An Open Letter for May 9th

To those who have the power to elect the future leader of our beloved, the Philippines,

In our hands lies the right and privileged to vote our next head of state for six years, and these are pleas:

Please vote for the poor,

According to the World Bank, we still have 25.2% of our population who is poor (2012). Meaning one of four Filipino, cannot afford their daily needs: food, shelter, clothing or health care.

Please vote for the uneducated,

The Philippines boasts it’s 97.5% literary rate (Desiderio, 2013). This means that almost all Filipino can read and write. But does this mean understanding as well?

Please vote for all genders,

On 2009, we passed the Republic Act 9710, also known as Magna Carta of Women. We have started this movement 7 years ago, but there are still problems arising. We still need to discuss the rights of the LGBT and recognize the rights of the male population as well.

Please vote for clean water and sanitation,

55 people die daily due to the lack of clean water and sanitation, according to the National Sewerage and Septage Management Program (2015). Almost 30 million Filipinos, still have no access to clean drinking water.

Please vote for affordable and clean energy,

The Philippines remains to have one of the most expensive electricity in ASEAN (Oplas, 2015). Every day, industries and households use energy, energy bought from fossil fuels and other non-renewable resource.

Please vote for decent work,

May 1 have just passed, a day to celebrate those who work, but the issue on contractualization continues. 35 million contractual laborers, still wait to experience the benefits of a regular employee (Badilla, 2016).

Please vote for our industry,

The Philippines today is experiencing its demographic sweet spot, with more than half of it’s population is within the working age. We are capable of huge productivity. We need somebody to fuel the fires of development.

Please vote for the oppressed,

Women, Children, Elderly, The Poor, The Indigenous, and the Uneducated, those are the people our future leaders need to focus their efforts. Those are the people who shall be the measure of our growth, of what we claim to be development.

Please vote for sustainability,

The Philippines is ranked 13 on the Climate Change Vulnerable list (Ranada, 2015). With our dependence on agriculture, fishing and with our geographic position, we still have an extreme risk with forthcoming storms and weather disturbances. This is not only an issue of prevention or awareness, this is also an issue of disaster preparedness.

Please vote for Justice,

Lumad Killing. Extra Judicial Killings. Children “went to vacation” during APEC. Death Squad. Those only happened in a span of one year, according to the Human Rights Watch. The Philippines may be a democratic country but we sure don’t experience those rights.

Please vote for camaraderie,

The Philippine diplomats, as what my experience tells me, still can face the world held high, with it’s long advocacy for peace and upholding our national interest. This may be nonsensical to many, but this issue is dear to mine. I would want a president who would raise his head proud of his country through diplomacy, not a president who would wage a war we cannot win.

Please vote for the future,

We have the responsibility, not only to your kin, or your future children, but also to every child that we make this world, a better place for them to live. We have the responsibility to shape the nation, we want our child to embody and to be proud. We want to be a nation represented by our ideals and aspirations.

Please vote for the present,

The present remains to be something we all want to change. The present still hold many potentials. The present still holds a lot of problems. We want our present to change. But remember, change may always be for the better or for the worse.

Please vote for yourself,

You. You, whatever you believe, whatever your choice, you deserve respect, not from others, but for yourself. This is not a reality TV show where you vote for somebody to win all the fame and glory, this vote is for yourself. This vote defines what you believe, what you fight for, what you, and only you want and need.

Sincerely,

Willie Mae Toleroso Bunales
Asian Studies Student – FILIPINO

References

Poverty headcount ratio at national poverty lines. 2012. World Bank. Retrieved from:http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.POV.NAHC/countries/PH?display=graph

Desiderio, Louella (2013). Phl literacy rate improves to 97.5% – NSO. Philippine Star. Retrieved from: http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/12/31/1273515/phl-literacy-rate-improves-97.5-nso

Magna Carta of Women (R.A. 9710). 2009. Retrieved from: http://www.csc.gov.ph/2014-02-21-08-16-56/2014-02-21-08-19-19/magna-carta-of-women-r-a-9710

Jones, Sarah (2015). A Lack of Clean Water and Sanitation in the Philippines Kills 55 People Every Day. Vice News. Retrieved from: https://news.vice.com/article/a-lack-of-clean-water-and-sanitation-in-the-philippines-kills-55-people-every-day

Oplas, Bienvenido (2015). Comparative electricity prices in Asia. Retrieved from: https://seanet2.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/comparative-electricity-prices-in-asia/

Badilla, Nelson (2016). 35M Contractuals hope for end to “endo”. Retrieved from: http://www.manilatimes.net/35m-contractuals-hope-for-end-to-endo/258359/

Ranada, Pia (2015). PH drops in 2016 list of countries vulnerable to climate change. Retrieved from: http://www.rappler.com/nation/39057-climate-change-commission-cdo-map

Philippines. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved from: https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2016/country-chapters/philippines

 

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