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EDITORIAL: Slicing Votes Thinly

At least four partylist groups have so far identified themselves publicly of being geographically and ethnically rooted in Bicolandia and at the same time trumpeting themselves of promoting the region’s interest.

They are: Bicol Saro, Ako Bikol (AKB), Kusog Bicolandia, and Bunyog. Historically Bicol Saro is the oldest but it has not posted any victory during its entire existence, even prior to the successful People Power revolution in 1986. Simply stated, this group already existed during the twilight moments of the conjugal dictatorship. What is surprising is the massive political advertisement on television featuring Iriga’s superstar Nora Aunor. Who is financing the multimillion-peso -worth advertisement?

Ako Bikol has been registering consecutive successes for several elections but whether it has done anything good for the region, which it could claim credit exclusively is of doubtful basis. This is so because almost all the projects it claims credit for are actually of national application.

Many of them also are creditable to district representatives. Among them is the scholarship program, which even without the partylist groups can still be pursued, the same being of nationwide application. AKB has been claiming credit about certain TESDA projects, which the latter can implement with or without the partylist participation. In plain, AKB is merely free riding on what otherwise could be realized by TESDA on its own.

AKB also lays claims for some infrastructure projects, which could have been constructed upon the initiative of DPWH and the regular district representatives. When it comes to the field of education, again AKB’s role may be aptly described as scene stealing.

So what is the aftermath? Well, most if not all of the partylist representatives nominated have become safely positioned politically, as a consequence of which they have become traditional politicians and eventually joining the contest involving local positions and regular district representation.

This heartbreaking reality highlights the failure of the partylist system and the entry of other partylists offers no positive promise. Note that almost all the partylists joining the fray in the political process involving partylists are harping the same tune. All of them promise to promote Bicolandia’s interest .

But practically, everybody is presenting motherhood statements. They have not touched any specific plans or programs for the betterment of the region. This being so, with all of the four partylist groups trumpeting the same sound, it would not be farfetched that all of them will suffer debacle.

It should not be overlooked that an individual voter can vote only one partylist group. With four of them struggling to have a slice of the Bicol votes, it is highly probable that not one of them would garner enough percentage votes to be entitled to a seat in the House of Representatives. What gives anyway? The truth of the matter is partylist representatives give no significant role in nation building, considering that whatever voice they may have gets muted in the midst of seasoned politicians.

In the end, most of the members of the House become part of an exclusive lobby group, otherwise known as super majority now, or rainbow coalition before. If ever partylist representatives have any part in the legislature, it is in partaking a share of the congressional pork barrel and lengthening as well as entwining bureaucratic red tape, along with line agencies

We see handwritings on the wall pointing to the beginning of the end of the partylist system. In fact, Bicolandia’s partylist votes will be sliced thinly with none of the partylist group identifying geography and ethnicity of being Bicol-based , gaining enough percentage votes.

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