By Atty. Gilberto Lauengco, J.D.

Barangay Elections Last Minute Campaign Guide (Part 1)

October 11, 2023, 5:56 pm

“How do you win an election? Get more votes than your opponents” - Anonymous

In eight days, the official campaign period for the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections will begin. Candidates for the various positions involved will officially have 10 grueling days to convince voters to: a) care about barangay elections; b) actually go out and vote on election day; c) remember their names and d) somehow vote for them. As always, the position of barangay chairman will be the most coveted prize up for grabs.

There will be 42,027 sets of barangay officials to be contested. There are 7,226 candidates for barangay chairman who will run unopposed across the nation. If you are one of these lucky individuals, you can skip this guide. All you have to do to win is wake up early on election day and vote for yourself. If you are the incumbent barangay chairman and you: a) have more or less done your jobs properly; b) are not essentially unlikeable; c) are in a “controlled” environment or d) are heavily favored by the local powers that be (even in a supposedly non-partisan elections), then you can probably just lightly read this article. This “guide” is for the challenger candidates.

First of all, it must be stressed that unlike the local and national automated elections, candidates can be held liable for premature campaigning. As such, you really do have just those 10 days to actually campaign. Can a challenger actually win with only 10 days of campaign? Well, if Gilas can win the Asiad gold with just 12 days of preparation, then anything is possible.

Second, even if a challenger candidate cannot actually campaign, there are still many tasks that can and should be done prior to the campaign period proper.

Revisiting and focusing on the target – At this point prior to the campaign period, the challenger candidate must revisit the statistics for his barangay and his minimum vote target. The vote target is 50 percent plus one of the possible voters which is the average percentage of voter turnout multiplied by the number of voters in the barangay. For example, if your barangay has 20,000 voters and your average voter turnout is 70 percent then the possible voter turnout is 14,000 more or less and the minimum target is 7,001. Basically, you and your team need to identify 7,001 voters from the voter list who will probably vote for you. You and your team must actually be able to name the actual voter who will vote for you and mark them on the list. This is called primary tagging. If at this point you are still unable to do this bare minimum then you must at the very least calculate your sphere of influence.

Calculate your sphere of influence- The bare minimum voter target can also help you calculate your minimum sphere of influence. Your sphere of influence is the sum of your team, volunteers, supporters, family members and friends (who you can count on to spread your message or try and convince people to vote for you within their circle of neighbors and friends). You must be able to identify and specifically tag the names of these people from a list of voters. The process which you use to identify this list must be audited and vetted. You cannot just rely on a single person’s assertion. If you have a volunteer who refuses to name their corresponding sphere of influence or who utters statements like “malakas tayo doon o sa pamilyang yoon kaya lahat sila boboto sa atin” then please have their assessment vetted. At the very least the sum of your sphere of influence must reach 20 percent of your minimum target of votes. So, in the example above if you have a minimum of 7,001 as your target voter your sphere of influence must be at 1,400 voters. In my 30 plus years of campaign management, especially in local elections, candidates who can correctly identify this sphere of influence greatly increase the probability of winning. Ideally, your sphere of influence should be scattered in a manner that reflects the number of voters in your sitios.

Plan your campaign – Given the limited number of days in the campaign period, challenger candidates must have a clear and detailed campaign plan. During this pre campaign period, the candidate and his team must now plan out in detail the sorties for the campaign period. In addition, you must have specific tasks and targets for your volunteers. For example, you must tell volunteer A to ensure that a specific number of persons must appear in your sorties to assess your chances. A survey at this point will greatly help in assessing the number of people you need to get in a sortie. If you cannot afford a survey, then you can assess your chances by the number of people you can bring to your sortie multiplied by your conversion ability. To calculate a conversion ability, you might need a professional to assist you by observing you in one sortie.

Lastly at this point you must have already honed your image and message and ensure that you will be consistent during your sorties. For example, you can be a tough executive to be and your message would be that you will rid the barangay of all bad people. Never try to be someone for everybody. You cannot get everybody to like you.

These are just general tips that can possibly help the challenger candidate. There are of course many aspects and variables in an election. Next week we will tackle the campaign period. As a disclaimer, these tips are just to increase probabilities. If you still see symptoms of losing this election, please consult a professional. We have no therapeutic claims for losing candidates or campaigns.

This is my oblique observation.

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Presidential Communications Office.


About the Columnist

Image of Atty. Gilberto Lauengco, J.D.

ATTY. GILBERTO LAUENGCO, J.D. is a lawyer, educator, political strategist, government consultant, Lego enthusiast, and the director of CAER Think Tank. He is a Former Vice Chairman of MECO, Special Assistant of NFA and City Administrator among others. His broad experience has molded his unique approach to issues analysis which he calls the oblique observation.