The past week offered two very significant activities both for the voter and the candidates in this coming May 9 election. For the voter, the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) sponsored a Candidates Forum for the Congressional and Gubernatorial candidates last Friday at the Bohol Wisdom School Gymnasium. For the candidates, the Holy Name University (HNU) presented to the public the result of its Bohol Poll which it conducted from March 12 – April 4, 2016.
It was unfortunate that not all candidates in all levels of elective positions could be given an opportunity to expound their views and plans if given the chance to hold public offices. It would be good if other institutions could sponsor the same activity amongcandidates for lower level positions.
Some candidates may belittle the significance of such activity as they would prefer to go house to house or barangay to barangay to meet voters personally rather than just be heard on the radio or be seen by a few hundreds who will attend the forum. CheToribio de los Reyes, for example, who is running for Representative in the 3rd District of Bohol did not attendthe forum because she had political rally schedules in her district last Friday.
She may be right of course but what she failed to consider was the public perception that could be deduced from her absence. if the six (6) other congressional candidates could be present to answer questions from the BCCI panel, why couldn’t she? How many households or barangays could she visit in half a day compared to the thousands who will hear her on the radio if she attended the forum? Chances are, the voters will consider her absence as being afraid she could not answer or articulate her thoughts on the subject matter that will be propounded at the forum. Anybody who likes to represent the people in the halls of Congress should not shirk from any debate or forum. There was more than a week to prepare for the forum. Forher absence she may have lost votes more than she gained by choosing to go with her personal campaign sorties last Friday.
BCCI made clear from the day it made the announcement for the forum that it was not going to be a debate although I would have wanted it to be one so that voters could see how the brains of our candidates are working. BCCI did not want it to be used for personal attacks and unnecessary bashing.
I congratulate the candidates who came to the forum to answer questions on issues that must be faced squarely by those who will sit at the helm of Bohol governance for the next three years.
On the other significant activity last week – the public presentation of the Bohol Poll by HNU,candidates have been given a preview of how the electorate would vote one month before elections. The result could still change depending on what new information and knowledge that the voters will get from now on until May 9th.
Polls like this is good because it gives the candidates room for adjusting or changing campaign strategies to swing the voters preference to their favor. This is the part that I personally don’t like because this is the time dirty politicians play dirty politics or the wealthy candidates use their money to win.
In Bohol where the election culture of inangayan (or whatever you call it – uwanuwan, wilwig, etc.) has dominated the voting habit of voters, only the financially rich candidates get to win the election. Unless one candidate goes to jail for inangayan, this practice will continue for many generations.
Anyway congratulations to the incumbent re-electionists(Governor, Vice Governor, Congressmen, City and City Vice Mayor) for havingretained the preference of te voters in Bohol. I particularly congratulate Cong. ArisAumentado of the 2nd Congressional District of Bohol for getting the highest net satisfaction rating of +69% compared to Cong. Rene Relampagos (+50%) and Cong. Art YAP (+63%). (A net satisfaction rating is obtained by subtracting the rating for dissatisfied from the rating of he satisfied). Congressman Aris was the only one of our three congressmen who increased his satisfaction rating from that of last year’s net satisfaction rating by 6 points. Cong. Rene’s and Cong Art’s net satisfaction rating both went down compared to last year’s rating.
For President, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of PDP-Laban enjoys a wide margin over the next ranking Presidential candidate Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party. Duterte got 41% voters preference while Roxas only had 27%. The poll has a +/- 5 margin of error.
With this I am sure candidates who fared poorly in theHNU Bohol Poll will now adjust and put to high gear their campaign sails. Let us see after May 9 if these alternative strategies would make them change the voters mind.
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