On the 9th of May, 2016, the Philippines heads to the polls to vote for a new government. The Filipino people are poised to choose a new president and vice president. This elections also coincides with the elections as well for a new slate of senators, congressmen, and local government officials. Amid much color and festivity, 130 individuals have stepped and submitted their certificates of candidacy for the position of president, 19 for vice president, and 172 for senator. The Philippine Commission on Elections is set to deliver a quicker more efficient and accurate poll by utilizing automated optical mark recognition machines to count the results of the ballot. This is the second time the election body is utilizing the automated system and is promised to be a key solution to providing a clean and well-organized election to a population which has otherwise been subjected with poverty, corruption, crime, and insurgencies.
Constitutionally, the Philippine Executive is given one term of 6 years and is not allowed to run for reelection. Under the present administration, the country has achieved steady growth and has received sovereign credit rating upgrades over the last 6 years. The country is continuing its participation in South East Asian regional integration and security cooperation with the United States, Japan, and Australia. It will be up to the Republicâ€™s next president-elect to continue these positive trends.
The May 2016 elections will be crucial for the Republic to continue and build on what the country and moreover the economy has achieved in the recent years. The countryâ€™s economy has grown positively at a stable rate since 2010 with more jobs being added to the market as well as local and foreign business seeing higher returns on their investment. The Philippines has also being slowly improving and upgrading its military defense capabilities with the onset of growing tensions in the disputed islands and atolls of the South China Sea. Slowly as well the culture of corruption and the onset of change for the better has been increasingly popularized in pop culture among the minds of the youth. This is very relevant for changing social ideals as the median population age of the country is just 23 years of age.
This signals a very important campaign strategy for the May 2016 elections in the country. By law, the legal age and consequently the voting age as well is 18 years old. The outcome of the 2016 election campaign will be highly determined by the swing of the youth vote. The fact is the Philippines has a very young population. General sentiments among the youth over issues on governance, society, and economics have seen a shift as compared to a couple of generations ago. The power of information most especially the internet, cheap travel, and easy access to communication have seen the youth of the Philippines today being highly opinionated and much more critical than the electorate of the past.
At this key stage, several major contenders have emerged: Jejomar Binay (current vice president of the republic), Rodrigo Duterte (current mayor of Davao City), Grace Poe (current senator of the Republic), Mar Roxas (former senator and cabinet secretary), Miriam Defensor Santiago (acting senator of the republic).
The NCID has compiled information from the top 5 leading candidates for the presidency through popular survey in light of the 2016 Philippine Presidential Elections
Main image by jsigharas from Flickr