Kalinga pols advocate 'no to vote buying' in Pinukbalan
by Peter Balocnit
Balbalan, Kalinga (6 February) -- Formidable candidates for local posts are spearheading a "no vote buying" campaign in the first district of the province..
A group of candidates, village elders and the youth are going around the Pinukbalan (Pinukpuk-Balbalan) area reaching out to the voters not to allow their right of suffrage get compromised in exchange of money come election time.
Mayor Allen Jesse Mangaoang of this town, who is running for Provincial Vice Governor, two candidates for Board member are leading a group of advocates and have already covered the Saltan line barangays and are moving across the Cal-owan side.
Mangaoang said that people are happy to receive this kind of message as this campaign is addressed to both the candidates and the voters: the former particularly the monied ones to refrain from buying votes and the latter not to sell their votes or solicit in exchange of their support.
The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) claimed that voters essentially do not vote for good governance. "Unfortunately, even if ones governance index is bad, one still get reelected," said Dr. Romulo Virola, NSCB secretary general.
The Kalinga Media Club also found out last year that 856 of the 1,664 respondents it surveyed are aware of vote-buying. Asked if they accepted money in exchange of their vote, 20.97% of the respondents admitted they "sold their votes" and still are looking forward to do the same this May 10 elections with 19.76% saying it so in the same survey.
Balbalan Mayor Mangaoang started this kind of advocacy when he first ran for mayor. He lost but it did not stop him to continue his advocacy where his place earned the prestigious honor of having the most honest and orderly conduct of elections and sports-minded candidates.
Based on Comelec records, no election law violation or protest was ever recorded in Balbalan. His group is now extending the same campaign to neighboring towns.
He said they will forge agreements with other candidates and poll watchdogs before the March 26 start of the campaign to serve as their guide for a peaceful May 10, 2010 election. (PIA-Kalinga) [top]