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Discipline is the Answer
by Jayraida Ebit

One of the most essential requirements in running for any elective post is discipline. This is the foundation of every aspirant to win the election, a basis of every voter to choose the right official, and a mirror of every candidate’s persona.

As future officials, candidates are required to adhere to the standard of discipline, a trait that cannot be matched by any other characteristic.

From the time a person files his candidacy with the Commission on Elections he agrees to abide by all the rules, regulations, and policies that the institution has set. Political aspirants are also expected to surrender their private lives in exchange for becoming public role models and to submit themselves to serve the common good.

There are a lot of candidates aspiring to become public officials. According to the official website of the Comelec, in the national scene there are 10 official candidates for President; eight for Vice President; and 61 senatoriables. Add to this the 187 Party List groups competing for slots in Congress.

Nationwide, there are 49,996 local candidates fighting over 17,928 positions. Among these are 798 congressional candidates fighting over 230 seats; 291 gubernatorials vying for 80 seats; 241 vice governor aspirants also scrambling for 80 seats; 2,042 running for only 766 posts as provincial board members; 463 city mayors and 391 vice mayors running for seats in 137 cities; 4,582 city council aspirants running for 1,524 seats; 4,071 town mayors wanting to manage only 1,497 municipalities; 3,945 municipal vice mayoralty candidates vying for 1,497 seats; and 33,172 municipal councilor wannabes scrambling over merely 11,980 posts.

In the provincial levels, regionwide, Abra has 30 candidates; Apayao has 22; Benguet – 38; Ifugao – 36; Kalinga – 34; and Mountain Pro-vince – 33. Add to that  the  thousands of candidates vying for the municipal posts.

Baguio City alone has 57 candidates competing for 12 limited slots in the city council; three vying for vice mayor; 10 for mayor; and nine for congressman.

Winning over these posts demands highly organized, well-managed campaign machinery, public relations, and image building where various strategies are applied.

Use of the media like television, radio and print advertisements, songs and jingles, and other print materials such as pamphlets, tarpaulins, posters, flyers and leaflets, is rampant during the campaign period.

Comelec organized an orientation for the candidates last January and issued the appropriate sizes of materials and paraphernalia. As they declared the start of election campaign in the local level on March 26 the commission also designated the common poster areas. However, the bulk of confiscated illegal campaign materials, either posted on illegal areas or did not follow the standard size set, still belies the knowledge and obedience of the candidates and their followers to the Comelec guidelines.

This leads us to ask: Why? Does this mean that our candidates lack discipline? Does this mean that they do not know how to tell their people to abide by the rules? How come? What will happen to our society if the first people to break the law are those running for the leadership posts themselves?

It should be remembered that leaders play a very important role in defining the future of the nation. To become public servants, these candidates must prove that they are worthy to become public officials. They should become the administrators that the public look up to, the bureaucrats that the people can idolize, and most of all, officers that can lead the people to follow the law.

Officials should manifest discipline which will defeat corruption since it is a malady that is afflicting our country. Corruption impedes sustainable development. It robs the children of today of the resources that they will need to survive for tomorrow.

Discipline is attained only if it comes from within; discipline is intrinsic.

An official’s character will be tested once he assumes office and performs his sworn duties.

Thus, during the campaign period, people should be vigilant and see how these candidates perform as this will reflect their character.

These candidates should also be reminded that they hold the nation’s future and should be the first to practice discipline as nobody else could do this for them. Discipline is a trait that money cannot buy.

Practicing discipline could help remedy the troubles faced by this nation.

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