Cabaero: Weird ‘safe travels’ messages

Cabaero: Weird ‘safe travels’ messages

You would know an election is coming when potential candidates take advantage of a public and solemn holiday to issue messages with their names plastered on them.

Through tarpaulins or display boards placed along main roads, they wished the public safe travels and reminded them to be careful this Holy Week and during the long weekend. I saw one near my neighborhood issued by a senator. This senator is not the only one who has made “safe travels” posts as photos of tarpaulins of possible reelectionists have also appeared on social media platforms.

There’s nothing wrong per se except their tarpaulins and messages were unnecessary, not within their work coverage, and were a waste of money; and, the motive could only be to place their names into the public psyche because elections are scheduled next year.

“Drive safe this Holy Week” was the message from the Department of Health that also said government health facilities were on “code white” for any eventuality. Other government agencies said the same thing. The Department of Tourism reminded the public to travel smartly to have “a safe and more meaningful travel experience” and avoid scams targeting tourists. The Department of Transportation undertook its usual operation to go after colorum or unregistered public vehicles that may take advantage of the huge volume of travelers. The Philippine National Police gave the standard reminders on safety and where to locate assistance desks that remain open during the long weekend. It is within the mandate of these offices to make such announcements.

It is weird to see elected officials, whether senator or House member, post road signs or tarpaulins bearing their safe travel wishes. They could have issued press releases or statements saying the same thing and even more, like calling for a solemn and meaningful observance of Holy Week. There is no need for those tarpaulins.

When elected people start displaying tarpaulins with their names (and faces, at times), it is usually in preparation for an election run. They do not say anything about campaigning because they cannot violate rules against premature campaigning, and they are not candidates yet. But any chance they get and for whatever reason or holiday, they will.

In May 2025, the country will hold midterm elections where voters will select senators, House of Representatives members, governors, mayors and barangay officials. Analysts have said next year’s elections would be crucial because of the changing political loyalties of elected officials. The 2025 exercise is also seen as a preparation for the presidential and vice presidential elections set for 2028.

The filing of certificates of candidacy for the May 2025 elections will be in October this year. Seven months still to go and some people waste no time. Even the Holy Week is not spared from being used by those who have their sights on the elections next year.


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