Cash-strapped UNA ‘riding bicycles,’ says Tiangco

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MANILA, Philippines—In the mad dash to election day, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) will be greatly hobbled by its inability to air television commercials featuring all its nine senatorial candidates together.

UNA campaign manager Toby Tiangco said the opposition alliance, unable to raise funds, would not be putting out group TV ads even in the crucial last days before May 13 and it would be up to the individual candidates to pay for their own commercials.

Tiangco said UNA could not compete with the administration Team PNoy when it came to flooding the airwaves and acknowledged that this gave the ruling coalition a clear advantage since television was a major campaign arena.

“Definitely they have a bigger advantage. We’re trying to make up by holding more sorties, longer sorties,” he said in a phone interview.

“TV is it. But going on sorties is the next best thing to TV. If you want to buy a car but cannot afford it, you ride a bicycle. We can only afford a bicycle. What can we do?”

Candidates normally unleash a barrage of commercials in the final sprint, in the hope that this would keep them top of mind when voters go to the polls. But this does not come cheap—

a 30-second prime time ad costs at least P500,000.

Aside from the individual advertisements of Team PNoy candidates, commercials featuring President Aquino calling on voters to elect the 12-member administration slate continue to air regularly.

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