Press Release
May 7, 2007

Business Groups, IBP join Mr. Palengke in voter education campaign

Senator Mar Roxas today announced the launching of a voters education campaign in coordination with various business, consumer and non-governmental groups.

Together with Roxas, private sector organizations such as the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), Chamber of Commerce of Philippine Foundation (CCPFI), Philippine Exporters Confederation (PhilExport), the Consumer and Oil Price Watch (COPW), and Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) are calling on the citizenry to vote and vote wisely in the May 14 national elections.

"Let us vote into the Senate, House of Representatives and local governments the people who are the best qualified and who can undoubtedly deliver on their campaign promises because they truly care for the people," Roxas said.

"We all need to vote properly. We need to know how to choose the right candidates if what we want is a government which solves problems rather than creates them," he added.

Roxas, also known as Mr. Palengke, cited how consumers select products in the wet market as a metaphor for choosing candidates wisely.

First, he said that like choosing fish and other products, a consumer uses his or her instincts and senses in buying fish that are sariwa, hindi bilasa. Just like in the marketplace, voters also need to pick candidates who seek to bring in a new brand of politics, not the old, rotten politics that has brought instability to the country.

He also said the candidates must also be of wastong timbang, hindi tinimbang ngunit kulang. This means picking candidates who are qualified for the job they are running for, and who have a proven track record over those who have real deficiencies in legislative performance or service delivery.

He added the candidates to be chosen must present concrete platforms and proposals seeking to address perennial issues like the proper and transparent use of tax revenues and how to uphold the principles of good governance, human rights and poverty.

Voters should trust their instincts and be discerning. The candidates who are excessive spenders and known to engage in vote-buying are likely to be more corrupt and abusive once in office, he said.

Roxas also said that one must always bring a "grocery list" or kodigo of candidates to vote. He said this will help voters against "buying on impulse," or being influenced at the last minute, by promotional materials and by vote buyers.

"Kung minsan kasi, kahit alam natin kung ano talaga ang kailangan nating bilhin, napapabili tayo ng mga bagay na hindi natin kailangan dahil sa mga swabeng promotions stunts, mga pa-premyo at kung ano pa. Ganyan din sa pagboto, mas magandang may sariling listahan na ang botante bago pa pumasok sa polling booth, Mr. Palengke added.

"We, voters, must not sacrifice the long-term for the short-term. If we are to vote, we must not be driven by cheap promotional stunts, much more should we not allow them to buy our votes," he said.

More importantly, he said huwag tayong padadala, at hindi puwedeng bahala na si Batman. While it is important to vote, Roxas stressed that it is equally important to be vigilant, to watch closely the electoral process, and afterwards, the fulfillment of promises given by candidates who will win.

Roxas urges all 45.5 million registeredincluding 504,000 overseas absentee votersto exercise their sovereign right to vote. He made this call to his fellow kababayans in light of historical figures showing that the average turnout of voters in national polls in the last 21 years was a less-than-ideal 76.9%.

He said the elections should be seen as an opportunity for the people to audit their political leaders: to reward those who perform according to mandate, and remove those who do not. He said politics could be our countrys way towards redemption, if we do not let those already in government get away with it.

We must vote, and vote wisely for real change to happen in the country, Roxas said.

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