Barangay, SK bets close election campaigns

by Israel Malasa, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 24 2010 01:33 AM | Updated as of Oct 25 2010 12:26 AM

Scenes from the last day of campaign for barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections. ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines—Some of Metro Manila’s streets turned festive as the last day of campaign for the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) and Barangay elections went full throttle.

Convoys and motorcades were seen in almost every part of the metropolis as candidates courted the voters. Drum beats reverberated on the streets creating head-turning noise.

In vote-rich barangay Old Balara in Quezon City, candidates had their own gimmicks to convince the electorate to vote for them.

Reelectionist Barangay Chairman Beda Torrecampo and his camp used loudspeakers to draw voters.

Thousands joined his political bandwagon, and his motorcade queued almost a kilometer along Commonwealth Avenue. Parts of his motorcade couldn't penetrate the narrow roads in the barangay.

“Kini-claim na po namin na panalo tayo (I already claim victory),” said Torrecampo confidently. He was flanked by his supporters who raised his hands.

Torrecampo claimed his platform of good governance catapulted him to the post for two terms. Torrecampo is now on his third and last term as barangay chairperson.

Girl power

There are seven candidates vying for barangay chief in Old Balara.

Emerlita Alidon is the sole woman candidate for the post.

“Merlie,” as she is fondly called by her supporters, believes it is time for women like her to assume the highest post in the barangay.

“Kung ang mga kababaihan ang pagbibigyan, kami ang mananalo (If women will be given the chance, we can win these elections)," said Alidon, as she tried to rally her supporters behind her.

She is a former barangay kagawad (village councilor) and wants to wrestle the post from rival Torrecampo.

Traffic jam, other gimmicks

Alidon's and Torrecampo’s respective convoys met at Luzon Avenue, one of Old Balara’s busiest streets.

Merged with stalls occupying the sidewalk and the heavy volume of motorists plying the route, the sortie caused a traffic build-up on the streets.

The chanting of the supporters was somehow dampened by the blowing of horns of irate motorists. “Medyo nakakaabala (they are a hindrance to traffic flow),” said Kit Reyes who was seemingly annoyed at the traffic mess.

In Caloocan, there were less motorcades on the streets. Instead, candidates just walked on narrow pavements while handing out campaign leaflets to voters.

Others also used drums to get public attention. In one barangay, a boodle-fight—where rice is mixed with different viand on a long table and the food eaten by participants—was held to seek voters’ attention.