Three weeks and the next six years

Three weeks. That's all the time we have left to decide how the country will be run for the next 6 years.

Some are voting based on colors. Some are voting based on experience. Some are voting based on last name recall. Whatever your reasons for voting, that's not for anyone else to judge. That is YOUR right, even though it has split friends and family down a solid and rather volatile line. If you're a bit of an anarchist, if you're the type that likes to see the world burn, try bringing up politics at a dinner table or at your local watering hole and watch the sparks fly.

I don't think I've ever seen a Philippine election this polarized. Actually, it also echoes how things have also played out in other countries abroad. No one ever thought they'd see a global symbol of democracy like the U.S. Capitol get stormed, but it happened.

But if there's something we agree upon -if there is common ground- it's that we're all voting because we're frustrated. Angry, even.

That's not necessarily being angry at each other, but at how things have been the last 6, or 12, or more years. And that depends on where you sit, what your experiences have been, and how your life and finances have been over the last few years. We all have our reasons and motivations.

So what would my vote be? What kind of change would I want to see in government? That is the point of an election: you vote because you want a change or you want things as they are or a varying degree of the two.

The issue really isn't who, but the fact that it's a 'who' and not a 'what'.

That's because our political system is still a personality-driven one. It's not built on a party or ideology but by individuals.

While there's nothing wrong with that, it does mean that leaders do not necessarily abide by or are bound by the principles of a party. Individuals change their minds, but a proper party follows a certain direction and set of principles so you know how they will govern once elected. And if they don't agree, then they switch parties. How many times have we seen candidates change parties, form new ones, or group together as a coalition depending on the times or the convenience?

There are many more issues like how we elect a vice president separate from a president or the anything under the sun nature of the party-lists system. There are more, but all are indicative of a system that works on personality, not ideology.

We can talk about big-ticket ideas like federalism or charter change or agrarian reform (or agricultural revolution). We can also bring up sensitive issues like divorce or the RH law implementation. We can talk about poverty, inequality, corruption, and so on and so forth, but remember that candidates -politicians- are not saviors. 

So what I will vote for is something more realistic: sensible administration and policies. I want some changes, but mostly it's about correcting or adjusting programs so they make sense. As to which president that aligns with, I'm not sure yet, but what's probably more important is the list of senators and representatives. Each administration lasts for 6 years, but legislation determines what laws we will have to abide by (or deal with) for decades.

I won't vote for promises of big-ticket policies or expect sweeping changes across the board. I'll vote for things that make a difference that we can feel. Improving the economy is at the top of that list, but what is more important is its effect on businesses and jobs. A sensible plan for the pandemic and the fear of it is another thing that I'm looking for. I would vote for further improving our transport network whether we're talking about planes, trains, or modern (and affordable) PUVs. Improving education is perhaps the biggest; hopefully no more of that "MaJoHa" nonsense. 

But we don't have to go far: how about just improving the enforcement of road policies that make sense? Things like driver and rider discipline through consistent enforcement need a lot of attention. There also needs to be a focus on sorting out the issues with emissions and vehicle inspection or coming up with something better than coding. Heck, I'd even vote for making road accidents fair and none of this "last clear chance" doctrine. It's not fair that if you figure into a major collision through no fault of your own, you automatically become a guest of the local precinct.

Three weeks to go and I still haven't made my mind up on who. But I know what I'm looking for, and maybe that's the way to go. Either way, I'll be happy to be rid of all these jingles playing through loudspeakers on vans.