According to the quick count we made last October 25, 2010 in the Barangay Elections, only 60% of registered voters turned out to vote. Not a lot of people vote during the Barangay elections as much as they would in National elections. My own thinking tells me that it’s because the 40% are indifferent about who their Barangay captain is, and they care more about who their President will be.
What many do not know (and I used to not know myself) is that Barangay captains have a very important role in the community. Through them, garbage collection should be in place, drinking water should be provided, free clinics, free medicines, livelihood programs, and security. The Mayor’s office could not provide directly to each barangay. It actually relies on the local offices (i.e. the Barangays) to provide these basic needs. If your Barangay captain does not work hard and just simply use the budget for consecutive “Lakbay Aral” programs, then the community does feel indifferent because they do not feel their Barangay Captain at work. They are happy with status quo.
Having experienced being in the middle of this “small time” politics, I realized that it is freaking dirty. There are still “rumors” of vote buying. Imagine this: the incumbent Captain has done so much improvement for the Barangay compared to the previous. The incumbent posted campaign materials all over the barangay. The previous Captain decides to run against the incumbent, did not post any campaign materials, no motorcade, no jingle, and still manages to get 40% of the total votes cast. The incumbent who has obviously done so much should have won a landslide. It gets you wondering.
Your barangay is your closest locality — your closest connection to the President. Your voice is important. Get involved in the Barangay even as much as you are involved with the President whose decisions do not directly affect you personally 100% of the time. Your Barangay Captain’s decisions affect you. Vote in the next Barangay elections. Know your Captain. Know the program. Know his or her projects.