The intense focus on the Team PNoy versus UNA race in the Senate has obscured the equally important proxy fight between the two coalitions to gain control of key vote rich provinces and cities that will serve as the backbone of the presidential campaign in 2016.
The top 10 provinces (Cebu, Cavite, Pangasinan, Negros Occidental, Laguna, Bulacan, Davao del Sur, Batangas, Rizal, Nueva Ecija) account for some 16 million voters, or nearly a third of the total number of registered voters in the country.
Herisadel P. Flores is an Assistant Professor at the UP National College of Public Administration and Governance, UP Diliman. He teaches Public Fiscal Administration; Local Government and Regional Administration; Public Administration and the Economic System; Introduction to Public Administration.
Last April 28, Harapan presented to us another batch of senatorial candidates and their respective plans should they be elected to office. I would like to commend the candidates for coming up with concrete suggestions to address social issues instead of resorting to broad and motherhood statements. Some of the proposals mentioned, however, may be new to mainstream public discourse. Thus, in line with our commitment to inform and enlighten our readers, I picked some of the concepts mentioned during the program that the public might be interested to know more about.
One such idea is the Tuition Fee Voucher Fund proposed by Greco Belgica. School vouchers attempt to improve students’ access to education, by transferring government funds either to the student or directly to the private school that the student would be attending. The amount transferred may cover the tuition fee in full or in part. This is in contrast to direct government provision of education through public elementary and secondary schools or state universities and colleges (SUCs).
Pictures speak a thousand words. Election maps as graphic representations of a battlefield reveal important insights on Philippine politics. Here are at least five notable ones:
First, the president’s party has an advantage – in terms of numbers.
In 2007, Gloria’s party, Lakas-Kampi had 50 governors. In 2010, they were still a majority with 41 governors. In 2013, however, Lakas will be fielding only eight candidates for governor. At best, Lakas will have eighty percent less than the number of governors they had in 2010.
During the ABSCBN Harapan 2013 Senatorial Debate held last 28 April at La Consolacion College, Bangon Pilipinas senatorial candidate Bro. Eddie Villanueva claimed that he would replicate the People’s Bank program implemented by Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand in his home country if he ever got elected. It is a stance he has echoed before in a previous interview.
Going into more detail, the People’s Bank was one of the major projects of Thailand's former Prime Minister. It was created with the aim of encouraging the rural poor to engage in micro-enterprises by means of improving credit accessibility. This not only offered financial support to those without access to a formal banking system, but likewise stimulated entrepreneurship among the poor and small-village producers. The People’s Bank formed part of the dual-track policy or Thaksinomics,introduced by Thaksin, which aims to alleviate the plight of the poor by simultaneously cultivating development and economic growth both at the national and local level.
The 2013 senatorial election is shaping up to be the most media-scrutinized campaign in Philippine history. Compared to previous elections, media networks have aggressively organized debates among the thirty three senatorial candidates either on their own or in partnership with academic institutions and civil society organizations.
Social media has also weighed in on the credentials, platforms, and promises of the candidates by carrying live streaming debates or producing infographics of candidates’ positions. The University of the Philippines through its Halalan 2013 election projectconducts a “fact check” on what candidates say during the television debates.
But do debates really count in shaping the voters choice in the Philippines?
Professor Phoebe Zoe Maria U. Sanchez teaches History and Political Sociology in UP Cebu. She is chair of PRO-RIGHTS Central Visayas, a regional alliance of Human Rights advocates. She is also the lead convenor of the Cebu Educators Forum (CEF) that initiates institutional academic trainings and forums on issues confronting Cebu's education sector.
Trapo politics prevail in Cebu.
A mapping of Cebu’s political field will show us that colors of dynastic families still fair very well in recent political scenes.
Now campaigning for the first congressional district is the unopposed Samsam Gullas grandson of ALAYON Party’s grand politician Eduardo “Eddie” Gullas who has been in politics since the 70s. This was after Gullas’ ALAYON allied with the LP avoiding a split of the district between grandson Samsam and San Fernando township’s Mayor Antonio Canoy to compete in the district. Canoy withdrew his candidacy thereafter.
Meanwhile, second district was in the last term under Representative Pablo Garcia , father of Cebu Governor Gwnedolyn Garcia and One Cebu Party’s gubernatorial bet PJ Garcia. Third district was with the Yaphas in the last term but will see suspended Governor Gwendolyn Garcia running for congress to reclaim the district that also used to be lorded over by his father.
In the ANC show Headstart, Karen Davila asked Senator Loren Legarda, “Are you ever going to join the debates? People are asking why doesn’t Loren Legarda ever join the debates.”
Legarda replied, “basta imbitado niyo ako pupunta ako.”
To validate this claim, a tally of Legarda’s debate and forum attendance was made. Considering that it is a standard practice to invite all the senatorial candidates to the debates, it appears that Legarda did not attend any senatorial debate organized by ABS-CBN. Held in La Consolacion College, ABS-CBN's Harapan 2013 Senatorial Debate drew a majority of the candidates for the May 2013 elections. Joining Legarda in her absence, however, were fellow Team PNoy hopefuls Alan Cayetano, Chiz Escudero, Antonio Trillanes IV, Cynthia Villar and Jamby Madrigal.
Carlos P. Tatel, Jr. is an Assistant Professor at the UP Department of Anthropology, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. He has degrees in History, Archaeology and Anthropology from UP Diliman. His latest publications include an edited book on the ethnography of disaster in Albay (2010, Aquinas University of Legazpi, Legazpi City), a book chapter on the institutional history of anthropology in UP (2010, Manohar Publishers, New Delhi) and a journal article on the photographs of the National Geographic Magazine (2011, Chinese University of Hong Kong). He hopes to go to Tawi-Tawi soon to do research on the cultural construction of Catholicism in an Islamic community. He also finds the study of elections a risky but, at the same time, important endeavor for Filipino social scientists.
Elections in our country have always had a festive and cultural atmosphere. It doesn’t matter whether it is on the national or local level, an election or halalan preoccupies us; it reflects our sensibilities as a people. It fuels our society.
Months, weeks and days heading into the elections, ads and campaign sorties intensify. Motorcades and public debates become more and more frequent. Political issues banner our dailies and news programs almost every day. Tensions, feuds and controversies among the candidates escalate.