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Philippine Elections...The Heat is On (and Rising!)
With less than a year to go before my country holds its national elections, one can already feel its heat (with the temperature still rising).
From president, to vice-president, to senators, to congressmen, governors, mayors, councilors, etc., etc., all these positions are up for grabs in May 2010. Even though the elections are still 10 months away, there are already a lot of indications that a lot of positions will be hotly contested, with the presidency the most contested position of all (it always is).
This hub is a break from my usual hubs for Hubchallenge. It is not part of my hubs for the Hubchallenge. Rather, this is a politically-conscious hub about the goings-on in my country's politics and the elections next year. I haven't even registered yet as a voter (the deadline is on October 31) and my registration is still up for my final decision. But then I don't need to register to see that the election - fever is rising and will still rise until the actual elections (and even during the vote-counting). Why do I say this? Because of the following...
Travel, Travel, Everywhere
A lot of what we call "the presidentiables" are already starting to woo Filipinos by going to various places around the country. Here, we were already visited by three senators, one famous mayor and one ex-president (who is thinking of running again, God forbid!). The newspapers are filled with reports of various political personalities who are embarking on their travel itineraries. Guess it's time to show their faces live to their fellow Filipinos and to ensure that their names will stick in our minds in time for the elections.
Politics and Advertising
Various ads have cropped up extolling the traits (i.e., for the poor, from the poor) of various presidentiables. Although there were already calls to put a stop on presidential aspirants' TV ads, these ads continue unabated. The reason these aspirants give - "We are just showing our advocacies" or "we will stop if told to do so" (yeah, right!). Its a good thing that they're pouring money into our economy to increase consumer spending but the question is, whose money? Theirs or the people's? Whatever the answer is, unless there's a clear cut restraining order on these ads, they are here to stay.
I'm Running for President
I've already lost count on how many political personalities have already said that they intend to run for president or that they are willing to run for president (provided a political party chooses them as its standard-bearer). There are these senators who commissioned advertisements of their pro-poor policy and their poor upbringing. There are senators / political personalities who have said that they are willing to serve the country if a political party chooses them. There are senators / cabinet secretaries who are seeking the blessing of the president to make any of them the standard - bearer of the administration party. There's this ex-president who said he will be the one to run if his party does not choose only one candidate for the presidency. And there's this vice-president who's leading the surveys but who can't seem to make up his mind whether to run for president or not. Truly mind-boggling!
Political Mergers, Political Transfers
Mergers of political parties as well as the rise of new ones are the 'in' thing today in our politics. The recent merger between the president's political party and another 'strong' political party highlighted this election trend. There are also some concerned groups who have already formed their own parties to combat the administration's move and/or to serve as the people's conscience during the elections. Then there are the transfers from one political party to another, from one allegiance to another. All these also happened in the past but I don't think I've ever seen such a magnitude of mergers and transfers as the ones that are happening right now.
Put-Me-Downs and Mudslinging
Okay, it's not really as dirty as the term 'mudslinging' implies, but we're getting close. The fears currently being stoked by the other side are the term extension of our current president, the martial law declaration and the change to parliament (which may also extend the president's term). Then there are these various finger-pointing, negative comments and put-me-downs that seem to be flying all around us and...you get my meaning.
Young Voters Unite (and Register)!
Calls for unity among the voters and for the young voters to start registering for the elections are rising. Two of the major local TV networks in my country have already launched their own concerned voters' group. Their target? The youth, who comprise a sizable portion of the electing body. Their aim? To form concerned groups that will watch over during the actual elections and vote-counting and to report any fraud noted during the elections. I have mixed feelings of whether or not this will really work but with the degree of seriousness and advertisements generated by these groups, they may become successful in their undertakings next year (I hope so!).
Unlike in the US, in the past elections, counting of votes was done manually. For next year, our local commission on elections have started the implementation of an automated voting system. The system is now being tested before actual roll-out. With this, a faster counting of votes (and declaration of winners) is expected. But then again, there are still a lot of protesters and naysayers who think automating the elections is just a waste of time and may lead to even more cheating.
These are basically it. Our past elections have been disheartening because of the protests due to 'cheating' and other anomalies (that's why I stopped voting). I am not sure if this election will be different but the levels of awareness and concern seem to be rising. But with the sort of political aspirants I'm seeing right now, all I can say is, same faces, same promises, same results. Good luck to all of us Filipinos during and after these elections.