THE starting gun for the 2010 local elections has been fired; expect the noise to jack up several decibels higher.

Local elections are more intimate than presidential polls and the number of candidates is bigger, thus the sales pitches would be deafening.

Consider the statistics: 222 House of Representatives seats are being contested, 80 seats are open each for the post of governor and vice governor, 762 Provincial Board Member seats are also up for grabs, and 120 seats each for municipal mayors and vice mayors, 1,346 for city councilors and 12,116 for municipal councilors.

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Multiply that by the number of people who think they have what it takes to win an elective post and the number is mind-boggling.

That is why local elections traditionally spark pockets of violence.

Not clean, honest.

Using the national campaign, which started earlier, as barometer (or looking back at what happened in past elections), one could not actually expect a really clean and honest campaign in the next 45 days.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is not also expected to curb objectionable campaign practices like excessive spending, dirtying with posters and other campaign materials all places except the designated campaign areas, vote-buying, etc.

The only hope that can at least be realized to a certain extent is to have a generally peaceful election campaign.

Of course, only a minority of the various localities in the country can become election hot spots.

No hot spots

While seats in some areas in Cebu are being contested hotly, hopefully the situation won’t so deteriorate they won’t become hot spots in Comelec people’s eyes.

Traditionally, the island’s politicians, especially in Metro Cebu, are sometimes violent only in their verbal attacks of their opponents, or at least not in the physical sense.

But some areas need the close watch of the Comelec and law enforcement units, like the fourth district where the situation has been volatile in Bogo and in a municipality or two.

Overall, however, we should, as always, be fine, like in the past elections.