Clutch Citizenship

The woes of last-minute registration all have to boil down to a simple act of pasensyahan. The bureaucracy isn’t as efficient as it should be, and last-minute registration shows that people can push citizenship to the very last minute.  Last-minute registration, in many ways, is a window to last-minute citizenship.

There was a time in Philippine basketball that all plays were made on clutch: “last two minutes.”  Unfortunately, that kind of mindset does not translate to something that should be sustained, and something that, for all intents and purposes, should be done on reflex.

Maybe the Commission on Elections has issues to resolve on its own when it comes to registration and information dissemination.  Yes, we all need to make a living, we all need to go to school, and many things can get in the way of us registering anyway.  Yet our insistence – perhaps even penchant – for being citizens at the very last minute can be a good reason why, in many ways, we get what we deserve.

On the one hand, one can say that voting is so trivialized because the results have been so trivialized over the years; for some people, the vote doesn’t actually matter.  It’s not as important as hours timed into work, perhaps even overtime.  Yet when some – if not a lot – effort is exerted at the very last minute to go to a registration area to go through a most difficult process already suffering from so much strain, it shows a problem of priorities.

When you register at the very last minute, you deserve every bit of discomfort that you can get from it.  You deserve to see celebrities getting special treatment.  You deserve to wait hours on end for your turn to have your biometrics read, or to use that one desk to fill out personal information.  You deserve to hang out there until you fall faint from hunger, just guarding your spot on the queue.  You deserve every inconvenience until the very last minute, get that slip of paper, and call yourself a Filipino voter: one of the millions of Filipinos who have the right to bitch.

So it all boils down to an issue of pasensyahan: you can’t register, you can’t vote, you can’t bitch.  It’s like shooting a prayer from the baseline at the last few seconds of the quarter: it never really goes in.  When you treat your right to vote as an accessory to whatever, you deserve to be treated like one.  So suck it up.

23 Replies to “Clutch Citizenship”

  1. Well this is incredibly holier-than-thou of you. Maybe participating in the elections isn’t exactly at the top of many people’s list of priorities, but why should it be when the votes will all just end up going to whoever has the most guns, goons, and money? And why should casting your vote be the only way of showing that you care about this country? Every person who pays their taxes or who does even the smallest thing to make a REAL difference has the right to complain about how shitty our government is, whether or not they participate in a meaningless symbolic ritual that is the Philippine elections.

    You know, when you come to think of it, maybe we last-minute registrants are made of tougher stuff than those who registered early. We actually braved the long lines and the uncomfortable wait, and maybe some of us even missed a day of work just to be entitled to our right to vote – despite the fact that we have other more important things to attend to.

  2. Lauren:

    We can agree to disagree, but I think I need to reiterate/explain as respectfully as I can.

    First, I never said anything about voting being the only avenue for dissent and change. What I’m saying is that suffrage is an essential right. The question is, do we surrender and waive that right, among so many others, to the very last minute? I don’t think so. That vote is as meaningful as the taxes you pay, or picking up trash. That’s called citizenship; it makes a very real difference for you not only to vote, but to safeguard that vote. Teachers, volunteers, and voters, in many instances, have died protecting that right.

    Second, praise should be given where it is due. Those who registered early braved lines, were as uncomfortable, and probably also missed a day at work, conscientious enough to avoid the longer lines and the more intense discomfort altogether. They also had important things to attend to, and it just so happened that they considered their vote valuable enough to register early. So if a late registrant’s going to be praised for braving the long lines, I think early registrants should be commended to a higher degree for having the commitment and good sense to recognize the importance of that right, and to exercise that right.

  3. Your entry is extremely arrogant and very lacking in that praise. You also failed to consider the fact that some late registrants only became late registrants because in some barangays, Comelec was unprepared to handle the influx of new voters. I did try to register to vote months ago when a weekend satellite was set up near the house, but they turned me down because they could only accept 400 registrants a day. Then Ondoy happened. So consider those circumstances before you go around telling late registrants that they deserve all the discomfort and inconvenience they got.

    1. Lauren:

      If this is about your own personal experience in registration areas, surely you can complain about the inefficiencies about the Comelec. There are so many factors that come into play here. For people like you who did have the good sense to attempt to register early on but only became late registrants based on the inefficiencies of the Comelec, you should be praised, if that at all means anything. In fact we should even chastise the Comelec for its inefficiencies, but it can only be as inefficient as our own expectations of that organization, perhaps even more so, the way we treat that organization and we treat that right.

      Yet in many cases and circumstances, there are late registrants today who are registering on the very last minute because of circumstances that are *not* similar to yours. Should they expect the same praise? Should they be commended for whatever inconvenience there is at registering at the very last minute? I don’t think so. They should be commended for recognizing the importance of that vote. Doing so at the last minute, I think, doesn’t warrant a pat on the back.

  4. Simple lang naman yan — “Bato-bato sa langit, ang tamaan wag magagalit.” I don’t think the author was pertaining to the girl named Lauren but to those who have the HABIT of doing things the last minute.

    Just like in basketball, kapag natambakan ka, kasalanan mo. Talagang mahihirapan kang maghabol. The problem with us is that, just like basketball players, we ALWAYS blame the refs, or in this case, those who are in the government, lalo na pag last minute at nahihirapan ka ng maghabol.

    I think various news organizations have done enough to tell the people that the Comelec will not extend the deadline or that hanggang ganitong oras, petsa na lang para bumoto at no extension. I have friends and family members who registered months ago, and they were able to register within an hour or less than pa nga. Lahat naman sila nagtatrabaho, nag-aaral, “busy” sa kani-kanilang buhay. Pero nagtanim sila ng maaga, kaya umaani na lang sila ngayon ng kanilang ani.

    In the end, I think this is another great piece from Marck. I believe in you. Mabuhay ka!

  5. Palagi namang pila sa city hall ah. I tried two months ago, pila. Nagtanong tanong ako sa mga ibang registrants, sabi nila pila always. I tried yesterday 8 am, pila. Today, i went there past 5 am, at bagyo pa, pila parin. Anyway, I am registered, well ahead of people in front of me. Not my fault nauna akong tinawag para sa photo op. Maybe I’m a celeb?

  6. Oh my what is this? Do we have the same friends? I remember when I commented some weeks ago here. You were “arrogant” to me too like what Loren said. You’re so arrogant now. Do you know I know someone who knows you? She keeps sending me your links.

    Sorry ha, but I find your attitude changing for the worse.

    Is it because you have won an w\award. Mark o Mark, that was just a pity award from your friends. You seem so depressed lately they thought this would help you a little… just a little. Know what I mean?

    Definitye, bro, you are full of heart and you are definitely making huge efforts to write. Kudos in advance, hey? In advance? Because right now you’re an amateur full of hot air.

    Please lang sa mga friends ni Mark, don’t make his head bigger. I will forward this post to my friends, too. Let’s see who has more friends, shall we? This is what’s wrong with you bloggers. Maybe for the first time in your life someone actually notices you. That doesn’t mean you are as good as the pros. May I take you back, Mark, may I?

    Remember the blog award when you so elegantly answered all that chick’s question? Watch it again, bro. See for yourself how pathetic you are.

    You see, bro… I know people like you. In person you are nothing. Here online you think you have become a somebody. I’d like to say something more but I’m not just the kind of person who bursts other people’s bubble. Eventually reality will burst your bubble, so here I am warning you.

    Ok, long late lunch over. Time to finish up the coffee and head home. Maybe I can pass by the Comelec or wherever the heck they register would-be registrants and may I can win the game for the team, huh?

    1. Amina:

      I don’t mind, really – me and Lauren were having a conversation that was quite polite. I didn’t have to call Lauren out on a personal level, and if I ever did, I certainly am paying the price for it in more ways than one: more than I wanted for speaking out my mind. I know that I can be *very* hurtful and believe me, for something that I’ve been doing for years for free, I’ve written a LOT of things that I particularly regret.

      Again: I don’t think it’s my business to be a crowd-pleaser or to satisfy every single reader: I don’t make a lifestyle choice out of being liked or being recognized or having many friends at that, much less winning an award or having people judge me on the basis of whatever. So if I rubbed you the wrong way, if I irritated you or anything, I’m sorry in advance. Please, accept my humblest apologies. And please, if you don’t like what I write, feel free to close your browser. Give me that little bit of freedom to write whatever I want on my space. Can we at least agree to be clear on that?

      Oh, and it’s Marck.

  7. Late registration is today. Yesterday wasn’t late, though the queue yesterday was much much worse than today. Lauren should’ve gone there about 3 am. I think the squatters are scared government is going to remove them, so, ironically, they came like a proverbial flood. I hear politicians are campaigning real early. Santa Claus will ignore them if they aren’t registered.

  8. Ayus lang yan Marck, marami talagang taong walang paki sa di nila pami or kung meron man, posers lang sila. Hayaan mo na. They like it when you make patol to them. You making patol is like fashion accessories to them you now, like vit water.

    Kung may reklamo kayo sa Comelec o sa bansa ninyo, sa presinto kayo magpaliwanag. Don’t shoot the messenger, shoot that ball. Feeling kasi ng iba, sa kanila lang umiikot ang mundo kaya konting hirap lang akala mo kung naano na.

  9. It’s not that. Call me judgmental and I am judgmental but something made your head bigger. My friend said, you’re a clinically shy individual in the real world. You were not interested in anything, especially not politics, but here you’re like this pretentious little demon of a blowhard. Know what I mean? Your problem is you think what you write here won’t affect you in the real world. I say this to you buddy, it definitely will, and you will be defenseless, coz your too stupid to anticipate it, to uninformed to protect yourself, and just plain too ugly.

    Now does this hurt, bro? Coz you’re not the only one who can hurt people. Mecandowhatyoucando. Kapish?

    Hey, look, I’m not saying it’s physical violence but definitely your career, your social life… know what I mean?

  10. Lauren, people who wait until the last day – when they know full well that the lines will be idiotically long – deserve all the difficulty they encounter.

  11. “I say this to you buddy, it definitely will, and you will be defenseless, coz your too stupid to anticipate it, to uninformed to protect yourself, and just plain too ugly.”


    Maka-comment lang. LOL.

  12. I sense that the commenter issuing threats who goes by the handle Amina has a personal beef with our intrepid blogger. If youll notice, his (or her) comment has nothing to do with the post but is a complaint against Marocharim’s ‘swollen head’ for which said commenter has displayed a somewhat visceral annoyance such that instead of ignoring the post or the blog all together, said commenter made it a point to let Marocharim know how he or she feels about Marocharim’s so-called arrogance. But may I just say that issuing veiled threats in a public space while anonymous is so un-cool and shows a lack of… life.

    So Amina, sit down and relax. There are other blogs, the hosts of which, it is hoped, you won’t feel the need to threaten.

  13. Amina, Bring it! send this link to everyone you know. 😉 after all, this is not about if mark is a badass or not. and besides, good or bad publicity about mark is still publicity, mark will be an instant internet celebrity. (again! yeah i know you think it sucks :P)

    back to the topic, let’s put it this way. you entered a fast food restaurant at 8pm and it will close by 10pm. for some reasons, you decided to order at 9:58pm and the queue is still that long. what would you expect?

  14. Wawa nman ung pumila ng maaga nung huling mga araw ng registration….huhuhuhuhu….they deserve a tissue at bimpo sa likod, baka pawis na sila…di niyo ba gets “busy” sila….BUSY…for 10 months…straight….teka ihi muna ako….napaparami ang inom ko on a weekday eh.

  15. can i just say, it really depends on where you’re located and when you’ve registered. I registered last 25 march 2009 at the mandaluyong city hall and there was absolutely NO QUEUE. Kawawa nga yung mga kailangang pumila but they should have registered earlier. Part of the blame falls on them, part, perhaps, falls on the government for their alleged inefficiency. 🙂

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