Imbak para sa Hulyo, 2013

Note: I wrote this persuasive speech a month before the 2013 National Election. It was tragic, because my professor was not in favor of my proposal.

What I am holding right now is the official sample ballot for the upcoming 2013 senatorial election. This sample ballot gives us an overview of the list of politicians who are trying to win our votes by convincing us that they have genuine desire to serve our nation. As we all know, the election is scheduled a month from now. Have you finalized the list of senators whom you will vote for? If not yet, you better listen.

Here are some of the alarming facts that I’ve gathered during my reasearch:
– Are you aware that 82 % of the current Philippine Senators are from Luzon? And 52 % are from NCR?

– Are you aware that 88 % of the current senatoriables are from Luzon? And 67 % are from NCR?

– Do you know that there are three Cayetanos who became senators? And two of them simultaneously serve in the senate (Senator Pia Cayetano and Senator Allan Cayetano )?

– Do you know that there are also three Estradas who became senators? And two of them simultaneously serve in senate too (Senator Jinngoy Estrada and his mother- former Senator Loi Ejercito Estrada)? And history will repeat itself if JV Ejercito wins.

Considering all of these, can we claim that the current Philippine Senate may still be considered as the representative of the Filipino people? I don’t think so.

For that reason, I am going to speak about why Filipinos should elect senators proportionately by region to guarantee equal representation of the people in the Philippine Senate.

This is a complex issue, but you don’t have to worry, for easier comprehension, I have divided my speech into four parts:

First, I will give you a brief background of the current Philippine Senate.

Second, I will expose some disadvantages of the current system.

Third, I will cite concrete examples why electing senators by region is better.

And finally, I will give you an idea of what you can do to support this cause.

I devoted much of my time researching about this issue. I hope the effort pays off, if you could just spare a few moments to listen.

I firmly believe that we should change the way we elect senators because the current Philippine Senate is not “ representative” of the people anymore. The statistics I’ve gathered will support this claim: Only 3 out of our 24 senators are from Visayas and Mindanao; And most of them are coming from different politcal dynasties in the Philippines.

Using these data, we can say that the current senate is Luzon/Manila-centric and is just a mere family affair. They are not subjected to any constituents, they are only subjected to their own selves. No wonde they are not performing their duties well. Imagine, they only pass useless laws last year, including the Cyber Crime Prevention Law and Data Privacy Act while ignoring important bills like the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill that will distribute lands to the landless farmers. They are only wasting our nation’s money in irrelevant senate inquiries, while spending billions of unaccounted pork barrel funds amounting to 4.1 Billion last year (200 million per senator).

Undeniably, the Senate as a national institution has members who are more concerned in maintaining a “national” image than reaching out to regions and provinces which are often neglected by the central government. Here are some of the alarming examples: Literacy rate in ARMM is the lowest (78%), poorest province are in Visayas (29%) and Mindanao (56%).
Well, there are no studies that will link poverty, illiteracy and underdevelopment to the way we elect senators, but please, let’s learn how to read between the lines. We should know that electing senators nationally didn’t do us any good for the past few years.

So, what am I proposing now? Well, for me each region in the Philippines should be represented by one senator elected by the people in that region. This will promote equality, cooperation and accountability.
This will promote equality becasue all regions, big or small, rich or poor, will be treated equally, for they will have equal representation in the Senate. This will pave the way for countryside development too, since the national budget will be equally divided among the regions.
This will promote cooperation for it will encourage local people to take active participation. Senator and Congressmen from the same region can work as a team as well, which has never happened before.
This will promote accountability because we will be more careful in electing our region senator and elected senators will be more sensitive to the needs of their constituents.

Once we have a Senate composed of Senators from each region in the Philippines, we will be sure that: the Senate will truly represent the ideals and aspiration of every Filipinos, we will see progress in underdeveloped areas in the country, and our senators will be more sensitive to the needs of their constituents.

Of course, we will not be able to achieve this without your participation. As ordinary citizens, here are some of the things that we can do to make this great endeavor a reality:
– Since electing Senators by region requires constitutional change. In the meantime, we should consider candidates who are amenable to the idea of having regional representation for the Philippine Senate.
– People in the Visayas and Mindanao should actively support senatorial candidates who have roots from these region.
– Educate others on why voting senators by region is better than voting nationally

Moving from centralized to regionalized senatorial election will not guarantee that Filipinos will stop voting traditional corrupt politicians, thus we should also not stop from educating our fellow Filipinos on what criteria they should use in determining whom to vote in the senate – principles, conviction, and genuine desire to serve.