So. How are you today? How are you coping with the events of the past few days? Tiring, no? Kapit lang.
In a democracy, dissent is essential. We have designed our democratic project so that the government will serve the people, and the people will hold its leaders accountable for every government action. It is the primary duty of the citizen to remind the leaders of government of its sworn duty to uphold the Constitution and protect the people. Once the government violates its sworn duty, once it treats its citizens like excrement, once the government turns against the sovereign people, it is the primary duty of the citizen to resist.
Under a representative form of government, we elect people to be our representatives, to wield enormous powers in our behalf. We have enshrined safeguards in the exercise of such enormous powers, and once our representatives misuse that power, it is our duty to inform them and express our displeasure and opposition. They act in our behalf; if they are not acting for our benefit, they should be rebuked.
How can we ordinary citizens express our displeasure with the acts and words of our elected representatives? There are simple actions that you can do, but these actions require courage on your part. Because if your elected representative is evil, he or she will get back at you if you manage to get his ire. That’s the kind of mentality each poor citizen is facing when confronting the evil of elected leaders who are intoxicated with power. You need courage. You need to start confronting that evil. How?
- Contact your barangay leaders. They normally have regular contacts with your mayors and congressmen. Tell them how you feel on issues and comment on the stand of your mayor or congressman on the issues of the day. If you want, you can ask them to accompany you to the offices of the mayor, vice mayor, and councilors so that you can talk to them personally. You might need to set an appointment.
- Contact your elected representative. See below.
- Contact the senators you most disagree with. Most of them are online on Facebook and Twitter. Based on experience and cursory look at their timelines, though, most of them do not take kindly to criticisms. Watch your words, be respectful but make sure you stand your ground and make your opinion heard loud and clear.
- Contact your elected senators and representatives the old fashioned way – by calling their offices. You can fax them if you feel that’s more effective. Contact numbers for senators are here. Search for your congressman here, then click on the name to find the contact details. Most of them are not Internet savvy, so old fashioned calling you do. Or, see next item.
- You can also try visiting your congressman’s district office. Take note that he or she may not be in the office most of the time, but the staff might be helpful. You’ll be surprised if they accommodate you, though. Who knows.
- You can contact the Office of the Vice President here. Maybe you can also set an appointment so that you can meet Vice President Leni Robredo personally. I suggest you go in a group for maximum effect. You can also contact them through the OVP social media accounts.
- As for the Office of the President – tough luck. Your best bet is through the Presidential Communications Office. Here’s the contact information. You can also contact them through social media, but I suggest not bothering with their personal accounts – see above regarding onion skinned senators.
If communicating (or attempting to communicate) with them fails for whatever reason (most likely ignoring you, as most of them do after elections), what can you do next? That’s for the next post.