Campaign period opens with a call for responsible voting

Feb. 10, 2016

By Noveah May Simbajon and Aimee Gito, Davao Today Interns

DAVAO CITY – As this year’s campaign period breaks the light of day, millions of Filipino voters on Tuesday, February 9, were reminded of their responsibilities in the country’s democratic process.

Speaking before thousands of residents who gathered along the streets of Ponciano and Roxas on the same day, Benjie Badal told the crowd a resonating message: the public should be awakened to real societal issues.

By sticking to the real issues, Badal said it would mean not to support traditional politicians who simply buy votes to win.

“Itatak nato sa ila nga kani atong eleksyon, apil sila sa gibitbit nato og ilahang interes ang atong ginadala (Let us remind them that it is them and their interests that we are defending in this election),” he said.

Interestingly, Badal is Anakpawis Partylist’s public information officer who asked for the public to look into what platforms their party-list stands on.

Badal said they challenge presidential candidates to advance the rights of the people and carry the agenda including:

  1. Genuine land reform, free distribution of lands, agricultural development and nationalist industrialization;
  2. Increase in wages and banning of contractualization;
  3. Habitable mass housing and moratorium of demolitions of urban poor communities; (4) Upholding the rights of fisherfolk against conversion and privatization of fishing areas;
  4. Advancement of free education and scientific culture;
  5. Advancement of the rights of women;
  6. Countering price hikes of food, oil products, electricity, water and other goods and services, by opposing privatization, deregulation and liberalization; and
  7. Defending national sovereignty and patrimony and calling for the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), Mining Act of 1995 and other laws favoring foreign countries.

Tuesday marks the beginning of the country’s campaign period. This year, at least 54 million voters are set to thrust leaders into executive and legislative branches of government.

Bai Ali Indayla, Gabriela Women’s partylist third nominee, is hoping to educate women in upholding their votes as they compose a large population in the community.

“Yun yung napakalaking hamon na mapagkaisa ang kababaihan para bumoto at ang iboto ay mga kandidato na hindi lamang kwalipikado kundi totoong nagdadala sa interes ng mamamayang pilipino lalo na ng kababaihan (The biggest challenge is to unite the women to vote, and to vote for candidates that are not only qualified but also truly supports the interest of the Filipinos especially the women),” she said.

Partylist groups are organizations that represent marginalized sectors in the Philippines. They comprise 20 percent  seats in the House of Representatives. More than 100 groups vie for seats in Congress this year, based on the Commission on Election’s data this month.

Anakpawis and Gabriela currently sit as members of the 16th Congress.

Paul Dotollo, Mindanao vice president for Kabataan Partylist, which has one representative in the current Congress, believes that the youth are now more open into participating this year’s polls, but laments some of their shortcomings.

“What’s missing is how to make them comprehensively understand. Although in our perception they’re not that responsive, but in fact they’re open with these issues but they just do not know how to express,” said Dotollo. (

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