What kind of future do we want for our loved ones? What kind of society are we making for the younger generation? What kind of government will help build a good society for the ones we love? The 2022 National and Local Elections is an opportunity to push for the positive change that we desire for the people we care about. Through the power of the ballot, we can strive to use our collective will to vote for leaders who will strive to build a better and more secure future for our families, and for the younger generation.
While we are moved to show love and care for our friends and our family, our faith invites us to extend this love to the poor, oppressed and suffering as well. We only have to look around to see that the world we inhabit today is far from the world of love that we are called to build. For our family, for the marginalized and forgotten, and for the future generations – this is not the world they deserve; this is not the world we want them to inherit. The pandemic has exposed the brokenness of our system, calling us to build back better.
This coming 2022 Elections, the CEAP calls on our faith community to Vote Love towards building a society and future according to God’s love. Our choice is love, and the love we preach is a love that manifests in actions that uplifts dignity of persons, struggles for justice, and strives for the common good. Our love transforms the world for the betterment of all. The CEAP’s 2022 Election Engagement calls for our active engagement in social and political events in Philippine society as part of our mission for transformative education. Genuine political participation in community and social life, especially in decisions that affect us as a people, is a necessary duty asked of us by our faith. Active citizenship, and the practice of our universal right to suffrage is a non-negotiable for our Church community; it is part of our witnessing to the Good News of our Lord.
Pope Francis has made this clear in his most recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti where he emphasizes that “The Church, while respecting the autonomy of political life, does not restrict her mission to the private sphere. On the contrary, “she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines” in the building of a better world, or fail to “reawaken the spiritual energy” that can contribute to the betterment of society. The Church “has a public role over and above her charitable and educational activities”. She works for “the advancement of humanity and of universal fraternity” (Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti 276). Love must permeate in the way our society is being run.
How then can we begin to participate and shows God’s love in the upcoming 2022 Elections?
There are three things we can do:
1. Voters Registration – there are still millions of Filipinos, not just the youth, who have not registered. Let us facilitate the registration of voters, and to pay special attention to the vulnerable sectors in our society – the elderly, the internally-displaced persons, differently-abled persons, indigenous persons, detainees, and first-time voters. We have a special responsibility in ensuring their right to meaningful electoral participation. Reach out to your teachers and staff and encourage them, and their families to register. Release information materials in your social media pages. Post reminders in your school vicinity through posters and tarps. Contact your local COMELEC office and explore the possibility of co-organizing satellite registration.
2. Political Education – let us design modules for the conscientization of citizens, and initiate discussions and discernment circles as we prepare ourselves to elect new leaders who can lead us towards the common good. Surely disinformation will be rampant in the upcoming elections and so we must be vigilant in condemn and correcting various of acts of disinformation that violate the sanctity of the electoral process. We need to counter this through comprehensive education, information, and communication campaigns, and through civic and political education. Consider mobilizing school resources to do candidates profiles of local candidates, and make sure the right information reaches the voters.
3. Go Beyond – explore taking a more significant role by helping shape the conversations and giving voice to marginalized sectors who have often been forgotten in our political processes. Raise up important issues through candidates’ fora, and have representatives of vulnerable sectors speak up and bring up their concerns to aspiring candidates. Our participation, our citizenship cannot be reduced to merely voting. As engaged citizens, the elections is a moment for change, and in participating in that change, we can push for important issues to be discussed.
We still have 11 months to go until the 2022 Elections. Let’s take steps to inspire our communities to Vote Love in the polls next year.
[Article submitted by the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines]