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Life in Mediocrity
by Reggie de Guia

Life in mediocrity has three parts in this story. The first part talks on the fun facts about our lovely country. Second is about voting. And the last part of the story are the good practices we should have with regard to the election.

Fun facts

Let me give you a few fun facts about the Philippines today. Mind you, these facts are generalized. You as a reader, might be asking, where am I going with this article?

Fun fact number one. The Philippines, no matter how many times we say that it is cliché, is suffering from poverty – it’s true. Whether extreme or not, I am sure you have noticed. More than half of the country’s population have a trouble finding stability in their lives. Either that, or a large portion of the people affected by poverty cannot provide their families with proper sustenance and a good quality of life. Every day, they try to get by. They live by the day, worry about the food for today and tomorrow will be a different story – maybe. Life in mediocrity.

Fun fact number two. The Philippines has leaders who should be helping our fellow brothers and sisters living below the poverty line, to excel, or to move up the pyramid. Reality is, there are some leaders who try to hog all the riches they can get, from the very people they should be providing service to. They pocket whatever they think will make them richer, instead of making a difference. I am quite sure that they are aware of the power they possess but they do not have the guts to actually use their power to do something good for a change. Life in mediocrity.

Which leads us to the next fun fact or social issue faced by the Philippines today. Corruption, by definition, is the dishonest exploitation of power for personal gain. Simply put, when you have the power and you force it on others, that is corruption. 
Some of our leaders have the opportunity to lead and influence people, teach them what they should do to uplift their status, and tell them what they need to know so our country will grow.

But these same people are corrupting the population with false honesty and sincerity. They come up with programs that are supposed to help the people but in truth, these are crafted to help their pockets more.

So far, basing from my interviews with some taxi drivers and students, and what I have been watching and hearing on the news, there are a lot of things I can learn from our beloved leaders. I have learned to lie to people and hide the truth from them. I learned to deceive the people that I am trying to help so that I can get more for myself than the people I am actually trying to help. I have learned to wear perfume and wear a fake smile in front of the people to win their votes, and after they have voted for me, they will be left on their own. I have also learned to sensationalize the issue so that I would appear smarter than the others. I have learned to be selfish. You see, there are a lot of things you can learn from your leaders. And you learn something new every day. That is my point of view.

Now you see the population has also seen this problem bugging the government. And they too, have learned to be selfish.
The sad fact is, they are putting all the blame on the government for their current status. But they forget that if they really wanted to be lifted from where they are, they should help themselves first. And while it is true that the government is partly to blame for the Philippines’ ‘Dark Ages’, people in government do not deserve all the credit. The citizens are also to blame.
They keep complaining that the government is not taking action on the problems that the country is experiencing, but they themselves as citizens or residents of this country, are not doing their part. We end up blaming the government instead of making a difference. We settle on selfishness instead of helping one another for the sake of the future generations. Life in mediocrity.

Quo vadis Philippines – where are we going?

Voting

Now, there is a chance for us to change all that. There’s a chance for change, and for a better life, if we are not contented with our current status. We have the chance to vote and we should pick the people whom we think are fit to initiate change – the good change – the good example.

But what is there to vote? Is it merely darkening an empty oval for the sake of saying, “I voted”? And the trophy we get is the indelible ink on our index finger or the chance to say that we voted to show the people that we are mature enough? Do we really understand what voting means?

Some people think that voting is just a waste of time. Others think it’s just exercising one’s right. There are those who say that voting is an exercise in futility. They think that since others will be voting for the wrong people, then what is the point of voting? Their single vote won’t make a difference and how will their vote help?

People!  The fact that your are voting, even if you feel that your vote is insignificant, still makes a difference. You are not insignificant!  Your vote is important!  You are not lacking in any way. If you can vote, do so. It is not just a responsibility and a right, it is also a privilege. Why? Imagine the number of people who cannot vote, they’re the ones who are either too young to vote or have no idea what voting is about. Submit your vote for the voiceless.

Voting is about you and the person beside you. It’s about what you want for the country. You are putting into position people you think will help you make a difference. And you are trying to make a difference for the person beside you.
Voting is not a waste of time! Imagine if you were not given the chance to vote?

You have the chance to vote for people you think are right for the position, then vote for them. What we need now, is to think clearly and objectively on whom to vote for. You always hear this, but I cannot emphasize enough how important and big an opportunity you have to make a difference. Vote.  Be prepared and make a list!

Aren’t you tired of all the mediocrity we are living in? Then stop it! Move! We need people who are good examples. And not people who make us believe that they are. Enough of empty promises!

My instructor once asked us in class, what if our National Heroes were alive today, would they be happy with what we have turned this country into? Only you, as citizens of this country can answer that.

Good practices

In my opinion, there are no required good practices as regards the election. It’s all common sense. Common sense, good values, discernment, and proper judgment.

Good practices are a dichotomy of two perspectives: One lies in the point of view of the voters, and the other one, is in the point of view of the candidates.

From the voters’ point of view, there are but two practices needed. One is to vote. Two is to vote wisely.

Voting is investing in your future. For example, if you are investing in a company, you’d like your investment to be used wisely, well planned, and profitable. You have to make sure that the company you’re investing in, is actually worth it. You should not invest in something you know will not deliver. “Kung hindi, malulugi ka.”

Just like in investment, your votes are your capital for your future and your community. It should make your company, or in this case, Baguio City, grow. We owe Baguio that much. Baguio gave us our identity. And I think we should give back to Baguio what it has given us.

The other point of view is that of the candidates.

I don’t have to tell you this, but the only good practice you can do for our beloved Baguio is to stop all false hopes and the deception. We do not need you to look good. We need you to work with us. We need you to ask us to participate in your decisions. We need you to listen and lift us from mediocrity.

The chance is here Baguio People, will you take it?

The author is a graduating student of Saint Louis University, taking up Mass Communications.

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