Duterte 2016 campaign tactic becomes irresistible to cash-strapped bets
Drawing from the success of President Duterte’s 2016 campaign, new and returning senatorial candidates are banking that their social media following would be enough to carry them to the Senate.
Former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, the official candidate of the Makabayan bloc, claimed on Thursday that because they have the “strongest social media force,” he may just be able to win in his second Senate try.
He added that it also helps as he is running on a platform that aims to address key issues hounding ordinary Filipinos, such as contractualization, low wages and the high cost of basic commodities.
“I recognize [that our bloc] has not enough funds. I did not come from a rich, influential family. But we have the strongest social media force that if we are able to shape our countrymen to campaign for me, that may be one way for me to win the election,” Colmenares said.
In the 2016 elections, Colmenares landed in the 20th spot in the Senate race. This was the closest that the Makabayan bloc ever got to the Senate as it landed 22nd in 2013, and 25th and 26th in 2010.
Liberal Party candidate Samira Gutoc also believed that apart from her around 3 million voting base in Mindanao, “social media is the way” for her to snatch one of the 12 Senate seats up for grabs in the May polls.
Though appointed by President Duterte to the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, Gutoc opted to run under the opposition ticket as she said that now is the “best time” for the public to hear Marawi’s issues, as well as to have someone to be able to speak out on the killings and violence happening in the country.
“This is a democracy. We thrive in the difference of ideas. We should not belittle, troll or throw down each other,” said Gutoc, who may be the first Maranao female senator should she succeed in her Senate bid.
In several occasions, Mr. Duterte’s allies have repeatedly said that his victory can be owed to their widespread use of social media in the 2016 presidential campaign.
In filing his certificate of candidacy (COC) at the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) head office in Intramuros, Willie Ong of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats expressed confidence he’d be the first doctor in over a decade to become senator through “God’s will” and the help of his supposed 10 million followers on social media.
“He (God) will not put me here to embarrass myself,” said Ong, who promised to advocate for better healthcare policies such as more cheaper medicines, free medical operations and laboratory tests.
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