With the ballots cast and the returns being counted, let us all congratulate ourselves for what we have accomplished on May 9 as a people, and as a nation.

From what we ourselves have witnessed, Monday’s national election was generally peaceful, orderly and organized.

It was also democracy at its finest, as despite the grueling hours of queuing, people patiently lined up at polling precincts across the country, braving the rain or the bristling heat of the sun, to cast their vote.

There might have been some isolated incidents of violence in parts of the country, but these did not prevent us from exercising our right to suffrage and choose our country’s new leaders.

If there are three lessons that this election has taught us, they are:

First, despite the tension, anxiety and misunderstanding caused by our political differences, we all share a common vision, and that is, to elect the leaders who can best lead our nation.

Second, this political exercise has allowed us to stand up for the principles we are fighting for, and select the leaders who truly embody these same ideals.

And third, we are strengthening the pillars of our democracy, and voted not only according to what is best for ourselves, but for our countrymen.

This is the essence of democracy. This is the power that the ballot has given us – to steer the course of our nation’s socio-political and socio-economic direction and transformation.

As we await for the official results of the election, let us work together to tear down the walls of divisiveness, bitterness and animosity of partisan politics.

And whoever may be elected into the country’s highest office, let us respect the decision of the majority and support the new administration as it takes over the reins of nation-building.

May the next President and newly-elected officials be a beacon of hope, mutual understanding, peace, reconciliation and unity among our people.

Let us all heal and move forward — as one people and one nation. God bless our country.###