2016 elections campaign has formally started. Who are the candidates deserving enough to sit as public servants for our nation?
The Student Catholic Action of the Philippines, in alliance with various educational, church and non-government institutions, collaborated to form TASK FORCE ELEKSYON (TFE). TFE is generally created to massively mobilize electoral participation of the vulnerable sectors namely: the youth, the elderly, the differently-abled, detainees, indigenous peoples, internally displaced persons, and the overseas absentee voters. It aims to enhance voter education and information campaign while strengthening ties with networks and election stakeholders. It will campaign for an orderly and peaceful elections that is inclusive, accountable, transparent and inspires public confidence in the result of the elections.
Last February 2, SCAP joined the collaborators to the TFE's VERITAS Campaign Launch in Manila with the tagline, BANTAY PROSESO, BANTAY PANGAKO (Task Force Eleksyon-Looking for VERITAS from our Leaders).
Here is the full content of TFE's VERITAS Launch:
Task Force Eleksyon, the largest nationwide coalition of electoral reform advocates, continues to be troubled by dismal state of electoral discourse, given the continued focus on candidates’ personalities rather than their positioning with regard to issues.We have yet to reach a level of discussion where candidates are truly scrutinized based on where they stand on different national issues and on the policies they intend to enact to uplift the lives of the poor and marginalized.It is now more urgent than ever that the candidates be the advocates of the people’s issues, and they could be worthy champions if they were to embrace VERITAS, the yardstick by which Task Force Eleksyon proposes the people choose their candidates. As we move nearer towards the elections, Task Force Eleksyon calls on candidates to embrace the standard of VERITAS and for the public to use it to assess all candidates. VERITAS takes into account the real issues faced by the country and highlights the qualities of the leader who could respond to the country’s problems.
VERITAS stands for:
In an electoral field that continues to be caught up with celebrity, we deserve leaders who have a clear vision for the country — a vision that will address the many different problems we face and a vision that ensures peace and progress for all citizens. We seek leaders who would truly listen to the issues confronting the people — one who has a vision of a new future where those who continue to struggle at the margins have a platform to alleviate their situation. We deserve a leader who is inclusive, someone who is culturally sensitive and ensures that everyone benefit from the fruits of economic growth.
Engaged with Communities
In a context where the majority have been left out of the economic growth our country has been seeing the past few years, we deserve leaders who are not out of touch with those at the margins — leaders who will engage and work with communities in addressing the most pressing issues of the peripheries. We should look for leaders who are innovative and open-minded, willing to engage both experts and the most basic communities in finding the right solutions.
Respect for the Environment
At a time where a clear roadmap for the protection of the environment is direly needed, we seek for leaders who will be stewards of creation and who will ensure that national development is sustainable for all and for the earth. We deserve leaders who see development in the long term, a leader who will stand up to corporate interests that overexploit and abuse our natural resources for short term gains.
In light of continuing findings of corruption in the government, we need leaders who are honest in their dealings and truthful with their words and actions. We deserve leaders who are transparent with their transactions and alliances and would challenge those who are not. We, the people, have the right to know about the dealings of the government and our politicians, in the spirit of the freedom of information.
In facing the many complex problems of the country, we deserve leaders who have good track records and the necessary competence to ensure that plans and promises materialized into concrete projects and achievements. We need leaders who we can trust to perform the responsibilities expected of them, such as in critical emergencies. We seek for leaders who have the political will to ensure that needed reforms are shepherded through to bring the country forward.
In a time where many promises are made but few are delivered on, we seek out leaders who will stay true to their commitments to the people and not be swayed by powerful private interests. We deserve leaders who will embrace accountability to the people for the promises they will make during the election season and who will see their positions as sacred offices with expectations to live up to.
In a political environment where there is massive inequality of power, we seek after leaders who strive not for self-interest but for the common good and the general welfare of the people. We need leaders who understand that running for a government position entails a commitment to serve the people and the renouncement of narrow and parochial interest. We deserve leaders who have the humility to listen to the most vulnerable.
Task Force Eleksyon finds in VERITAS a new hope for our afflicted politics. VERITAS promotes the qualities that will reorient candidates toward the issues that matter most to the people, and will thus put people back at the center of politics.
May VERITAS be the guide for candidates and ordinary citizens alike for this election season, so that our country may soon be served by the leaders we need.
Tama na ang personalan; isyu ng bayan, pag-usapan! Huwag pangalan ang batayan; VERITAS para sa bayan!