CEBU CITY, Philippines – Election season has finally kicked off. On Tuesday, February 12, I was one of the many spectators who witnessed history in the making. It was the first time that Cebu City was chosen by a national party to hold its proclamation rally. I did not let the opportunity pass.
As I anticipated, the event was colorful and entertaining. Candidates of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) made sure the supporters they gathered from the different cities and municipalities of North and South Cebu wore the color that would best represent them — red for Gordon, green for Team Rama, white and blue for One Cebu, orange for Estrada, among others.
Surely it felt like a fiesta, minus the banderitas, but add the many tarpaulins that covered the beauty of the Old Spanish Fort, Plaza Independencia.
There were several politicians who used entertainers — undeniably, the charm worked, and it drew laughter, smiles, and yelling from the crowd. The Gutierrezes — Raymond, Ruffa and their patriarch, Eddie — were popular because Eddie’s wife Annabelle Rama is from Cebu.
Even the non-showbiz son of senatorial candidate Grace Poe, Bryan, charmed the girls in the crowd. I can only surmise that the 12 people on the UNA slate took advantage of name recall and popularity.
Not a uniform sentiment
But not all who went to watch the proclamation rally of the UNA coalition promised to vote straight for them. I had a Gordon-supporter seatmate who told me she might not be voting for the candidates who were not there (the guest candidates Poe, Loren Legarda, and Chiz Escudero).
There was also someone from among the Team Rama supporters who told me she’s carefully picking candidates based on their platforms. She also said there were some programs that were already redundant as Cebu already has them. These include the day-care and vaccination programs.
Despite that, there were also a number of people who promised to deliver a straight vote for them, telling me they truly believe in the platforms and programs of the UNA coalition. They also told me they are even willing to campaign for them in their respective provinces and among family members so that UNA candidates will win.
Covering the proclamation rally as a Cebu-based Rappler mover has helped me understand the different platforms of the candidates. Incidentally, as a first-time voter this May, I promised to myself I would be very critical of candidates that I choose to vote. I will be listening to their platforms to help me arrive at a decision.
While I found myself absent-mindedly humming UNA’s theme song, it does not mean I will easily buy the promises of their candidates. I still have over 80 days left to decide and scrutinize each candidate running in this midterm election.
As the campaign period moves, more and more promises are being made, more and more rhetoric delivered, more and more sugar-coating happening. Of course, more T-shirts, ballers and candies will be thrown at crowds. The different sorties will give a glimpse of who the candidates truly are and what they are after.
I had to endure standing, hunger and thirst as I listened and watched the candidates enjoy the limelight. Meanwhile, I have yet to make my choices.- Rappler.com
James is a third year BS Medical Technology student from Velez College, Cebu City. As part of Rappler’s MovePH, he covered the proclamation rally at Plaza Independencia on February 12, 2013. You can follow James on twitter @JimboySalomon. You can also be a Rappler Mover in the coming elections. Email email@example.com and let us know.
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