Local campaign issues in 2022

By May 11, 2021Punchline

By Ermin Garcia Jr.


SINCE most mayors and barangay kapitan cannot help but think about their political life’s future (night and day) amid the pandemic, let’s talk politics and their fate with the pandemic in the equation.

Let’s start with campaign issues in 2022.

  1. Incumbent mayors whose towns and barangays were frequently tagged as Covid-free will certainly not need another issue to prove that they are the kind of political leaders who act decisively without regard to their personal safety. They can cite the days and dates when the barangays were Covid-free after consulting with the kapitans.

They can use the statistics from the Provincial Health Office to validate their claims.

A number of credible talking heads can attest to how they were motivated to comply, or for some will come forward and narrate how they were helped to be protected from COVID infection from Day One.

They can put their traditional political enemies on the defensive by citing how the latter failed to serve the communities at the height of the pandemic. Worse for the new wannabes – walang ginawa kundi manood!

  1. The incumbent mayors whose towns almost always logged new positive cases daily will surely be made to account for their failure to make their barangays Covid-free.

    Their political enemies will have a field day citing the days and figures how their towns kept reporting new cases because there was a failure in leadership.  Examples can easily be made of the mayors’ favorite kapitans who have failed to strictly enforce the health and distancing protocols.

Their political detractors can use testimonies of barangay kapitans whose residents were denied help by the mayors or their allies in their hour of need to survive Covid infection. They can use data from the PHO to show how their town fared miserably compared to their neighboring towns.

The new wannabes can begin to document with video of how their incumbent mayors were negligent, i.e., residents walking without face masks inside markets and on the streets where policemen were present.

Worse, if the distribution of the DWSD ayuda was clearly marked by political favoritism, the documented events will compound the narrative of the lazy, indifferent incumbents in defense of themselves.

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HANDS-ON LEADER. Thank God for Guv Pogi’s circular response to the inclination of Board Members Jeremy  Agerico Rosario and Noel Bince to have the border entry requirements relaxed.  

Guv Pogi’s response is indicative of his hands-on management of the Covid pandemic in Pangasinan. He doesn’t merely leave it to the national IATF to set the agenda, which is a “one size-fits all” policy that can’t be applied, like the conditions for quarantine levels. If he did, Pangasinan would have found itself as one among with the highest positive cases in the country. 

The temporary ban is imperative since the officials of the NCR+ are mostly acting independent of each other. And their respective data do not tell a comparative story so there’s is no way border guards can tell which traveler from which city is most likely a virus carrier.  

There will definitely be some inconvenience but what emergency situation doesn’t result in some?  

Like I said, a little inconvenience for some will go a long way in protecting thousands.   

So, to the more than 2,000 travelers who had to be barred entry, pasensya na po.

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RACKETEERING IN THE CITY. I hope Dagupan Mayor Brian Lim finally learned his lessons from much too obvious self-serving official acts making it appear that he is for keeping the local economy going. His declaration to keep Tondaligan Beach open during the Holy Week (for the benefit for the vendors in Dagupan kuno – but largely from outside the city) and staging the Bangus Festival (for the Dagupan bangus growers and traders kuno – but in fact to serve as a cover-up for the takeover of the Dagupan bangus brand by Bulacan traders) went pffft. The city residents saw through his racketeering gimmicks.

The motives behind the two activities, the two past fiesta celebrations and the passage of the ordinance allowing Bulacan bangus traders to infiltrate the local market and the chance to market its produce as Dagupan bangus provided no direct benefits to city residents.

So one wonders what those ideas were for, and who benefitted from these?

If only the city council can make the market supervisor and city treasurer to account how much the city has earned from the continuous baratilyo in the market area, from the cottages at the Tondaligan Beach, from the volume of alien bangus being brought in and sold in the city’s market, the city can have an idea who’s been benefitting from all these gimmicks.

Then there are the thousands of illegal fish pens that proliferated since Mr. Lim took his oath. Since the city government does not collect fees from what it is illegal, wonder no more who’s milking the operators of the illegal fish pens for protection.

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PRRD VS. CARPIO.  The political opposition is suddenly experiencing an adrenalin rush after PRRD challenged former Justice Antonio Carpio to a debate on the WPS.  

It’s the opening they’ve been waiting for since 2016 and their debacle in 2019!  

But what can the people and the government gain from it? Nothing except an entertaining sabong between a popular leader and a political wannabe.   

For the opposition’s end, it wants to believe that PRRD will be exposed for what it says he is – a puppet of China. But even without the debate, it’s what it has been repeating and repeating like a broken record, yet it has not felt any traction in people’s mind. Everyone knows that will be the narrative of Mr. Carpio from beginning to end. But after all the brickbats he’s been throwing at PRRD, could there be something else that he had not said or accused PRRD of in the past weeks that could be useful to the opposition in 2022? Nothing. That’s where the weakness of Carpio’s offensive lies.  

Carpio will not likely introduce anything new to the debate but it will be PRRD that will make him – To finally admit that it was the PNoy administration’s fault that the WPS issue is hanging like a Damocles’s sword over the country’s head today, especially that PNoy did not initiate other actions to stop the occupation and building of military facilities other than to seek an arbitral ruling that could not be enforced.   

Then Mr. Carpio can only rely and invoked unverified “facts” compiled by mainstream media.    

PRRD, on the other hand, has the advantage of having verified facts and official figures about WPS and China at his fingertips.  

So, if the opposition thinks it finally got PRRD backed to a wall, the result may actually be the opposite.  Mr. Carpio may have all the chance to bash and belittle PRRD’s move in WPS but PRRD can virtually obliterate again any chance that the opposition may have in 2022.  

Possibly with another “Jetski” remark.   

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