Even though I am the only one in my family with a Voter’s ID, complete with biometrics, I couldn’t vote. Why? Because no one could find my name on either the precinct or master list.
What made it worse was that between 5am and 8am, I got sent from my precinct to the help desk and back. At the voter’s assistance desk, the COMELEC rep found my mom and my sister, but not me. Everyone–poll watchers, teachers, student volunteers–was nice to me, and one person even told me not to feel nervous. But they really couldn’t help me. They were just doing their jobs, and those jobs do not entail protocol for when a registered voter cannot be found in the precinct or master list. Even the poll watchers were complainjng about how inefficient it is to look through a printed list instead of a computer. My dad finally told me we should just go home after the reps at the voter’s assistance desk couldn’t find my name. They were too busy to help and I would’ve just wasted my time and breath complaining.
I walked out of that elementary school crying. It’d been a long morning and this is just the latest string of misfortunes and disappointments in an already shitty month. (Oh and by the way, we lost our power as I was writing this.) And now my name may be used in whatever election scam will probably hit the nation this year.
The best thing I can do now, no matter who becomes president, is to be an even better citizen of the Philippines than I ever was–from abiding even the most minor of rules and ordinances to actively supporting causes I care about. That goes for all of you. We can’t count on one man or woman to “save” us. We need to save ourselves. If you want to believe that change is coming, then remember that it comes from within.
Because apparently, not even COMELEC can change how I and maybe so many other people didn’t–couldn’t–vote today.