It’s only a few days before the first-ever Philippine automated elections. Every time I turn the TV on, all I see are the campaign ads from the different candidates. It’s becoming irritating to watch these ads over and over again. It has come to a point where I would change channels whenever any of these ads start to air.
When you consider that each 30-second TV ad is worth millions of pesos, and you see non-stop airing of these ads for the same candidates, it begs the question, how much money are these candidates (or their supporters) spending for their campaigns? I’m beginning to imagine that the only one getting rich these days are the TV companies.
Whether we like it or not, money is playing a big role on the Philippine’s first-ever automated elections, not only on the billions of pesos spent staging the automation process but also on the money spent by candidates in campaigning.
The Philippine government is paying billions of pesos for this election automation. This money is spent on
- paying for the PCOS machines that read the ballots and count the votes,
- printing of official ballots,
- delivering the election materials to the different precincts,
- compensation for those involved in the implementation of the automated election,
- controversial (and hugely overpriced?) ballot secrecy folders, indelible ink, and more
The candidates (and their supporters) are spending millions (if not billions) of money in campaigning. This money is spent on
- giveaways like shirts, house and lot, and other prizes,
- endorsements from popular celebrities, actors and singers,
- hundreds (or thousands) of cash handed out to each voter (vote buying?),
- campaign ads on TV, newspaper, radio, internet,
- logistics and travel expenses (helicopter?) and more
With majority of Filipinos still glued to their TV screens, TV is still one of the most effective medium through which candidates can reach out to millions of voters. Using the internet would be way cheaper compared to paying a 30-second segment on TV. Unfortunately, most Filipinos still don’t have access to the internet. It’s no wonder that candidates heavily spending on this medium are leading in surveys.
In the end, even if money is influencing a lot of things in this election, one thing it cannot take away is the hope and determination of each Filipino to dream for a better Philippines in the years ahead. Each vote cast in the upcoming elections is a show of support and confidence not only on the candidates, but on the country’s ability to make the first-ever automated elections happen in a peaceful and orderly manner.
Influenced by money or not, let’s make the country proud by voting wisely, and help the country build a better future. Cheers!