Cleaning up an election

  • Philippines arrests extremist in Malaysia resort kidnapping

    Philippines arrests extremist in Malaysia resort kidnapping

    AFP News
    Philippines arrests extremist in Malaysia resort kidnapping

    Philippine forces on Wednesday arrested a Muslim extremist believed to have taken part in the kidnapping of 21 people from a Malaysian resort in 2000, a senior commander said. Such cross-border kidnappings have become more common recently with militants from the lawless southern Philippines travelling to nearby Malaysia, where there are many dive resorts popular with foreign tourists. Nabil Talahi Idjiran, a member of the Abu Sayyaf group who took part in one such raid on Malaysia's Sipadan …

  • Hong Kong, Philippines end emotional hostage row

    Hong Kong, Philippines end emotional hostage row

    AFP News
    Hong Kong, Philippines end emotional hostage row

    Hong Kong and the Philippines announced Wednesday they had resolved an enduring and deeply emotional row over a deadly hostage crisis, allowing soured diplomatic relations to return to normal. The breakthrough came after a deal was struck on the most sensitive issues of compensation to the victims of the tragedy, which saw eight tourists from Hong Kong killed following a bus hijacking in Manila in 2010, as well as an apology. "The resolution of the incident enables the normalisation of the …

  • HK, Philippines compromise over tourist deaths

    HK, Philippines compromise over tourist deaths

    Associated Press
    HK, Philippines compromise over tourist deaths

    HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong and the Philippines reached a compromise Wednesday over Hong Kong's demands for an apology for the families of eight tourists killed in a bungled response to a 2010 Manila hostage-taking that soured relations. …

  • High court tosses $3.4M award to child porn victim

    Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday said a federal law limits how much money victims of child pornography can recover from people who viewed their images online, throwing out a nearly $3.4 million judgment in favor of a woman whose childhood rape has been widely seen on the Internet. …

  • Chinese dissident who died in detention nominated for rights 'Nobe …

    Chinese dissident who died in detention nominated for rights 'Nobe …

    AFP News
    Chinese dissident who died in detention nominated for rights 'Nobe …

    A Chinese dissident who died in detention last month is one of three nominees for an award often dubbed the Nobel prize for human rights, organisers said Wednesday. Cao Shunli, who died in mid-March at the age of 52, was hailed by the Martin Ennals Award organisers as an activist who since 2008 had "vigorously advocated for access to information, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly." Bangladeshi activist Adilur Rahman Khan, who has worked to document extra-judicial killings, illegal …

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.

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