Adopting DOH’s way to stop vote-buying | Inquirer Opinion

Adopting DOH’s way to stop vote-buying

/ 12:10 AM June 03, 2016

Why not a law requiring all election campaign materials to bear this clear warning: “Stop despicable vote-buying—it is dangerous to PH health”? Or words to that effect. The idea is an adaptation of the antismoking warning required by law to be printed on cigarette packs.

We also suggest that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte tackle head-on our old, so-called “normal” practice of vote-buying, by jailing those who buy votes, but not the desperate poor and the youth who both lack “discernment.”

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This suggestion may not immediately eradicate “badel,” a Waray idiom derived from the Waray term for explosives used in destructive dynamite fishing, now used also to refer to money distributed to buy votes. But it could be as effective as an antismoking warning.

Vote-buying is not only illegal and immoral. It is also far more destructive than smoking. It mocks democracy and gnaws at our core values as human beings and as a nation; and it is a waste of money that could otherwise be spent to help those vulnerable to or affected by natural calamities like the survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” who to this day, face the real danger of being caught in extreme weather disturbances like supertyphoons, flash floods or droughts—the “new normal” due to climate change.

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This now 81-year-old Taclobanon first made this suggestion in a letter sent to President Aquino on May 25, 2013. The idea was inspired by a suggestion from then Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr., to “minimize vote-buying by banning unusual bank withdrawals during elections.” It was meant to cushion the devastating blows of vote-buying on the Philippines and its people. Vote-buying is a stupid way to promote money circulation.

After the May 9, 2016, elections, I have kept an upbeat outlook, invoking for Filipinos these words from Psalm 51:10—“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

—SEVILLANO T. BALDESCO JR., V&G Subd., Tacloban City

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TAGS: Department of Health, Rodrigo Duterte, vote buying
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