Massive National Morale Spike
2018 Safe, Open & Free
“Consistent and quantifiable improvement is the key to a healthy livelihood for the people. Education, gainful employment and opportunities readily available in the barangay (neighborhood/city) are the only ways we can grow collectively…it’s our time, and the time is now.” –Mr. Mar Villalobos, Corazon, Calumpit, Bulacan, Barangay Captain Candidate 2018
In the Philippines, for decades elections have been somewhat of a risk due to formerly closed and somewhat exclusive election climates around the country. The world can remember the media tour bus incident: The Maguindanao Massacre aka The Ampatuan Massacre; 2009 in Mindanao, were 58 people lost their lives, violently.
Subsequently, the effect within the local government; and the multi-millions of people they serve, was a huge decline in local representation, morale and overall effectiveness. Programs such as food drives, housing relocation efforts, trash pick-up, alternative and vocational-education, basketball leagues, as well as, infrastructural issues; such as drain clean-up and road maintenance, were plundered and relatively ineffective and/or abandoned. Ultimately, it is always the Filipino people who suffer.
However, with the new Duterte Administration; despite the negative perspectives, locals and expats alike have enjoyed swift, positive changes at all levels of national and local government. Starting with The Duterte Anti-Graft & Corruption Hotline (8888); from immigration reform, business licensing, tax reform, to tourism, media (The Presidential Communications Office, PCOO), and local government reforms, the Philippines is right in the middle of an economic and political renaissance.
“Family…is my inspiration. To give them a good and safe, environment to live, grow and prosper. Then, I decided to take my passion for family and expand it to the entire Barangay for which I have served since 1988. There is no greater feeling than to see your fellow citizens happy, satisfied and flourishing from the positive environment which we have cultivated together.” -Crisanto Yap, Agnaya, Plaridel, Bulacan, Kagawad Councilor Candidate 2018
Since the 2017 election of President Duterte, ‘The Peoples President’ overall national morale –amongst the masa- has quadrupled. Unlike in the United States, where President Trump lost the ‘popular’ or ‘peoples vote’, however won the election due to loopholes in the US Electoral College, Duterte, won the popular vote by a landslide victory, just a year ago.
The current climate of ‘the people’ is inspired, positive and, the boost in confidence can be seen in the most inclusive, safe and fair local elections in decades. Somewhat ‘regular people’ have stepped up to the plate and run for offices throughout the country, representing their own communities and bringing grassroots passion along with them.
In the past elections, the seemingly more-qualified, passionate, popular and effective candidates; typically, were scared away from running for any local office due to fear for their -and their families- safety. Money was king, and with it, more strategic candidates could intimidate opponents, dominate an election and ‘buy’ votes. The result, often times, was a jaded view of local politicians, as well as, ineffective and/or non-existent social programs.
However, with this new 2018 Philippines Local Government Election Season, democracy has been re-born. Inspiring the most-passionate election climate we at The American Press Service have seen since we began showcasing the Philippines more than a decade ago. There are up to 10-times more candidates running for positions throughout the provinces and cities.
The Youth or SK’s (Sangguniang Kabataan) Politicians Counsel has been re-instated and the elections seem to be massively unifying and less about ‘campaign budgets’ and more about true-merit-based accomplishments, team spirit and campaign promises.
“My passion is for youth advocacy. The youth; we are the future, so we must be educated, inspired, motivated and protected. Bullying, Drugs and other temptations have taken many of our youth from us…I aim to make sure that the youth in my community have healthy, private and effective options to change. Success is a choice, but only if given the right options.” -Kim Bulos, 2018 Youth SK Chairman Candidate, Frances, Calumpit, Bulacan. A 23-year old, Bulacan Polytechnic College recent Alumni
The American Press Service, T.A.P.S. had the opportunity to sit down with a few local politicians campaigning in the 2018 local election. We gained exclusive insights into the new motivations surrounding this new Philippines election season.
In the past, international/American media and local Philippines politics rarely were perceived as complimentary, and most interviews, articles and exposes were done undercover and aimed at gathering inside information. Typically, media would be poised to expose, conduct reconnaissance type interviews and seek the truth.
Refreshingly, today, media can be used in the proper way; to empower, educate and showcase the success of the campaigns and the subsequent nationwide elections to be held Monday, 14 May 2018. In that same spirit President Duterte has signified a somewhat of a holiday or ‘Special (Non-Working) Day Throughout The Country’ (Proclamation NO. 479) for local election day and many offices are closed in support of their right to vote.
“Service is what inspires me…seeing my fellow citizens rise-up, maintains my motivation. ‘Galing ng Serbisyo’ has been our motto for many years, we aimed to deliver speedy and efficient services to the people -and now we are seeing the fruits of our labor. As one of the fasted growing and most diverse barangays in the city, we affect the livelihoods of both Filipinos and Expats…maintaining an increasingly positive quality of life which we all can enjoy, is a key goal for us.”
-Banjo Pilar, Pasong Tamo, Quezon City, Barangay Captain
Nonetheless, in this post-Duterte election climate, with –noticeably- less corruption and scandal; with nothing to hide, politicians are available, eager and open to talk to and promote their constituents, visions and agendas with local and international media.
Passionate, is one transcending word which could describe the energy from each person interviewed. The inspiration was universal, not all were new politicians, some were veterans and from family legacies of politicians, while others were new to the political scene. All in all, this new and passionate culture of politicians will set a new trend in local elections and the overall welfare of the communities which they serve.
Travel safe on your long trips to the hometowns and provinces. Vote with pride. Don’t forget to cast your votes, Monday, 14 May 2018