25 April 2007

Election Thoughts

[via ABS-CBN Interactive]

What can you buy with PhP 692 million? For foreign readers, if we convert that to US dollars using the current exchange rate (1 US Dollar = 47.51 Pesos), that will be equivalent to more than US $ 14 million!! What can you buy with that amount of money?

Presumably, these candidates want to become senators to help the poor of this country. For me, that is one heroic objective. But what is more heroic, I think, is if this growing amount of campaign spending will be used to help the poor NOW.

Build durable roads. Build railways. Buy sophisticated trains. Build more expressways. Find a way to infrastructurally connect our more than 7,000 islands. Buy medicines. Build more hospitals in rural areas. Buy sophisticated medical equipment. Buy more needed vaccines. Increase the salaries of all government workers (especially government doctors and nurses!) so they won't leave the country anymore. Build more schools and more classrooms. Sponsor indigent but brilliant children to full scholarships from elementary to college. Increase the annual budgets of both the education and health sectors. Build electric plants and install telephone services to rural towns which up to this modern time have not experienced what it feels to have electricity and telephones at home. Build more public libraries with new and relevant books. Invest in state-of-the-art weather forecasting equipment. Build a well-equipped weather stations in major cities. Sponsor and give more money to inventors who can come up with ways to lessen our dependency on oil. Strengthen our agricultural and manufacturing sectors so we would not have to import and depend more on foreign resources.

Can senatorial candidates and others running for public office do away with some of their expensive campaign spending, and instead put more of their money to good use this early? Can we begin helping people NOW?

I never thought our candidates had so much money in their pockets. Sure, they will all tell you they were campaign contributions. But still, they have control of how they will spend it. I think if someone does that, it will truly be a heroic and selfless sacrifice.

Mind you, those amounts specified above are only fractions of what they spent for TV ads. A greater portion of that is still missing. Campaigning is not only about having numerous TV ads. There's also the provincial touring of the whole country, rental of choppers and private jets, paying your organizers and staff, hiring of showbiz personalities, etc. You can just imagine that the total amount must really be in the ballpark of billions and billions of pesos.

'So much money. 'So many problems and possible ways to spend it more wisely.

'Apologies for this unnecessary ranting. I had to get it off my chest.

4 reactions:

ipanema said...

And they spend it on TV Ads alone? It's such a shameful expenditure. With plenty who can't afford a decent meal, let alone send their children to public school...and this? Nice...utterly despicably nice for them to show it now.

I can't add to what you've already mentioned on starting to help NOW.

However, knowing the nature of our politicians, they'll let people rot in poverty and they'll enjoy whatever their money can buy them.

I can't blame people taking money for vote-buying. Get the money by all means BUT don't vote for them!

bayi said...

Invest in projects that will bring in benefits that will continue to propagate, not in one-off solutions that bring temporary relief.

But that is wishful thinking, as the politicians look to boosting their own image with such money without batting their eyes.

bing said...

i wonder if the elections in other countries have the same scenario. is this another case of ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES?

how ironic that huge areas in Malabon are teeming with poor people in squalor and they are spending this much for their ads.

sobrang kakagigil!

bayi said...


In Malaysia, when a Member of Parliament dies, there is a by-election. The ruling party spends freely to pave roads, repair schools, community hall, promise social facilities, etc. Expenditure on all these projects can run into as much as USD10 million, which is a good thing for the constituency. But if there is no by-election, we don't even get to see our MP. Many of us have written to the papers wishing that our MPs would dies (no malice meant) so that we can see some development in our districts!