AndThe President Is….

By Jaime Pilapil

The President is……

The presidential campaign period officially starts February 9 but the climate is getting hotter, figuratively and “PAGASA-ly” speaking. With El Nino setting in, I’m sure water crisis is an abundant topic among the national candidates.
So far, six Malacanang hopefuls are making progress, namely Noynoy Aquino, Manny Villar, Erap Estrada, Gibo Teodoro, Eddie Villanueva and Richard Gordon.
Aquino has been leading the pact ever since he announced his availability. In the 2007 senatorial elections, Aquino placed sixth. Maybe, those who voted for him did so because of his family name.
The well publicized funeral of President Cory, ala 1983 burial of Ninoy, catapulted Noynoy to the recesses of the Filipino minds who tend to sympathize with candidates whose relative (much more a parent) died prior to election day.
No. It was not the mere death and long funeral that attracted millions of Filipinos to Noynoy. When people saw him join ordinary folks walk in white t-shirt with sweat trickling from his receding hairline at the back of the funeral car, beamed live on television, Pinoys identified themselves with Noynoy, which consequently a job Villar is spending millions in television ads until these days. I suggest, Noynoy must show these funeral footages during campaign rallies, especially in provinces. Better still, reproduce this in CDs and DVDs and distribute to millions.
Since his closest rivals, Villar and Estrada, are saddled with corruption allegations, voters prefer Aquino who is untainted like his parents, in contrast to President Arroyo who despite macro economic gains has a very low acceptance rating due to graft and corruption and persistent 2004 election rigging allegations which refused to be buried along with FPJ.
Teodoro like Aquino is not smeared by graft charges but the more he defends the Arroyo administration the more he finds himself in a quagmire, unlucky for him.
However, the results of this presidential election will all depend on who launched an effective campaign. Still, Teodoro has a chance. One unsolicited suggestion to Gibo, make your wife one of your spokespersons and see the effect.
I did not say campaign machinery but effective campaign. You may have well-oiled campaign machinery but if you fail to get strong endorsements, then you will miss the home base.
In the1992 presidential derby, Ramon Mitra had a well-oiled campaign machinery but Cory Aquino’s endorsement of Fidel V. Ramos ignited the hottest endorsements from all sectors, churches (including Catholic and protestant denominations; Ramos was the only Protestant president we had in history so far), business and civic organizations.
Running a campaign is a tedious job with so many details that if you missed one item it could ruin the entire campaign.
The process starts with the SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of the candidate and his closest rivals. Next is to identify your voters, those captured voters and those you can convince. Forget those you can’t lure to your side. Count if you have enough captured voters, which will dictate how much “hard work” you need to exert until Election Day.
By this time, you need to pick a campaign message which will summarize what you are and what you want to do. In the case of Barrack Obama, he simply campaigned on the platform of “change”. Your campaign message is what you will say when you are convincing the people to vote for you. “Change or more of the same,” Obama ranted, promoting his cause and discrediting the Republican government of outgoing President George W. Bush.
How you will say your message can be in the form of handouts, phone calls, television appearances, radio interviews, newspaper stories, internet, door to door, mails, and visibility tactics like posters, stickers, caravans, billboards, mugs, caps, and t-shirts, among others.
For a national candidate, the most important part of the campaign is to ensure that you are supported locally, by the private sector and the local religious groups. Send your reactions to -30-


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