Another election day has passed and 29 more people have given up their lives in pursuit of an appointment as barangay captain, kagawad or SK chairman. After all, there are a lot of people wanting to take that first slippery step up the greasy pole that is the Philippine political system, so you have to kick away the competition (see next story).
I biked around the barangays near my home a couple of Sundays ago and the campaigning was in full swing. I live in the Makati, the richest city in the Philippines, so perhaps there is more grease lubricating our pole than elsewhere, but the electioneering is amazing for such minor positions—T-shirts with the names of candidates, jingles, and an endless racket from morning until night! The fireworks are still going off 24 hours after the count.
Grease providers like Mayor Jejomar Binay in Makati don’t provide all this election gear for nothing of course. There is plenty of utang na loob (debt) involved and it will all be called in next time the big boys need the numbers. But for now, let’s hear it for our new elected officials as they sup a post-election-alcohol ban drink and anticipate 3 years of sorting out their neighbours’ quarrels—what a job!