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Punso Sa Likod Bahay

nuno“Nagmamadali ka yata pareng Teban?”
Ang tanong ni Pedro sa kanyang kaybigan.
“Oo pare, albularyo’y pupuntahan,
Nagkaproblema inaanak mong si Juan.”

“Lumaki’t namaga ang paa ni bunso
Nang sa likuran namin sila’y naglaro
Paano ba naman sinipa ang punso
Kaya hayon nagalit yata ang nuno.”

“Pati nga iyong kaybigan n’yang kalaro
Aba eh dinuraan daw iyong punso
Kaya’t sa kanya ma’y nagalit ang nuno
Hayun ang pobre… namamaga ang nguso.”

“O… pareng Pedro saan ang tungo mo n’yan?
Biglaan mo yata akong nilayasan!”
“Pare… likod-bahay ninyo’y pupuntahan –
Iyong punso doo’y aking iihian.”

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The Business Venture Called Politics

moneyHow many of the country’s incumbent local and national officials can come forward and with  heads held high say that they did not buy their way  to  victory?

The painful truth is that elections have turned out to be a business venture. Politicians are like businessmen who if they hope to win must be willing to make an investment. And the investor in the politicians would expect a profit, not just a return on investment.

How much should a politician invest? Do a rough estimate.

According to the Commission on Elections, after the last registration period that ran from July 2 to September 29 (2018), the number of registered voters would stand at approximately 60 to 61 million.

Republic Act 7166 allows campaign expenses of P10 per voter for candidates for President and Vice-president and P3 for other candidates. But those who were not born yesterday know that candidates for national and local elections spend way much beyond what the laws allow.

There is a bill (House Bill No. 7295) pending in the House of Representatives seeking to increase the allowable campaign expenses. If approved, presidential candidates will be allowed to spend P50 (vice-presidential and senatorial bets P35 and local candidates P30) for each voter.

(Note: The bill was approved on 3rd and final reading on May 22, 2018.)

But beyond what the statutes allow, a candidate has to dig deeper into his pocket if he hopes to win. Vote-buying is no longer a secret making this writer say that election now is nothing but a business venture. It is no longer the best and most qualified candidates getting elected but the ones who have enormous financial resources.

A candidate willing to pay at least P500 for every voter is likely to win. The percentage for winning gets higher if the one seeking an elective position has the capacity of making that amount higher… like P1000 to P2000 for each vote.

Now, do the Math if you wish to know how much a candidate needs to prepare for his election bid. Include the amount needed for campaign advertisement, salaries of campaign leaders per geographical unit (province, town, city, barangay, districts or zones) depending on which position being sought, and other miscellaneous expenses. Don’t forget to add the amount a candidate is willing to pay for each voter (multiplied by the number of voters.)

For the millions of pesos those candidates extricate from their coffers what do they wish to get in return?

It’s not difficult to determine what drives people to run for election (and seek re-election). It could be A, B or C – with A a political position is a business venture for which they expect to get returns for their investments and a whole lot of profit (How? Use your imagination!!!), B an opportunity to wield power allowing the one who holds it to protect personal and family interests and to advance other personal motives and agenda, and C love for public service.

The citizens who care are hoping it’s the C. For those who sell their votes, A and B. Why? Come on, don’t tell me you don’t know.

Let me end the way I started – with the following question.

How many of the country’s incumbent local and national officials can come forward and with a head held high say that they did not buy their way  to  victory?

Allow me to ask one more question.

How many local and nationals officials whose assets did not exponentially increase at the end of their terms?

Nang Maholdap Si Mam

picture2Kayo po ay muli kong kukwentuhan,
Paksa natin ngayo’y tungkol sa holdapan,
Kwento na nasagap sa isang huntahan,
Nang mga kapwa guro’y naka-umpukan.

Nang kwentong holdap ko’y kanilang nadinig –
Aba’y may isa ng tawa’y bumunghalit.
Isang kwento daw ang samagi sa isip,
Nang magsimula siya kami’y tumahimik.

Isang gabi guro niya sa kolehiyo,
Sumakay sa bandang Taft papuntang Recto,
May mga kawatan… bilang daw ay tatlo,
Sumigaw – “Walang kikilos holdap ito!”

Ibang pasahero syempre’y nataranta,
Ngunit ang guro mukhang naka-relax pa,
Holdapan yata ay nakasanayan na,
Inihanda ang relo’t kaniyang pitaka.

Madaling-madali ang mga kawatan,
Mabilis na mga gamit ay sinamsam,
At nang ang guro na ang nilalapitan,
Isang holdaper kasama’y pinigilan.

Ang wika niya, “Brod, balato ko na si mam!”
“Magaling kong guro noon sa iskul ‘yan,”
Dugtong pa ay, “Hi! Good evening po madam.”
“Ako po ba ay inyong natatandaan?”

Natamemeng guro ay umiling lamang,
Ibang pasahero’y nagulumihanan,
At bago bumaba ang mga kawatan,
Wika ng isa – “Goodbye na po, ingat mam!”

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