Vote! Use Your Power To Choose The Next Leader

On May 9, we will again vote for the next leader of our ever-divided country. I wonder how everything will work out. Still, I choose to be hopeful.

This may be the third time I will vote in the presidential elections, but this is the first time I felt so much hope. I didn’t imagine that someone could genuinely bring people together.

In the last few months, we saw people from all walks of life stand, speak, go out their way, volunteer, and muster the courage to dream that our country could have a better future. 

For the first time, I am not voting for the sake of lesser evil but actual accomplishments, merits, the strength of character, and viable plans for the country. 

It is like all the stars aligned for 2022 for us to choose someone with the right mix of heart and competence. Don’t get me wrong; we are not voting for a savior. We are electing the next leader of our country.

For the first time, I felt genuine unity, not just as a corporate buzzword that other people pitch, but the ability to unite the country to do good, not only for themselves but for the country.

This may even be the best and only chance we have to choose someone we can truly be proud of representing us anywhere we are.

Why do you vote?

The first question should always be our “why.”

Why do we vote for a candidate? Why do we put our trust and share the power bestowed upon us by the Constitution to vote for the person that we believe is most capable of leading our country forward?

When we ask ourselves, why should I cast my vote for this person? Does he/she embody my ideals and aspirations for my country? Or am I just looking for a familiar name, even if there are a lot of controversies surrounding them?

Our why should come from deep within us and always point us in the direction of a better tomorrow for everyone. I believe that we must vote for the person we will be proud to tell our children, “I trusted this person, so I voted for her.”

What are your criteria?

It is said that the Philippines has three B’s – Basketball, Boxing, and Beauty Pageants. So, it is ironic that we put a higher standard and carefully scrutinize the people playing sports and answering pageant questions than the people who will lead our country for the next six years.

I believe that our political stand, or lack thereof, reflects our values. If we believe in morality, integrity, and honesty, then it should reflect in our ballots.

Think of a child. Will you teach them that it is okay to lie or to steal? If you’re a good parent or guardian, you’ll probably tell them it is wrong. So, why do some of us hold young children more accountable than the people applying to run our country?

Remember that the election is not a mere betting game where you are choosing among the candidates who are more likely to win. The election means selecting a leader who will help our country move to a better situation than when we arrived.

Values-based selection of a new leader.

When we select a new leader, they should reflect our core values. What are the qualities that we hold dear – our non-negotiables? Let me reiterate, who we vote for reflects our characters and our values.

Here are some essential criteria that I believe our future leaders should have and emulate:

1. Integrity – it is moral uprightness and keeping your words. When choosing a candidate, we must look closely at their stand on issues. They should also exemplify the virtues of honesty, justice, transparency, humility, and courage.

2. Track Record – this is what a candidate did in their time in public service. What are the issues that they have? What are the projects they started and maintained during their time in power? How did they respond in times of need and emergencies? Do they have a history of corruption? 

3. Platform – aside from a good track record, it is also essential for candidates to lay down feasible platforms that will uplift the lives of Filipinos, especially those on the fringes of society. How does a candidate plan to respond to the most pressing issues of education, poverty, climate change, agriculture and food security, economic recovery, drugs, and more?

4. Servant Leadership – this is one of the most important leadership traits that I hope a leader has, which is exemplified by Jesus Christ. Do they lead the people from the front or only command people from the back? A true sign of a servant leader is not being afraid to go out of their way to help.

Voting for the future

Finally, think about how this election will affect the next generations of Filipinos. Think about the children and how your vote will impact their future.

Look within yourself and dig a little bit deep at the values you hold dear. If you want good governance, choose someone with a demonstrated history of morality, integrity, and track record.

A single vote may look insignificant, but together with tens of millions of Filipinos, it holds the absolute power to choose our next leader.

With everything that I wrote, I chose pink. #LeniKiko2022

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