by Joel T. Fagsao
Counting by the number of the social network site, Facebook’s “_(political candidate____ wants to be your friend invitations,” is a manifestation that the Pinoy has adapted to the use of cyberspace as a campaign vehicle. Candidates for president, vice president and senatorial positions for sure, the majority have a website. On the local scene, among the aspirants for Congressman, only Thomas Perry “Tom” Killip, former Presidential Assistant for the Cordillera Region, has a dedicated website located at http://www.tomkillip.com/. Other candidates for Congressman- former Mayor of Sabangan, Jupiter C. Dominguez, former Governor, Maximo B. Dalog Sr., and former Mayor of Bontoc, Franklin C. Odsey have opted for Facebook accounts. Among the aspirants for Governor of Mountain Province, former Board Member, Ezra Samson A. Gomez has a dedicated website located at www.ezraalipitgomez.com . former Governor, Atty. Leonard Mayaen, former Board Member Marcial Lawilao, Jr. have Facebook accounts. Albert Padayos, also a candidate for Governor has none. Candidates for Vice Governor have no presence in cyberspace. Atty. Florence N. Taguiba who is running for Mayor of Bontoc has an official website found at http://www.taguiba4mayor.com/. So far these are the list of candidates that I have found –who are availing of a new channel to court votes.
For now, in Mountain Province, Internet literate users continue to grow as Internet connection spreads to all municipalities. Aspirants to various local and national positions can look at the youth, those in the late 20’s to 40’s as the age categories to court in cyberspace.
Various strategies are being adapted to market the candidates. TV is a powerful medium for national aspirants followed by physical presence in campaign sorties. In the local scene, while crowds have thinned in Bontoc, compared to previous election campaigns (blame it on the TV or lack of the hakot crowd), candidates I talked to still enjoy “a” crowd in areas where TV is not yet part of the household appliance.
Candidates win or lose are supposed to maintain their presence in Cyberspace. This will keep visitors to their sites gain updates with their activities. This will also give ample time for search engines like Google, index the website for an easier search of the site in the future. An official website is a better option since the site can have more creative options (photo slideshows, videos, polls, forum, etc.) compared to social network sites.
Having an official website or social network site presence may not be too popular now but in three years time, the next battle for a seat in local and national positions will be determined in cyberspace.