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For the past weeks you may have noticed that we have been writing about the elections, consistently discussing the candidates and their platforms. Today’s column will be the last before the elections on Monday, May 9. I would say this is the most talked-about elections compared to previous ones. With the presence of media and the influential power of social media, we have read, heard, and seen commentaries and opinions on who to vote for and why. Either a show of support or a shower of criticisms, we see an active participation of many Filipinos today.
Aside from that, the Comelec-sanctioned debates, both for the presidentiables and vice presidentiables, have been instrumental in knowing more about the candidates’ competence, character, and plans for the country. The discussions were extensive and covered important topics. Since these debates were televised by the top networks and were hosted in different provinces in Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and NCR, Filipinos from all walks of life have been involved in the discussion.
When one asks other people, may it be the waiters, janitors, colleagues and superiors, the answers will be varied. But, I’m sure their answers will most likely be with conviction, definite, and solid. Many have decided.
There were a lot of issues raised, and a lot of interactions online, including cyberbullying which is a result of the freedom of expression and contrasting opinions. Some relationships even ended because of their endless banter on social media.
But more than these, there are bigger problems that we, most especially the next president, need to face. After talking to many entrepreneurs, here are the major issues raised by most of them.
First on the list of entrepreneurs is poverty. It is still the biggest problem of this country. From the cities to provinces, we have countrymen who are challenged everyday, fighting for survival. From the basics such as food and nutrition, health, shelter. We need to eradicate this with a long term sustainable program- educating them and providing livelihood assistance and trainings.
Next is the fight against corruption. The Aquino administration can be credited for its intense fight against corruption and it has achieved a good level of success in this area. But many perceived this as a continuing issue at the lower levels of government operation.
Transportation system. Another problem of the country that must be solved. We experience traffic everyday. A travel from North Edsa to Makati will take a commuter two to three hours. An MRT rider will have to fall in line for an hour or so before he can ride the train, with the possibility of mechanical problems along the way. There must be a more systemic solution to this issue.
Peace and order. Crimes are prevalent and as parents, we are always worried for the safety of our children whenever they are out in the streets. Our worries never stop until they get home in the evening safely. Relatedly, admit it or not, this country needs a big cup of discipline. Many have lost their respect for rules and regulations, and even law.
Lastly, the support for MSMEs. Our entrepreneurs know how entrepreneurship development and empowerment are needed in the country. We have a growing number of entrepreneurs from different sectors and with the help of the next administration, we hope to see them all level up.
We released a column and an ad featuring some of the candidates’ programs for entrepreneurship. They have reiterated their commitment to support reforms that will benefit the MSMEs of this country. And Go Negosyo will continue to be their partner in empowering the micro SMEs to level up.
There are other issues raised such as education, military modernization, healthcare, infrastructure developments, and agriculture development.
We hope to see continued progress in our country. We have the basic economic reforms in place. We have good economic fundamentals and the next leader will have to sustain these reforms. We are already one of the fastest growing economies in Asia.
Let me share an anecdote. Recently, we talked to an OFW and she shared that “as long as there is no corruption, and there is peace and order, our progress will continue.” I agree, and as long as the new government prioritizes the fundamental needs of the nation, this country will progress.
We have different types of candidates. Some are from political families, some are novice in public service, some are with impressive accolades and track record. While Bongbong may be a new Marcos, Leni Robredo is a fresh source of confidence and heart for public service. She’s a lawyer with a track record in helping the marginalized and underprivileged sectors of society, providing free legal services and livelihood empowerment to those in need.
We need government officials who think beyond their positions and more for the people who need them. We need more public officials who will uplift the lives of those who are in the grassroots level. We need more of servant leaders who are selfless, caring, and dedicated to serve the country.
We may not have the same choice of candidates and more so in votes, but we must work together to make it work. May it be from the colored yellow, red, white, or blue, in the end, we should all fight for our country.
The flag that bears our nationality should be raised with dignity. Let’s rally behind the unifying leader. One who will harness the resources and competencies of all to create a national synergy. Our progress depends on nation building. As what we always share, success of one depends on how we help ourselves and others. Let’s elect a leader who will revolutionize the country towards greatness.