IN THE WAKE of what many in the country have dubbed as “one of the most consequential” presidential elections in our lifetime—the May 2022 presidential elections—the Filipino people have often found themselves swept up in the grandeur and drama of national politics, capturing the imagination of a nation yearning for genuine political change.
But in our quest for change, we sometimes forget that the real power to shape our future often rests at our doorstep, in the smallest administrative division of our country: the barangays. So as the dust settles and as the buzz of national elections fades into distant memory, there lies an opportunity, both potent and quite often overlooked, to make a tangible impact at the grassroots and community level—at the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections (BSKE).
The 2023 BSKE holds the key to a different kind of transformation—one that takes place closer to home: right in our very neighborhoods. It is a clarion call for all those who champion good governance, whether they wore pink last 2022 or not, to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty, and engage in the arduous process of building better communities from the ground up.
The aftermath of the 2022 national elections has admittedly left many of us disheartened, believing that our efforts were in vain due to the overwhelming success of the anti-democratic forces at the ballot box. Yet, despite the heavy attacks waged by revisionist forces, our democracy endures, however tenuous it may seem. So should it be that we not succumb to this deep feeling of disillusionment. After all, the true test of a nation’s democratic spirit lies not only in the lively discourse of its presidential elections, but in the vigor of its local governance apparatus.
For far too long, Filipino voters have often expressed their frustrations during midterm and general elections, overlooking the profound impact of change at the grassroots level. Have we forgotten that the barangays are the bedrock of our society, where the needs and aspirations of the community crystallize into action? It is where everyday life is molded, where concerns about security, sanitation, education, and welfare all converge.
So in order to bring all of these dreams into fruition, the “pink movement” of 2022 cannot afford to just be a periodic phenomenon, mobilizing only during what some perceive as the “major” elections. It must evolve into a continuous force for good governance, branching out to the very foundations of our society: the barangays. For that to happen, voters must treat the 2023 BSKE as not just any other election. Rather, we must see it as the first real litmus test of the pink forces’ electoral strength and the embodiment of the movement’s ideals in local government.
The essence of good governance should not be limited to grandiose speeches or national policies. Rather, it should thrive in the day-to-day decisions of barangay captains, the initiatives of SK chairpersons, and the dedication of SK councilors. It is manifested in the cleanliness of the streets, the safety of playgrounds, the inclusivity of programs, and the genuine concern for the welfare of every resident.
To champion good governance, we must actively participate in this and other BSKEs—not as passive observers, but as proactive citizens. We should scrutinize the platforms of the candidates, not based on partisan loyalty, but based on their commitment to serving their communities honestly and transparently. Above all, we should do our level-headed best to foster a culture of accountability, holding our local leaders responsible for all their actions.
Our barangays are where change begins, where our vision of a better Philippines takes shape, and where the 2022 pink movement’s ideals can come to life. So we must understand that good governance is not just an ideal, but it is a responsibility that lies within every citizen’s grasp.
As we prepare for the 2023 BSKE, let us heed the clarion call of good local governance and embrace the challenge to transform our barangays into bastions of transparency, accountability, and prosperity. In the spirit of the pink movement, let us not merely hope for change; let us become the agents of change, starting right at home and in our communities.