3/22/07

Davao, Philippines

Election fever, not just warm weather, greeted me in the Philippines as I stepped out of NAIA Terminal on my way to my transit hotel in Manila earlier this week. Campaign posters of senatorial wannabes jostled with each other on lamp posts that dot the length of Roxas Boulevard. If this is an indication of anything, it only tells me that the upcoming election in May will not be quiet and orderly again. When I say quiet, I mean no bloodshed. As for orderly, well, since when did Philippine elections not been marred by vote-buying and vote-rigging?

Even here in Davao City, election campaigning is in the minds of politicos. And the mind of one actor. At today's civic and military parade commemorating Davao City's 70th Araw Ng Dabaw, I saw Richard Gomez took advantage of the huge crowd by positioning himself in front of the Marco Polo Hotel where the parade passed by. Having been snobbed by both the administration and opposition in the senatorial line-up, he's waging his campaign independently, obviously relying on the popularity of his name.

Another popular name running for public office is boxing champ Manny Pacquiao. Despite many people advising him against it, Pacquiao is taking the plunge, again capitalizing on his immense popularity. He's hoping he'll win a congressional seat to represent the first district of his hometown Gen. Santos City.

I have nothing against actors and celebrities seeking public office but they should know where they fit and if. Others have been successful as mayors, vice-mayors and governors, doing executive functions. That's fine. Mayor Vilma Santos of Lipa has proven it. But being a senator and a congressman calls for legislative duties - or lawmaking as we know it. Can an actor or a boxer really conduct an intelligent debate on matters pertaining to making laws of the land? I have yet to hear anything intelligent from Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada, two actors who are now members of the Philippine Senate. Now I see Lito Lapid running for mayor in Makati, perhaps realizing that being a senator is not his calling after all.

The bottom line here of course remains the Filipino voters. It's very sad that there are many Filipinos still politically immature, unable to differentiate between what's popular and what's credible. Being popular does not mean that goods can be delivered as much as being an intelligent candidate does not guarantee a rosier picture for the impoverished.

All I hope is that Filipino voters will choose wisely - and not be wooed by popularity or mere good looks.

2 comments:

  1. Pacquiao made an unwise decision in running for congress. he will be distracted from boxing and lose his focus. As a result, Pinoy boxing may suffer and boxing fans will be disappointed with Manny.

    ReplyDelete
  2. WoH, I am coming home to Davao ;)

    ReplyDelete

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