by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan 

I have never been a fan of politics, but the Philippine political scene intrigues me.

Witnessing the stories of our different leaders and how they lead brings emotional turmoil.

It can be frustrating to see that those who are supposed to bring change for the better make the nation even worse.

But I know that even if the political environment in the Philippines makes me want to change allegiance, I remind myself that I am a Filipino citizen for a reason and apathy and abandonment will do me and my family no good.

For the past few weeks, the 2022 Philippine Presidential Elections has become a topic of discussion between me and my husband. We are amused that almost a hundred people expressed their intention to be the highest leader of the land.

Looking at all those who are running, we can’t help but think that it’s like a big show that involves a lot of elements – action, drama, horror and comedy.

Many past leaders have failed to meet our expectations, many have made a lot of promises but failed to deliver. This has caused some hearts to be broken, some calloused.

Who among the aspiring leaders will be different? Who will stand out? Who will change the status quo?

Who will gear away from traditional politics and will truly bring about change?

Who will push the agenda of the Filipino people and not their own party? Who will lead with integrity and truth?

There are so many questions in our heads and the answers are nowhere to be found…yet. The only way to find out is to research and vote.

And the best thing to do at this moment while we wait, is to pray and pray hard.

I am not here to share and convince you to vote the candidate I am rooting for. In fact, I am still really contemplating about my decision. But this pandemic season has made me realize that the change that I am longing for cannot be solely placed on the shoulders of a few personalities we expect to run the country.

Yes, the government has a big role to play in steering the direction of our country, but true change can only come from ourselves.

Without self-government, even if we have the best government in the world, the nation will come to ruin.

Self-government or self-governance can also refer to self-discipline. And I can honestly say, as a people, this is what we lack.

I can see a lot of our countrymen not following simple rules and protocols that the government has set in place to avoid the spread of the virus. Many people fail to wear masks and practice social distancing.

I know of some people who tried to get fake COVID-test results just to travel. Living in South Korea where disobeying laws and rules comes with a big price, I can say that the Philippines is a country where bending rules is very common –  not just among its people but also its leaders.

Six months from now, we will be casting our vote to set a new leader who we think will finally bring change to our beloved country.

As we wait for that time, I implore every Filipino citizen not just to research and pray about who they will vote but to take time to reflect on themselves.

Yes, we need great leaders but the country’s welfare depends on its people. We need citizens who have discipline, integrity, and excellence- the very same things we expect from our leaders.

Our country’s fall cannot fully be blamed on its weak leaders.

We, as its people, have a big part to play. And as Filipinos, may we do our part in leading our country and bring about the change we are longing for.

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