An inspired electoral campaign

Published April 30, 2022, 12:05 AM

by Dr. Florangel Rosario Braid


Dr. Florangel Rosario-Braid

In the memoirs which I am now writing, I thought that it would be interesting to share with my great grandchildren memories of the 2022 election campaign. The first during a Covid-19 pandemic, they would want to know how we fared under such extraordinary circumstances.

But I could only share stories about vicarious experiences since age and lack of mobility did not allow me to actively participate in this year’s campaign. Thus, mine are primarily virtual experiences – observations from my armchair and computer screen, and enriched by conversations with my younger kinfolk and fellow seniors. But what I could only experience vicariously, I tried to make up for by avid TV watching, reading various periodicals, and participation in social media.

In 2019, I still managed to attend a few campaign rallies, experienced being drenched by heavy rain, shook hands with candidates and wished them well. Today, I am unable to wiggle through large crowds. I can only watch with envy younger friends with pink paraphernalia — shirts, hats, ribbons, shoes et al from my TV screen, applaud the eloquence of John Arcilla virtually in the Leni birthday rally which went viral — “Bayan, pumili ka!” Hindi yellowtards or pinklawan, tayo ay sambayanang Pilipino. Mahal natin ang atin bayan. Iniibig natin ang ating bandila at may takot sa Diyos!”

These words brought back experiences during the historic parliament of the streets, EDSA, and the many times we were tear-gassed in rally marches. There were times when I would bid my husband goodbye not knowing whether I would be able to return, and to come back to a basin with warm water to soothe my bruised feet. “Bayan ko, binihag ka, nasadlak sa dusa,” and the songs of the revolution start ringing in my ears.

Now I can only use my cellphone, Facebook, this column, zoom, and online meetings.

I realize that many of us may not be able to adequately describe Campaign 2022. It is just that the existing superlatives seem unable to capture the nuances of “Campaign Rosas” which had won the hearts of the nation. It was a spontaneous, unrehearsed act — the burst of enthusiasm, the coming together of hundreds of thousands of our people from all walks of life and all age groups, but primarily from the youth. Many of them used to belong to the then growing sideline watchers – bystanders who watch events pass by without care. They had become injured and hardened by the political circumstances over the years. Elections come and go and for a while there are heightened anticipations of things to come. But they didn’t last long as the leaders who had promised them the moon and the stars began to behave like the rest before them.

But this time, the volunteers came together in a gesture of solidarity. They came with full trust and faith that this time their response would not come to naught. They did what they could do best.
Patty, who is in the garments business produced T-shirts to distribute to friends and supporters.
Luz, a community newspaper publisher, solicited funds which she added to her own to build beautiful lighted billboards which were distributed in strategic places.

Cris, a journalist, and wife Florie, a microbiologist, conducted book sale intended to raise awareness on issues about our political landscape including the pandemic, as well as raised money to launch a trust fund for future journalists who will act to counter the harm that trolls and fake journalists had done. They also hired several tricycles and people to help them undertake a house-to-house campaign in their community.

Some hosted lugaw gatherings to raise funds for campaign materials.

Creative artists offered their services – develop collaterals, hold musical concerts, etc. In other words, this campaign allowed the bringing out of Filipino talent towards the design of a desired future.

So what’s the secret of this sudden surge of enthusiasm? Volunteerism, an innate Filipino trait which had lain dormant for years, suddenly became the trademark of the Kampanya Rosas! We had never seen this overflowing spontaneity — thousands of NGO groups — farmers, fisherfolk, academics, professionals, religious, indigenous groups, etc. , artists, scientists, OFWS, and various professionals coming out to endorse Leni-Kiko? They were unfazed by the fact that the first placer had a wide lead at the start. But their efforts yielded positive results as subsequent surveys showed that their candidate continued to overtake him. Many are optimistic that she would.

Whatever happens, win or lose, the bringing out of the best in the Filipino, and the full awakening of the Filipino spirit, are perhaps the best things that have happened in a long time.

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