CAMPAIGN period is almost upon us once again, and alongside this comes the usual “delights” that make campaigning here in the Philippines so memorable, and not in the good way.

As early as now, try to spend as much time as you can with your neighborhood walls; you won’t be seeing it for a while behind all the campaign posters bearing the faces of presidential hopefuls. Candidates seem to partake in an “agawan base” style of campaigning, wherein whoever gets the most walls covered wins some imagined pre-election contest. The only good thing is that these new posters managed to cover the remnants of the posters from last elections, some of which are already yellowed and drooping.

Save up and invest in really good earmuffs to counter the jet-level noise created by “stereos-mounted-on-cars,” a favorite campaigning tool among rich candidates. These mutant cars tend to circle your block and blast annoying propaganda at the most inopportune time- when you are awake, to the moments when you are asleep. What is worse is that it sometimes comes in an annoying “jingle” format which sticks to your mind like superglue, only to be erased several years later on the next election, due to a MORE annoying song (if that was possible).

Of course, no campaign period would be complete without the signature “bombardment” of local television with political ads.

As early as now, we are already feeling the tip of the iceberg. But that is nothing compared to when the campaign period officially kicks off. By that time, no one will be able to enjoy watching what happens to Darna or Fernando Jose anymore, as commercial breaks will be riddled with a medley of candidates wanting to show how charismatic they are, shooting dazzling smiles bright enough to stun cattle.

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Most of the time, what accompanies these candidates in the television ads is a short slogan about how they will help the Philippines, but this is mostly abstract and vague. Rare is the candidate who presents solid plans for helping our country, once he becomes president.

Perhaps this is because some would rather play it safe than be specific with a platform and end up displeasing somebody.

Or maybe it is because they do not actually have a plan at all, which is more likely. Yes, I can see you can dance, and you are definitely charismatic, but what exactly will you do to lift this country? What are your platforms?

Sadly, most voters make their decisions based solely on a candidates “face value,” not because these voters are shallow but because they have little access to their prized candidate’s platforms. How can one “vote wisely” when he or she does not have the information needed in making a good and sound decision?

If voters truly want the best for their country, then maybe it is time that we take a more active role in the elections.

With modern technology, one can easily google a chosen candidate and search for a list of his platforms online.

Sifting through the presidential hopefuls will enable us to make a sound decision as to who is deserving of the “highest seat in office.”

The whole process only takes a couple of minutes, a short time for a decision that might determine the status of the country for the next six years.

Thus, voter information is something that cannot be taken lightly, as it is an integral component of the term “voting wisely.”

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By being informed, one can make sure that his vote will not be “empty,” in terms of the thought and deliberation given to a particular candidate of choice.

Also, by voting wisely, one sends the message that quality (or platforms) wins over quantity, no matter how popular a candidate may be.

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