We did not visit any families in Sampaguita today because it was the much anticipated election
election but a midterm election for congress senate and mayors.
An election in the Philippines is much different than elections in America. First big difference I
noticed was a gun ban that started back in February. All gun sales were halted including sales
of ammo. Shooting ranges were shut down and the people who stored their guns at the range
were not allowed to get them until after the May 13th election.
In the 72 hours up to election no large sums of money were allowed to be withdrawn from the
bank. This was an effort to cut down on buying votes. I know of several people who received
cash from politicians. They come to poor areas and when they shake your hand they leave
money behind in your hand. In some areas if you have a poster hanging up for a politician they
will give you money. It does not make sense because they don’t know how you ultimately going
to vote. Maybe they figure some of these people are so poor they will be grateful for the money
and vote for them, it must work to a point because all parties do it.
My favorite was the alcohol sales and consumption ban 48 before the election. I read stories
yesterday just after midnight when it went into effect about people getting busted for selling and
failing breathalyzer tests. I did not understand why the government would ban alcohol sales; did
they not want people to vote while under the influence? Well I found out today going to the polls
with Mylene why they have a ban on alcohol. With all the stress and effort it takes to vote if you
have people with a little alcohol in them violence is sure to erupt. I would say if Americans had
to go through what Filipino’s go through to vote the Americans simply would not vote.
There are always issues that come up on election day even in America but there were so many
some funny some, some sad, and some outrageous.
The presidents spokesperson was among many disenfranchised voters who were not allowed
to vote. She could not vote because she was not registered to vote. Blackouts caused many
problems in many areas. Inconsistences in the server results caused them to stop releasing
data early in the day and as of this evening they stopped counting votes until tomorrow.
When you vote in the Philippines you get a card paper much like this
After you fill in the circle for your vote and finish you go up to a machine and slide your paper
ballot through and it is recorded on a sim card and the results sent to a command center. The
actual ballot falls into a transparent bin below face down so no one sees how you voted.
The see through bin is sealed up and cannot be opened.
Before leaving everyone who votes must dip their finger in a type of dye that stays on your
hands for several day to keep people from voting multiple times.
The problem they were having is the sim card readings coming in to headquarters were way off
in many cases showing way more votes than there were registered voters in the precinct. That
is why they stopped posting results earlier in the day.
It was an experience to be out and about on voting day in the Philippines. We look forward to
getting back to helping in Sampaguita tomorrow. Because I had so many people ask I would
like to explain the time difference. We are 12 hours ahead of eastern standard time. So if it is 7:
00pm Monday evening in Ohio it is 7:00am Tuesday morning here in the Philippines.
John Latecki jr