Stop graft in our country – Vote Wisely
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
All over the country, thousands of voters will go to the polls today to vote for the officials who will be closest to them in their respective communities, and on whom they will rely to attend to their immediate problems and represent them before their town or city councils, or sanggunians.
In Negros Occidental there are 1.6 million registered voters, and in Bacolod City has 279,496 who will elect their barangay captains and kagawads. It is gratifying to know that the local officials of the Commission on Election has announced that the winners could be declared by midnight, or earlier, even if, this time, the voting will not be computerized like the last one for national, city and provincial officials, but by the old method of writing the names of the candidates on the ballots issued by the Comelec.
A disturbing possibility, however, is that both the military and the police have identified some barangays as “election areas of concern” because of the fact that there is a possibility of trouble involving either the candidates or their followers, disturbance by rebel elements, or intense rivalries among those seeking positions of barangay captain and their council members, or kagawads. We hope that the monitoring and preparations by both the police and the military, in coordination with the Comelec, will pre-empt any untoward incidents during today's voting.
There was a time when there was little interest in the positions of barangay officials. Laws passed later, however, vested the position with more responsibility and authority that gave those holding it, not only influence and prestige in their community, but also a chance to serve and bring improvements to the lives of their fellow barangay residents.
But even before the voting had started, last night there were already reports of attempts at vote-buying which, we hope, will be thwarted so it will not influence the results of this exercise. As the present controversy over the use of the pork barrel funds has shown, now more than ever, we need to choose leaders who are not inclined to dishonesty and thievery, and are seeking the position only for their own benefits at the expense of their community.
The only way to prevent this is to vote wisely.*