The much-anticipated national elections finally happened, and my family and I went to Miriam College (where our district would be voting) at 7am. We thought, since we were early, that we’d be done fairly quickly.
The lines just to get into the covered courts were snaking ‘round the parking lot. When we got to the “holding area” of sorts prior to entering the gym, there was mayhem because people couldn’t find their precinct and cluster numbers. I was one of those who was “displaced” for a while there.
Finally, after getting our validated stubs, we fell in line to enter the gym. After around 15 minutes of waiting, suddenly, the poll watchers broke up the line and told us to form new ones by clusters. BUT! There were still some people lining up in that original line and the poll watchers let them go ahead. Why? “Kasi matagal silang naghintay?” HELLO?
Anyway, being the law-abiding citizens that we were, we did fall in line by clusters. But the poll watchers didn’t know how to divide us. They numbered the sections “Cluster 1, 2, 3” and so on. But no one knew which clusters fell under those so-called categories. It was so frustrating!
After several minutes elapsed, finally, we were able to figure out which cluster fell under which category. But, again, that original line kept on moving…and most of the people lined up there were already in the gym. The cluster “lines” started protesting and before we knew what was happening, there was a mini-stampede.
A lot of shouting ensued, needless to say. Disorganization at its finest! For the nth time, the poll watchers made us line up once more by clusters. AGAIN, despite what would’ve been more convenient (a.k.a. ignoring the poll watchers and running towards the gym), my family and I lined up again.
It took another hour and a half before I actually got to vote. My mom and sister, who were in a different cluster, finished much faster and went ahead. My brother, helpers and I were stuck in a slow-moving cluster.
Finally, after a LONG four-hour wait, I was finally able to vote! It was a thrill to be able to see “Congratulations! Your ballot has been scanned.” But the saga wasn’t entirely over as we were made to line up YET AGAIN for our thumbprints and signatures. *sigh*
Yet, when I think about it, what was four and a half hours compared to six years of change? I’m glad that I was able to exercise my right to vote and to participate in a democratic endeavor.
Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!