Cleaning up an election

  • Philippine economic growth slows to three-year low

    Philippine economic growth slows to three-year low

    AFP News
    Philippine economic growth slows to three-year low

    Philippine economic growth in the first quarter slowed to a three-year low of 5.2 percent, well below forecasts, due to lethargic government spending and weak exports, officials said Thursday. "While growth in the private sector remains robust, the slower than programmed pace of public spending, particularly the decline in public construction, has slowed down the overall growth of the economy," Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told reporters. "Exports were the other source of the …

  • US affirms 'ironclad' promise to defend Philippines

    US affirms 'ironclad' promise to defend Philippines

    AFP News
    US affirms 'ironclad' promise to defend Philippines

    US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told his Philippine counterpart on Wednesday that Washington's pledge to defend the Pacific nation remains "ironclad" and called for an end to land reclamation in the South China Sea, officials said. In talks in Hawaii with Voltaire Gazmin, Philippine secretary of national defense, the Pentagon chief "reaffirmed" the strong ties between the two countries and discussed territorial disputes in the contested waters of the South China Sea, where Beijing has been …

  • Philippine, Vietnam troops play sports on disputed island

    Philippine, Vietnam troops play sports on disputed island

    AFP News
    Philippine, Vietnam troops play sports on disputed island

    Filipino and Vietnamese troops played football and tug-of-war on a disputed South China Sea island on Wednesday, officials said, closing ranks as their rival China ramps up construction of artificial islands. The games took place on Philippine-held Northeast Cay, just 2.7 kilometres (1.7 miles) from Southwest Cay which is controlled by Vietnam, where a similar contest was held last year. "It was a navy-to-navy confidence-building engagement," Vice Admiral Alexander Lopez, the Philippine …

  • Rebates drive grass removal frenzy during California drought

    Associated Press

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — There's a torrent of Californians taking advantage of rebates for ripping out their lawns to conserve water during the drought and that's providing a boost to landscapers. …

  • FIFA corruption probe means big changes: French expert

    FIFA corruption probe means big changes: French expert

    AFP News
    FIFA corruption probe means big changes: French expert

    The corruption scandal sweeping through FIFA will lead to profound changes in the way world football's governing body is run, marking the end of the Blatter era, according to French geopolitical and football expert Pascal Boniface. Boniface, head of IRIS centre for strategic research and a consultant to the French Federation of Football on the future of the game, sat down with AFP to discuss the ramifications of the scandal which has seen seven top football officials arrested and increased …

Philippine workers discared election banners and posters at a depot in Manila on May 11, 2010. The Philippines …
More than a month of the national electoral campaign has passed—and the words that come to mind are: boring, pretentious, and, surprising, clean. Except for some TV ads and the usual sorties, nothing much was heard or seen of the campaigns. Unsurprisingly, what became the stuff of news were the feeble attempts at issue positioning and debates, mudslinging, the fluctuating surveys, and the intramurals within and among senatorial and party-list candidates.

Related: Clean, honest polls also voters' responsibility, Comelec says

The more surprising development is the huge decline in posters and tarpaulins in public places outside of designated areas by the Commission on Elections. Related to this is the rising consciousness of the voting public on issues of electoral reform such as political dynasties, automation of the electoral system, illegal pre-campaigning, campaign finance.
The “anti-epal” campaign stands out as a breakthrough, discouraging many of the candidates from putting their faces and names on billboards and project signage. It also led to adoption by some government agencies and local governments and to more public recognition for a principal campaigner, Juana Change.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) issued Resolution No. 9615 to strictly enforce the elections laws on allowable poster sizes, type of campaign materials and places to post campaign posters. Several senatorial candidates and party-list groups had already been cited for violations and some of them are already undergoing legal investigation by the Comelec. There is considerable public support for the election body on this.

Also read: Comelec tells youth: Make use of social media for clean polls

Of course, it remains to be seen if the Comelec, with the help of concerned agencies and civil society organizations, can maintain this stance into the local election campaigns due to start next month. These local campaigns are expected to produce the largest number of violations of the campaign poster regulations; these will tax to the limit the political will shown so far by the election body.

The changes in the national campaign behavior, both of candidates and the voting public, reflect the increasing changes in the voter behavior. That is, from one of relying on the tried and tested norms of traditional politics of money, popularity, and  political alliances to one that is more open to electoral and political reforms, issues and positions, and platforms and programs.

However, these changes are still in transition and a large part, if not still the majority, are still vulnerable to the siren song of traditional campaigning. However, change is already written on the wall.

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ‘Conflict to affect economic growth, stability in SEA’
    ‘Conflict to affect economic growth, stability in SEA’

    Conflict in the South China Sea can affect economic growth and stability in Southeast Asia, New Zealand warned yesterday, amid China’s aggressive reclamation activities in disputed waters. New Zealand is marking its 40 th year of diplomatic ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and hopes to intensify trade and other linkages with the 10-member grouping. ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam have overlapping territorial claims with China over the Spratly …

  • OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF
    OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF

    The Philippine government is asking the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to finally complete the tripartite review process of the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The review – snagged  for several years as government had its hands full with the peace process with rival faction Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – tackles how the 1996 peace pact with the MNLF has been implemented and centers on the three remaining …

  • Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe
    Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe

    Eight of the resource persons ordered arrested by the Senate finally attended the 21st public hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee into the alleged anomalies involving Vice President Jejomar Binay, but the proceedings turned out to be a review of matters previously presented. For over three hours, the subcommittee heard presentations regarding the alleged hidden assets of Binay and the issue regarding the supposed P200 million in kickbacks he received from a deal between the Boy …

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