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Money politics in Barangay and SK Elections

By: Malou Guanzon Apalisok May 21,2018 - 09:53 PM

Malou Guanzon-Apalisok

People are still talking about the recently concluded barangay and Sanggunian Kabataan elections and how the political exercise has become a case for money politics even among the young, with very few exceptions.

Vote buying, intimidation and electoral manipulation are nothing new, but reports that vote buying was being done in broad daylight with voters lining up for the money was really terrible.

It was practically the order of the day according to a cabbie who told me he woke up on election day with a neighbor shoving P500 in his mouth and asking him to vote for a particular candidate in Barangay Sawang Calero.

I thought I heard it all until my friend who lives in Siargao island told me barangay candidates in a village close to a tourist resort were buying votes for P5,000 even up to P7,000.

I almost fell off my seat upon hearing the report because Siargaoanons are generally fishermen and farmers.

It all sounds incredible but what is not known is many people in Siargao have been brokering real estate deals in the hundreds of millions of pesos and earning huge commissions from buyers allegedly fronting for a top national politician who was recently accused of scooping up vast real estate properties totaling P500 million.
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He did not steal the show unlike American Episcopalian Bishop Michael Curry who delivered an outstanding homily during the royal wedding of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle, but the Visayan priest who celebrated Mass last Sunday at the end of the 48th Annual General Meeting of VICTO National in Crown Legacy Hotel in Baguio City was also on point when he talked about love in the perspective of the annual gathering’s theme: “Co-operatives, putting members at the center of development.”

Fr. Celso Faller’s anecdotes about wealthy cooperatives not taking care of their poor members because they usually default on their loans is maybe a sign that love is no longer in the center of human development, the mandate of coops.

He cautioned officials about focusing only on the bottom line at the expense of the members.

As a member of the Bontoc Cooperative in Southern Leyte, Fr. Faller has made a valid point, but, on the other hand, managers, who run the day to day business and have targets to meet, cannot be faulted if they stick to a policy otherwise the business will go bust.

It has often been said that coops are business enterprises with a mission, not a house of charity.

Still, the point made by Fr. Faller is a timely reminder because a good number of VICTO affiliates who rose from rags to riches might think making huge profits is all that matters.

The challenge for the federation’s 283 affiliates with combined assets of P40.7 billion is to continually look for business opportunities that would work well for marginal members.

2018 is a significant year for VICTO National because a woman is at the helm of the policy making body, Madam Alice Orquia, chair of ICTUS Premier Cooperative of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. Big congratulations, Madam Chairman Orquia!

Kudos as well to the new CEO, Dudz Samson who will have his hands full anchoring global events in August and September this year.

Indeed, things are looking up for VICTO National as it prepares to recreate itself in the run-up to its golden anniversary in 2020.

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TAGS: barangay, money, politics, SK Elections

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