One day, while having a siesta on a nearby coffee shop, I was reminded of the bitter truth about myself as a Filipino.

As I looked for an empty seat across the room, the receipt of the coffee I bought slipped away in my hands. I didn’t bother to pick it up since I was occupied with the thought that I needed to get a seat first with an electric outlet. After thirty minutes, few like-minded people passed by in front me and did the same thing: ignored the poor piece of paper on the floor. But one man changed the game. He wore decent black long sleeves with a tie. He picked up the receipt and immediately threw it in a trash bin. Then he opened his laptop and started his thing.

Everybody wants change. Look on the streets, the schools, and offices, someone is thirsting for change. Scan your Facebook news feed and Twitter, everybody is shouting for change. But I started to ask myself “Who am I to demand change for this country if I can’t even care about a tiny garbage on the floor?” “How can I ask someone to make a change if I am not committed to become a game changer?” “Why will I ask for change if I am not willing to pick up some other’s trash?

Few days from now, we will hail the new set of government officials. Everybody has his/her own opinions about the upcoming national election. But before we get our fingers inked, let us take a look at the following:

1. We need a LEADER, not a savior.

Changing our country to our ideals is not an overnight event. It will take time. It may take months or years. It will definitely take longer than what the candidates are promising to us. The worse thing is six years may not be enough to ease the country’s problems. Because changing our country is not only changing its current state, but it is more of changing our mindset.  We must understand that there is no instant when it comes to a drastic change. That is why we need a leader who will guide us to this gradual change that we are aiming for. We need a leader who will bring out the leader in us. We need a leader who will not only inspire but also move us to be the best Filipinos that we can be for our country.

2. Don’t forget the word RESPECT.

Cyber bullying is very rampant in social media nowadays. And even worse, a lot of friendships have ended because of differing views about their bets for the upcoming election. It is our right to vote but let us not forget that it is our duty to respect others’ belief. We all have different criteria or standards set on who will be the next president, vice president or senators. But we cannot impose our own opinion to others and we cannot question the decision of others. It is not the candidates that are worth fighting for, but the Filipinos. RESPECT.

3. YOU ARE THE CHANGE you are looking for.

According to the latest report of MMDA, almost 5,000 cases have been identified since the inception of the “No Contact Apprehension Policy.” Most of the violators are the public utility vehicle drivers. Ironically speaking, these people are part of the 54 million voters who want change in the government. If we will have a convenient transportation system or better high-way infrastructures but have undisciplined drivers on the road, will there really be a change? If million of jobs will be produced for the next six years but we don’t do our best to improve our living or learn how to manage our finances, will there really be a change? If all the corrupt officials will be charged and filed cases but the taxpayers cheat on their tax returns, will there really be a change? Maybe and somehow, but only a superficial change.  If we want a REAL CHANGE, it will start within us and not from the sweet promises of the politicians. Because the leader we want is the leader within us.

Let us exercise our right and do our duty this coming May 9, 2016, and for the next six years.

Love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13: 10

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Sarah Grace N. Esteban, CPA is a financial advisor at FinancePh and the Director of Publications and Communications of the League of Young Financial Educators (LYFE), a non-profit organization which seek to help young individuals to be financially literate. Aside from her advocacy, she loves to write because she believes in changing the world, one reader at a time. You may reach her through her personal blog www.sarahgraceesteban.com.

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