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OPINION
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How to choose the next Philippine President
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on March 26, 2016, 8:18 am

(By Leonora Galvez, Rappler)

We believe who we want to believe so maybe there isn't any point in writing this anymore but I will anyway.

If there is one very useful thing I have learned about how to survive life, it is this: Listen to how people to talk to other people and trust the person who speaks truthfully and fairly. Oppression always starts with manipulation. People will tell us want we want to hear and take advantage of us once they've owned our hearts and minds. The person who tells it to us straight is the one who cares about us. Every human being with an honest heart knows the road to empowerment starts with knowing.

I decided not to vote for Grace Poe when the news about the Iglesia ni Kristo (INC) alleged kidnapping broke out and members flooded to EDSA to protest. What they were asking for had nothing to do with the Separation of Church and State. Criminal charges have been filed against their leaders and they were asking to be exempt from the rule of law. It isn't more complicated than that. They wanted to be treated differently than any other Filipino accused of breaking the law. In an interview, Poe said they were only fighting for their religious beliefs. Isn't she too smart to believe her own position?  She was trying to keep the INC vote.

I decided not to vote for Vice President Jejomar Binay because I'm just so tired of him saying "Makati" evoking images of skyscrapers, clean streets, and well-dressed corporate yuppies with their Starbucks coffees. He knows that all that is thanks to the Ayalas and the business sector. He owes Makati City more than it has ever owed him.

And I am definitely not voting for Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.  When news broke out about extrajudicial killings in Davao City, he responded by criticizing the DOJ for failing to stop illegal activities within prison cells. Cleaning up jail cells is a valid issue to raise, but it does not directly answer the issue hurled against him. It was a diversionary tactic that worked beautifully. Since then, he has been counting on all of us to be inattentive to all his inconsistencies. He has exploited our feelings of dissatisfaction all through out his campaign without offering realistic and well-thought out alternatives. He has catastrophized, exaggerated, evaded, and mocked. He has been sweeping us off our feet with fairy tales about peace and order and honesty in government without telling us HOW he intends to do all these. He teaches his supporters not to question intelligently but to blame, to hate, and to ridicule.

Davao is not one of the safest cities in the world. If the government and local businesses continue to pay revolutionary taxes to the New People's Army to be kept "safe" then it is an extorted city. He claims to be against political dynasties and we all blissfully ignore that he nurtures a political dynasty himself. His role in the rehabilitation of Tacloban after Yolanda was not major. He knows that there remains to be no evidence of plunder in the handling of donated funds. He has criticized the government for the traffic in Manila but tells Karen Davila in her radio show that overcrowding is the problem and it will take him 12 years to fix this. He knows exactly how to blow things up out of proportion and that he cannot eradicate criminality in 3 to 6 months. There is not a single country in the world with a zero crime rate record.

Why are language and messaging key indications of character and sincerity? Because all of our problems come from not knowing enough. And our pool of information is further muddled by fake articles and memes that are unverified at best.

We don't know enough about the checks and balances that make our government work. We don't know enough about the root cause of our social problems and what we can do to help. We don't know enough about our own roles in gluing our dreams together piece by piece.

Education, transparency and communication will solve most of our problems. All the five candidates say education and the FOI bill are their top priority but surely the candidate who will win by exploiting our limited access to real information will profit the most from keeping us in the dark even after he or she has won the presidency.

If they are talking down on us now, they won't empower us and our children to know more and know better.  How can we ever help ourselves?

As we cast our votes, may we remember that information weakens liars and empowers us all.


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