Voter’s Education: Boon or bane?

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DAVAO CITY — For ages, Philippine politics is almost tantamount to rice and sardines over and above the vote-buying issue, hence, people have been trapped to this political reality due to poverty and access to information of the rightful man to sit in power.

But the recent crusade of former House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez to lead the voters education campaign themed “We need a leader”, a voters’ education campaign launched in January with several political personalities and political scientists is in tow.

On March 14, hundreds of youths, women and community leaders from different municipalities of Davao Region have participated in a “voters’ orientation seminar” held in Tagum City with political scientist Dr. Julio Teehankee, dean of the College of Liberal Arts of the De La Salle University, said the Filipinos should consider the correct standard of electing a president and not just anybody.

“It is only by exercising our sovereign power as a people through the ballot box, by choosing the right leader by 2022 that we will have a fighting chance to survive the pandemic and to build a better future not only for us but for the next generation,” Teehankee said.

Alvarez stressed he is not pointing to any candidate nor was he endorsing one in his campaign, “I just want to educate the people about the issues that will guide them whom to elect for the 2022 presidential race.

The launching of Voters Education in January,

Alvarez said the country is faced with serious problems from the Covid-19 pandemic economic crunch, the West Philippine Sea, “We need a leader in, 2022 who can respond to all these”.

People from all economic strata, according to Alvarez will be part  of the “Voters’ Education Advocacy”.  

“Maliban sa utak at puso, ang ating susunod na pangulo ay dapat may bayag at marunong manindigan para sa interes ng bayan, (Aside from brain, the next president should have the balls (courage) and knows how to defend the interest of the Filipino people)” Alvarez stressed.

Alvarez said he has no plan to run for a national position but he emphasized the importance of the right way of electing the next leaders of the country.

He said from January to October this year, he will go around the country to push for the campaign.

Alvarez said he is ready to brave the threat of Covid-19 if only to free the Filipino people from more threatening consequences of electing the wrong person for the next president.

Alvarez said, “A president should have a word of honor. Someone who easily changes his mind and decides back and forth is not OK”.

For Pauleen Magido, a parent leader from the town of Manay in Davao Oriental, who was among the participants of the two-day voters education training,  “I learned a lot and I know the criteria of voting for a leader and I will echo the same to my community”.

It is imperative that our voters must be educated about their right to suffrage so they can join us in choosing our next president in the 2022 elections,” Alvarez added.

Alvarez, who is behind the orientation seminar, said he revived Partido Para sa Demokratikong Reporma or Reporma in November 2020 mainly to educate voters in choosing the Philippines’ next leaders.

Nevertheless, he also declared that Reporma is not pushing nor campaigning against any political candidate.

Davao del Norte Governor Edwin I. Jubahib, a former staff of the Congressman, who is a member of the PDP-Laban said he is supporting the campaign because it is not endorsing candidate.

Jubahib said, he respects the move of Alvarez because it does not involve partylines.

Alvarez resigned from the ruling PDP-Laban Party in late 2020 and accepted the offer of former Defense Secretary Renato de Villa to revive and lead Reporma, which called itself a non-partisan political party.

Months before his ouster as Speaker, Alvarez reportedly criticized Davao Mayor Sara Duterte for creating Hugpong ng Pagbabago, a regional party allied with PDP-Laban.

Despite repeated explanation by Alvarez that his intent is plain and simple,it is voters education, still people suspect that he might use his national tour to advance his interest for a national post. Others contend that someone inspired him to do the task, which in the end would indorse his favored presidential bet come 2022. But with or without the voters’ education which Alvarez is leading, voters must scrutinize every candidate not just the Presidential bets, but all those who will represent as the people’s voice, those who vow to protect the country and its people. Until it is over, no one can really tell if such voters’ education is a boon or the bane.

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