By Atty. Gilberto Lauengco, J.D.

It’s beginning to look a lot like … Mottainai

January 10, 2024, 3:36 pm

“Today will never happen again. Don’t waste it with a false start or no start at all.” - Og Mandino

In the Philippines, you know that the long Christmas season has begun when you hear and see the signs of the said season. Christmas carols, bells, Christmas trees and other decorations begin to assault your senses when September comes. In this country, there is another season which is even longer than Christmas.

This month, we have already seen several 2025 midterm election senatorial preference survey results circulating in our news feeds. Each survey has different results and analysis which is now being actively discussed by thousands of netizens. In opinion columns and shows, political commentaries have now increased. Subtle public relation pieces for or against potential candidates such as stories and features are now popping up everywhere. There are also a growing number of posters being put up with greetings for every occasion or event imaginable by everyone thinking of running in the elections. All of these things clearly show that election season has already begun.

In keeping with the season, the government institution charged with holding elections has also been hard at work preparing for the said event. Despite initial hiccups, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is now in the process of choosing, through public bidding, the new automated elections system that will be used in the coming 2025 elections.

All the players and stakeholders in the midterm elections are now beginning to make their initial moves. With barely sixteen months left before the May 2025 midterm elections, anyone planning to participate in the said elections need to begin preparations as early as possible. You need to finalize your plans, make your message, hire your political strategist and begin your journey today. The starting point for any electoral plans is always the election baseline survey.

A baseline survey, in general, is a research or study conducted to assess the situation prior to or at the start of a project. A baseline survey for election purposes measures several important factors needed in preparing for a campaign.

First, an election baseline survey can measure a potential candidate’s awareness level in the voting population. Do people even know the potential candidate exists? Does his/her name even ring a bell? Second, an election baseline survey can measure the potential candidate’s acceptability as a candidate and corollary to that it can also measure preference levels. This is the crucial first step in any campaign. If you are a potential candidate, commission a survey NOW.

Sixteen months may seem like a long time but it is not. There is a Japanese concept known as Mottainai. Literally, it means “what a waste”. Today, the said concept is also understood to mean “we should not waste time! “Time is the one political resource that cannot be added to any campaign”. You can add more manpower, funding, logistics, and exposure but your campaign time is limited.

In any endeavors or undertaking you want to do, you really need to start today.

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.