Votes not for sale in this village in Tacloban City
TACLOBAN CITY — Vote buying in Monday’s elections was rampant in many barangays in Eastern Visayas, but one village in this city chose to become an exemption.
No money changed hands between candidates and voters at Barangay 36-A in Tacloban City, Leyte province, during the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.
And the winners expressed relief that they did not spend a lot in the polls.
Rebecca Obenieta Palomino, who beat three other candidates for barangay chair, said she spent only P5,000 during the two-week campaign, mostly on fliers and tarpaulins.
First-time candidate Analiza Siguan shelled out only P1,000 to become the No. 1 councilor.
“I’m really proud of ourselves. We had not resorted to vote buying just to win and at the same time, our voters here did not wait for something just for them to cast their votes,” Siguan said.
Barangay 36-A has more than 370 registered voters among more than 1,300 residents. Its annual budget for 2018 is P1.6 million.
Palomino said she, too, was happy that her village had become an exception to the widespread vote buying in other villages in Tacloban and in other parts of Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran, Samar, Northern Samar and Eastern Samar. Voters were given from P20 to P5,000 each.
“We really hope that we can sustain this kind of attitude and I can really say that we have won because our people believe in us and not because we have resorted to vote buying,” said Palomino, a retired Land Transportation Office employee.
Palomino, Siguan and the rest of the elected councilors—Resurreccion Tingzon, Virginia Cabrera, Maria Algin Lucero, Ma. Jadit Marchadesch, Lolita Cartalla and Arturo Jayan—were proclaimed past 10 p.m. on Monday.
The winning officials attributed the phenomenon to the barangay’s stable source of income and the voters’ high educational attainment.
“They have their own income. We will be ashamed to give them money because they will reject it for sure,” Palomino said.
She said it was not easy to convince the residents to run because many of them had high-paying jobs. They include a Regional Trial Court judge, a mayor and high-level government employees.
“Most of the candidates are retired employees like myself,” Palomino said.
The chair of the village receives more than P7,000 in monthly honorarium, while each councilor gets P5,400.
Mary Lyn Hugo, poll chair of the two precincts at the barangay, said she was surprised that there was no vote buying in the village. “Hopefully, this will also happen in other barangays,” Hugo said.
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