TOMORROW, we will again have the opportunity to exercise our right and duty of suffrage in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
With several postponements, this would be the first time in five years that we can choose new barangay officials—- the first time in eight years for SK officials. There are over a million candidates contesting the open positions in more than 42,000 barangays all over the country.
The scope of jurisdiction of the contested positions is relatively minuscule, but the underlying significance immense.
Change, which many of us have been clamoring for, does not really come from above; it actually begins in the grassroots.
Barangay officials are the first line in the delivery of government service; they are the ones who directly interact with the people. No matter how good national policies and programs are, they won’t matter unless these are implemented properly at the barangay level.
In the case of the SK, it affords the youth opportunity for involvement in community affairs and serves as training ground for future leaders of the community.
Unfortunately, some unscrupulous village leaders take advantage of their position for their own profit and neglect service to their community that illegal drug trade and crime become rampant.
In fact, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has released a list of 200 barangay officials who are allegedly involved in illegal drugs.
Needless to say, the choices we make determine the fate of our respective communities.
So as we troop to our polling places, let us be mindful of the importance of voting wisely—it is a game-changer.