On the upcoming barangay elections, campaign materials, and my being a community anti-social

Just days away before the local elections, I came into a realization that I don’t actually know any of the candidates for the different barangay positions, even the re-electionists! I may be familiar with their names (stress on ‘may’) but I’m sure that given the situation that I pass by them on the street, I may never recognize them. 

I’m actually famous for not socializing with our community even to our next-door neighbors. I just live my life, inside the house, or wherever outside our block. It has been this way since I starting studying in high school, when I decided that I’m too old to play out on the streets. 

Blame it on the youngsters who do nothing but play computer games from morning till late afternoon. Blame it on the parents who didn’t produced a good number of co-generations for me to be able to choose a ‘quality’ friend. Blame it on the television stations who became our afternoon pals from Cedie: Ang munting principe, Princess Sarah: Ang munting princesa, Popeye: The sailor man, Street Frogs, Tiger Sharks, She-ra, He-man, to Anna Luna, Mara Clara, Valiente and the rest (don’t laugh at me now, I know you watched them too). 

Going back to the Barangay Elections. Nowadays, posters, flyers and campaign materials in our area are dominated with two forms: tarpaulin banners/streamers and photocopied computerized mini-posters with and without picture.

Tarpaulins are okay but as they are so abundant that they, soon to be a fact, have invaded our country. Its good side is that its effective, attractive (at most times) and reusable too (just think of the many ways you can use the tarpaulins after the elections-sunshield for your bananacue cart, seat cover for your jeepney, tent ala-NBC for the ladies’ on the street bingo social, and so on). Downside is that too large tarps can be an eyesore and annoyance to people, like me.

Photocopied computerized posters on the other hand are the most convenient and cost-efficient way to do a campaign. However it may not do much justice to the candidate as it produces a not-so-good quality result and attraction-value is definitely lower. I don’t actually see the point of mass-photopying a poster that says, “VOT ESIONG ‘Ka Bayani’ DAUSDUSAN POR KAGAWAD!” with an already black and white FoToMe-done picture strategically positioned above the ‘statement’.  It does not say “Vote for me” to me, rather it says, “Hanapin nyo ako, nawawala ako” or “Php1,000,000 reward to anyone who can tell the whereabouts of the greasy-faced drug addict”.

But beyond the poster-value, I think its more important to look at the candidate’s performance and way of life (if a re-electionist) or his character, personality and way of life (if a newbie). It’s not about how popular the person is or how big his clan in the community is but his/her capability to do the duties assigned to his position. 

So on October 29, let’s do our social responsibility and vote for our community leaders. But before reaching the date, I hope that everyone will reflect and discern to at least choose who’s deserving and who’s not. 

Mag-iwan ng Tugon

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