DESPITE the hundreds of millions of pesos being spent by his competitors running for a seat in the Senate, broadcast journalist Jiggy Manicad -- who is seeking an elective position for the first time -- is confident that he still has an edge over fellow candidates due to the excessive contributions in kind of supporters embarking on a "bayanihan" campaign.
"Ang tawag namin dun ay 'yung bubong billboard. Wala po kaming pondo para magpatayo ng malalaking billboard sa mga private property tulad ng iba, pero nagugulat na lang kami na yung ibang dinadaanan namin na bahay ay nakapintura doon yung pangalan ko at numero sa balota," Manicad said in an interview.
"We have also been receiving photos of supporters printing their own shirts, ballers, and even using pentel pen to make their own posters. 'Yung iba, dino-download lang yung design sa Facebook," Manicad said.
With limited funds for the campaign, mostly coming from his personal income as a media personality and businessman, Manicad has attributed the groundswell of support to his campaign to supporters who are resorting to "bayanihan" through grassroots, community-led efforts to push him to the Magic 12.
On Facebook, the "bayanihan" campaign is led by the "Jiggy Manicad Movement" with more than 40,000 members. Volunteers have established core groups through almost all regions and are printing campaign materials with money from their own pockets.
Posts by members of the campaign express admiration for Manicad's commitment to a platform of governance based on honesty, transparency, and integrity.
One such post by a Jonathan Banares says, "Tama po. Aanhin niyo naman yung mga pondo [kung] galing sa mga hindi mabuti at galing sa mga pulitiko at negosyante na sarili lang ang iniisip, hindi mga maralita? Kami po ay nasa likod niyo at isa po ako sa patuloy na nagpapakilala sa inyo dito sa aming lugar."
Since announcing his decision to run last year, Manicad said he consciously decided to keep his expenses small to "exert full control over his actions and commitments to the people" if elected into the Senate.
"My campaign manager is my wife. My biggest contributors to my campaign are my friends and family. This is really the way we kept this campaign to minimize expenses. Ayaw po naming mahaluan ng vested interests sa politics o business ang aking pagtakbo sa Senado," Manicad said.
"Kung gusto po natin ng tapat at malinis na pamamahala, dapat halalan pa lang, kampanya pa lang, tapat at malinis na," he added.
Prior to the start of the official campaign period, Manicad estimates that he spent a measly P2 million in pre-campaign expenses.
In comparison, the 10 highest spenders expended an average of about P205 million each in a tally of the estimated advertisement spending by senatorial candidates before the election period by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. (PR)