HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) Updated May 09, 2010 12:00 AM
Granted that the PCOS machines work and the votes are counted honestly, it will be a historic and a happy exercise that we will go through as a nation when we troop to the polls tomorrow. Elections are supposed to be about renewal. So, in spite of the partisanship and divisiveness that the campaign has brought, I hope that we will have the wisdom to respect the outcome of the elections. If we pull through this with little or no incident, it will show that we have moved to a higher level in our journey towards democracy.
We have heard enough from the candidates to decide whom among them we want to lead us for the next six years. And although we have been surveyed, and many of us have attended various symposia and rallies to shed light on the stand of candidates on the issues, there are still people who remain undecided. Whoever it is we intend to vote for, and whatever the outcome, please read on and consider my suggestions.
Promises have been made in this campaign and we should call on the candidates to fulfill them. Whoever wins, I suggest we come up with a collective compact articulating what we expect from our elected officials. And to be fair, it should also include a list of what they can expect from us. In essence, these are what I would include in such a compact:
As our elected officials, we expect the following from you:
1) That you will behave with dignity and integrity and with the country’s interest in mind at all times during your tenure in office.
2) That you will not steal, period. Not from government coffers, not from private businessmen, not from anybody.
3) That you will be bold and creative in confronting our problems and solve them in the best ways possible to benefit the majority, even if it means going against the interests of a powerful few who may be disadvantaged by your decisions.
4) That you will find unacceptable the status quo which has so many of our countrymen mired in poverty without access to basic services such as education and health, livelihood and upward mobility, and that you will do something about it.
5) That you will at all times be true to the democratic ideals of freedom and human rights and encourage that these be exercised, not in a licentious way but in a responsible manner that will release governance from gridlock and allow us to move forward.
6) That, in the exercise of your duties and in your personal affairs, you will make decisions and promote practices that inspire us to always think of the interests of the collective before those of the individual.
7) That you will alter the trajectory of our recent history toward the direction of more democracy, prosperity and modernity, and make sure this trajectory is irreversible by the time you leave office.
That the state alone shall be allowed to monopolize all firearms, and all forms of military might, and that these will be used only to protect our citizens and maintain law and order without sacrificing our democratic ideals.
9) That you will maintain constant dialogue with the citizens of the republic.
10) That you will make us proud to be citizens of our country.
In return, we citizens promise that:
1) We will perform our duties and responsibilities such as paying taxes and following the law not perfunctorily but with commitment and enthusiasm.
2) That we will vigorously express our disapproval and not allow you any leeway when we see you or anyone in your government breaking the law.
3) That we will compliment and support you when we see that you are doing a good job.
4) That we will raise the bar of honesty in our personal lives and in all our dealings, including the pursuit of livelihood.
5) That we reject mediocrity and expect the best from ourselves, our leaders and our government.
6) That we will, at all times, be proud to be Filipinos and we will translate this from a mere slogan to standards of behavior that are truly world-class.
7) That we will commit to do volunteer work, help NGOs that are doing good, and support government in pursuit of its projects.
That, if need be, we are willing to make sacrifices for a better, more equitable future for every Filipino.
In addition, I suggest the following separate compact for the majority of candidates who will lose in the election:
As candidates involved in the democratic exercise of elections, granted that the elections were conducted properly and honestly, we promise:
1) To accept the results of the elections in all humility, granted that the elections are generally perceived to be honest and reflective of the voters’ preferences.
2) To refrain from misleading the people by calling for protest marches and other similar activities designed to exacerbate the divisions and tensions caused by the campaign.
3) To reach out and congratulate my opponents and offer the winner a helping hand in the spirit of peaceful relations and cooperation.
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