On the May 9 Elections By UP SESC | May 8, 2016
On May 9, the country will vote in a new set of leaders and public servants. In the eve of an administration where the Philippines has experienced both economic growth, but also prevalent inequality, it is evident that the next administration has a vital role in steering the country towards development. As such, the need to elect the right leaders is essential.
Elections and the Economy
The elections will always be inextricably linked with our economy and development. Months leading to campaign period show a marked increase in government spending and execution of various local government projects. Also, consumer spending also increases with the outpour of money used for the campaign period. With political stability being positively correlated with a positive business environment, elections also have a sizable effect in the financial markets and on investments, brought about by the uncertainty.
The results of every election, however, bring about even more palpable and long-reaching consequences, as our leaders have direct control over economic planning and policies. The executive branch is vested authority by our votes to implement social services and projects. The legislative branch would have the authority to create legislation that can greatly impact economic activity in our country; they also have the authority to modify the Constitution to reflect changes in a leadership’s vision of our economic development.
Mandate of the Elected
Beyond its power over economic activity and policy however, the 2016 elections are made even more crucial by the realization that the leaders we would be electing are going to be put in the forefront of the holistic direction of our country.
Our leaders are mandated to represent the wills and aspirations of our entire country. They are tasked with revitalizing our services, industries and agricultural sectors, to providing a sense of security, to ensure more quality employment for our citizenry, to alleviate poverty and social inequality in our country. They are mandated to provide accessible and equitable health and education services to our people, as well as to create infrastructure that will help promote inclusive development. They would be mandated to represent our country to the world in trade and diplomacy, to engage in productive international relations whilst upholding our sovereignty. They are mandated to make hard decisions, to understand the needs and demands of all sectors of our society, and make hard decisions and tradeoffs that they believe would be best for our country.
Moreover, they are entrusted by the people with monumental task of upholding our democracy and all of the institutions of the state that keep the democracy that we as a collective citizenry continue to defend, struggle for and deepen in this modern age.Our leaders must be accountable to the people; they must strive to ensure that the will of all people in our country would be heard, from the citizenry at very center of all activity, to those in the peripheries of society. Our leaders must be able to uphold the rights and freedoms that are entitled to each citizen. They must be able to foster an environment that continues to foster the unbridled and unregulated constructions of ideas, find democratic spaces for such ideas to engage each other, and means to ensure that decisions made on the people’s behalf are truly from the collective will of the people. Our leaders must exemplify the sense of positive nationalism that acts with the empowerment of the Filipino people at its heart; they must stand as a symbol not of division, but of national unity in admittedly culturally diverse Filipino community.
We must remember, however, that the responsibility to uphold our democracy and the commitment to the development of the country and its people, are not just for our leadership to bear, but is the burden of each and every citizen of the country.
As the elections draws near, it is our responsibility to thoroughly research on the platforms of our candidates, from local to national. It is vital that we are able to scrutinize what our candidates promise, how they hope to achieve their promises, and how their character and body of work assures us they will deliver. It is also our duty to maintain the integrity of the voting process, by ensuring in ourselves that ours is a vote of integrity and being vigilant against attempts of cheating and fraud in this year’s elections.
Our duty, however, stretches beyond the results of the elections. We must work together in ensuring that our new administration is held accountable by the platforms they promised to the people, regardless of who would be elected. We must continue pushing for progressive legislation that we want to see in our country. We must continue organizing alliances for our advocacies. We must be critical in asserting our rights as a people, whether it is in the university, in the spaces of lobbying, or in the streets.
We call upon each and every Filipino to exercise their right of suffrage and to vote.
We call upon voters to vote critically and with integrity.
We call upon our candidates, if elected, to deliver on their platforms.
We call upon our entire country to unite in upholding our democracy and working towards the development of our country.