Monday, January 11, 2010

Do we really want change, or are we just pretending?

Sometimes I wonder if it's all worth it being a non-traditional politician (non-trapo). I mean everywhere I go people are asking me why I am not yet campaigning. Why should I? It's not yet campaign period. That starts on March 26. That's 74 days from today.

Traditional politicians (trapos) have started their 'campaign' as early as March last year when some of them came out with streamers congratulating graduates. One person had a streamer in every public elementary and secondary school here in the district. Others started their campaign a bit late when they gave out their x'mas gifts (wink, wink) to barangay captains only this last December.

I haven't started yet because the LAW tells me I have only 45 days prior to election day to do that. Having said that, rumors are already spreading that I am backing out.

What's up with that, folks?!

I'm also not campaigning yet because I still have a job to do. The people elected me as one of their local legislators last July 2007 to serve a 3-year term. If I started campaigning as early as December 2009 then I would be shortchanging the people who elected me to office by 7 months.

I took an oath 2 and a half years ago, to serve to the best of my ability the Ilocano people for three full years, and I intend to keep that promise. I have ordinances and resolutions to pass. I have committee reports to submit. There are appropriation bills I intend to fiscalize. There are still admin cases needed to be heard. Boundary disputes to be settled. And projects to be implemented. I do not plan to renege on my obligations just to 'keep up' with my opponents. No, sir. Not until March 26 when the election code allows me to do so.

Am I being idealistic? Yes, I don't deny that. I believe we can achieve real and substantial progress by being disciplined and law-abiding citizens first.

Am I being too idealistic? No, I don't think so. I mean, I'm not naive or unaware of traditional politics in the Philippines, heck, my dad is a traditional politician. So I have first hand knowledge. And it is exactly because of this exposure that I turn away from it.

Shouldn't I just be more realistic? You mean to be more practical and pragmatic about politics? NO. Heck, no. If we settle for practicality; if we settle for pragmatism; and if we settle for trapo politics, then we're not moving forward. We'd just be walking in place. And with a ranking of 71 (behind Vietnam) in terms of Global Competitiveness, we'd be stupid to settle for that. For christ sakes, we're called the basket case of asia--you want to be pragmatic with that?

I hope and pray that in this coming national and local elections, we don't base our vote on who put up the streamers the earliest. Or who put up posters the most. Or who had the most TV or radio time. Or who gave out the best x'mas gifts or giveaways.

I hope we don't settle for someone just because he's winnable.

I hope we don't vote for someone because of spite for another person.

I hope we don't vote for someone just because he's popular and siya na yung nakasanayan.

I hope, this 2010, we vote based on track record. I hope we vote based on competence and performance. I hope we vote because of a shared vision.

If I don't win because voters don't believe in me, that I have neither the competence or track record to do the job, then I am ready to accept that. But if I don't win because I didn't campaign early or because people didn't see my face in every nook and cranny of the province, well, then may be we don't really want change after all. May be we're fine with the status quo

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