Selling PH | Inquirer Opinion
Young Blood

Selling PH

How much do you cost? P20? P50? P500? P1,000? How much does the country cost? P1,000 x 100+ million? Are we that cheap? And are we willing to sell our country at a price?

I can’t compute the exact cost of the Philippines based on its natural resources, but the fact that a lot of Filipinos are willing to sell their votes and have long been at it suggests that we’re ready to sell the country at a certain cost.

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A recent survey conducted by a university in my hometown on whether its students sell their votes showed that 80 percent are willing to do so in order to buy stuff like cell phone load and liquor. It’s so disappointing to know that the youth are no different from the older generation in terms of behavior and outlook vis à vis electing the right leaders. We really haven’t reached political maturity yet.

Voting is a right. Our ancestors fought for our voices to be heard and our votes to be counted, but look at what we’re doing now. We are no better than puppets being controlled by power-hungry politicians. We stop deciding when we’re still about to decide just because that big-bellied man on the street is jotting down our names so he can include us among those who will receive P1,000 from Candidate X on Election Day. Or perhaps, since this is a regular scene we see daily from our elders, we’ll just wait which of the candidates makes the highest offer! Pathetic.

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What exactly are we doing? Is P500 or P1,000 worth the turmoil in the hands of the wrong leaders? Passing useless laws, neglecting the real needs of the people, destroying well-functioning roads in order to build new ones just to be able to collect millions of pesos in commissions in order to pay us again next election? It’s a never-ending cycle of stupidity and ignorance.

The motherland is so beautiful and diverse and we’re willing to exchange it for stupid things like cell phone load and petty cash—all from someone who calls himself “Ama ng (insert name of place here)” for granting people favors that are, in the first place, part of his responsibilities and budget. And then we wonder why we’re having power crises or why we haven’t felt any improvement in our lives.

We must shake off the fairy dust these politicians blow at us and open our eyes to reality: Do we want more years of this? We must start rethinking our ways. We’re not that cheap.

Many people say we can accept the money and still vote for our candidate. Or: It’s not like the money will be returned to the politician, anyway. Or: It’s “the people’s money,” we’re just taking what’s ours. Or: If we don’t accept the money, someone else will.

But that’s not the point. The point is, if we keep accepting money for our vote, we’ll just be perpetuating the cycle. As in business, if the demand keeps increasing, the supply will keep coming. But if more and more of us stop accepting the money, if we refuse to be listed among the “beneficiaries” by that person doing the “survey” in our barangay, then there will be lesser and lesser people listed, and this tiny splash will soon create ripples, and then waves. Politicians will realize that their old ways won’t work anymore and it’s time for reform. We will walk out of our voting precincts proud that for the first time in years, we did not base our judgment on money but on credibility and track record.

We, the better half of the population who have better judgment and better access to information, should use our strength to send out the message that our vote is not for sale, because the Philippines is not for sale.

Dominique M. Sabijon, 21, is from Butuan City.

Stories from the young Filipino

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TAGS: 2013 Elections, nation, news, poll fraud, vote buying, youth
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