Ben&Ben: YES to compassion

As professional musicians in the season of a worldwide pandemic, we were some of the first to feel its effects and are now still struggling to figure out how to best adjust. Tight regulations on events made it particularly difficult for such a big industry like ours, and it took the difficult decision of moving in together to make sure that we were able to continue our work as safely as possible.

Throughout the more-than-one-year ordeal, we felt like our industry was never truly given any sort of priority or consideration in terms of helping us continue our work or secure livelihood, so we all had to learn to rely on each other and hope for the best. Even now, while several countries around the world are starting to hold major events and concerts again, we’re only just beginning to get vaccines to as many people as possible.

This pandemic season has really helped us as a group and as citizens to reevaluate and really think about what we value, and what kind of changes we want to see in the near future. Now more than ever, we see the true importance of green urban planning, efficient and safe alternate transportation (safe bike lanes, pedestrian walkways, public transportation), and more integration of open nature-centric spaces.

In line with public road safety, we want to see more projects not only fixing the roads themselves, but the surroundings that make the road safer for everyone, namely visible traffic signs, clear and strictly enforced pedestrian lanes, etc. We believe it is important for our leaders to have more long-term projects that benefit the country even years after their terms have ended.

'We want our future leaders to be able to cultivate a greater culture of respect, excellence, integrity and accountability, for Filipinos to experience and emulate in our daily lives.'

As a people, we must also engage in a more respectful and intelligent approach to political discourse, and foster a true desire to prioritize and encourage smart votership. We must learn to hold our leaders accountable, and not be swayed by “political celebrities.” This matters so much as early as during each campaign period, wherein we are all bombarded by lofty promises, blinded by white envelopes, and tasked with deliberating who among those who run are simply there to further their own selfish personal agenda.

So often it happens that there’s such a clear disconnect in how leaders think of the youth, that it becomes so simple for them to dismiss what we value. We need younger leaders who will lead with an open heart and open mind, open to making adjustments and taking criticism without taking any offense.

As for our next leaders, above all, we need leaders who understand and respect the position given to them. This can be seen in leaders who follow through with their promises, who understand the plights of the people, and who are able to lead with firm compassion and draw respect without having to instill fear.

Compassion is such an important attribute for leadership, because laws must be instilled with compassion at the core. When policies are made without true compassion for the nation and its people, it becomes so easy to abuse power and trample on the weak. We want leaders we choose to follow not due to fear but due to a very clear observance of their excellence and competence.

We need leaders who focus on what’s best for the country, and don’t simply do things that will gain them more popularity.They must lead by example, be true followers of the law, and must know how to apologize for shortcomings gracefully without having to put down others.

We would want as well for more young people to run for office, or at least leaders who make decisions with open ears and more sensitivity to the younger generations. So often it happens that there’s such a clear disconnect in how leaders think of the youth, that it becomes so simple for them to dismiss what we value. We need younger leaders who will lead with an open heart and open mind, open to making adjustments and taking criticism without taking any offense.

Lastly, we want our future leaders to be able to cultivate a greater culture of respect, excellence, integrity, and accountability, for all of us Filipinos to experience and emulate in our daily lives. So many people look up to our leaders as examples, so it is so important for our leaders to exude grace, address issues with poise and clarity, and command respect without having to be derogatory. We need the kind of leader who is, in all ways, undoubtedly respectable; respectable to other countries, to other leaders, and most especially to every Filipino.

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SB19: NO to false promises

As elections are fast approaching and the initiation of a new leader comes close, we and the public are preparing for this occasion as part of nation-building. We all have a responsibility to educate ourselves and take part in the elections. We are partly responsible for what will occur in the next years to come on the condition of who we’ll designate as leaders of the country.

Even with our busy schedule as performers, we are also doing research and continuously educating ourselves about the leaders we want to govern our country. One of our main points is the development of our arts and music sector. The advancement of this industry will not only stabilize and enrich our local arts but will also support our economy in the long run.

'We are against fraudulence and false promises; we do not stand for a leader who is all talk and all about self-interest.'

We’ve been performing and sharing our artistry since our debut in 2018. We, SB19, are a five-member boy group composed of Pablo, Josh, Stell, Ken, and Justin, advocating for Filipino, particularly P-pop music. Several partners and outlets mentioned how we helped cement the P-pop genre in the country. We are honored to be labeled as such and because of this, it motivated us to better ourselves, our music, and our image as representative of P-pop. Our goal is to enrich our local music scene and introduce it internationally. We want Filipino arts and culture to be celebrated across the globe.

'Di na bala para iangat ang bandera
Bara na sa puso n'yo na ang tatama (bang)
Ama, salamat at Ikaw ang agimat
Bawat banat, iwagayway mo ang watawat
Wha-wha-wha-wha-wha-, watawat
Wha-wha-wha-wha-wha-, watawat
'Di na magpapa- (what?), paawat

Iwawagayway ang watawat

With respect to everything mentioned, we desire a leader who can support our goal not only as performers but as members of the Filipino nation. We yearn for a leader who promotes integrity, authenticity, and proactiveness. The leader we need should be authentic in a way that he or she is concerned about the goodwill of everyone. This is possible by being empathetic and putting himself or herself in other people’s shoes. That leader must be aware of the people’s grievances and must take action in solving them.

In contrast, we are against fraudulence and false promises; we do not stand for a leader who is all talk and all about self-interest. We do not support a leader who ignores the all-pervading issues of the country and only focuses on personal gain. We need someone “woke” on the current issues of the Philippines, someone who is prepared to courageously and objectively face these problems while setting aside their personal biases and interests.

Lahat ng aking basura
Pupulutin, laging dala
Kahit sa’n pa ‘ko magpunta
Lapat sa lupa aking, alam mo na
Maniwala, darating ang mga biyaya
Higit pa sa lahat-lahat ng nawala (oh-woah-oh-oh)
Daming sakuna, 'di ko ininda

Hindi titigil hanggang sa wakas

He or she must be valorous in defending the Filipino people and sensible in solving the country’s problems. He or she must be diplomatic and know how to address these issues in an appropriate and impartial manner. He or she must be able to spread positivity to boost the morale of the countrymen. This leader must not only know how to communicate but connect with the people as well and must be able to exercise fair judgement and wisdom.

'Di na bala para iangat ang banderaBara na sa puso n'yo na ang tatama (bang)
Ama, salamat at Ikaw ang agimat (Ama, salamat, ikaw ang agimat)

Bawat banat, iwagayway mo ang watawat (Pilipinas)

He or she should not only exercise power and authority but also lead with benevolence and decency. A good leader should be someone who people heed not only because he or she is a stern leader but also because he or she is a good public servant.

We hope that in the years to come, we could achieve what every Filipino dreams of—to be a contented citizen in a country of abundance. We hope to be closer to everyone’s goal of having a country that continuously grows in advancement and development. Moreover, we hope that this material would help inspire our youth to take part and be wise in choosing the next leaders of the Philippines.

Every vote counts. Register now! Go to irehistro.comelec.gov.ph.