[OPINION] The clash of ideals and businesses during campaign

Gillian P. Reyes

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[OPINION] The clash of ideals and businesses during campaign
'A candidate may look good, have the most posters and advertisements, some might even entertain by dancing on television, but always bear in mind what that politician stands for'

Last week, my small rent-a-car business was hired by one of the supporters of a political candidate for the 2019 elections to do a motorcade. At first, I was hesitant to accept the said job, primarily since I wasn’t supporting this candidate because of the said candidate’s platforms, but this was part of the business and I couldn’t let my personal ideals get in the way of providing client satisfaction. Or so I thought. (READ: [OPINION] Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas: Entrusting a revolution to the young on eve of 2019 polls)

As the event was beginning to organize, I felt a pang of guilt rushing through my mind. I really didn’t support this candidate. I tried to console myself that this was all part of the job; that this was just a service done for a client – a transaction and nothing more. A professional duty bound to satisfy a client. But as the day went on, my thoughts swirled in a flurry of guilt and quelling justifications. Was I wrong to accept this job? Am I automatically represented by the clients I choose? With each question posed, I found myself at a crossroads. The fact that I prided myself as someone who stood for his ideals, and the fact that I graduated from the University of the Philippines – an institution known for activism and taking a stand, and this added more fuel to the fire. (READ: [ANALYSIS] 2019 elections: The jolt we all need)

During the event, which I opted to also come along since I was to supervise my units and employees, I had the chance to talk with the people there. These were feverous supporters of the side I was opposed to. I experienced what I was fearing the most during that day – people would be impressed by the number of supporters and vehicles of the said candidate that it could most likely positively sway their opinion. From there I admitted defeat. I probably helped a candidate I did not support to win.

But a silver lining was waiting for me that day. At the end of the event, I conversed with some of the people that witnessed the campaign. They asked me whether I actually supported this candidate. I paused for a second to think if I’ll tell them that I support this candidate since I was in a pool of supporters or to tell the truth. I chose the latter and told them of my support for other candidates such as Neri Colmenares and Leody De Guzman. To my surprise, they agreed with me. They were supporters as well. They further asked me why I was there and what was my part. I explained my side and they understood that business is, after all, business. (IN NUMBERS: Registered voters for the May 2019 elections)

That wasn’t the end of it either. Some of my employees even shared my ideals. Some did not, but they still gladly listened to me as I listened to them. Everyone believes in something that they think is right and it is only fair to have a civil conversation about these ideals.

As the day went on, with both supporting and opposing fronts, I realized that the business, a cluster of people working together to earn money, is different from the actual individuals that are part of it. This is what businesses are made to – provide a product or service that a client had paid them to do or provide. I realized that the “support” I had given the candidate was a mere act of service. Same with printing and advertising companies, and the like. It wasn’t some representation or endorsement, unlike what social media influencers and celebrities are experiencing, but rather a service to a paying customer. Honestly, these businesses could turn down clients such as this, but there is a form of discrimination if done primarily of a bias. (READ: First-time voters: ‘As young people, we could change something’)

Platforms more than gimmicks

This is what Filipinos must realize. That the tactics of advertisement should not be the only thing that sways their opinion, but the platforms and ideals these candidates represent. Yes, it is hard since advertisements and gimmicks can change opinions, but what we lack to realize is that unlike traditional products like fast food chains, beauty soaps, and the like, the person we elect and who will soon take a position in the government will impact change for all of us; not just one individual. (READ: To the youth: Let’s be the change our nation needs)

A candidate may look good, have the most posters and advertisements, some might even entertain by dancing on television, but always bear in mind what that politician stands for. Ask yourself whether this candidate will make an impact in our society. We are, after all, in this together. So go out this May 13 to participate and vote. Vote for the people who would change the country for the better. (READ: [OPINION] Can my vote make a difference?– Rappler.com

Gillian Reyes is a University Extension Associate from the University of the Philippines Diliman, and a rent-a-car business owner.

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