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The Sound of Sirens

Gawaing TRAPO: Premature Campaigning in Pasay City

Pinoy definition for non-Pinoys

  • an abbreviation for TRAditional POliticians - corrupt government officials who employ various tactics to persuade the common people to vote for them over and over again.
  • also a Tagalog word for rag or a cloth you use for cleaning, a dirty rag

Around 5:00 PM yesterday, I was working in my room, I heard sound systems being set up in our neighbors' (I'm pertaining to the next street at the back of our house. My bedroom window is facing their lot.) We got used to them having parties late at night, especially on holidays. I immediately thought, "May videoke na naman sa kabila." [They're going to have a karaoke party again.] 

I went downstairs to do some chores. At around 6:00 PM, the party had begun. I wasn't bothered at all because I planned to sleep downstairs anyway. My parents and my brother will be going to the cemetery later that night; so if they're going to sing all night I wouldn't hear them as much as when I'm in my room.

Soon enough, we realized that they weren't having a party but a political campaign program of some sort; or maybe it was just a birthday celebration with high profile politicians as guests. (I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt and not jumping into conclusions just yet.)  I went upstairs again to investigate. This is what I heard.

"Dapat yang mga hukay sa Malibay ay matapos na... Dapat ipagpatuloy ang daang matuwid." [They should end all the excavations in Malibay. "Daang matuwid" straight path is the present administration's battle cry.] He was pertaining to the excavation done by Maynilad along C. Jose street. He went on rambling about it for a minute or so, then he introduced Iliana Ibay.

Ms. Iliana Ibay started talking about anti-poverty programs, education for seniors... The audience sounded ecstatic about her speech. She even mentioned Akbayan Partylist and Ms. Riza Hontiveros, who was her cousin according to her.

The emcee called a group of dancers to the stage. I forgot the name of the group. I was expecting some updated cheesy pop music to play. Instead I heard a spoof of an 70's or 80's pop song which goes like... "Chona, chona... Vendivel... Chona, chona... Vendivel... Chooonnnaaa..." (Is it Chona or Jonna? I'm not sure.) 

They are definitely campaigning!

Next on stage was Congresswoman Emi Calixto-Rubiano. By the time she was speaking, firetruck sirens were heard. We can tell the fire was near because the sirens were so loud. I assume the fire was happening around 200 to 300 m from their location.

The congresswoman continued talking. The program resumed as if nothing else happened.

Several other aspiring politicians took the stage. I didn't care anymore. By the time I went downstairs, the campaign party was even louder. They seemed like they were having games and raffles, fun stuff, while the firefighters try to save the people on the nearby street. The party competed with the sound of the sirens.

Schedule of Activities for Philippines' 2016 Election

What's wrong with this scenario?
  1. Campaign Period for Local Officials is on March 26, 2016. Giving flyers, playing campaign jingles (ehem! Ms. Chona or Jonna Vendivel!), or proclaiming programs (Ms. Iliana Ibay and Cong. Emi Calixto-Rubiano and other aspiring local officials) is not allowed until March 26, 2016. 
  2. How can these politicians continue their speeches knowing that nearby lives are in danger? I believe that the firefighters are capable of saving the people in danger, but as a public servant, you must rally the people to help or at least be sensitive to others. With the audience that you have within a certain event, you can persuade them to check on their loved ones who might be affected of the present disaster, or get some goods or donations. They didn't even stop for a silent prayer. The games and raffles continued.
  3. How can the audience enjoy the party while others suffer? This is a question the audience must answer within themselves. 

I wonder how the politicians and their audience felt in that event.
Were they concerned for the people who were soon going to be homeless?
Were they too focused on raffle prizes or giveaways to even notice the loud sirens?
Too many questions.

I feel bad not having the ability to run to the fire and save people in an actual sense. What I did is stop for a moment and prayed that there will be no casualties in this event. When the smoke clears and when people will ask for donations, at least I will have something to give.

I urge you, my fellow PasayeƱos, to consider this scenario carefully.

If these politicians cannot put aside their politics for the welfare of the people, they are NOT WORTHY of the position they are running for.

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