|Image borrowed here|
I have always had a bad imagery of politics in the Philippines. All the talk on the widening gap between the rich and the poor, the different antagonistic political factions and cliques, and the long-lived facets of corruption and plundering on the various offices that makes up the government have always filled me with disdain. As a young lad with a father that has been actively involved in the local government scene spanning three terms of services, the only picture I could remember of him as a ‘barangay councilor’ is with his political buddies and ‘compradres’ I only see during his birthday drinking sessions. I honestly don’t even know what the heck he does for a living until the recent day I got elected myself in the office at a tender age of nineteen.
How I came to be where I am right now was fast and terrifying. An almost seven months of attending seminars, council and committee meetings – immersion, I might preferably call – still leaves me point-blank staring and questioning what am I doing? What the heck am I doing? I know it is wrong to stereotype, but perhaps it is this long-held conviction of politicians performing dirty and under-the-table transactions that is making it hard for me to accept the role that I am now supposed to play in our society. It is weird. But somehow I feel disgusted at myself for always being suspicious at my comrades questioning their morale and intentions at the back of my mind.
My reasons for running myself were sadly not primarily of a noble background to serve. I have led myself to think that it’s the only way I could give back to my parents. And though my qualifications are more than just a couple of church affiliations and a proud collegiate choice in architecture, my winning have proven nothing but the mere fact that our country’s politics is a just game of numbers – just a legal and formal way of electing someone not by one’s qualifications and eligibility to function nor by one’s good intentions, but by one’s popularity and status.
Now I am being haunted by the 2-year-and-5-month more of service I’m about to spend in the office dealing with the things I could but feel powerless to do, with my being such a burden to my Chairman as an inexperienced unprofessional youngster, and with the induced slow-mo whisperings and gossips between silent fissures in the Council I constantly picture but seemed to be what’s happening in reality.
It is very much empowering to hear our Vice Mayor and other young but experienced City Councillors talk about unity and progress and projects to assist our less fortunate constituents, yet when I look at the very reality of the situation of our country and the very nature and culture of Philippine politics, all I could think of is how wrong it is for me to be where I am right now.
I used to think that this was given to me as a Cross that I must carry as long as my term is concerned. But I won't romanticize things no more. Because now I realized that this suffering is something that I also chose to bring up to myself. Given another chance to run for another term of service, I would instinctively and gladly decline. I would rather serve in architectural/design ventures, NGO’s or Christian communities. Anything but being a politician.
Genuine passion is an integral characteristic for an endeavour to succeed – a feature that I honestly lack in my current service to the local council. Good intentions are not enough to serve the people. I figured one must have to have the balls to do this. All I can do now is deal with the consequences of my actions.