media and television. Sharing additional knowledge to citizens who do not have the resources to access this information may impact who they will vote for. 

When the candidates for each position are announced, Filipinos usually have preconceived notions already on which candidates to vote for as well as the possible long-term effects of voting for each individual. That is not necessarily a terrible presumption, but the open-mindedness and willingness to listen to the platforms of every candidate are essential in making sure that a voter is informed. 

Despite the past blunders or lapses of some officials, it does not guarantee that they would not change their leadership and working habits anymore. Considering the past is correct, but having complete transparency is the more important aspect during election season. Promoting the virtue of integrity when addressing the Filipino people is a specific example that would be appreciated and admired by citizens who are still deciding who to support for the upcoming 2022 elections. 

The aforementioned opinions on gaining knowledge about the candidates for every position will be of little to no use if Filipinos are unaware of the process. Thus, it is paramount to raise awareness in every barangay and community on the step-by-step process of casting their votes. Months before the elections, citizens must be informed on how to register in their areas to be eligible to vote. Other notable essential information that must be disseminated  are voting centers, opening and closing hours of the voting centers, and list of candidates that will be voted. 

The cliché statement, “I won’t vote anymore because it will not matter anyways,” rings true for all positions.. For instance, Thomas Jefferson was elected in 1800 by only one vote from the House of Representatives because there was a tie in the Electoral College. It’s plausible for even the best candidates to succumb to defeat, but in a democractic society, exercising the right to vote is a terrific gesture in finding optimism for the future of the Philippines. 

Every vote really does count, register to vote and make a difference in 2022. 

By Diego Vergel de Dios

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