After weeks of the grueling electoral campaign, meeting constituencies, and strategizing for victory, candidates for the 2019 national elections will finally face the verdict of our people. For all the surveys, mock polls, punditry, and political trickeries, it boils down to the voice of the people. The beauty of electoral democracy is that, in the end, the people decide.
I will be remiss in my duties as president of the Nacionalista Party if I do not mention the fact that our party has three outstanding candidates for the Senate—incumbent Senator Cynthia A. Villar, Rep. Pia Cayetano, and Gov. Imee Marcos.
We have an all-women slate we are proud of. But more than that, we have a slate that represents experience and vision. They each have a track record that is exemplary in creating progress for our people, especially the poor. They have platforms of governance that would ensure continuity and support the programs of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
I would also like to mention and say good luck to all the Nacionalista Party candidates for Congress and other local positions. You are the heart and soul of the party and you make us proud. Rest assured that the party is behind you 100%!
I hope our people vote with their hearts and minds. I know voting is at times an emotional act. We vote with our emotions. Nothing wrong with that. But it is also important to think and reflect before you shade that circle on the ballot. Every vote you cast will shape the future of our country.
This may not be a presidential election but a lot is at stake. We need to be able to sustain the economic gains of the Duterte administration. A recent objective indicator of this growth was provided by S&P Global ratings when it raised our credit rating to “BBB+” from “BBB,” citing above-average growth and strong external and fiscal position which have boosted the country’s economic profile. More importantly, the credit rating agency also assigned a “stable” outlook to the rating, reflecting its confidence that the Philippine economy is likely to remain strong over the medium term.
We need to make sure that we move forward instead of going back to our boom-bust cycle years. We cannot afford to lose our momentum and start all over again. That is why it is important to vote for candidates with a clear, concrete plan to sustain this growth. Look at candidates and do not be swayed by rhetoric and fancy TV ads. The important question to ask is this—Do they have a plan? The next important question to ask is—Do I think this plan is good for the country?
And I am referring not just to the economy but to other political and social issues as well. We need to make sure that we elect officials who would complement the political will exhibited by this government in the field of peace and order, foreign policy, anti-corruption initiatives, and the like.
I would like to congratulate all the candidates who endured the punishing summer heat to be able to explain their visions to their constituencies. Regardless of one’s party affiliation, we need to admire these men and women who offer themselves for public service.
I also ask candidates to respect the will of the people. I know that you fought hard and, for some, this has been a stressful campaign. But we have to look beyond personal victories and see the larger picture. Let us be magnanimous in victory and gracious in defeat, as the cliché goes.
I know it is hard to face defeat after you have given it your all — literally and figuratively. Nobody wants to lose, that’s understandable. But it takes courage to admit defeat, and character to be able to move on and fight another day.