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Inside the precincts

Two months before the 2019 midterm elections this May, my mom who is a public-school teacher, asked me if I was interested to be part of the elections as a support staff. She said that if I got in I would get an honorarium from the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). I said yes—not because of the money that I’ll be getting, but the experience to be in our precincts during elections and to be of service for my country.

As a first-time voter and support staff, I was excited on how things would turn out. Since I’ve undergone through training with COMELEC. But even though I was new, the elections and politics is never new to me since I’ve been immersed myself in it since I started studying journalism.

The Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) assigned me to guide the voters and help them with the general instructions to should follow. I became an assistant to the elderly since most of them could hardly read the ballots. It was fun since I saw how they react whenever I read to them the name of the candidate. They would really give their full and honest opinion. There are points that I want to have a discourse with them, about what they think of a certain candidate. But then I remember that I am not in the position to do that since I am a support staff. And with that experience, I found out that Filipinos vote for who they can recall and those who are popular. I also saw signs of regionalism since most of the Lolo’s and Lola’s that I’ve assisted said “Ay iboboto ko to kasi taga-Kabite ‘yan!”

I know it is sad but there’s nothing I could be mad about. I completely understand that our voters think and perceive that way because they need powerful voter’s education. Only a few came with their list of candidates and did their research. There are 800 voters registered in our precinct but only 491 voters voted. It’s sad because many people who did not vote said that they refused to vote because they feel like nothing will change. It saddened me more when I took the jeepney going home and saw that I was the only one with a violet tinted nail. It means in that jeepney, I was the only one who voted seeing that my co-passengers were all older and professionals.

I hope that our future elections will never be the same and it would be 10 times better.

We, the voters, are the ones responsible for the change that we want.

Next elections I’ll be watching if things will change.