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.