The 2016 campaign period is over. Move on move on din pag may time! Now that we know who will lead us in the next 6 years, how do we as caring citizens of the Philippines participate in the improvement of the republic? What part must we play in nation-building?
VICE CONSUL WENG DAQUIPIL
Philippine Embassy – Abu Dhabi
After the polarizing elections, it is time to support whoever is elected. It is time to stop the hate tirades and incivility towards each other. It was sad to witness this on social media day in and day out. On the other hand, I was also comforted with what I was seeing on the ground. During the overseas voting period, many exercised their right of suffrage. Many in the community also did their part in ensuring smooth elections in the Embassy: from volunteers directing voters where to go and what to do, to Filipino community groups who provided transportation from those living away from the Embassy. This is nation-building personified. You participate in the process. You make your voices heard. And then you do more.
In my line of work, I often witness how overseas Filipinos participate in nation-building. Two months after I arrived in the UAE, typhoon Yolanda happened. In the aftermath of the disaster, Filipinos all over the UAE lent support and assistance to those affected. As years went by, I had several more discoveries. Many skilled and talented Filipinos also spend their free time teaching and sharing their knowledge to fellow compatriots. Many also spend regular time with our wards at the Embassy providing much needed support, whether these are medical services, psycho-social, financial or even moral support. As Anthony Bourdain aptly states, we have this unique propensity to look after each other. Many OFWs have become philanthropists. Let us keep this Bayanihan spirit alive among us. This is the very foundation of nation-building.
Another significant contribution we can do towards nation-building is to invest in the Philippines. By doing so, overseas migration will have a more beneficial impact not just to one’s families but also at the community levels. I hope overseas Filipinos become investors in emerging industries that ultimately lead to job generation for our fellow Filipinos back home.
The Filipino Channel (TFC) – ABS-CBN
I believe that nation-building does not solely lie in the hands of the officials that we elect into office – it begins with each one of us. This is the reason why I voted for aspirants whom I think will be effective in public service; those who are responsive to people’s concerns (especially the marginalized sectors), and have proven track records in honest governance, and a vision for sustainable peace and development for the entire country. As an individual, contributing to nation-building also means being a law-abiding citizen, a responsible family member, and a supportive friend. It also means supporting organizations that will help my fellow Filipinos in times of calamities, or in fulfilling their dreams of graduating from college through scholarships.
Nation-building also means being competent in my field of work as a Filipina expat in Dubai. It means using my voice to hold the elected officials, whoever they may be, accountable to their sworn duties and responsibilities. It means continuing to hope and believing that together, we all can build a better Philippines.
JC Decaux – MEA
Filipino people are chaotic. Our deteriorating country needs a strict disciplinarian, hence, I voted for Duterte. I would rather we suffer the pain of discipline than suffer the pain of regret. But whoever wins, I will remain a law-abiding citizen. I can only hope that the winning candidate will be the right President for the Filipino people.
Migrante – UAE
The election perod is over and we are about to start a new life. As per the newly elected President’s slogan, change is coming. As an OFW, I look forward to a better future under the new administration. I, along with many of my fellow OFW’s, welcome his idea of offering peace to all revolutionary forces, specially the CPP/NPA/NDF. His idea to work with the left will manifest as soon as pursues the peace process.
He made a lot of promises that many of us found overwhelming, but the truth is that those promises will not prosper unless we do our share of the task as citizens of our nation. I believe it is now our time to participate in rebuilding by promoting real democracy thru genuine land reform and industrialization on a national scale.
We must always remain vigilant against all people in the government who use their power for corruption. Activeness on our social networks will help promote our advocacies, but it is more important to have collective actions whenever it is necessary. As individuals we can participate by simply following the rules of law, from simple littering to heinous crimes. We might not be able to help as much as the other well-known personalities, but we must do all that we can to help rebuild our nation as a whole.
Gulf News – UAE
“Bash and you will get bashed” became the mantra of the vicious prelude to the May 2016 Philippine vote. Those who engaged in a molehill of positive campaigning got a mountain of bashing. We know the rest of the story: presumptive President-elect Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte’s camp, the ex-generals, keyboard warriors, religious figures and technocrats behind him and his very combative army of supporters ran a brilliant campaign. The result: a 5-million+ lead over the second-highest (Mar Roxas) in votes. That’s the first take-away for me. The second is that we now live in a world warped by social media. The recent Philippine vote was a textbook case for this: People will believe and share “facts” that confirm their pre-existing opinions. They dismiss those that don’t.
To everyone’s horror, the hardcore partisans are less likely to change their views and are more likely to claim that fact-checkers themselves are “biased.” The net effect: they are more likely to spread their views aggressively to their friends. That’s what happened to me. I think before the web came, this had always been the case. But social media has magnified it to a massive extent. And in a world where people get most of their information from friends, fact-checking may not reach those who need it most. Which leads me to the important point: now, everyone has the power to become a purveyor of information — and disinformation.
This potential becomes exponential with social media. In the thick of the campaign, it no longer mattered whether or not what people posted on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube were based on facts. What mattered was the score. It came to a terrible point where we were willing to kill each other over our political ideologies.
Then came this horrifying realization: is this evidence yet of an inevitable war prophesied in Matthew? “Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘A man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household’.” It was like a war of all against all. There was, however, a common thread that held everyone: love of country and the desire to make things better for ourselves and our people.
The fact that it didn’t take much time for the other presidential candidates to concede dulled the wounds of those who lost. Duterte’s call for unity and healing was a touching one. So we’re still one people, after all. There was no defiance in defeat (except in the VIP race), and there was magnanimity in victory. There’s a reason for everything. I feel it’s time for Filipinos to pray hard as a people so the Lord would guide our next leaders. And those things indeed would get better for all of us. After all, it’s the same country that we love and cherish. Pagpalain ang Pilipinas!