POV of a First-time Voting Student Registrant

John Tapulao

October 18, 2021

My friends on Facebook would know that I am vocal on politics. I know and use my right to express my opinion and speak for those who can’t speak. If you chance upon my Facebook memories from 5 years ago, I was pretty much already involved.

Even as a 13-year old kid, I intentionally researched the presidential and senatorial candidates (the only positions that mattered to me then) and tried to convince my family on who to vote for. I even remember my life coaches telling me then that even though I was not eligible to vote, I can participate by praying and in other ways, too.

So I did. But now, I am eligible to vote. I can finally exercise this right, but the process to register was not easy for me.

When voter’s registration opened, many people told me that I should go as early as possible. I have observed that more often people pile up in the near-end of the registration period. Knowing this, I tried to register as early as possible. 

As soon as cases went down and restrictions became lighter, I went to the nearest COMELEC registration site. I prepared all my requirements and went straight ahead. 

But things didn’t work out as I hoped it would.

Unfortunately, my district’s COMELEC was 22 kilometers away from home, which would mean that at the height of the pandemic, I had to travel for more than an hour using public transportation just so I could register. Because of COVID-19, that was impossible to do. 

My mom convinced me to delay my registration and wait for a satellite registration site near us to open. It was frustrating, but it was the wisest thing to do then.

Fast forward to June 2021, my barangay finally announced that COMELEC will set up a registration site in our area and we must list our names so that we can be counted in the slots. I listed my name, but after waiting for around 4 months, there was no update from our barangay. 

That was 25 days before the deadline of registration. 

The only option then was either to travel to COMELEC (which is 20 kilometers away) or to wait and risk not being able to register. I was deeply stressed. 

During this dilemma I asked myself: 

“Is this really worth the fight? Does my vote even matter? Will it really bring change to my not-so-hopeful nation?”

As I write this, people have been lining up as early as 3 a.m. just so they can register. 

Even more thoughts flooded my mind:

“Is this nation really worth waking up early to stand in line for hours?”
“Look around you! The Philippines is too far gone. There is no more hope.”
“Will your vote really change anything?”
“Will it end corruption?”
“Will it stop the injustices in our country?”

You may or may not have the same thoughts as I did. But this is really what I wanted to ask:

“Is the Philippines worth fighting for?”

These are the thoughts and questions that were stuck in my mind. And honestly, I actually considered not registering. That would be a lot more comfortable and a lot easier. 

This verse came to mind:

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” 

Jeremiah 29:7

The Israelites were in exile. They wanted God to restore their kingdom, both to bring justice and to bring them home. 

As believers, we know that we are primarily citizens of heaven. We believe that this is not our home. 

But, we are called for such a time as this to seek the welfare of our city. We are commanded to pray and seek the good of the nation God has placed us in.

Another verse also came to mind:

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

Psalms 33:12

Though this was originally meant for Israel only, we can claim this verse for our nation. We are a Christian nation—a nation whose God is the Lord. 

We are blessed. No matter how hopeless our nation might seem, as we proclaim the gospel and advanced God’s kingdom, we are a blessed nation.

This nation is worth the fight because Jesus fought for it. He loves the nations of the world. He died to redeem the nations of the world. 

The Philippines is not a hopeless case, for we are people filled with hope. God’s blessing is for a nation. 

And it is our duty to fight for it—to be the salt and the light in the ever-rotting world by seeking its welfare.

So, quitting was no longer an option. 

I did my best to find a way to register. I prayed to God for favors. I emailed COMELEC, contacted my barangay, and checked daily updates on the satellite registration. 

Just last month, God answered my prayers when a slot opened up near us. I woke up early that day just to make sure I got the slot. 

I was able to register and have the opportunity to exercise my right to vote.

Registering to vote is just the first of many steps in getting involved. We are also responsible to choose the leader to whom we will entrust the leadership of our nation. We must vote with wisdom, prayer, and prudence. 

Let’s research the candidates, speak up, be involved, and learn about these kinds of things. 

Let’s pray for this country, pray for our leaders, and pray for Filipinos. 

At the end of the day, however, we have to remember that ultimately it is God who holds the future. It’s not us, not the government, nor our favorite candidate.

This is our chance to help change the world as we help change our nation!




The Author

John Tapulao

John Tapulao is an extroverted student leader from Caloocan City Science High School. He likes equipping the next generation, reading theological books, and drinking coffee. When he isn't busy with theology, you can find him fanboying to ITZY and TWICE.