The Philippines is holding National Elections on May 9. The campaigning has sometimes been informative and sometimes entertaining. But mostly it’s concerning to see and hear our candidates’ actions and how our countrymen respond.
I’m undecided among the presidentials. I respect those who have their candidate of choice, assuming that they arrived at this conclusion based on research and accurate insight. I also respect other undecideds, assuming they appreciate the weight of this decision and are taking the time to gather more information.
But while I am undecided, there are three convictions that I hold firmly. These are true right now. Their relevance goes beyond May 9 and into the rest of our lives. I hope and pray that Filipinos, especially Christian Filipinos, can embrace these convictions regardless of their presidential candidate of choice.
1. That Filipinos will love the individual Filipino as much as we love the concept of the Philippines.
So much is said by candidates and supporters alike about what’s best for the Philippines. But it’s strange to use “love for the Philippines” as a reason to hurt, attack, or disunite Filipinos.
Let’s not unfriend one another over these elections. I have good friends, respectable friends, who are voting for each of the candidates (including Binay). While I disagree with many of the reasons they’ve given, we won’t let our connection be hurt by these elections.
Let’s not throw our relationships away for candidates who don’t even know our names. Let’s not claim to love “the Philippines” while hating our fellow Filipinos.
2. That Filipinos will be just as passionate for nation building even after the elections.
The power of a democracy is in the people. If we are appalled or disappointed with our candidates, then we are only complaining about ourselves. If we really want this nation to change, let us be just as passionate about building the nation even after the elections.
Many Filipinos are in tune with the latest news, we want to stay abreast of the issues, and national concern is primary in all sectors. I pray we take this same energy and extend it to things that will build up the Filipino people:
- Let’s be quick to obey laws. Our government is in a sorry state. But they’re playing catch-up. We don’t help when we always insist on exceptions that serve ourselves.
- Let’s pay our maids and drivers the best wages we can so they can hopefully provide education for their families.
- Let’s do our best to support small local businesses instead of multinational brands.
- Let’s give a portion of our income to a charity that will give less privileged Filipinos a chance at a better life. (May I suggest this one?)
If we do these things and more, then we will experience real national change. But if our nation building efforts don’t extend past election day, then this whole exercise is just the political version of The Voice — we picked our favorite contestant, became madly devoted to them, only to forget about the whole thing until the next season.
3. That Christian Filipinos will be even more devoted to our Lord Jesus than their candidate of choice.
It’s good when Christians become passionate in political affairs, using God’s Word and Jesus’ example as their guide. I love it. Let’s keep doing that.
But even as I watch people share so passionately, so consistently, so social-media-feed-floodingly about how their candidate is the answer to the ills of the Philippines, I wonder if we’re just as zealous to share about our Lord above all these politicians.
I’m not advocating mindless forwarding of obviously fake testimonies or pseudo-biblical inspirational quotes. These don’t help anyone, and even turn people off. What we need is real faith that’s lived out in real life. What we need is consistency.
If Jesus really is our Lord, then let’s live as He lived. Forgive. Give sacrificially. Turn the other cheek. Serve the outcast and the oppressed. Remember those that society forgets. Don’t love money. Don’t live for ourselves. In short, love God and love others.
I don’t know who I’m voting for yet. I wish they would tally people who abstain. You’re welcome to share your views since I’m gathering more information.
But regardless of our chosen candidates, I hope we can agree on these convictions. As we live by them, we’ll make a bigger contribution towards this nation than our single vote alone.