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Family Life: Building Strong Families – Educate and Exercise our Rights

It is election season again in the country, and as citizens, it is good to educate our families on the exercise of our right to vote and how to use it wisely, so that we all will learn to choose well. It is sad to see how politics has become a circus that allows all kinds of people to run for office. Entertainment actors and actresses have run for high public office and some have gotten elected due to easy name and face recall. A more disconcerting sign is the way the majority of our people choose or allow their votes to be bought for a few hundred pesos by entertainers and the ruling political dynasties even though some of them have been found guilty of corruption or crimes instead of choosing people of merit. In the face of grinding poverty, the people become beholden to political leaders who feed on their constituents’ needs to get them elected and stay in power instead of empowering the people to rise above their present condition. It seems like an endless cycle that shows the moral weakness in our society’s values and culture. Former U.S. secretary of Education William Bennett succinctly said,
National prosperity, as it happens, is largely dependent on lots of good private character. If lying, manipulation, sloth, lack of discipline, and personal irresponsibility become commonplace, the national economy grinds down. A society that produces street predators and white-collar criminals has to pay for prison cells. A society in which drug use is rampant must pay for drug treatment centers. The breaking up of families means many more foster homes and lower high school graduation rates . . . Just as there are enormous financial benefits to moral health, there are enormous financial costs to moral collapse.

One can either give in to despair and just blame the culprits or do something about the situation. We can start by getting ourselves and our families educated on who the candidates are – their background, their accomplishments, their advocacies, their track record of public service, their integrity. We also need to know what the positions they are running for require in terms of function, responsibilities, and what kind or who would be best suited to fulfill those responsibilities. I suggest we steer away from bandwagon or party politics, from fake and biased reports that abound and examine balanced sources of news. As a researcher, I realize the importance of reading both sides of the issue instead of entertaining only those that support my own biased views. I am trained to go to original sources instead of passed on unverified questionable sources. I also go for each candidate standing on his or her own platform and agenda. In other words, it is good to be astute, discerning, prayerful, and careful as we choose who to elect. It is one right and privilege we have that we do not want to waste!

So with that introduction, let us kick off this series with the posts we will elect people into. For those in the cities, we are going to elect 12 senators, 1 party-list representative, 1 member of House of Representatives, a mayor and a vice-mayor, and 6-8 city councilors or termed Sangguniang Panlunsod representatives. For those in ARRM, you will get to elect 12 senators, 1 member of House of Representatives, a party-list representative, a provincial governor and vice governor, a mayor and vice-mayor, 4 Sangguniang Panlalawigan representatives, and eight Sangguniang Bayan representatives. You can check your ballot template depending on where you are going to vote and who are in the list here: http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=2019NLE/BallotFaceTemplates.

Once you have a copy of the list, systematically get to know the background of each person on the list. You may check first those that you are leaning towards to vote to check their credentials and accomplishments in case you don’t have much time to check all in the list. Discuss as a family so the young ones get their education on this process. Lay down as a family what are your non-negotiables in a candidate – integrity? Family background? Education? Track record of accomplishments? Advocacies? You can also assign each person in the family to research on one candidate and present at mealtime on certain days of the week. Give each person a time to present their research, open the floor for questions, see if more research is needed, weigh the pros and cons of choosing this candidate. See if there is consensus to vote on the candidate or not. Be open and not become heated when there are opposing views. In this way, the family gets to be involved in the process of choosing well.

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