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A DIY campaign

We did our own preparations for Monday’s voting at home. When I asked my house help who they were voting for on May 13, one said she still didn’t know, while the other said one of them would definitely be Bong Revilla. Alarmed, I said I’d give them “codigo” or sample ballots so they at least could have some names in mind.

You know the eight names I promoted.

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“Take these home and study them, and add or subtract as you wish. If you run out of samples, you can just copy them by hand,” I said as I handed out the hastily printed crude leaflets. “Ask me if you need more and we can print out more.”

Sheepishly, one of the house help then admitted: “I was just kidding about Bong Revilla.”

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In return for the senatorial lineup, I added, I asked that they give me their own sample ballots for local officials. Ironic, indeed, that while we have had our eyes fixed on the national positions, we know little or hardly anything about those running for public office “where we live,” whose character and decisions affect our household at the most basic level.

Our little electoral effort has been duplicated by other households, judging from Facebook feeds and anecdotal evidence. Some proudly proclaimed that they roused themselves out of their cocoons and braved the searing summer sun to distribute leaflets and go from house to house to hang campaign tarpaulins and convince their neighbors to vote Otso Diretso.

Inspiring indeed has been the story of Ed Garcia, an activist from way back who in his retirement spends his days hanging out at bus depots to distribute Otso Diretso leaflets, and would sometimes even clamber onto the waiting buses for some face-to-face campaigning.

That this is necessary for the opposition to undertake underscores the wide gulf between the huge campaign chests of the administration candidates and the puny shallow pockets of the united opposition. From the beginning, the Otso Diretso campaign has been fueled by the spirit of volunteerism, the sentiments of mostly ordinary folk who feel they must do their own share in pushing for a Senate with more independent minds and upright spines, so that democracy might live on.

But is this enough? We will know for sure in less than a week. Certainly, there are signs of concern, if not panic, on the part of the Duterte machine. You can tell from the way The Digong has resorted to highly personal attacks on the Otso Diretso team. These range from snide remarks about Chel Diokno’s teeth, Florin Hilbay’s sexual orientation, Mar Roxas’ alleged history of incompetence in his many years of government service, Gary Alejano’s militant stances, and even Romy Macalintal’s age and lack of finan cial resources.

The only Otso Diretso personality that The Digong has not attacked directly is Samira Gutoc, and only because, the President said, he doesn’t confront women. Though that is belied by how he degrades and insults women wholesale.

So, what kind of Senate will we end up with after May 13? Will it be dominated by toadies and lackeys, or populated by men and women who will not “bend the knee” but will instead carry the fight for democracy to save the last remaining independent institution? All of us voters will know the answer come Monday.

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* * *

There were many ways the management of Lockton Philippines, a leading nonlife insurance and risk management provider, could have chosen to celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary. They could have held glittering socials for employees and clients, hosted a company outing abroad, or even produced a glitzy ad campaign.

Instead, Lockton decided to go low-key, and devote time and money toward a cause that is urgent and timely: the environment. At the same time, it also reached out to the generation whose decisions today will impact tomorrow.

Lockton is launching its Legacy Awards, which will involve student groups—teams of up to three or five Filipino college students with a faculty adviser—that will conceive “action research initiatives” that promote responsible and environmentally sustainable behavior. Aside from cash rewards, the Legacy Awards will also offer students a chance to change the future that really is in their hands.

[email protected]

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TAGS: 2019 elections, 2019 senatorial candidates, At Large, Lockton Philippines, Otso Diretso, rina jimenez david, Rodrigo Duterte
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