Business After Business
Girlie Garces (The Freeman) - May 10, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The barangay elections are in full swing. We can see many posters hung in strategic areas in the communities. Facebook posts, town criers, recoredas, and handshaking occasions are  on the go. Candidates wear big smiles, hearts in their sleeves extending hands in an offer of service and answers to many needs. Promises abound.

In the short time that the candidates have to campaign, it is not surprising that the hopefuls are in a rush, trying to get themselves known so that there will be a strong recall to their names.

The barangays, being the first level of political voice is also considered by most of those in office as the stronghold of a party. If the barangay leaders are effective and have strong influences over their constituents, it becomes easier for the higher officials to conquer votes of an area. That is why it is no wonder that mayors and councilors are also present to endorse, show support and reassure communities of the faithfulness of a candidate in their stable.

For those of us who still hope in this country, we continue to pray that the choice that we make is based on the qualities of the leaders in line. We study a candidate, look into his platform, understand his capabilities, his linkages, his network, his character. It is important to find out what he can deliver in his term, and what will remain as empty promises.

We have to be realistic in our choices. Looking into the length of term, and the priorities that a candidate lists as his programs, so that we do not over expect, and they do not over promise. For even though we are a forgiving people, we are also not a forgetting nation.  We tend to tolerate, but we do not immediately forget a wrong.

Yet, do we act on this? When we recall what was not done well, do we change our vote?  Or do we just go ahead and follow who is popular for the lack of choices. Another thing that confronts us is though there are well-meaning and very capable candidates, they lose to the moneyed.  No matter how we deny it, the practice of vote-buying still prevails. And sadly, it has become  “the practice”, a given fact that those who vie for office have to conform with in order to keep ahead.

I feel at a loss writing this column on this point considering that most of those who take pains to read are really not the ones whose votes can be bought – but on the other hand, could possibly buy a vote.  Sigh. 

So how can we change? Now that facebook and all similar formats are the most used to spread the message, how sure are we that what we are seeing, reading and understanding is correct?  The many faces we see on facebook project a happy life, a lifestyle of freedom from problems, a family that is well-knit and devoid of conflict yet we know that not all of this is what it is.  So just as we treat the messages in the web by clearing the grain from the chaff so must we deal with our officials, from the bottom up.  We start at home – in our barangay.

 

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