P.S. to the UNA proclamation rally-A A +A
Friday, February 15, 2013
I WOULD say that the proclamation rally held in Cebu by the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in time for the opening of the campaign for the senatorial polls was a pebble thrown into still waters. It has been four days since then but the ripples, while on the wane, are still rolling. Allow me to tackle a couple of them.
The UNA activity was a big one despite the difference in crowd estimates. No wonder the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan chief, Rep. Tomas Osmeña, is busy raising questions on the manner the rally was handled. He has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to investigate the use by Mayor Michael Rama of vehicles owned by the city for that purpose.
Comelec officials have been responsive to Osmeña’s complaint and have promised to investigate—which actually means you have to wait for eons before this can be resolved. Maayo lang sa sugod, we Cebuanos say.
Osmeña’s ranting, though, only shows the difficulty he is encountering in the campaign as an outsider of City Hall affairs. As I have pointed out before, the only time he almost lost in an election was against Alvin Garcia, who was the incumbent mayor at that time. I mean, Osmeña is more creative in the campaign if he is the incumbent.
The last election he was in that situation was in the 2010 polls when he was a last-term mayor and was running for House representative in the south district. That was also that time his use of government resources in the campaign was, should I say, the most shameless. What little money the city had was spent to gain electoral advantage.
For starters, he competed with his opponent, businessman Jonathan Guardo, in winning over relatives of south district residents who died at that time by answering their needs for the wake and burial. The difference was that Guardo used his money while Osmeña used that of the city. That erased Guardo’s initial advantage in the campaign.
Instead of focusing on basic services and important infrastructure projects like repair of city roads, Osmeña used the city’s limited finances to woo the votes of sectors like the senior citizens, students, etc. by giving them monetary assistance.
To top it all, he used City Hall money to fund the “inauguration” of the South Road Properties (SRP), his front for what was actually a BOPK miting de avance.
Let me dwell on the myth of the so-called “hakot crowd” that some BOPK people described the thousands who attended the UNA proclamation rally. I don’t know why people insist on putting a negative spin to the busing of people to political rallies.
The matter of transportation is always part of the planning for such activities.
I know that because I helped organize protest actions in the ‘80s. You do not hold rallies based on the hope that people will go to the venue on their own. A big chunk of the participants should be “organized,” meaning that they are picked up by vehicles in various assembly points and then brought to the main venue.
That doesn’t mean that the participation is not voluntary. It is. But a good organizer makes sure that those who want to participate reach the main venue and go back to their homes without much difficulty. That’s where transport vehicles come in. What I am saying is that one should not always attach a negative meaning to the word “hakot.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 15, 2013.