#MoveBacolod: Take 2 for 'Political dynasties still?'
MANILA, Philippines – Rappler returns to Bacolod on January 18, a Friday, after an earthquake forced organizers to cancel the #MoveBacolod event originally set in November 2012.
The event will carry the same theme about political dynasties, made even more relevant by the coming May elections. Then as now, the same political families have dominated Negros Occidental. Chances are, they will remain the same in the May elections.
A quick scan of the province’s electoral history indicates that power-sharing among the old rich is accomplished most conveniently through politics. The same clans dominate the field – Montelibanos, Lacsons, Amantes, Yulos, to name a few. Even Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr, acknowledged as a political kingmaker, is now based in Pontevedra.
The local middle class has likewise crept into the political arena. The likes of the Leonardias, Puentevellas, Ramoses, and Espinos have emerged to build their own political turf in support of their business interests. Sunstar Bacolod characterized them as “power aspirants” who needed to “expand their bureaucratic services to accommodate wider patronage.”
There is another type of middle class, however, and it counts not families but only inviduals who have carried a progressive orientation from the mass movement of the ’60s and ’70s. The Villamors, Baribars, Valdezes, Hagads, and Batapas, among others, have pushed for the inclusion of the middle class and the basic sectors in determining how to run local affairs.
While not having dynasties would have been ideal, political realities simply make it difficult to dismantle them. Given the cost of running campaigns and keeping the political machinery oiled between elections, often it is the moneyed families who have the resources. Often too, it is the old and new rich who can play the role of patron, dispensing even the smallest favors that mean the biggest help to impoverished constituents.
That politicians who advocate inclusive politics and a consultative style of governance have been elected indicates that Negros Occidental voters are themselves looking for, or opening up to, alternatives to the political elite.
This does not mean, however, that members of political families should be dismissed outright because of their surnames. Local governance experts suggest that these politicians be assessed according to whether they have brought progress to their localities and empowered their constituents. In the end, this is how voters should gauge every individual – dynasty member or not – who aspires to lead them.
These are among the issues that will be discussed during Rappler's Move.PH Chat Series in Bacolod on Friday, January 18. Titled "Si Nanay, Si Tatay, Si Toto kag Si Inday," the rescheduled forum is Rappler's first for 2013, with the overall theme, "Social Media for Social Change." In partnership with the University of St La Salle in Bacolod, it will be held from 1:00 - 5:00 pm at the MM Auditorium A in La Salle.
The event will be headlined by Maria Ressa, former CNN Jakarta bureau chief and now Rappler CEO and executive editor. She will be joined by journalists Chay Hofileña, Ayee Macaraig, Josh Villanueva, and Patricia Evangelista. Among others, they will talk about the potentials and power of social media.
The half-day chat session will bring together Communication students, teachers, and the media in Bacolod.
Pre-register using the form below. Those who had pre-registered in November 2012 need not do so. But attendees must check in again during registration to indicate their attendance of the event on January 18. - Rappler.com