Ombion: Reshaping local electoral politics


ALTHOUGH this is too early to talk about electoral politics since elections 2019 was barely over, I still see the importance of appreciating where we are now in this arena, and what initiatives are being taken on the ground.

Indeed, I agree that re-shaping our electoral political system is tantamount to re-constructing the Philippine politico-economic system because it is where other sub systems are anchored, including education system, health system, and tax system.

It’s been decades that Philippine elections from national to local elections have been designed, institutionalized and nurtured by the elite families and politicians to ensure the perpetuation of their economic interests.

Instrumental to the institutionalization and nurturing of elite-led and controlled electoral politics in the country are the Constitution, the COMELEC, amorphous political parties of the elites and the formation of professional mercenary of political operators who maintain and supervise the electoral machinery and campaign of the elites from national to local levels.

Personality and popularity, money and machinery, the contemporary version of “Guns, Goons and Gold” system of the traditional elections have been institutionalized to the level that these have become the “Gospel Truth” and the “culture” of the Philippine elections. Individuals aspiring for elective public position are molded to accept this culture.

Filipino voters have likewise been shaped to accept and live with this culture, even if many or most of them, believe that this should not be the case but could not put up a counter cultural movement.

Philippine political parties and movements from various ideological positions have many times pushed for national and legislated political and electoral reforms; the militants combine the legislative initiatives with parliament of the streets.

Unfortunately, some of them have failed to appreciate that all politics is local, and anyone who wants to seize political power in the local must have a strong local political party and movement. Thus to this day they have failed to create a counter-culture political movement on the ground level aimed at reconstructing local political and electoral system and structures.

Today, we are confronted with a reality of elite politicians who go to battle with huge war chest to finance their own machinery and campaigns. The voters especially the C,D,E are nothing but mere objects of their vote buying.

For their political operators who run their money, machinery and campaigns, this system is a big money-making racket that comes every three years; that is why they thrive from elections to elections.

For Partido Dungganon (PD) a Bacolod-based electoral political party organized by well-meaning activists and millennials, the overall equation can be changed. All it takes to do is to exert painstaking and sustained efforts -- to generate a powerful counter-culture political movement among the citizens, the voters to reverse this dominant system.

I have talked to some of them and they say that PD believes that when their construct happens, the people, the voters will themselves finance the campaign till victory of candidates whom they believe have the quality, commitment and platform to run the elective position.

They said that to generate a powerful counter-culture political movement is not easy, and it requires a number of important factors.

One, is the formation of a strong local political electoral organization or party equipped with the above political orientation. Two, this electoral organization must be a mass organization primarily of the marginalized sectors, and not by those already organized in the machinery of politicians, otherwise it will become just one of the traditional machineries of politicians.

Three, the electoral campaign of this organization is finance and manage by the members and sympathizers themselves; external support maybe welcomed but with no political strings attached.

Four, this organization must start from using the traditional systems of campaigning and financing including management of the precincts where the final showdown is done -- but to the advantage of the organization and its candidates. It should however develop other strategies.

And the fifth, is the advocacy work on issues beyond elections, or about the day to day concerns of the people, like jobs, water, power, social services.

They say this is a must for this organization, and the factors are what will sustain the growth and strength of the local political party in the long run.

Consequently, by these initiatives, party members and ordinary citizens will learn to depend on themselves to solve their own problems, and they will naturally support candidates for elective posts from their own ranks, not the handpick of politicians, whose qualification, integrity, dignity and political platform are collectively defined by their own party organization and community association.

This is also an exercise of the power of the people towards building a government that is truly for the people, by the people and of the people.

People who campaign and support candidates in exchange for money only, like the professional political operators of the elite politicians, are sheer money-makers and not cause-platform advocate. They must be exposed and shunned as army of pests in the system. They will eventually lose their value when people take unto their hands the campaigning and winning of their candidates.

Well, some say this a “suntok sa buwan”. Fine. For now maybe. But like any other game-changer initiatives, it all begins with one step to make a journey, towards claiming victory.

Those who try it now, like the Partido Dungganon, will surely reap the fruits of their labor, maybe not in this generation, but surely, in due time.

Why don’t we support the Partido Dungganon? After all, it might just be the kind of organization that our misled citizens have been looking for.

Let us see. Just a perspective, folk.


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