MY TAXI ride was passing through Matina Highway when the driver pointed at the party-list posters that were sprawled from end to end, top to bottom on a long stretch wall.
“Mangutana ko, kabalo ba ka kinsa nominado aning party-list? (Can I ask you, do you know who the nominee of this party-list is)?” the driver asked me.
The party-list he was referring to, with that load of posters on the wall, is called Dumper.
The name does not even sound like a party for public utility drivers.
This driver tells me why he is asking about it.
“We have an association you see, and we were told to vote for this party.” He explained. “Now this is a new party. They didn’t even give us anything to read about what their plan is. Now my question is, drayber pod ba sya sama sa amo? (Is the nominee a driver just like us?)”
He would be surprised that the first nominee of Dumper is the daughter of Davao Occidental Governor Claude Bautista, Claudine Bautista. Looking at Dumper’s Facebook page, there is no info that Claudine drives or operates a public transport line.
The driver has a challenge to this nominee. “Does she know our problems? Like how much peso is charged per kilometer here and how much goes to our salaries? If she does not, hey, she should be a driver first before thinking of becoming a Congresswoman!”
That conversation makes me realize how the marginalized really give a damn about the elections, and the future.
We feel that this elections are still dominated and would be decided by money, popularity, bugas and tinapa, but this driver brings us back to the issues that matter.
This driver knows that oil price hikes and the possible phase-out of jeeps and taxis in Davao will affect the livelihood of his sector that comprises thousands of families.
And not even popularity, flashy posters, and spewing rhetoric can address those problems. It needs a “woke” citizenry supporting candidates and parties that carry the real agenda of change and service.
And if we look at the new surveys, people look at party-lists as the voice for their grievance. The latest Pulse Asia survey shows Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women’s Party, AnakPawis in the top ten. These party-lists have the track record of their good service and fiscalizing role.
Nowhere is Dumper in the top, nor is that party-list led by that starlet turned Duterte apologist. But there are many party-lists we can call bogus that just ride on the ruling party’s popularity and money.
But this driver showed us we need to be “woke”.