The Crown We Pass A golden crest, too powerful, it glows and transforms.
Diorizze D. Perania
From the far side, kings and queens bask under the glitz and glamour of their kingdom. Yet, in places without the coveted iron throne, there lie the unrecognized royalties toiling the soil, staring at the neglected walls of their office, or grasping the thin air of the crowded slums in the metro.
FOR EVERY JUAN
Ervin knew that the power was in the invisible crown in his head. Wherever he went, he keenly watched everyone wearing a crown as powerful as those who sit on the throne of monarchical governments. He has always felt like a king in his way.
But every other Juan he knew was consumed fighting against the claws of poverty. The crown that can make the best changes remains invisible in their eyes.
“The determinative factor in the context of choice of the Filipino people as regard the election of officers is in status, and with status, the advantage of time,” Caro asserted in an interview with the Augustinian. He recognized that someone like him was privileged to scrutinize the candidates for election. However, in a different light, most minimum wage earners were more concerned with their economic well-being resulting in abandonment to exercise their political rights.
The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance stated the same, declaring that economic hardships in people influence political participation negatively, directing people to focus on meeting their needs rather than engaging in any political inquiries.
Ervin Gedmaire Caro, 23, is a BS Foreign Service graduate (2020) of the University of San Agustin and is expected to finish Juris Doctor in 2025 on the same campus. He had less than a year of experience as a paralegal in Endure Medical, Inc. He is part of a team conducting activities through Zoom and Discord about economic policies, elections, and suffrage rights.
Caro believed in the preservation of the blood-stained crowns of democracy that our ancestors have fought. The steps that he and others took were to protect it from cronies of corruption.
Before the interview, Ervin joined a zoom meeting to support his advocacy for human rights, social justice, and good governance. The fire transcends with his unrelenting efforts to maximize his privileges to reach the grassroots levels of society. He is aware that voter education is challenging in the Philippines.
“As students of law or students who had the opportunity to be educated, be an instrument to be the social communicators of truth,” Caro said with conviction.
Caro pointed out the people in slums and remote places in the mountains whose voices remained as whispers.
“Majority of the Filipino people may have limited access to information through the internet as the access to the latter remains a challenge in our country,” the gentleman concluded that if candidates are not creative and assertive to reach these people, they may lose votes.
Several sources backed up the Filipino’s problem with connectivity to engage in social media and politics. A study in the Asia Pacific Journal of Business Review regarding the average internet connectivity of the Philippines pointed out that the country trailed behind, ranking 104 among 160 countries. A similar report by the Asia Foundation confirmed that the Philippines rank as one of the lowest due to the nation’s geography, outdated laws, and policies.
Ervin mentioned that others are fighting to survive their daily battle. With the gusts striking their windowpane nearby, Caro might have stormed for his life as well, forgetting politics if poverty keeps on plummeting him down.
THE INDELIBLE INK
His first experience of the election was in 2016 in Tigbauan, Iloilo. He remembered how much of a milestone it was for a teenager to receive the famous indelible ink.
“I always value my right to vote. I have the crown, and therefore, I have the power to choose who will best represent me,” Caro said in hopes that his vote would steer a giant ship in the direction of a better society.
During the 2019 midterm elections, Caro shared that he was in an internship in Pasay. Without hesitation, he booked a ticket to return home and vote in their precinct, stating, “Suffrage is that important to me as it is through this right, democracy is preserved.”
The law student’s vintage experience is an air of melancholy despite that. Ervin recalled the foggy ignorance of people because of money and fame during traditional elections.
Caro’s experience remained true at present with what Philippine police chief Guillermo Eleazar warned on June 4, 2021, that vote-buying this 2022 elections would be hard to detect now following the emergence of e-wallets due to the pandemic.
“Fame and fortune governed the prevailing reality of election in our jurisdiction, but a beacon of hope shining brighter than those remains in the hands of those who are privileged,” Caro said with hands clasped to a prayer for the privileged to heed the call to help their fellowmen.
THE CHALLENGE OF TODAY
“Social media is proven as an effective medium to deliver information faster than traditional media. Like a double-edged sword, it may be a source of information or fake news, persuasive surveys or rigged surveys, propaganda or an actual program, and the list goes on,” Caro said calmly, aware of the number of fake news online.
A neuroscience study about the socioscientific perspectives on fake news in the era of social media among Generation Z Filipinos in the Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies concluded that exposure to fake news affects the critical reasoning of the exposed people. The study supported Caro, highlighting that social media causes the increasing number of disinformation and misinformation but also the answer to the problem.
“I use Twitter due to the smaller number of trolls on the said platform, plus there are updates over Twitter in less than a minute,” he shared.
Ervin stretched himself and exited the zoom meeting. Flashes of realization rapidly move in his growing mind. One quotation that he imparted to the publication: Heavy is the head who wears the crown.
The saying remains true to the next leaders of this sovereign. But for Ervin Gedmaire Caro, it is true as well to the Filipinos. The burden of voting for the right candidate is not simple.
“I urge everyone to give justice to our right of suffrage by choosing the best candidate who can best represent our cause, our aspirations, our ideals, and lead the nation to glory. Vox populi est suprema lex,” he ended.
Ervin already saw the horrors of people not recognizing the gold and diamonds resting on top of their heads. He never wanted to see the Filipino people lose their crown in the 2022 elections.
Published: April 25, 2022