SDGs provide good bases for choosing who to vote for

the-agora1
(2nd of 3 Parts)

Last Sunday the Diocese of Talibon held a mammoth motorcade parade to launch the Catholic Church’s campaign for One Good Vote. It is a program and a movement to guide the voters on how to choose a candidate to vote for in the coming May 9 national and local elections.

The One Good Vote lists the three letters KKK as its guide to the voters in looking for the right candidate to vote. These three Ks stand for Karakter, Kakayahan, and Katapatan that describes the candidate. Each word is further broken into several guide words that describe the candidate and each is given a corresponding score.

We will write about it some more as Election Day approaches. I am sure the Diocese of Tagbilaran has a similar plan to launch One Good Vote in the diocese.

Comelec is mulling a “po-el” scenario or postpone-election after the Supreme Court ruled that voters be issued a voting receipt that will reflect the candidates that they have voted for as read by the automated voting machine. Comelec says there is no more material time to reprogram the machines to issue the corresponding vote receipt. But we know for sure that they could not tamper with the Constitutional provision that pegged the date of election.

Anyway what One Good Vote wants to attain is no different from what I discussed in the first part of this 3-part column. During the 1st part I discussed the two (2) of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the United Nations Adopted last year during the UN Sustainable Development Summit held in New York that could serve as the basis of asking, more than just looking, the candidates the positions on these SDGs. Any program of government must be aligned with these goals to be meaningful.

We may not escape from politics and the way that we choose our leaders but these SDGs could not be subjected nor made the tool for politics. Any politician who cannot support these is not worth a second look by a voter when choosing who to vote for.

Thus let us continue with the presentation of these SDGs. I was through presenting and discussing the first two. Let me now continue.

Goal No. 3 is “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” Again this is still in line with the goal on ending poverty. If health is wealth then we continue to be a poor country and a poor community. We don’t need to ask for records of mortality and sickness to know the status of the health of the people. We only need to visit the hospitals, both public and private to know that everything is not well with our people. The queues of people – children, women, the elderly- at our hospitals speak a hundred descriptions of our health and well-being.

On Child Health, four (4) out of five (5) deaths of children under age five (5) occur in developing countries despite global progress. On Maternal Health, maternal mortality declined by around two-thirds. But, the maternal mortality ratio in developing regions is still 14 times higher than in the developed regions.

Let’s ask the candidates what are their priority programs on health.

Goal No. 4 is “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunties for all.” Enrolment in primary education in developing countries has reached 91%, but 57 million children remain out of school. The world has achieved equality in primary education between girls and boys, but few countries have achieved that target at all levels of education.

In the Philippines we have free primary, elementary and secondary education but look at the percentage of our students who drop out of school even before finishing elementary or reaching high school education. When they drop out of school, these children become potential habitués of prison houses and the object of the BDJ guards.

Let us ask the candidates what they intend to do about the growing children and youth who must drop out of school to help earn for the family’s daily bread.

Unless we get a definite and clear answer from the candidates, they don’t warrant a thought in the coming elections.

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