Monday, May 31, 2010

WHY ERAP WON IN MINDANAO?

(late post-election reflections)

The result of the 2010 election is mind-baffling, stressful sometimes and posed some questions. One of the question that stayed on my mind is, despite Erap's cases and the all-out war policy in Mindanao, how he still won the heart of millions here?

Gus Miclat of Initiatives for International Dialogue wrote in Mindanews that it should be a moment also of reflection for the peace building initiatives and constituency -building. He Earpa's message is clear and heard here. We, in the civil society on the other hand, has to rethink our strategies and work harder to get oyur message across. That peace can be attained through sincere negotiations and not by an all-out war policy. Ironically, Erap even won in ARMM and Cotabato provinces where he declared the all-out war policy.



I made a pre-election survey amongst teachers, farmers and taxi drivers. And surprisingly, all of the taxi drivers I asked, about 95% out of 20 farmers and teachers I talked to, chose Erap. Some would say that those who voted for the ex-convict president are idiots. Then we have 10 millions idiots then? What's the charisma of this man? why they voted for Erap?

One of my closest elementary teacher told me that it is only Erap who increased their uniform allowance and gave them 1 sack of rice each. Same is true with the soldiers. For the cash-strapped government employees, a sack of rice monthly is a big help as big chunk of the budget goes to the food. For the farmers, during the first three months of his term, he subsidized fully their irrigation fees.

Taxi drivers has a good say for him too. "Ma'am sa iyaha lang gyud nag termino nga naundang pagpataas sa gasolina (Ma'am it's only during his time that pric ehike of gasoline stopped)."

So are these people idiots for voting him? Who would have thought that he Erap will comes second when Manny Villar has even the money and machinery?

It's the people, the masa who strongly felt that a President were able to connect with their plight. If it's the masa's idiocy, then maybe it's also the so-called intellectuals responsibility to connect with the masa and widen the discourse.

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