The living spirit of our democracy

Claudette Guevara , Deputy Executive Director for Programs of the Stratbase ADRi and Secretary-General of Democracy Watch Philippines

When I think of Filipinos who suffer from poverty, hunger, and inequality, the more I value my democratic duty to vote and have my will as a Filipino be counted thru the ballot. Free elections are the living spirit of all democracies. Clean and honest elections bestow the people’s trust to legitimately govern and serve the interest of the people.

We exercised this power when we went out to vote. No matter our status in life, every citizen has the same power to choose the leaders and the right to demand the highest levels of performance and integrity.

The vote I contributed last Monday is for the continuing fight for equal civil rights, justice, access to health, education, and jobs for every Filipino. As a taxpayer, I believe these social services and rights should be given to all Filipinos. It is important to remember that this country will only be strong if all children are provided with quality education and opportunities for a productive and prosperous life.

Democracy Watch challenges the newly elected officials of government to turn their advocacies and campaign promises into concrete actions, meaningful projects and developmental policy reforms that will spark positive change in our country. Let them be reminded that their mandate must be to serve the interest of the people and not the interest of their political sponsors.

Moving forward, the public must remain vigilant and attentive to the delivery of public service of the Duterte administration in the last half of his term, and of the newly elected officials especially on their advocacies. The responsibility and participation of civil society goes beyond elections and voting. We must hold our officials accountable for every government resource and every act in the execution of their duties. We must also hold them accountable for the power we have vested in them to yield only positive results that would benefit the country.

There is much room for improvement in our election process. Comelec must also be able to explain, extensively and openly, the delays that occurred during the unofficial tally. The public’s anticipation of the fast posting of election results was disrupted by technical issues. This unfortunate glitch has stirred valid concerns on the capacity of the mandated electoral body of the country.

Though elections were generally peaceful, there were still some incidents of electoral violence. On the other hand, the netizens of social media again played a critical role in promoting transparency as seen through the reports and updates of voters within their districts.

Democracy Watch is hopeful that despite delays in processing and issues experienced during elections, Comelec and its partner institutions would be able to resolve these issues at the soonest possible time.

Now that the 2019 elections are over, eyes will be turning toward 2022, a presidential election that may again shift the direction of the country. The next three years will require those elected to prove their worth as government leaders. But as is the case in any democracy, we as citizens must monitor the actions of government and demand change for the better because citizen participation does not end after voting.

Let us all continue to call for better governance and hold accountable all officials of the Republic.



This article was originally published in BusinessWorld. Image Source: Philippine Star / Michael Varcas.


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