February 13, 2016, 86 Days to Go to May 9, 2016 Elections
6:00am. Saturday. The youth of St. Francis of Assisi Parish are ready to participate in the Santiago City launch of PAaNALANGIN. It was rather cold and less courageous and enthusiastic youth would have easily preferred the warmth and comfort of their beds to a quick two kilometre walk to the COMELEC office at the Transport Hub at the popular Fourlanes in Santiago City. But as I walked out of the rectory’s front door, there they were, the energetic, idealistic and adventurous youth of the parish ready to be part of a crucial response to the important challenge of the 2016 Presidential Elections. Some even brought broomsticks (Walis Tingting), the symbol of the “Tipanan Walis” or a set of 10 promises or commitments which every candidate will be asked to study, reflect on and embraced if they win this coming May 2016.
When we reached COMELEC, soldiers from the AFP Camp in Echague were already there. The Dariuk Runners were also there. A few COMELEC officeials were also there with their leader Atty. Jenny Mae Vallejo arriving in a short while. In a short while, candidates from both sides also came. Most of Mayor Joseph’s running mates came while only one from Doc M Navorros’ line up was available. The important thing is both parties were represented. The young people, a few not yet qualified to vote knew how crucial participation is. This is why running, walking, even skateboarding are encouraged in order to challenge thinking, sharing, studying, commitment and meaningful action among the young. The young present readily absorbed the sounds, sights, thoughts and sentiments of what went on. After all, everything happening in Santiago from now until voting day is a veritable microcosm of Philippine Politics.
And so the launch of Tipanang Walis and PAaNALANGIN took place with over two hundred walking from COMELEC to the Santiago Market. Thank you for walking and praying with your feet good people of Santiago City. Thank you COMELEC for standing by your mandate and being with and for the people against any irregularity during Election. Thank you candidates for signing the Tipanang Walis streamer. Thank you for signing your commitment forms. And thank you for daring to hold a “walis tingting” which is a rather strong symbol of change, i.e. the Walis tingting stands for clear consciences which becomes the basis of the subsequent actions towards the choice of candidate. It also stands for the commitment of true and decent elected officials to clean up and keep clean their milieu. And beware it also stands for the corrective function and duty of all citizens who upon learning about the ineptitude, incompetence and corruption of public servants choose to be critical to speak out and organize others to cleanse and correct what may be plainly selfish and wrong and that which may be truly evil.
Thank you both candidates and voters for taking the challenge of the Tipanang Walis. If you win, bind us your people by the good that you think, pray, speak and do. And remember that if you misuse your mandate and instead of bringing about the good, you become a scandal which in turn effectively scatters your people. In time, the divided may decide to also bind themselves, this time not to gratefully receive favors from politicians but to take them to task for the nth Time if they fail to do their duty.