By Jeline Malasig | Interaksyon
As the world watches the United States conduct a tight presidential race amid a novel coronavirus pandemic, Filipinos were reminded to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming national elections in 2022.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is the top challenger of incumbent US President Donald Trump, who is running for a second term in his office that will last for four years.
Biden used to be the vice president under the Obama administration from 2009 to 2017.
As of November 5, 12:28 a.m., Eastern Standard Time, the former vice president has 243 votes while Trump has 214, based on Reuters‘ live watch.
A candidate has to secure 270 electoral votes to win the presidential race.
The election is deemed crucial since it signifies how “America’s role in the world” would be, especially amid the novel coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the superpower the hardest.
“Because the United States occupies such a central place in stabilizing the global system, the election of 2020 could be compared to other important global realignments that transformed the fates of previous great powers, empires, and diplomatic constructs of international stability,” Michael Hirsh, deputy news editor of Foreign Policy, wrote in a piece.
A Filipino political analyst notes that if Biden wins in the historical race, it could spell “challenging times” ahead of the Duterte administration since it has distanced itself from its traditional defense ally in the West.
Professor Dindo Manhit of think tank Stratbase ADR Institute said that part of Biden’s foreign policy is to “reinvigorate democracies” in the world, which could be resisted in the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte known for his “authoritarianism.”
The Palace, however, said that it doesn’t see “major changes” in the country’s bilateral relations with Washington in any case, whether Biden or Trump secures the White House.
Meanwhile, Filipinos reminded their fellow Pinoys who are also anticipating the US elections’ conclusion to be on the lookout for the country’s upcoming national elections and exercise their constitutional right to suffrage by registering as voters.
“May say ka about US election pero ‘di ka registered voter sa sarili mong bansa? ‘Wag laging sa milk tea shop ang pila bhie, pila ka din sa Comelec, bhie,” a Twitter user wrote.
Another online user retweeted a post about the supposed impact of young people’s voting power in the United States so far and wrote:
“Interesting take on how the youth vote shaped the 2020 US Elections. Reminder sa mga kabataan, you have the power to change this country soon, register to vote!”
“Na-stress ako sa US elections. Pero (rereserba) ko na lang ‘to para sa 2022. PLS REGISTER NA KAÜ PARANG AWA NIYO NA,” another Twitter user said.
How about the Philippines?
Voter registration is currently ongoing in nationwide Comelec offices on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., with one weekday allotted for disinfection.
Filipinos can register as voters until Sept. 30, 2021.
Individuals who are 18 years old and above can register by downloading the forms on Comelec’s website while guidelines are available on the social media pages of We the Youth Vote, a non-profit organization empowering young people to register as voters.
Last month, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez invited Filipinos to tweet “#IWillVoteIn2022” after a proposal to cancel the upcoming national elections due to the coronavirus pandemic surfaced.
Participating in the process of selecting public officials who will run localities and the country itself is a form of reinforcing democracy in a society, according to Jimenez.
“It is significant in that simply exercising your right of suffrage connects you to the great democratic tradition of individuals taking part in their own governance,” he said in an opinion column last June.