Antipolo City: the notorious tarpaulin attack

Campaign time for local candidates officially kicked off last 26 March. By then, it left very limited space for tarpaulins or posters to be posted since the national candidates already occupied nearly every conceivable area to display those ‘Great Image” smiles and punch-lines over their tarps. There ought to be something wrong with a split rule on when to begin campaign. And what’s this intervening no ‘campaign day’ on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday?

That is not even to speak of earlier posters, streamers, or tarpaulins hang just everywhere even before COMELEC allows them until one day the Supreme Court totally abandoned any claim of premature campaigning. From both ends of the process, the City is adorned with a colorful array of posters and tarpaulins that makes it difficult to know which candidates are running where.

The confusion soon settles down when local candidates go on foot or on wheels making rounds. Not few candidates are making their debuts – new emerging players in the dirty political field called local politics. The old politicians, ‘trapos’ call them that, literally covered the entire visual horizon with just their own posters or tarps. Perhaps, we can say that Antipolo City is a tarp-covered city in this corner of the region.

What’s in a poster or tarp anyway?

Offhand, posters do not replace accomplishments. They cease to carry their usual patronizing appeal. Totally, they cease to exude meaning or exhibit anything of value to the reported 315,661 registered voters of Antipolo City. In other words, if the incumbents did a good job, what need is there to over-advertise as if no one in the City knows who you are and in which positions you are running. To my mind, it does not make sense at all.

On the other hand, some space should have been reserved for upcoming candidates. COMELEC always speaks of common posters area when in fact barangay halls do not permit space for candidates their rivals. This is crazy. Barangay captains are overzealous even over-jealous to have to see posters or tarpaulins of candidates not belonging to their party. But Almonte always talks of ‘levelling the playing field’. How could it be?

This time, the picture or the poster in that specific context no longer paints a thousand words. More so with those incumbents who did not do their work to the satisfaction of the electorate who put them in their office. This is what makes this upcoming election cycle one imbued with much moral and social significance.
The next three years in our collective life as Antipolenos should be one decided upon platforms being offered not those fake, ‘plastic’ smiles and motherhood punch-lines printed over their posters or tarpaulins. I contend that voters in Antipolo City ought to have learned few lessons in our voting history and pattern.

As always, we should base our decision beyond mere personal choice but on some scientific gauge such as knowing the person based on his academic and professional background, record of achievements, and platform of government. Just these three criteria would suffice in determining fitness to the job. It is hoped, this time around, there would be no ‘midnight sale’ of votes or local politics would have turned out to be a ‘multi-million investment’. In any event, whose money are all these anyway but from the taxpayers?

The new emerging faces in local politics, to my mind, offer the best alternative if only voters let their decision count by holding them sacred. Votes should not be for sale! Otherwise, vice-presidentiable Edu Manzano would have been right as when he said “kung gusto mong manalo, doon ka sa Antipolo tumakbo”. What does that thought really imply?

I hate to think that the votes of the Antipolo electorate are within the ‘commerce of men’, men with entirely quite an unethical design if only to win. This time, just for this time, let us think of our collective future. Let us go for those who can offer a no-nonsense three-year program for the poor. After all, some 50% to 60% of the population of Antipolo are the C,D,E classes in our Great Social Divide. As your congressional candidate in the First District, I will be a pair of hand helping reduce poverty, my reason for running. Support this cause!*
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*PRIMER PAGUNURAN is running for Congress in the 1st District of Antipolo City