2010-04-17

the process to Perlas

From the very start, I knew who I did not want to vote for. That was the easy part. Who to vote for was a much more difficult task. For the past few weeks, I have been examining three options. And no joke, I spent every day thinking about it, especially during my commute to and from work. With four hours wasted on the road, that's a lot of thinking time.

At first, I was certain I was not going to factor in winnability. At a certain point though, I did falter, but eventually assured myself that my compelling reason to participate in this elections is TO VOTE AGAINST THE PRESENT SYSTEM more than anything else. Whoever wins, at least we can finally move on from this saga in Philippine history. After having come to terms with that, winnability was no longer a factor.

It was just a couple of days ago when I FINALLY DECIDED who I want to be as MY PRESIDENT.

It's funny, actually... when Jan told me that a friend of ours was endorsing a certain Nicanor Perlas, I scoffed. I said, "Who's that? Another nuisance candidate? This country is just full of delusional people." As I was saying that, I was picturing Eddie Gil singing "Pelukang Itim."

It was one of the ABS-CBN debates when he finally caught my attention. I think it was his answer to a question on education that he got me interested in him. He was advocating for mother tongue instruction, which was something I believe in as well. I also liked the fact that he pushed for sustainable agriculture and that he practices it in his own backyard. (Not only that, he looked like an adorable uncle. He's just cute that way, and I'm mababaw that way. hehe.)

After that, I usually listened intently to what he has to say. I find myself agreeing with his own ideas. At that point, I thought... "Sayang. He should have ran for senator. It would have been a better start." It was when Rowie sent me a FB post by a Nick supporter that made me think about him more. I wrote an entry in my blog, of which a supporter left a comment and led me to websites providing more information about him. After that he was finally on my top two choices.

It was only last Tuesday that I finally come to terms with why I am voting for him. I am voting for Nick because I want to vote for someone I TRULY BELIEVED IN.

For most of my employed life, I have been working in social development. While there is so much critique we can throw at NGOs and the many issues that surround them, I have to say there is a lot of learning that can be found in the industry. I believe people in the development sector tend to be more in touch with the issues of the marginalized. They learn to be more realistic in the approach to poverty, with an understanding that IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT PROVIDING NEEDS, BUT EMPOWERING PEOPLE. (This, however, may be a hasty generalization. NGO people have their own politics that can be frustrating as well) This, I think, is one thing lacking in traditional politics, which has thrived on creating delusions of instant poverty alleviation by promising the world. Nick Perlas, on the other hand, has constantly said that in his interviews and his website, it will not be the president alone who will be doing the change. He strikes me as one who really believes in people and their own capacity for change and for self-empowerment.

Perlas also had work in the government, having been part of Ramos' Agenda 21 team. He also did work for the UN. These two credentials would give him a good background in research and policy-making. I, therefore, feel that Perlas has the goods to back his crusade for the presidency. But then, so do the others.

My biggest reason then is I WANT GENUINE CHANGE. Most, if not all, the candidates have used CHANGE as part of the motherhood statements they throw around every sortie, TV interview and debate. Yet most, if not all, have been in that traditional system for years and have not really done anything to make me believe they have it in them to make things different from what it has been the last nine years.

One candidate has been running on the steam of hope brought about by his ancestry. I, too, believe in that hope. I believe in the people that believe in him. The problem is, I'm not sure if I believe in him. I'm not sure if I believe he can change things. And like I said, CHANGE IS WHAT I DESIRE MOST. I also imagined myself shading his circle and gauged how I feel after the exercise. I don't feel too fulfilled or excited.

Perlas may be on a Quixotic quest and he knows it. But I think he thinks he is already a winner because by running he delivers a strong point. If we want the system to change, we can not just sit idly by and pray that the people in power start getting a conscience. If we want the system to change, we can not expect our leaders to just be benevolent all of a sudden. If we want the system to change, we have to be part of the change ourselves. What he is advocating is what I would advocate for too.

THAT is what I am voting for. I am voting for an overhaul in the system. I am voting for an overhaul of the people running the system. I am voting for Nick Perlas' message. I am voting for what I believe in. When I vote for Nick Perlas, I am voting for who and what I am.

Perlas is chasing windmills. So am I by voting for him. The world always has space for more idealism and blind faith, doesn't it?

Like I said, there are just too many delusional people in this country. I never realized I was talking about my self back them. At least, I am a delusional person at peace once I get my finger dirty on May 10. ;p