Analysts expect 80% of 65 Million Filipino voters to go to the polls today as the country conducts its national and local elections. Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Education head James Jimenez says they expect at least 55 million voters to cast their ballots for their preferred candidates.
Filipinos will vote for their president, vice president, twelve senators, more than 200 Congressmen, and thousands of mayors and their local councils in fourteen regions of the Philippines.
Most Filipino voters consider these elections as a watershed in Philippine history after the former senator and Marcos son and name sake, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Junior decided to cast his lot for the presidency, a move that many see as a comeback of the former dictator’s family who was cast out of Malacanang some thirty plus years ago.
Surveys upon surveys depict Marcos Junior as a “runaway winner” yet many see a tightly contested presidential fight between him and vice president Leni Robredo. The late surge and the house-to-house campaigning undertaken by Robredo’s millions of volunteers had cast doubt on the winnability of Marcos Junior whose only claim to have amassed millions of voters is thru propaganda.
Many see those surveys as a form of mental conditioning. Analysts say, the fate of the country now lies in grassroots organizing. The fight, they say, is at ground levels.
While Robredo’s survey numbers hover between 20-30%, the late surge might actually double her chances of winning the polls. A fairly recent survey shows Robredo winning by several percentage points over BBM’s 30-plus percent. Robredo enjoys a huge following and support from the Catholic church, civil society, lay organizations, and most especially, youth groups.
Jimenez says fifty six percent (56%) of today’s voters belonged to the youth sector between the ages of 18-35. Following closely behind the youth vote are today’s titos and titas with about 23%. Senior citizens number around 5 million.
Poll history however shows only 30% of the youth sector go to the polls come election time.
Galvanizing poll support entails huge logistical and financial costs, especially with the rise of oil and commodity prices. In 2019, analysts estimate that a national candidate usually spends close to a billion pesos for the win. Most of today’s campaign expenses are channeled thru grassroots organizing.
Voters are likewise expected to vote for their partylist organizations. Pasada (no. 126 in the ballot), a partylist organization of commuters and transport workers is expecting at least one (1) seat in this 19th Congress. Dom Hernandez, first nominee and Secretary General believes that it is now time for government to prioritize Filipino commuters who comprise 97% of the total population.