MANILA—Many Filipinos still choose candidates based on their personality and familiarity, the executive director of Pulse Asia said.
"Ang pagpili ng tao natin ng kandidato batay sa personality eh. 'Yung tingin nila, concerned sa kanila. 'Yung pagkakilatis nila, concerned sa kanila. Ganoon sila pumili eh," Dr. Ana Maria Tabunda told Teleradyo, based on Pulse Asia studies.
(People choose candidates based on personality. They choose those who they think are concerned about them. They analyze based on their concerns. That's how they choose.)
She said those who come from political families tended to be more popular.
"Mayroon din silang tinitingnan na kung galing ba sa ganitong pamilya, lahi ng, 'yung mga lahi ng politiko," Tabunda said.
(They also look at whether the candidate comes from a certain family, generations of politicians.)
"Mas nakakarami 'yung binabatay lang sa pagkakilala nila na hindi malalim, hindi malalim 'yung pagsiyasat nila kung anong nagawa."
(There are more who base their choice on familiarity without looking deeper into what the candidate has done.)
For Tabunda, voter education is important, though it is difficult to educate all voters.
"Kailangan talaga edukasyon (We need education). Voter education," she said.
"Mahirap ho 'yan. May mga kakilala ako, nag-FGD (focus group discussion) sila. Sa umpisa tatanungin nila, 'Sino’ng iboboto ninyo? Tapos ibibigay nila. Pagkatapos ng talakayan, mag-iiba 'yung boto kasi nakakuha ng impormasyon. Pero hindi mo naman ma-FGD lahat ng botante."
(This is difficult. Some people I know organize FGDs. At first they will ask the people who they will vote for, then after the discussion their choices will change based on the information they received. But you cannot organize FGDs for all voters.)
Meanwhile, Tabunda said the recent Pulse Asia survey showed that the public was more concerned with issues close to them, such as the price of goods or wages.
The top five concerns included controlling inflation, increasing worker pay, controlling the spread of COVID, reducing poverty, and fighting graft and corruption in government.
Other issues, such as the West Philippine Sea, was not a priority because did not directly relate to their everyday lives.
"Yung sa West Philippine Sea, hindi ho kasing importante sa kanila 'yun kasi malayo 'yun sa bituka," Tabunda said.
(The issue of the West Philippine Sea is not that important to them because it does not have an immediate effect to them.)