Scheme allowing bets’ supporters to donate through phones sought

Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) - October 22, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano reiterated yesterday his call for the Commission on Elections to work out a scheme with telecommunications companies that would allow supporters of candidates to donate funds through their mobile phones.

Cayetano, who is running for vice president in next year’s elections, said the system he is proposing would insulate politicians from big campaign contributors who might ask for favors in return for their financial support, while providing their supporters an easy way to donate to their campaign.

For candidates who do not have the backing of political parties or access to a deep well of resources, Cayetano said that they would have to rely on their supporters and other people who share the same vision to bankroll their campaigns across the country.

Citing his case as an example, Cayetano said that if every one of the 17.5 million who voted for him in the 2013 elections would donate just P1, then that would translate to P17.5 million in campaign funds right away.

However, the problem is that there is no simple mechanism for supporters to send their donations to the candidates, particularly the masses.

Based on his proposal, the Comelec could work out a scheme similar to the load sharing of telecommunications networks where subscribers, whether prepaid or postpaid, could conveniently send a minimum of P1 to the intended beneficiary on their mobile phones.

Cayetano said this would make the donations somewhat anonymous and minimal compared to that coming from big contributors such as corporations.

“Some businessmen can give me a lot but in exchange for what? But we do accept donations as long as these are not from immoral or illegal sources,” Cayetano said.

Cayetano admitted that a national campaign entails a lot of money if the candidate has to go around the country to reach out to the people.

He said that the most efficient way for a candidate to communicate his message to the electorate is still through advertising.

But unlike the elections of the past, Cayetano said that times have changed because there is now no pressure for candidates to give cash incentives to local politicians in order to get their support or to campaign in their respective areas.

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