Even at this stage in time, with politicians and would be politicos eager to run for public office in the 2010 local and national elections eying the period for the submission of submission of certificates of candidacy in November of this year, there are still a lot of Filipinos who have the lingering fear that the elections may not push through as scheduled. This is, of course, in view of what they suspect as veiled attempts by the political allies of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to find ways to postpone or derail next year's elections so as to the extend GMA's term of office.
They also dread the political chaos and uncertainty that may result from the possibility that, through the much maligned and widely discredited charter change movement (whether of the Cha-Cha or Con-Ass variety), the same cohorts may be able to remove the constitutional prohibitions in the 1987 Constitution that would allow her to run again for reelection in May 2010 and possibly serve another six years as head of state.
But if one is to visit Lianga these days, such reservations are bound to be immediately swept away by what are clear signs and portents that local politicians are definitely preparing and positioning themselves for what everyone here is expecting to be a potentially bruising yet exciting electoral slug fest next year. Among the locals, there is a lot of political talk and healthy speculation about who is in and out and which candidate has the advantage over the other.
The banners and streamers pictured here are ostensibly for the purpose of paying tribute to the townspeople of Lianga who will be celebrating their annual town fiesta on the 15th of this month. Yet everyone knows that they serve primarily to advertise individuals who are definitely planning to run in the coming elections. Name familiarity and facial recognition after all, be it in politics or show business, is the name of the game.
In the case of Lianga and the many other small and remote towns in this part of the country which, unfortunately do not have local print or broadcast media of their own, these streamers and banners are the expensive yet the most logical and effective way prospective candidates for public office introduce and advertise themselves. Thus public celebrations like town fiestas provide an occasion for them to legally put up political advertisements and essentially begin campaigning very early even before the start of the official campaign period early next year.
In the race for public office apparently, beating the starter's pistol is eminently just as crucial as creating the perception that a candidate has the resources and the will not only to finish the campaign but win big while his opponents lie crumpled like unworthy pretenders in his dust.