political dynasties

Up against dynasties? Learn a lesson or two from Robredo’s volunteer movement

Jodesz Gavilan
Up against dynasties? Learn a lesson or two from Robredo’s volunteer movement

Supporters greet Vice President Leni Robredo at the Jagna Sports Coliseum, during a campaign sortie in Bohol City on April 1, 2022. Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

Rappler.com

The volunteer groups behind Robredo's campaign should realize the degree of influence they have established in their own localities, and sustain that even in the next elections, says Rappler investigative editor Miriam Grace Go

MANILA, Philippines – The volunteer movement seen in the presidential campaign of Vice President Leni Robredo is something unseen before, and may provide inspiration for people-driven campaigns, which can ultimately challenge political dynasties.

Up against dynasties? Learn a lesson or two from Robredo’s volunteer movement

In the latest Newsbreak Chats episode on Thursday, March 31, Inday Espina-Varona, Rappler’s head of Regions, said the Robredo campaign was “showing the way” in terms of how volunteer movements should be, especially in the Philippines where campaign funding had long been synonymous to big-time donations.

May pagbabago. First time ko nakikita ito sa kampanya na talagang independent ang volunteer organizations dito,” she said. (There really is change. It’s my first time to, in the Robredo campaign, that volunteer organizations can be really independent.)

“Right now they’re showing [with the Robredo campaign] probably like what [people] did with [United States president Barack Obama] some time ago: kakayanin ng ordinary na mga tao na mag-push ng kampanya (ordinary people can mount campaigns like this) through their own funding,” Varona added.

The campaign for Robredo and vice presidential candidate Senator Kiko Pangilinan is heavily fueled by supporters and volunteers. Her huge campaign events across the Philippines, dubbed as “people’s rallies,” are mostly organized by local volunteer groups usually called the Robredo People’s Council.

House-to-house campaigning, meanwhile, is led the same way.

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Setting up for the future

For Varona, the volunteer system will “go a long way,” especially in the fight against political dynasties that have long plagued numerous localities in the Philippines. She said it would most likely take two generations more until the existence of dynasties are effectively challenged in a greater extent.

At this point, however, most political dynasties will continue to be entrenched whoever wins the presidency.

A study by the Ateneo School of Government found that dynasties increased by 1% or 170 positions per election period from 1988 to 2019, while at least four candidates for president and vice president come from political clans.

Ryan Macasero, Rappler’s Cebu bureau coordinator, pointed out that youth engagement in Cebu – not just for Robredo but for local candidates as well – is creating an impact. But there would be changes needed.

“There are a lot of brilliant ideas…if we’re able to make it easier to fund-raise from the community, get smaller donations, and to be able to mount viable challenge to these dynasties,” he said.

“Their takeaway from this campaign should be: if we work hard at it, it’s possible,” Macasero added.

Miriam Grace Go, Rappler’s investigative editor, said that whatever the outcome of the May 9 polls would be, it’s important for the volunteer groups behind Robredo’s campaign to realize the degree of influence they have established in their own localities, as well as their overall efficiency in mounting the movement.

At least in their own local elections, meron nang epekto sa inyong community, pataas nang pataas,” she said.

Don’t you think [the volunteers] are alternative candidates to begin with kung may ganito kayong leaders sa volunteer movement ninyo? Sana iyon ang huwag nating bitawan,” Go added.

(At least in their own local elections, there’s already an increasing impact on your communities. Don’t you think the volunteers are alternative candidates to begin with if you have these kinds of leaders in your volunteer movements? Let’s not waste the momentum.)

Up against dynasties? Learn a lesson or two from Robredo’s volunteer movement

– Rappler.com

Read the stories in our Political Dynasties 2022 series: 

Overview

Luzon

Visayas

Mindanao

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Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.