The big one, the presidential election, has five candidates. The one with the most votes wins, so it is likely the president will not have a majority of the voters, possibly as low as 21%. The multitude of parties and the fast switching of party added to the large amount of independents take away the importance of political parties. The Filipinos clearly have more choices than we do.
Of the five candidates two are women, one of which has cancer and one holds dual US and Filipino citizenship. Grace Poe was disqualified over her US passport but the courts reinstated her. Donna’s papa is supporting her, in a large extended family that is significant. She is running high in the polls.
Door belling is done but the candidate brings gifts and bags of candy for the kids so he is welcome into each home, not the door slam-in-the-face you get in the US. They enter neighborhoods with a parade of vehicles and a large entourage, campaigning here is a roving party and loud!
The real twist i just love, is the candidates hand out money, lots of it. Go to a rally and you will get 500p, (more than a day’s wage). Donna tells of hitting multiple rallies in a day and bagging lots of loot. As one who has donated heavily to many races i found this enlightening. Money usually spent on TV ads and mailings is just handed out, probably with better return.
As we are deep into the campaign season the party is going on everywhere. Reminiscent of days of old, here the loud sound of speaker vehicles is everywhere, old beater cars, jeeps, trucks all with huge speakers strapped to the roof, parade around the neighborhoods, songs a blaring.
i met one candidate who’s jeep had motor troubles. He was working on it right in town, rolled up his sleeves and got the old gal running again. Loved his jingle too, a Bob Marley song with new words that never stopped playing.
Like most things in the Philippines, the people take these elections very seriously, up to 75% voter turnout. Unlike the US, the younger people vote in huge numbers and education, wealth or gender play little role in who votes. i have yet to find a Filipino who is not excited about voting.
Voting age population
Also like most things in the Philippines they take it all with a smile, not too seriously. No one will lose a friend over who they support, no family feuds, albeit Mama is rumored to support Duterte, no hatred at all. Papa will vote for Poe because he likes her smile, i would definitely head to the polls singing Jo Jo Perez, Jo Jo Perez.
Make Your Dream Your Story
Capt. Brian Calvert