We are all Filipino

DEMAND AND SUPPLY - Boo Chanco - The Philippine Star

My Facebook wall turned pink last week as VP Leni announced she is running for president. It had been pink ever since. That shouldn’t make me think the country has gone pink as well.

It only means the algorithm of Facebook efficiently grouped me with like-minded Filipinos. We live in social media silos and it is easy to be misled.

Those who say they are devoted to seeing VP Leni win despite the tough odds today must make an effort to reach out to ordinary folks who are still making up their minds.

They must not appear exclusive and avoid making comments like Hillary Clinton, who once sneered at the “despicables” who are not voting for her. The “despicables” elected Donald Trump instead. An election campaign is supposed to win votes, not alienate fellow voters.

Dr. Nuelle Duterte, the President’s niece who is supportive of VP Leni, posted this advice to Leni’s supporters in responding to negative social media posts:

“Be inclusive. Engage.

“If it is not productive, shower them with pink hearts, and move on...”

Unfortunately, our election process is now a bloodsport that takes no prisoners. We have been framing our elections as “us versus them.”

So today, political opponents aren’t merely rivals; they are enemies. The elites versus the probinsyanos and the common man. That was the winning strategy of Duterte’s troll army… demonizing the dilawans… even beyond the election.

To win over voters this time, VP Leni’s campaign must be inclusive and reject their identity with the elite.

But surprise, surprise… in 2016, the elite, the urban residents, the college educated voted resoundingly for Duterte. It was the probinsyanos and those with little education who were more responsive to Mar Roxas.

In his Inquirer column five years ago entitled “Revelations of the TV5-SWS Exit Poll”, Dr. Mahar Mangahas showed why exit polling is important. More than providing early indications of how people voted, it answers the question of how voters voted according to geography and socio-economic class.

“As of 2 a.m on May 10, Duterte’s lead over Roxas was a massive 48 points in Mindanao and a large 22 points in Metro  Manila. In the Visayas, Roxas was four points over Duterte. In the rest of Luzon, Duterte was only three points over Poe, but eight points over Roxas…

“Only an exit poll has more details than geography. As of May 10, Duterte’s lead over Roxas was 26 points in urban areas, but only two points in rural areas.

“The higher the class, the more the appeal of Duterte. His lead over Roxas was 26 points in class ABC, compared to 17 points in class D and only seven points in class E.

“The more the schooling, the more the appeal of Duterte. His lead over Roxas was 28 points among college graduates, 19 points over those with some college, eight points among those with some high school and seven points among others.

“The younger the voter, the more the appeal of Duterte: His lead over Roxas was 33 points in ages 18 to 24, 26 points in ages 25 to 34, 14 points in ages 35 to 44, 10 points in ages 45 to 54, and four points in ages 55 and up.

“Duterte’s lead was 22 points among men versus only 12 points among women.

“Duterte was least supported by Catholics. Duterte led Roxas by 16 points among all voters, but a below-average 10 points among Catholics. He led massively by 53 points among Muslims, by 70 points among Iglesia ni Cristos, and by 24 points among other Christians…”

So, stop looking down at the masa and stop calling them bobotantes. It was the educated elite pala who didn’t use their brains and were more mesmerized with Duterte!

The SWS exit poll numbers show how the well off supporters of Leni should campaign for her. Start with their own kind who voted for Duterte in 2016.

Current surveys show VP Leni is the underdog. Some pundits don’t give her a fighting chance even against a divided group of populist rivals. Only a miracle can bring Leni into Malacañang, and maybe a miracle will, like EDSA. Pray hard and work hard.

Dr. Nuelle Duterte, who is also a psychiatrist, offers some suggestions for eager Leni supporters who are starting to feel the bite of opposing camps.

“I see people getting discouraged because of the amount of disinformation and propaganda. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

“Pace yourselves, and don’t expect one conversation to change anything. Planting seeds, giving space, and keeping the doors open for dialogue can do wonders for change, both individually and collectively.

“Hope is not just a wish, but something we must actively turn into a reality. And that only happens by working for it.”

It is alright to correct false or fake news from the political trolls, but Leni’s supporters must not trade insults on social media, no matter how gratifying that may make one feel.

Indeed, those who are working for Leni’s candidacy should follow her example. She has been terribly demonized over the last five years by Duterte and his minions. But she never returned the insults.

Instead, Leni focused on her work, expressing her reactions to insults in dignified and well thought out responses.

The insults and false accusations will worsen as the campaign season goes into high gear. I am sure VP Leni can weather that, but I hope her supporters can also respond with the same equanimity.

In any case, there is so much to talk about VP Leni, how she has accomplished much despite the meager budget her office was given. Her positions on various issues should provide more than enough material for supporters to convince the voters she is the best choice.

The challenge is how to make people realize we need a servant-leader like VP Leni. All the others are just politicians eager to amass personal power and wealth by getting the presidency. VP Leni is the change we need.

An election tests voters, as well as candidates. But in the end, we shouldn’t forget we are all Filipinos and the other side is not the enemy.



Boo Chanco’s email address is [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @boochanco

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Follow me on twitter @boochanco


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