Wednesday, June 19, 2013


  Every three years the Philippines has general elections. This includes local barangays, cities, provinces and National Senate and Congress. This was the off year for the Presidential election that runs every 6 years."
  The evidence that a campaign was beginning started last summer with banners such as "This Program Brought to You by Mayor _______" or "This Building Project made possible by Mayor ________".

There was more evidence as we got closer to the election with signs and banners everywhere. Very common was a truck or van with speakers going around the city with supporters in the back to help spread the 'Word' for their candidate and offer free rides. For those that either lived in the 50's and 60's or saw movies of that time, these vehicles with speakers playing music and the candidates messages were very reminiscent.
People also loved the freebees given out by all the candidates. This was were the incumbents had a large edge. There was a very large surge in the sales of alcohol and cigarettes beginning about a month before the May 13, 2013 election date. I am sure anyone could have guessed were the extra sales where being used. I knew a few members running for office and they just couldn't do very well because they would not give out the above. But some tried other things to give away free. It's the culture and very difficult to change.
During the busiest of the campaigning season there were around 250 killed and over 2000 injured. This occurred mostly in the southern most Philippine island of Mindanao. This island is under Marshall Law and is a hot bed for the New People's Army and MILFH, a radical Muslim group. The only other area that had incidences was the northeast Luzon province of Isabella. This is another area where the New People's Army has a hold.
On the weekend prior to and the day of the election on May 13th, the Missionaries were told to only travel if necessary and to stay close to our apartments. Fortunately, there were no problems in the Metro Manila area.
Historically the Philippines have had great challenges with election fraud. However it has greatly improved with the current President Aquino. But it still exists.
We are glad the elections are over. Because of possible problems with our Humanitarian Projects, we slow down during this time. We do not want to be used for someone's campaign. Our work is for the people, not for a political candidate.

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