Limpag: Creative campaigning

·2 min read

We all know how politicians bend the rule against early campaigning. That’s why we see a lot of them campaigning early. They can only be prosecuted for election offenses during the official campaign season and that pretty much makes the law against early campaigning toothless.

But there’s something missing in the usual early campaign season before election time.

A deluge of sports events.

In the last election cycle, there was a massive inter-barangay multi-sport tournament; a “grassroots” basketball competition for the 18-to-25-year-olds, a regular club basketball contest for the 45-above, a 3x3 contest for 18-to-25-year-olds, men’s and women’s volleyball tourneys for 18-above and tennis competitions for the 30-, 40- and 50-above. Of course, participants had to be voters before they could join.

I’d like to think that we could have seen a second edition of that tournament last year had the pandemic not occurred, but the focus on voters as participants made me doubt the pandemic was a reason we didn’t see a repeat. There was no need to hold it again because 2020 wasn’t an election year.

Perhaps, they are using “grassroots” in the political sense. Grassroots sports is for the 7 to 12, not the 18 to 25. Grassroots folks in politics, of course, are the new voters. I guess that’s why the 18 to 25 qualify.

In the previous election cycle, there was a one-and-done football tournament. I call it one-and-done because the promise to hold it again was put on hold indefinitely because the individual who sponsored it won a seat.

It is usually at this time that we’d see a proliferation of these events, but because of the pandemic, politicians had to get creative. So lately, I’ve seen a lot of Mobile Legend inter-barangay tournaments. Perhaps, next month online chess tourneys?

There’s nothing wrong with it, of course, and I know everyone sees it for what it is: early campaigning. Might as well take part and enjoy, right? And since it will be online, most would be spared of listening to the lies of how they are pro-grassroots sports and that once they win or keep their spots, they’d do it annually.

Oh, by the way, one politico who won’t need to get creative to use sports in his campaign will be hogging both the sports and news sections in the next few weeks. I think, too, he’s the subject of the troll farms given that he’s in the middle of a spat with the highest official of the land.

Every time Manny Pacquiao’s name will be mentioned, the phrase “future President of the Philippines” will be used. Heck, I think that’s how he will be introduced in the fight. And in this case, our authorities are truly helpless with that sort of early campaigning.

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