Watching the news long enough provides some viewers an idea on how to be a Philippine politician. As you may have noticed, the kind of politics found in this country changed only in terms of technology. But when it comes to practices, it is still the same. Enumerating them would be an interesting foray to other aspiring politicians.
– Sponsor projects
It is one of the easiest ways to earn recognition. Getting your name out in the public is how to be a Philippine politician by establishing name recall. All you need to do is take a walk down the street. You will easily find posts that say “Donated by [Insert name of political candidate here]”. Some will go “Through the efforts of [Insert name of political candidate here]”. You see them on waiting sheds, lamp posts, steel gates or walls of public schools and circumcision drives.
Even politicians currently in public office do these. The main difference on how to be a Philippine politician on their part? They use taxpayers’ money to fund government projects and post their name on the billboard. Credit is given to where it is due once the project becomes successful.
How to be a Philippine politician even if you end up losing in the election? The drive is still there but an overhaul regarding sponsorship strategies should be set in place. Some of them still has the drive to sponsor projects and events to gather enough votes for the next election. What is 3 years to someone serious in entering politics? It can mean more time to plan projects. Those with funds to spare get back in the game earlier than the competition expects them to do so.
– Be high-profile
It is not enough to be talented. How to be a Philippine politician using your talent? Be high profile and make the most of the exposure that you receive. This is why rumors still circulate on whether Manny Pacquiao will run for president. He still has a massive following. They believe that Pacman is smart enough to lead the country out of poverty. There are other talented boxers in the Philippines. But Pacman commands massive website traffic and mainstream media mileage.
The same analogy is applied to the late Senator Renato Cayetano. Before winning a seat in the Senate, he was the lawyer representing Lauro Vizconde in the Vizconde Massacre Case in the 90s. How to be a Philippine politician using the media mileage in this case? The brilliance he presented in the courtroom made him a memorable figure. He ended up looking like a hero defending the weak by virtue of criminal justice. That image resonated in the electorate come election time.
This is why most politicians today would do whatever in their power to be on broadcast media. How to be a Philippine politician when you are not exposed enough? It only becomes a problem when you try to be everything to your constituents. When you do not have a consistent image, you don’t present a politician with convictions to stand up for. This brings us to the next pointer.
– Be associated with an advocacy
How to be a Philippine politician when it seem like the Philippines never ran out of problems? Pick an advocacy with which you can easily resonate your image with. It can be the environment, human rights, good governance or reproductive health. This was how current Senator Pia Cayetano ended up establishing an image distinct from that of her father, the late Senator Renato Cayetano.
Youth empowerment is associated with current Senator Bam Aquino. This meant a focus on job generation and community development. He managed to put this advocacy into practice through his social enterprise Hapinoy. Just like Senator Pia, Senator Bam carved a positive image distinct from his more high-profile relatives. This brings us to our last point.
– Be part of a dynasty
How to be a Philippine politician when you will always be compared with more accomplished relatives? Comparison is inevitable. Efforts at being different are welcome. But other politicians would use the instant last name recall to get the electorate voting for them too. With the public recognizing them as the son/daughter/nephew/niece/distant relative of a prominent politician. All that is left for them to do is stage events or projects. It would benefit the community. At the same time, it would provide positive media mileage for them.
Of course, there is a pressure that comes from hailing from one of the prominent dynasties. How to be a Philippine politician when political will and diplomacy does not actually run in the family? The offspring gets to decide that on their own. The burden of whether they deserved to be elected in office lays on the electorate now.