“We deserve a leader who is prepared to steer our nation during these uncertain times.”
In four months, the COVID-19 pandemic will reach its second year. We have gone through so much as a nation in combating this pandemic. It caught us by surprise as it revealed gaps in terms of our health care system and government response.
By now, we fairly have an idea of the competencies, skills, and experiences of our public officials. We have seen the priorities, strategies, and policies adopted by government leaders, both local and national. We have seen the speed and efficiency of their programs. We have seen how much they value public service and public welfare.
This week, aspirants for national and local elective positions file their certificates of candidacy before COMELEC offices. By tradition, this marks the unofficial start of the campaign period as candidates become subject to public scrutiny.
In examining the candidates, I fervently hope that the public looks beyond the campaign jingles, speeches, and election promises. There have been several studies on voter behavior. Most studies note that popularity and public image remain primary considerations of voters. Other aspects looked into by the voting population are the endorsement by political networks, educational attainment, experience in public office, and campaign platforms and promises.
However, let us learn from experience. If, at all, let this pandemic be the yardstick of political performance and public service. Let us look at the actions taken by our leaders in our fight against this pandemic. More than the backgrounds of the candidates and their track records, let us be more mindful of their political intentions. Be more cautious of circulating fake news. Let us not be swayed by mere propaganda. We need to be able to distinguish their notable accomplishments in their years of service.
At the end of the day, elections are what they are. They are a manifestation of a thriving democracy. The will of the people prevails. However, as with any other democratic country, it comes as a two-edged sword. Can we elect people who are true to their promises and can deliver excellent public service? Can we elect people who will put public welfare as their priority? Can we elect people who are prudent enough in making decisions for their constituents? Can we put leaders who are truthful to their sworn mandates?
The pandemic and post-pandemic situations pose serious challenges to our leaders. The effect of COVID-19 has serious repercussions on all industries. We deserve a leader who is prepared to steer our nation during these uncertain times.