The Curious Case of Solicitation Letter
One of the experiments I conducted was giving a solicitation letters to the local candidates in our area. I wrote different types of reasons asking for financial assistance. Reasons like continuation of my studies, for medicines, hospitalization of my mother/father/relatives to the beautification of our area. I made an effort to make the letters believable as possible.
At first I am kind of hesitant because it was my first time and I am not used to this act. I am not a “social beggar” asking for alms for personal use. But at the end I continue this experiment to test our candidates and to learn from the results.
I woke up early so that I could join their kapihan sa barangay. Aside from hot coffee and pandesal they offered to the people, they also introduce themselves and their platforms. I also went to their campaign rallies to listen and conduct my experiment. After their presentations, I approach them; I shook their hands, and talk a bit then present the letters I made for them.
As expected, I garnered different reactions from the politicos. Some got irritated the moment I introduce myself to them. They know what my intentions were and they were aware of this kind of gimmick. What they did not know was that this gimmick as they called it was an experiment. Others were “welcoming” and promise to help me with this matter. They said that I should address my letter to the municipal hall.
Aside from myself, there were also other people doing this kind of trick. They also ask for financial help for their illnesses, baptismal for their son/daughter, and other reasons. That’s why it was tough, a heart pounding, nerve wracking, comedic and “shameful” experience doing this experiment.
This experiment makes me realize how “funny” our election is. Our national and local candidates performed different types of tactics just to sway the voters. That is why election in the Philippines is expensive. The Darwinian concept of survival is prevalent. Through this experiment I have witness how the people do “illegal” things in order to survive and how politicians take advantage of the situation. They don’t mind their platforms; all in their minds is to win. That’s why vote buying and selling are common practices in the Philippines during election period. According to Lemery Reyes, a writer of Newsdesk.org, “vote buying is a common form of election fraud in many countries, including the Philippines, especially since the poverty level in the Philippines is high. Before the elections, there was a public outreach effort against vote-buying, led by PNP and watchdog organizations such as the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).”
Their efforts in educating the public seem useless. I don’t mean to be a pessimist here but if you’re destitute you have no choice but to sell your vote to the politicians. It is a sort of short term livelihood assistance for instant gratification. The politicians take advantage of this “opportunity” in order to win. Desperate meets desperate, in the game of power, fame and recognition. Manipulation of information makes the public confuse. If you’re not smart enough to figure out this grandiose illusion you will end up lost in the labyrinth of falsehood and hopelessness.
Through this experiment, I also saw some politicians who have a genuine heart to serve the public. They have platforms that are grounded in reality. But they are not rich, influential or charismatic to the people. For some who cannot appreciate it, their platforms (as they interpret it) are crafted by mad man intoxicated of Utopian dream.
I hope that whoever wins in this mid-term election shall do their job properly. I hope my vote will not put into waste. Let’s all hope for the best and nothing else. As what Theodore Roosevelt said, “A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.”