Tourism in Politics-A A +A
By Ver Pacete
As I See It
Saturday, September 15, 2012
WHAT is it? No, it is not a subject in B.S. Tourism or in B.S. Hospitality Management. It is not either a part of the policy embodied in the Tourism Code of the Philippines. Somehow, it could be there in Culture Shock – Philippines. It could be fun, if we would unintentionally
include it in our ‘It’s fun in the Philippines’ campaign. We could safely say ‘Only in the Philippines’.
Politics in the Philippines is like dim sum, a traditional Chinese cuisine in which small portions of a variety of foods, including an assortment of steamed or fried dumplings, are served in succession. September is Tourism Month so it’s good if we have politics as one of the ingredients of the festivity. Politicians are unique species and they are seasonal at that. During the peak political season, they circulate like grasshoppers but after the elections, they hibernate in their sanctuaries. Of course, I do not generalize. There are politicians who are constantly in circulation in one calendar year.
Those who are aspiring for position appear cute. They make themselves visible in coffee shops or they start appearing in barangay fiestas as donors of prizes in parlor games or inter-purok tournament. They are always twinkling their eyes, throwing a handshake or framing a smile. Some pretend to be fashionistas by wearing Christmas tree attire to attract attention. Common targets are teachers in school, barangay captains, senior citizens, sugarcane field workers, and even church goers.
The performing incumbent officials who are seeking reelection are well-composed. They can brag of their projects and they are more confident to face the people. Usually, these good souls become targets in return. At any time, they can expect for solicitation letters – asking donation for fiesta, lechon for alumni homecoming, sacks of cement for basketball court, medicine for an indigent patient, or a trophy for a pageant queen.
Preliminaries in politics are already expensive. The fever rises as politicians engage in actual combat. It could be battle of political jingles, showcasing of projects, battle of words in media outlets, or oratorical pieces on stage. Sometimes, you need to be a comedian in politics.
Laugh with the celebrities, condole with the mourners, and rub elbows with the rich and famous. Wear a plain t-shirt for the slum dwellers. You need a Robin Padilla image to catch their votes.
In courting voters, politicians (not all) sing, dance or even take with them their beautiful wife or son or daughter in the campaign trails. They have back-up dancers performing noontime show acrobatics to hold big audience in political rallies. Some rich politicians can even afford to hire movie actors and sexy starlets. There should be food, wine, cigarettes, and money to please truckloads of supporters. Attending rallies sometimes become a career to those who make it a source of livelihood. Handlers have their roster of professional rally attendees.
Projects in public places are sometimes repeated. Mr. A had the road concreted. Mr. B will do the asphalt overlay. Mr. C wants to remove squatters for a government project. Mr. D will appear and say, “It’s a violation of their human rights.” Mr. E would endorse one good project. Mr. F would say, “It’s good but we have no more budget.”
Politics could be bloodier than blood. One day a politician would know that his wife is involved in sex scandal, his son is alleged as a murderer, his brother is accused as a carnapper, and he is also a recipient of an Ombudsman case for having illegal transaction with a
contractor. In September, we also celebrate politics. Tourism is fun and there are many funny people in our political arena. They can make us laugh, cry, shake rattle and even roll.
But, I really salute politicians who are serious in their calling. Their statesmanship in politics nurtures mature leadership. They are the public servants we need. Their sense of gravitas is strong. They deliver credible punch in public service. They are our political avengers.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 15, 2012.