Limiting election campaign contributions to P5m

A proposed measure filed by Bohol Rep. Arthur Yap which seeks to regulate and put a cap to election campaign contributions and spending to P5 million caught my attention and made me laugh yesterday.

The former Agriculture Secretary of former President Gloria Arroyo says putting a cap in donor contributions and expenses of candidates during elections would prevent conflict of interest and corruption.

Yap ’s intentions may be good but his bill is expected to be shot down by his multi-millionaire colleagues in the Lower House who spends at least P50 million each to get elected in their respective districts.

During the May 10, 2010 presidential elections, administration campaign manager Prospero “Butch” Pichay who handled the P90 million budget for the six senatorial administration bets, said even candidate for a barangay chairman in Quezon City spends at least P15 million to win in the village polls.

The Omnibus Election Code does not impose a limit on how much rich businessmen and corporate sponsors can contribute to a particular candidate and this raises possibility of conflict of interest in the future between the candidate and the sponsors on certain issues, Yap says.

But considering the Filipino candidate’s culture and traditions, even nuisance candidates engage in numerous fund–raising activities, legal or illegal, to the max.

I don’t think any candidate seriously running for a position of mayor, governor, congressman, senator, vice-president and president, would spend only P5 million for the duration of the campaign.

That kind of candidate is not in his right mind and does not intend to win in the elections.


Remembering Ondoy – I was supposed to travel and spend the weekend in my house in Paombong, Bulacan in the morning of September 26 last year when heavy rains brought by Typhoon Ondoy began to fall and flooded our streets in Sta. Mesa, Manila .

At first, I thought that in an hour or so, the rains would be gone and then I could continue with my travel. But I was wrong. The rains started pouring at about 9 am and ended about eight hours later.

At about 11 am on same day, a friend called for an SOS saying that his car was stalled by rising floodwaters near the Lambingan Bridge located at the boundary of Sta. Mesa, Manila and San Juan.
I assembled a team of five to help and rescue my friend who was trapped inside his stalled car. But the floodwaters rose fast and we could not pass through the street beside the SM Mezza building.
The street has turned into a river with rampaging floodwaters. Only one managed to get near the car of my friend and helped him push the car to an elevated area inside the Central Colleges of the Philippines .

Both sides of the streets at the Ramon Magsaysay Blvd – from Lambingan Bridge to V. Mapa street in Sta. Mesa – was also filled with rampaging neck-deep floodwaters. It was a very scary sight.

Unknown to us at that time was the overall effect of Ondoy which ravaged the eastern side of Metro Manila, the rivers surrounding and dissecting the area like the Tumana, San Mateo and Marikina rivers that overflowed, washed away villages, killing more than 400 persons and displacing tens of thousands of people.

A week later, Typhoon Pepeng , which also brought in huge amount of rainfall, arrived and devastated 80 percent of the whole of Pangasinan. Then, a congressional probe on the incident was sought, after which nothing happened.

Since Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng came and left, the government appears to have only made “band-aid”solution to the flooding problem, no long-term measures had been put up to improve Metro Manila’s waterways and drainage system.

Unless the government takes time to allocate funds and adopt a sincere political will to the problem, floods, as Geologist Dr. Carlo Queano says, will be a fact of life in Metro Manila.

No wonder that whenever heavy rains fall, residents of low-lying areas becomes nervous and start to pray for the immediate cessation of the rains. Some say this does something good for many Filipinos – Naaalala at napapalapit tayo sa Diyos tuwing umuulan.


For feedback and comments, please email me at Buong Giliw/Romie A. Evangelista


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