Nagueños rally against vote-buying
NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur – Representatives from different civil society groups in Naga City gathered Tuesday night, May 7, to campaign against vote-buying in Camarines Sur.
The Alliance of Progressive Labor, Family Planning Organization of the Philippines, Alliance of Liberal Youth, and Youth for HOPE (Honest and Peaceful Elections) assembled in front of the mansion of the ruling Villafuerte family along Magsaysay St.
They shouted, "Ang Boto sa Balota, Ang Pera Sa Bulsa" (The vote is for the ballot and money is for the pocket).
Rallyists alleged that vote-buying takes place inside the mansion of the Villafuertes, who have held the seat of power in Camarines Sur for the longest time both in the gubernatorial and congressional arenas.
They claimed supporters would usually come out of the mansion carrying with them membership cards, sample ballots, and brown envelopes.
Dave Batac, representative of the Alliance of Progressive Labor, said they want change and that they want this election to be free from vote buying.
“Parang ginagawang tanga ang mga taong naghihirap, bibigyan ng pera na mauubos lang matapos ang ilang araw,” Batac said. (They are making people look like fools, giving them money that will run out after a few days.)
According to RJ Competente, a representative of the Alliance of Liberal Youth, the rally is a good way to awaken the people to the need to end the perennial problem of vote-buying in Camarines Sur. Vote-buying has allegedly been happening in Camarines Sur for the past years.
“Para sa akin, nakita nila na ang mga kabataan ay tumayo na laban sa vote-buying, sana ay sumunod na rin sila,” Competente added. (They have seen the youth stand against vote-buying. I hope other people will follow.)
Motorcycles, PUVs and private cars honked their horns to show their support for the youth, who, despite the loud political jingle of candidate Nelly Villafuerte from the speakers in front of them, said they would continue rallying their cause.
Mark from Youth for HOPE said, “Nakakataba ng puso na marinig ang mga tao na nasa kotse, nagbubusina, nakikisigaw at kumakaway. Marami ang sumusuporta sa laban na ‘to.” (It’s heartwarming to hear people in their cars honking their horns, shouting and waving. Somehow we feel that many people support our cause.)
The rally ended peacefully after a few hours.
Organizers of the rally in Naga have high hopes about changing the electoral scene in Camarines Sur days before election day.
Camarines Sur is divided into 35 municipalities and 2 cities with Naga being an independent component city. The province is home to 979,387 registered voters. – With reports from Raffy Magno/Rappler.com
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