Make the right choice during elections

Mission (Movement of Imaginals For Sustainable Societies Through Initiatives, Organizing and Networking), Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting and Gawad Kalinga-Iloilo have partnered to bring voters’ education for the residents of GK Iloilo in preparation for the barangay elections on October 28, 2013.
The first activity was held for the four GK villages at Brgy. San Isidro, Jaro, Iloilo City last October 19, Sunday. The participating villages were GK Peco Village, GK Cacho Village, GK Don Delfin Village and GK Assumption Village.
This coming October 27, the activity will be held at the GK Village in Sooc, Mandurriao.
The program started with a prayer led by GK Peco Village President Rodel Columna. It was followed with a welcome address from GK Don Delfin Village Project Director Glenn Gentozala. Both were introduced by Rodel Jaca, over-all coordinator of GK-Iloilo.
Aurora Hugo, member of Mission, explained that the initiative is under Iloilo Padayon, a social media movement brought about by the Million People March that calls for the abolition of the pork barrel system.
She also engaged the audience about voting not only during elections but through choices made every day.
She used the papaya-noodle choice as an example to drive home the point.
The values formation initiative of GK-Iloilo among the residents seemed to have a positive effect because they are aware of what’s good for them. When they were asked which ones are voting for the “papaya”, many raised their hands as compared to voting for the “noodles”.
Papaya is healthier and has long –term positive effects whereas noodles may be instant and convenient, it has no positive effect on a person’s health, they said.
Hugo connected this to voting for a public official.
“Vote for someone who will help carry your dreams for the community for you,” she said.
Meanwhile, Atty. Pearl Garganera-Gauzon of PPCRV stressed that since God gave man freewill, man has to use it wisely for his own good.
“Choose candidates who are models of the community; not those who buy votes and those who violate laws like engaging in gambling and illegal drugs,” she said.
She added that public officials have an obligation to help their constituents, thus  vote buying, political patronage and making residents feel “utang na loob” towards them are a no-no.
“The barangay elections are nearing. Open your eyes. Who among your candidates have the leadership quality to make your barangay better?” she asked.
Garganera-Gauzon also connected the power of voting against the misuse of government resources like the “pork barrel”, citing the issue of the P 10-billion misappropriated PDAF of lawmakers which allegedly went to bogus non-government organizations founded by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles. She and some politicians are currently being investigated.
“The pork barrel scam reminds us that if we are ‘asleep’, this will happen,” she said.
“President (Benigno Simeon) Aquino III said , ‘Kayo ang boss ko’. But if you are the kind of boss who is not vigilant, nothing good will happen,” she stressed.
Garganera-Gauzon also showed a movie clip by Juana Change to remind the audience of what democracy really is.
The clip showed that when corruption was not prevalent in the country, it was “Government for the people, by the people and for the people.” Now that there is political patronage and with business trying to control the government, it has become “Government off the people, buy the people and poor the people.”
Juana Change, therefore, urges for a return to that kind of democracy which promotes the citizens’ welfare above private interest.
Garganera-Gauzon also shared tips to observe during the barangay elections. They are:
1. The voting schedule is from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Come early in the morning to avoid any problems.
2. Tell your barangay official that there should be a line designated for senior citizens, persons with disabilities and pregnant women.
3. Fill up the complete name of the candidates. This is ideal especially in cases when candidates have the same names. She added that a nickname can be indicated as long as if that nickname was included when the candidate registered and if he/she is the only candidate with that name.
4. The police and the army are not allowed inside the voting areas. They should be 50 meters away from the polling booth. The candidates should be 30 meters away.
5. Valid identification cards are only those with photos. Cedula or the community tax certificate is not valid.
6. Candidates have poll watchers in the polling area but they are not allowed to talk; they are there to observe.
7. You are not allowed to show your vote, make a carbon copy or take photo of it. If you made a mistake on your ballot, you can ask for a new one, but that’s it.
8. You are allowed to bring a list/guide of which candidates to vote with you.
9. If you see a person who will vote but he/she is not from the barangay, complain that person to the poll watcher. Any protest regarding the elections should be made to the poll watcher.

10. Check if your name is on the list of voters. If not, report it to the City Hall or the Commission on Elections immediately.*

Residents of the four GK Villages in Brgy San Isidro, Jaro, Iloilo City
Residents of the four GK Villages in Brgy San Isidro, Jaro, Iloilo City
One of the houses in this peaceful Gk Cacho Village

GK Villages’ officers, Mission members with speaker 
Atty. Pearl Garganera-Gauzon (4th from left)

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