Wrapping up the week-long filing of Certificates of Candidacy for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, the Commission on Elections announced yesterday that a total of 1,414,487 individuals had filed their CoCs leading up to the BSKE scheduled for 30 October.
That is close to one and a half million aspirants over six regular days, concluding on 2 September, except for areas affected by the typhoon. The deadline was extended to 3 September in Ilocos Norte and to 4 September in Metro Manila and Abra.
A total of 672,432 positions are available in 42,027 barangays nationwide. Each barangay will have one barangay chair and seven barangay council members, as well as one SK chairperson and seven SK council members.
According to Comelec spokesperson Rex Laudiangco, 96,962 individuals are vying for the 42,027 barangay chairman seats; 731,682 for the 294,189 barangay councilor positions; 92,774 are aspiring to be one of 42,027 SK chairpersons, and 493,069 are competing for the 294,189 SK member positions.
Laudiangco said the figures were higher than in 2018.
While those who have filed their CoCs are now officially considered candidates, they are prohibited from actively seeking the support of voters until the campaign period commences on 19 October.
The 19-28 October campaign period for the BSKE will be a time of heightened political activity, as aspiring candidates take to the streets, engaging in various strategies to win the support and votes of constituents.
Like all other elections in the country, this period can be likened to a colorful and energetic circus, where candidates showcase their skills, charisma, and promises to capture the attention and favor of the electorate.
Though short, the nine-day period unfolds as a grand stage, with candidates transforming themselves into performers eager to captivate their audience.
They adorn vibrant-colored shirts with symbols of their affiliations and ideologies, and utilize eye-catching campaign materials such as posters, banners, and flyers to attract attention.
Similar to circus acts, candidates aim to stand out from the crowd by employing creative tactics and innovative strategies that hopefully will leave a lasting impression in the minds of voters.
Much like circus performers, candidates rely on their showmanship skills to win over the hearts and minds of the electorate. They engage in public speaking and pocket rallies where they showcase their oratory prowess and ability to connect with the people. Their speeches are filled with promises, visions, and aspirations, aiming to generate excitement and hope among potential voters.
Just as circus acts amaze the audience with their acrobatics and daring feats, candidates strive to impress by projecting confidence, charisma, and authority, only to leave voters short-changed when elected.
The entire community becomes a metaphorical circus tent. Public spaces are transformed into bustling arenas where candidates and their supporters converge. Streets are adorned with campaign materials, and rallies fill the air with music, speeches, and fervent cheers.
The vibrant atmosphere creates an environment akin to a circus, where the noise and energy are palpable. The "recoridas" will be back.
Recorida, a Spanish/Visayan term meaning to disseminate important information, involves the use of a truck, jeepney, even a tricycle or bicycle equipped with a loudspeaker that drives around with recurring messages. The method may be a nuisance that disturbs people in slumber but has proven its effectiveness over time because it reaches a large number of people within a short timeframe.
Naturally, we do not anticipate a significant number of instances where BSKE candidates will utilize entertainment elements such as street parades, concerts, cultural performances, and celebrities to captivate the audience. These extravagant displays, which draw large crowds and receive media attention, are typically reserved for those with significant financial resources.
Amid the spectacle of next month's campaigns, voters must acknowledge the possibility of illusions and hollow pledges. Similar to how circus performers create illusions to enthrall spectators, certain candidates may employ similar tactics.
History tells us that some candidates will make exaggerated assertions, distort information, and present impractical visions to garner support.
We fall not into their traps by carefully scrutinizing their illusions, and assessing their credibility and integrity.