Every Filipino’s role in the game-changing 2022 elections
The 2022 elections is likely to be one of the most crucial in the country’s history as the new set of leaders that will emerge will be responsible for lifting the Philippines upward and forward after the economic slump caused by the pandemic.
So what can we expect in the lead-up to May 2022? Are the Filipino voters ready for their role as agents of change?
The latest study by Trust Central, EON’s insights laboratory, The Outlook Report on the New Filipino Voter, done in partnership with market research firm Tangere, looks at how Filipinos from all over the country view the approaching elections.
Culling from multiple sources, a digital survey via Tangere’s app, a scan of online conversations using EON’s proprietary process as well as a review of the current political landscape, the Outlook Report looks at the new Filipino voter in three ways—how deeply involved they are in the electoral process, who and what influences their votes, and what issues matter the most to them.
The survey, conducted from May 24 to May 26, covered 6,000 adult Filipino respondents and sought to better understand public sentiments and attitudes in the year leading to the May 2022 elections. The results are quite enlightening.
Resurgence of political involvement
Interest in political affairs is on the rise with 97 percent of total respondents planning to vote this coming May. This is a reversal of what happened in the last elections.
Between the 2016 and 2019 elections, voter turnout among the survey respondents aged 25 years old and above significantly decreased by 19 percentage points, going from 77 percent in 2016 to only 58 percent in 2019. However, for the upcoming elections, 83 percent of respondents within the same age range have said that they plan to vote, an increase of 25 percentage points from 2019.
Another interesting insight is that the majority of respondents (72 percent) who had voted in past elections did so for both national and local positions while 15 percent had voted only for national posts and the remaining 12 percent voted only for local posts.
These numbers tie in with the study’s finding that local concerns and initiatives are oftentimes overshadowed by national issues and activities, indicating communication gaps at the local level. There seems to be a need for local leaders, particularly those at the provincial level, to engage their constituents more to promote awareness of their initiatives.
Influences on voter behavior
With the popularity of social media, it is not surprising that it ranks at the top as the most accessible source of election-related information for voters. But when it comes to trust, Filipinos are still likely to put their trust on more traditional communication platforms, such as television, followed closely by newspapers.
While social media is the go-to source for information, Filipinos have learned to scrutinize reports from various media outlets with a more critical eye, having been enlightened by the many instances in the past when narratives were distorted to favor a particular political agenda or personal interest. Even digital natives from the younger cohorts use more conventional sources for election-related information to validate what they see and read on social media.
These show that the responsibility of journalists and news anchors as reporters of fair, truthful and trustworthy information has become even more essential as news programs and publications keep up with the changing technology and expand their reach through content seeding on the internet.
The youth will make up the majority of the 2022 voters. One notable finding related to this is that at this early stage when the campaign period hasn’t even started, family members are already flexing their influence over the younger generations on how they view the upcoming elections, attempting to sway them into registering, casting their votes and even taking into consideration particular candidates.
Key issues for voters
In spite of the distances across the Philippine islands, it is heartening to see that similar views are shared by Filipinos across all regions and age groups, an evidence of the voters’ common values and aspirations. Minor variations can be seen only among individuals belonging to the Baby Boomer generation, which can be ascribed to their more extensive voting experience.
The topmost concern across the various demographic groups remains simple—for the economy to grow and for more jobs to become available, which is not surprising given how the country has been slammed by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Thus, these voters expect those aspiring for higher office to include a clear economic recovery strategy in their campaign platforms to reverse the current downward spiral.
Voters also want candidates to address the long-standing culture of corruption that has pervaded the bureaucracy and to strengthen the health-care system, whose weakness has been blamed for the government’s lackluster response to the pandemic.
The majority of respondents are one in declaring that they will vote in 2022 because they want to make a difference. While the sanctity of the ballot is valued highly by most of the voters surveyed, this ideal is countervailed by their desire to be on the winning side, plus the reality of widespread poverty and unemployment across the country. This issue of winnability cuts across the different age groups of voters. But we all know that current technology can easily manufacture winnability.
So the questions remain—how long can their ideals hold before they join the bandwagon? How can we ensure that voters can stand firmly on their ideals and not just give it lip service?
With the insights gleaned from the report, we can say that Filipinos know what they want for their government. They want leaders who have integrity, who are faithful to their duties and whose love for the country is without doubt. While the past year may have left many of us reeling from the adverse effects of the pandemic, a bright light flickers before us that can change the direction for our country for the better.
With elections happening less than a year away, let us start using our voices to make the changes that we want to see happen. Now more than ever is the time to participate in nation-building. We must take the initiative to be more involved with the country’s democratic processes.
In each citizen’s hand lies the power to create a government that would truly serve our people. This power is manifested in our votes. As every Filipino’s right and duty, our votes should be used to elect those we can trust to be true public servants because for the Philippines to move forward, our actions must match our words, intentions and values.
Let us take our role as change agents seriously and encourage everyone around us to walk the talk and take a few simple steps —register, research, discern, vote and then protect that vote. INQ
This article reflects the personal opinion of the author and does not reflect the official stand of the MAP. The author is chair of the MAP Health Committee, vice chair of the MAP CEO Conference Committee and chair and CEO of The EON Group.
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