Your vote, my future-A A +A
Friday, March 15, 2013
I AM 15 years old. Still young, still bursting with vibrant energy, still driven by my unwavering idealism.
I have hopes. I have dreams. I have aspirations. I have my whole life ahead of me. However, as most elders would put it, I am still 15 years old. Still too young, still too consumed with my recklessness and irresponsibility, still considered too blind with my stubbornness and naivety, still not ready, still not worthy of their complete and absolute trust.
My hopes, unrealistic. My dreams, apparently too far to reach. My aspirations, discouraged. And here, I thought I had my whole life ahead of me. As of now, everything I am and everything I will be is at the hands of those who have authority over me. Whether I like it or not, my future, the life I have envisioned for myself, hangs delicately on the choices of others.
I grew up thinking that this nation did not choose to have its people suffer from severe poverty, inequality and injustice because of negligent leaders. I always thought that the people had no say in the matter, that vile and corrupt leadership, was not something that people brought upon themselves. I was wrong. I was wrong.
The plight of our country was caused by a massive string of foolish choices. Decisions that had been made not for the benefit of the community, but for the benefit of one’s agenda. Sadly, some adults, who were supposed to be the “responsible one,” send an entirely wrong message. They treat elections as if it were a ball game. They practically surrender their votes to the highest bidder and it does nothing but aggravate the situation. The future of the country and its people are at stake and all they can think about is their power, riches and their fame. It burdens me to say that some adults are nothing but deceptive hypocrites. They painstakingly preach about dishonesty when in fact, they practice it. No wonder our country’s progress has been excruciatingly slow. We seem to be stuck in a vicious cycle that goes on and on and believe me when I say this: it will never stop, it will never end until a 180 degree change happens.
I ask, how do we expect our government to eradicate all traces of corruption when it is even present in the most basic unit of our society – family?
The way we Filipinos hold our family dear to us did not go unnoticed. In fact, many cultures all over the world have praised us for putting such strong emphasis on the importance and value of family. I take pride in this quality and very much admire it but this is also the reason why corruption takes place. Because of our almost inseparable attachments to family, most Filipinos tend to be a tad too tolerant, blurring the line between integrity and dishonesty.
I have heard countless of stories where people only land jobs or positions in certain companies or offices because they have relatives working there. Credentials do not matter anymore. They smuggle people into the business despite having no proper qualifications. Resumes have been replaced by positions of relatives. This Filipino quality, which started out as admirable, has been tainted and distorted. It creates inequality, an unfair advantage and an upper hand. People who are more deserving are stripped away of their chances just because of family ties. This in itself must be changed. We ought to select our leaders because of merit. If we are to select honest leaders, we must be honest ourselves – no exemptions, no excuses.
In less than a blink of an eye, the national elections will take place. May 2013 is right around the corner and I fear that the voters of this country will not exercise responsibility and more importantly, wisdom. I fear that I, along with the rest of my generation, will suffer the consequences of a single unwise ballot for the next six years. I fear that when people are faced with the choice to do good or bad, they will choose the latter.
I wish that people will not disregard this important event that may very well decide the kind of future in store for us.
Ironically, people clamor for democracy and the right to elect their leaders but when given the opportunity, they merely take it for granted.
Nowadays, people have been so lax with the idea that some even feel that they do not need to vote. Involvement is crucial at this point. Change for a better nation will require the efforts of each one. We need you to stop sitting idly by the sidelines and start standing up for what is right. Right here! Right now!
Change will not occur unless we choose to change. Without the conscious choice to change, we will find ourselves spiraling back to the way we were. It boils down to a matter of choice. A choice to stop fuelling corruption and start promoting honest leadership. A choice to be an actual good judge of character and not based solely on how he or she looks in front of the camera. A choice to give me and my generation a chance – a chance to experience a better life under good governance.
When you are faced with the dilemma of choosing who to vote, for once, I beg you to stop thinking about yourselves and start thinking about your children, your children’s children, or whoever you hold close to your heart. Think about what it would mean to them if you chose to vote someone worthy and capable of leading them to greener pastures. Think about the protection and security you will be giving them. Think about opening doors for them that you couldn’t open for yourself. Think about the future you would want them to have. Think about us. Can you picture it out? How lovely it would be to know that your children will be guided by people with the right hands, minds and hearts. Do you hear the sound of our sweet laughter? Do you find yourselves feeling satisfied knowing that all shall be well?
I sincerely hope you hear my urgent plea. I hope that you would understand the vitality of the name you will write in that ballot. I pray that you will vote as if your lives depended on it because mine and the rest of my generation certainly do.
(Jiah Jesse Sunga Santos is a senior student of Xavier University High School in Cagayan de Oro. He wins first place in the Voice of the Youth Oratorical competition that focuses on the theme “Your Vote, My Future: Selecting Responsible Leaders for a Better Tomorrow”)Jiah Jesse Sunga Santos
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 15, 2013.