by: Gabrielle Allyson Dela Torre and Tiffany Angela Postrero
(UPDATED) Spending longer hours in front of the computer, persistently watching electoral debates, drafting a list of potential candidates—these are just some of the simple, yet crucial preparations Filipinos have been doing for months for the ever-prominent national and local elections.
Having waited for so long, the election season is now fast-approaching and Filipinos, once again, have the opportunity to change the course of their country’s destiny and infuse it with newfound vigor and optimism. Thus, people are gearing up for this one-time, big-time event in hopes that it will change the future of the nation.
Similarly, in the Municipality of Los Baños (LB), residents from different sectors have started to prepare themselves for the upcoming elections. Some people see it as a new milestone in their lives while for other residents, it is a day that will significantly affect their routines for the next several years. Thus, there are extra efforts they would need to make in order to accomplish their everyday tasks and to exercise their right as a voter.
As the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) opened the voter registration last September 1, 2020, and extended the application until October 30, 2021, more than 60 million Filipinos are expected to cast their ballots on May 9.
(Editor’s Note: We wrote earlier that the voter registration opened on October 11, 2021 to September 30, 2021. This has been corrected.)
Among the millions anticipating the election are the two first-time voters, Lea Lein Sumera, 19 years old and Sherilyn Omania, 20 years old.
Sumera says that part of her preparation includes getting to know the candidates. “Talagang nagsusuri ako kung ano ba yung tamang dala ng kandidatong iboboto ko” she said.
(“I really evaluate what my candidate possesses.”)
Furthermore, as someone who will experience the affair for the first time, she familiarizes herself with the do’s and dont’s during election day. “Kunware boboto ka na sa mismong araw, wag kang magsusuot ng kulay ng iboboto mong kandidato tapos kapag kapag babasahin mo na yung boto mo, make sure na titingnan mo yung resibong ibibigay kung tama ba yung nakalagay dun at yung binoto mo,” she added.
(“Pretend you’re about to vote during the election day, don’t wear the color of your candidate, and when your vote is being casted, make sure to double check the receipt to see if it states who you voted for.”)
Similarly, Omania shares that she has the same preparations as her friend Lea Lein when choosing her candidates. “Yung sa iboboto ko, tinitingnan ko yung mga background nila,” she stated.
(“For those whom I’m going to vote, I look into their background.”)
The Department of Education (DepEd) announced that there would be no classes on May 2-13 due to election activities. However, students in higher education might have to leave it up to their own hands on how to go about voting.
Just like Yanna Trapago, a student at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) who is also a resident of LB. Part of her preparations is to finish all her academic tasks before the election day.
Yanna says “Kung may kailangan gawin, pwede naman siyang gawin earlier”.
(“If there are any urgent tasks, they can be done earlier.”)
Additionally, if she were to have synchronous classes on that day, she said that she would probably not attend it especially since attendance is not mandatory.
Meanwhile, cousins Carla Bustos and Amor Bustos, also students from UPLB, prepare themselves by watching debates and accessing informative links online to know the achievements and track records of the candidates.
Food Establishment Employees
Businesses, particularly those that provide affordable food and services, play a crucial role in the daily lives of LB citizens. They ensure that residents in the neighborhood have access to healthy food options at the lowest possible price—making it necessary to identify their plans on the day of the upcoming elections.
As a staff of Aico’s Canteen, a fast-food establishment along Lopez Avenue, Lemuel Macatangay shared his knowledge on the initial plans made by their establishment for the upcoming elections. According to him, their food stall will remain open despite the expected busy day on May 9. However, to accommodate the schedule of his coworkers who intend to vote on the big day, flexible work shifts will be their solution.
“Tatlong tao sa isang shift… boboto na sila sa umaga tapos papasok nalang sila sa gabi,” he stated as he explains their shifting process for the election day.
(“[There will be] three people per shift… they will vote in the morning and then they will just go [to work] at night.”)
Just like Aico’s Canteen, Xian’s Fruitstand will continue their operations on the big day, but will vote first before opening their store.
“Baka po siguro sabay-sabay munang boboto bago po kami magbukas,” Quiel Cielo, one of the fruitstand employees, stated.
(“Maybe we will vote together first before we open.”)
Public Transportation Drivers
If food establishments are necessary, then so is public transportation. Given the potential surge of commuters on election day, it is equally crucial to understand our public transit drivers’ plans for the big day.
Carlito Liwanagan, a tricycle driver from RBM TODA, willingly shared his plans for the election day. He stated that he will still continue with his operations, but would do so via alternate routes with less traffic.
“Yung mga ganyang panahon ng eleksiyon, bihira naman ang mga nabiyahe diyan gawa nga ng trapik. Hindi man trapik sa highway, kung may dadaanan kang eskuwelahan dun ang trapik… kaya parang Sunday, iiwasan namin yung mga lugar na matatao para di kami ma-trapik,” he stated.
(“During the election season, people rarely travel due to traffic. There may be no traffic on the highway, but there will be one if you pass a school… so just like Sundays, we’ll avoid crowded areas so we will no get stuck on traffic.”)
Meanwhile, Boboy Olaso, a tricycle driver from 34 Bangkal TODA, said that because he intends to vote during the day, his operation would be dependent on the number of voters present at voting stations.
“Boboto [ako]… [kaya] depende sa dami ng tao kung anong oras [makakapasada],” he stated.
([I] will vote… [so] it will depend on the density of the crowd what time [I can continue my operation])
While voting in the national and local elections is a one-time, big-time event, it carries a significant responsibility on the part of the citizens. Although the actual voting itself only takes a day, it entails month-long preparations that would determine the course of the next several years in the lives of Filipinos.