Campaign season

AND so it begins. Filipinos are in the throes of election fever as the campaign period for the upcoming May national elections officially began on Tuesday, Feb. 9. With 18,053 elective positions at stake, qualified voters in the Philippines and abroad have in their hands, the power and responsibility of ensuring candidates for public office are the most qualified for the respective positions.
On a national scale, Filipino voters will declare who to fill the presidential, vice presidential, 12 senatorial and 80 party-list representation seats. The local elections involve voters to elect district representatives (Congress members), provincial governors, vice governors, provincial board members, city and municipal mayors, city and municipal vice mayors, and town council members.
The promotion of people’s interests will be on top of political junkets once again. Issues such as criminality, high prices, unemployment, housing shortage, overpopulation, and the poor justice system are still expected to headline each candidate’s platform.
Vice President Jejomar Binay launched his presidential bid at the Welfareville compound in Mandaluyong City “to be with the Filipino poor.” Leading the opposition party, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), Binay’s camp said that the vice president chose to be with those “have been left behind and continue to struggle with poverty, hunger and unemployment. Because he wanted to share with the masses his vision of a nation where rich and poor share the benefits of economic growth.”
Binay was joined by his running mate Sen. Gregorio Honasan II, and UNA’s candidates for senators including Manny Pacquiao, former Special Action Force (SAF) director Getulio Napeñas, Parañaque councilor and actress Alma Moreno, Princess Jacel Kiram, labor lawyer Allan Montaño and broadcaster Rey Langit.
Sen. Grace Poe, who promises a “gobyernong may puso (government with a heart),” led her political party to Plaza Miranda in front of the historic Quiapo Church in Manila. Still facing disqualification over citizenship and residency issues, Poe said that just like an ordinary Filipino, her life is full of drama.
“With all my heart and strength, I will uphold and defend programs of a compassionate government, our aspirations for the Filipino family, our hopes for the country and our children. The next three months will be a grueling journey for candidates and voters,” Poe promised her supporters.
The ruling Liberal Party and its standard-bearer Mar Roxas and running mate Rep. Leni Robredo kicked off their campaign in Roxas City, Capiz. The tandem vowed to continue Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s “daang matuwid (straight path)” policy. Aquino was also present during the campaign rally and appealed to the public on why his bets are deserving to be elected.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte brought his team to Tondo, Manila. The no-nonsense presidential aspirant promised his kababayans that he will curb corruption and the proliferation of illegal drugs, and vowed to prioritize education and agriculture.
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Sen. Bongbong Marcos went north, to the latter’s hometown in Batac City, Ilocos Norte. Santiago vowed to go after people who were involved in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam, while Marcos insisted on unity among Filipinos.
The next three months will be a grueling journey for both candidates and voters. It will test political aspirants on how they can engage the public to support their causes and grant them their previous votes. On the other hand, it will be the voters’ undertaking to identify all social, political, economic and environmental issues that are hounding the country and choose wisely who will best offer the solution for them. (AJPress)

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