Now the cards have been laid.

Last October 17, 2018, all speculations were quelled when first district Representative and third-term lawmaker, Rene L. Relampagos, filed his Certificate of Candidacy for Vice Governor under the National Unity Party (NUP). He is joined by Governor Edgar Chatto, now running for a seat as representative of the first district in Congress, and third district representative, Arthur Yap, who is vying for the gubernatorial post.

But why do we vote, really?

The answer is, people vote to take part in the public affairs and in the government of its society. According to the United Nations, one of the most critical ways that individuals can influence governmental decision-making is through voting. Voting is a formal expression of preference for a candidate for office or for a proposed resolution of an issue. Voting generally takes place in the context of a large-scale national or regional election, however, local and small-scale community elections can be just as critical to individual participation in government.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, recognizes the integral role that transparent and open elections play in ensuring the fundamental right to participatory government. The United Nations recognized that political and public participation rights play a crucial role in the promotion of democratic governance, the rule of law, social inclusion and economic development, as well as in the advancement of all human rights. The right to directly and indirectly participate in political and public life is important in empowering individuals and groups, and is one of the core elements of human rights-based approaches aimed at eliminating marginalization and discrimination. Participation rights are inextricably linked to other human rights such as the rights to peaceful assembly and association, freedom of expression and opinion and the rights to education and to information.

Elections lie at the very heart of democracy.

“Electoral exercise, however challenging, is an integral process of democracy. Without it, we slide to anarchy and dictatorship,” Relampagos said. “Voting is both a privilege and a responsibility”.

“Elections is a great divider, a great unifier and a great equalizer,” he said. He explained that elections is a great divider and unifier – of communities, of families, of ideologies, of interests and of principles. Elections is also a great equalizer because, “on election day, every citizen, regardless of status, sex, religion, education, profession, belies and aspiration, have only one vote to cast.”

A former governor and vice governor, Relampagos has a long record of executive and legislative achievements to his name.

“Our filing of candidacies, together with other elective officials, shows that unity can be achieved. Unity, founded on a common interest of giving the best public service to the people and the province of Bohol, runs at the heart of this bond. A commitment to excellence, a commitment to public service. Let the games begin!” he exclaimed.