Day One

Monday, May 10th, 2010

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While protests will be forthcoming-as Comelec Chair José Melo predicted-the May 2010 National and Local Elections are decidedly through. Now, the much more important task of rebuilding our nation and moving forward, after one of the most partisan, "dirtiest," and bitterly contested polls, confronts not only the winners but all of us.

For some this task would present itself as an occasion for the re-alignment of political allegiances and colors: yellows, oranges, greens, reds, and what have you, will pass through a reverse spectrum in which varied hues become a single ray of light. If turncoatism was prevalent during the campaign period, we can expect more numerous instances of this, albeit in less celebrated manner than the ones which took place prior to the elections. For some, the task of rebuilding and moving forward would take the form of a pursuit for much needed reforms in government and of creating a new culture of integrity and accountability in public service.

And for some, ruefully enough, the day after the elections signals the return to the deplorable status quo after the "respite" provided by the campaign and election periods.

Within our own communities here in Bikol, the call for active citizenship has been perennially echoed not only by the Church but by peoples' organizations (POs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Day One, the day after the elections, marks the period when we renew or make that commitment to persist in keeping our new set of government officials, our public servants, on their toes.

Thus, Day One for our newly elected political leaders marks the beginning of putting into action campaign promises of ridding the government of corruption, of eradicating poverty, of bringing stability, and of focusing squarely on the welfare of a poverty-stricken population. Whatever their political persuasion, those elected now have the mandate of the people to lead us towards these general aims.