That there was an unusual number of registrants during the last day to register as a voter for the October elections a few days ago was suspicious, to say the least. The would-be voters trooped to the various Commission on Elections (Comelec) offices nationwide —especially in the National Capital Region (NCR)—in droves, when they could have done the same weeks ahead of the deadline.
The universal suspicion is that the traditional politicians were at it again. They had resorted to the old ‘hakot’ brigade to boost their stock for the next electoral exercise. The sad thing about this is that the October elections are supposed to be apolitical.
The positions up for grabs are for the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) and the Barangay, the latter being the grassroots local government unit.
Barangay officials serve the community, making sure that the essential services are delivered to their specific areas only. There should be no partisan politics involved.
SK officials, on the other hand, are supposed to help the youth of the same communities face the issues unique to them. The SK elections are not intended to train them to become future trapos.
But as the old saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Whether we like it or not, the SK and Barangay elections are being politicized, and countless potential voters were most likely dragged like sheep to register at the nearest Comelec office so that their benefactors—almost certainly local politicians with short to mid-term agendas—would have greater clout for all future elections.
It’s a sickening thought that countless young Filipinos are being prepped to take part in partisan politics at such an early age. First, they politicize the SK polls. Then they take part in Barangay elections. By the time regular elections come around, they will be ready to run for councilor. By then, they will consider themselves veteran politicos, ready to conquer the world. Or start dipping their fingers into the local government kitty.
Recently, there have been calls to dispense with the SK altogether. This is a most sensible proposal, as the SK has not really achieved anything of note.
The Barangay officials throughout the archipelago are another matter. They may or may not be the public servants that they are supposed to be.
We can only hope that the Comelec can do something to make sure that the trapos and the political dynasties have as little effect on the Barangay elections as possible. The large number of men and women who were herded to the poll body’s offices earlier this week tells us that the cancerous presence of the dirty politicians remains widespread.
We recognize the disease. Now let’s find the cure.