During the 2019 midterm elections, I remember feeling left out because most of my friends shared their purple inked fingers on their stories indicating that they voted. I was of legal age at that time already, yet I, still, wasn’t a registered voter. Around August 2019, when the voter registration re-opened, I also remember them pushing me to get registered already. But, my hectic academic schedule disallowed me to do so. Then, the pandemic clown show happened where I really saw how our government failed its people on its poor COVID 19-response.

I have been outspoken in social media about my political views even before the pandemic but I guess I reached my peak last 2020. The situation in our country became too unbearable. No amount of academic work stopped me. It made me realize that if I could spend so much energy on doing this online, I might as well put my words into action, actually get registered, and at the very least try to make a change by voting in the next elections, right? So, aside from the superficial reason, peer pressure, what really pushed me to register last November 2020 was the realization that being a voter is my social responsibility. Being a voter is just as important as being politically aware and being vocal about it. 

Voting has power. If one voter holds a huge power, imagine what more 4 million new voters can do. We, as voters, have the capacity to determine what kind of public officials will serve us in the next six years. We, as voters, can determine the policies that will dictate the future of our country and our generation. Because it lies in the hands of the people that we will vote for. Better education system, health care, labor and employment rights, basic human rights, and equality lies in the hands of the people that we will vote for. We are responsible. And let this sink in, we and the future generations are the ones most affected by this. We are the ones who will either benefit or suffer from these policies. This is why your vote matters. This is why our votes matter. 

It takes one person to stand for the rest to follow, and it is not too late. Voter registration will last until September 30, so, go ahead and stand with the rest of us. It won’t take you the whole day to go to the COMELEC precinct in your area to sign the documents needed and have your biometrics and photos taken. You even have the choice to register online for ease of transaction and schedule an appointment to COMELEC to finalize your registration. Keep this in mind, a few hours of registration is nothing compared to another 6 years of atrocity knowing that you did not do your part to change it.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” Being a voter means you care about the country and most importantly, your fellow countrymen. The apathy of participating in an event that holds a potential of changing an existing destructive system is a manifestation of privilege. It is where people choose to turn a blind eye on things that need to be changed because it doesn’t directly affect them. But I know our generation can do better than that. That’s why I know that after reading this, you’ll be with us putting out that fire in front of us by registering and voting on the 2022 elections.

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