THE official period of campaigning for national government positions is still months away. Yet, already almost every available vacant space in the whole country is now crowded with billboards and other paraphernalia introducing aspiring politicians or highlighting accomplishments and promises of those who are currently occupying positions and desiring to get reelected.
Television stations are also starting to receive windfalls from advertisements of this and that politician reminding the Filipinos of what they have supposedly done or would want to do if given the opportunity to serve. There are even some who are wrongly (deliberate?) credited for the passage of certain laws that they claim benefiting a lot of Filipinos. One reelectionist senator is even claiming that he is responsible in passing a law giving free education for those who want to study medicine. We wonder if there really is such a law. This is the first time that we heard of that government-initiated scholarship. Seemingly that program was hidden from the ordinary education seekers. Perhaps only a privileged few were or are aware of it and they could only be those who are closed to the powers.
In the local political scene, we have also noticed that candidates for this and that position are not far behind their national counterparts. Wherever one goes all over the Southern Mindanao Region – and without a doubt all over the Philippines – he/she can see billboards, tarpaulins, and other introductory or reminder materials that this and that person is entering politics or wanting reelection or moving up to a higher position in the local government. From those whose faces we have seen on these political materials when we also had our own trips recently in this part of Mindanao, we already knew who are worthy and those who are not. We even found names of candidates who have been, or still are engaged in criminal activities and are actually maintaining groups that are ready to supply the need of manpower of certain candidates for intimidating their adversaries. And they are in the running with good chances of election because they have what it takes to be elected.
We also knew of certain candidates who are trying up to the present to maintain their aspiration to certain positions following all the requirements of the law and hoping that their desire for the position they are aiming at would be known to the electorate in the fairest manner. To their chagrin, however, they end up knowing that there are still many people out there who are not even aware of what position they are running for and who this and that candidate is.
We want to take as example lawyer Ruy Elias Lopez who shared a video on his interview conducted by Manila-based broadcast journalist Christian Esguerra. We first heard he filed his candidacy on the last hour of the deadline. However, in the news account that followed it was never mentioned that Ruy was aiming for mayor. We only learned about his running for mayor about two weeks after through a barangay captain we had talked to. Lately, in some of our rounds in the city’s downtown and in some barangays, we were asked by some friends who we are going to vote for. They also told us that they only knew erstwhile mayoral candidate Sara Duterte-Carpio has quit the local position she aspired to get reelected and has moved up to run for the second-highest position in the land – for Vice President.
Many of them claimed to be aware of one Ruy Elias Lopez running against Vice Mayor Baste who is substituting for Sara. However, they were candid enough to tell me that they hardly know the challenger. They asked us if he is the one who was former congressman of the Third Congressional district of Davao City.
So far, also we hardly had any idea who are these two other persons running for mayor of our beloved city. We need to know more about them so we could have them on our radar for choices of potential leaders other than the VM Baste and the leading challenger in Ruy Lopez.
Indeed, that seeming ignorance of many on Ruy Lopez and the two others as the other candidates for mayor surprised us to the core. Maybe this is where moving around, organizing, installing introductory billboards and tarpaulins become necessary especially in places where the identity of one candidate is almost nil. Maybe this is where the use of social media becomes an urgent necessity for candidates whose family names are known but the rest about them are not.
As we said there is no better way to make a wise and learned choice of leaders or anything we want to evolve in society than to be fully knowledgeable of those who offered to us for choice. What more if we are choosing our next mayor of Davao City?
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