By Atty. Gilberto Lauengco, J.D.
Barangay Elections: Last minute campaign guide (Part 2)
“Every election is determined by the people who show up.” - Larry Sabato.
Tomorrow (Oct. 19) is the start of the official campaign period for the 2023 Barangay Elections. As stated in the previous article (see part 1), the candidates at this point should have completed the requisite pre-campaign tasks.
First, the candidates’ brand and core message should now be final. For example, a candidate can brand himself as a tough as nails law and order type. The core message in his/her speeches would then be variations of, “I will get rid of all the criminals in our streets. Second, the candidate’s sphere of influence should now be fully organized and identified. As previously stated, the candidate’s sphere of influence is the sum of the campaign 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). If by today, you do not have the requisite number tagged as tackled in part 1, chances are, you are going to lose the election. However, if you have the money to spare and you want to learn from the exercise then, by all means, continue. Lastly, you should have already planned the activities for the campaign period already in detail.
Having done the previous tasks, you, the candidate, are ready to begin implementing the campaign proper. Although there are many nuances in a campaign. Here are some basic tips I can offer to the first-time candidate.
For barangay elections, actual face-to-face contact with your voters is still the best form of campaigning. Social media for barangay elections requires a highly technical and scientific approach because you are targeting a specific number of persons in a specific area. As such awareness and preference from voters can be cultivated more efficiently and effectively by direct voter contact.
The sortie – a campaign sortie is any type of public event or gathering with specific political purposes. A campaign sortie with no plan or purpose is just a waste of time. There are various types of campaign sorties depending on the circumstances and strength of the candidate. For instance, you have the breakfast meeting where you sit down with a specific group of people to discuss a specific agenda relevant to them in a friendly and personal approach. This kind of meeting must be directed and planned with specific results in mind. Then you have a small meeting of around 500 to 100 people under a strict time limit. These first two sortie types are designed for candidates who are not good public speakers or who are charisma deficient (boring). The candidate(s) will have specific message centric approaches that have been practiced. For candidates with above average public speaking abilities and character projection, you can have large town hall meetings or public rallies.
Force multipliers – With the limited time available, the candidates can employ proxy speakers who are trained and who can deliver the message of the candidates or act as extenders so the candidate can quickly jump from one place to another or do some serious palm pressing. These trained speakers have to be vetted, handpicked and professionally trained.
Voter density- in picking the places for the sorties, one must consider the number of voters in an area. I have seen sortie planners who just base the sortie areas on the number of residents in an area. There are many instances where resident density does not equate to voter density. There are still many people who do not register to vote. The candidate must have a good voter tagging team to determine voter density.
Timing- A sortie normally is best done in the early morning before some people go to work or do their chores and in the evening when people have gone home from work or finished their chores. Even when you are targeting areas of stay- at - home people, you must note chore times (like the time when people cook), show times of favorite TV shows, and other conflicting events.
Targeting - since you can’t speak to everyone, a candidate must pick spots where his awareness or preference is low as first stops. Then, the last two days can be lightning sorties for the bailiwicks of the candidates if he/she has any.
At the end of the day, your campaign tactic will depend on your needs. A candidate must always remember that there is no one tactic that can work for everyone.
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
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.