The rains have come

No, my dear. You don’t need those umbrellas and raincoats. I am talking about a different kind of rain,something that is traditionally practiced during election days here in the Philippines. You know it’s election time when Filipinos begin to engage in the act of neologism.

“Ulan.” The first time I heard this term was during the 2004 Presidential Election. At that time, I was innocent that there were phrases and words used that simply means the vote market is officially on and whoever is the highest bidder wins the people’s vote. “Ulan” or rain in English represents money that pours from the heavens above coming from the political gods and goddesses. There are people designated in different areas where they are tasked to come up with a list of people who vowed to vote for their god in exchange of money. Here’s the catch, as the election comes closer, another camp enters the scene and offers a higher bid. The vote market becomes bullish as the dawn of the election day comes closer. With that, another traditional strategy begins…

“Kamang.” This is the Cebuano term for crawl. Desperate camps would crawl to different houses just to be the last bidder. By this time, each camp sends their own men to guard their vote. I even heard people shouting… “higher banker! Higher!” At the end of the day, these people would start counting their earnings and proceed to their designated precincts. During the manual voting elections, political candidates would send poll watchers. They are tasked not only to monitor the activities in each precinct but to ensure that the people that they bought would really vote for their god. How? Code, yes a code will be written so that when the election inspector reads the vote, the poll watcher would just take not of it… CHECK!

Now that we’re already on an automated election, I do not know how these political gods would monitor their people. A code is no longer applicable since we’re using a shading method already. Different tactics, different style… that’s how election works here in the Philippines. For me, those people who offer themselves with a certain price tag is not only selling their votes but their dignity as well. In exchange, corruption is inevitable since these political candidates would get back what they invested. As they take their oath, it marks the beginning of darkness when people will be deprived of quality and transparency in governance. As these strong rain comes, it is not summer that is gone too soon. It is the essence of your very person that is being tarnished. Save yourself, vote wisely.