DURING my younger years, I was a “dikit boy” during election campaign periods. I would brave the scorching heat of the sun and bear the calluses I got from paintbrush soaked in “gawgaw” paste.

While I get paid then for my pasting job, which I consider a profitable summer job for a young kid then, I do it for my candidate out of my support for his bid. Wooden posts of electric companies, walls, trees are my targets then in getting a clean spot to paste my candidate’s face and name.

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I was so young then that it became my first touch of a political activity although it requires physical efforts rather than mental. I always have the gutsy feeling of helping my candidate win at all costs.

Aside from posters made from newsprint-type paper with a single or double color face and text of a political candidate then, streamers made either of high grade ivory colored-cloth or “katya” are likewise used to brandish the names of aspirants and their party to which they are affiliated.

Streamers are then effective piece of a campaign material as they can considerably withstand time and the forces of nature before they can be considered as waste. After serving their purposes, they can be good cover for chicken cages or even walls for lowly hovels.

While there are still those who use streamers and posters today, gone are the days of posters and streamers litter posts, walls and trees. Since the year 2000 prior to the 2001 elections, tarpaulin posters are a fad.

Tarpaulins or “tarps” are an excellent campaign materials compared to streamers. The latter takes time to make since it entails drying the paint for an hour or two. Further, streamers cannot display the face of candidates and the colors that can be used on them are limited, far different from tarpaulin posters. Tarp designs are made, edited and polished in a computer and then fed into a machine that seems to look like a giant computer printer that runs to and fro while spraying paints on a plastic nylon-made canvass.

Tarpaulin printing is a booming business today as it is a season of electoral campaigns. It is often said that the Philippines has three seasons: the wet, dry and the political season. As early as last year, tarpaulin posters lined-up on streets nailed on wooden posts of trees along highways mushroomed. Faces of would-be candidates dominate campaign ads together with their greetings, sincere or otherwise. Without the word “vote”, sources of such materials are not made liable of premature-campaigning or electioneering.

A businessman friend ventured into tarpaulin printing. His machine alone cost a million bucks, imported from China, not to mention the cost of plastic-nylon canvass as his raw materials. According to him, many ventured into tarpaulin printing because the demand is high and that markets are at their brisk due to the forthcoming polls. He expects the return of his investments by June.

Elections help the local economy. Prizes of tarpaulin materials range from 20 pesos per square foot with the lowest at 7.50 bucks, costly but their durability and effectiveness are worth enough to satisfy and serve their purpose.

I have visited him once in his shop. Aside from the pungent odor of the plastic-nylon canvass he uses, his shop is a suicide chamber. The paint odor seemed to squeeze the oxygen out of my lungs.

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Still on campaign materials, “Noynoy” streamers hanged on a “bulo” pole that lined-up the Jose Abad Santos Avenue pose danger to motorists. At this point, I am not a pro or anti Noynoy but his yellow campaign materials had victimized a friend’s car. The streamer on a “bulo” was untied from a street light post and hit the hood of his newly-painted car. The damage was not much since his car was kinda old. Nevertheless, his car’s hood needs paint retouching.

I still consider my pal as fortunate since his windshield was spared as he sped the JASA. More so, he escaped an accident that might have been brought about by the slamming of the streamer-on-a-pole on his car. JASA’s portion from the intersection going to the provincial capitol to the area of the two giant malls is considered as the EDSA of Pampanga. Vehicles are too fast and too furious in this multi-laned highway.

Paging the city’s “the one in charge of” these ubiquitous campaign materials.