March 4, 2024

During the 2019 midterm elections, the stereotypes “bobotante” (misguided/uneducated voters) and “bayaran” (paid voters) came into the news blaming the poor and marginalized Filipinos who are uneducated for voting for the wrong and unqualified candidates in office.
In our disappointment, even us, some members of the indigenous cultural communities, are being blamed for voting based on popularity and “utang na loob” as we voted for our kailyans in office.
However, said brandings are inaccurate and do not reflect the electoral reality in our country. Such misconceptions or allegations also malign and discredit the continuous effort of the government, the Commission on Elections, and the voting population in promoting for a safe, secure, and peaceful elections.
We are not uneducated but enlightened as we have learned from our past mistakes and take every election as another opportunity to vote wisely and responsibly. We are not being paid but we vote for those we trust.
The poor, marginalized, and the indigenous peoples were never the problem, but some opportunist sectors or groups such as the underground movement that disinforms, misleads, and deceives the Filipino people is to be blamed. The armed movement continues put blame on the government and insists their alleged “broken” electoral system, but the truth is they are the ones who foster chaos, violence, and intimidation.
As a proud Igorot and educated voter, I call to my fellow IPs to end the brandings “bobotante” and “bayaran”.
Let us stand against the disinformation of these concerned groups such as the armed movement. We still have a long way to go. But let us prove to the world that Filipino voters are not “bobotante” and “bayaran” but are responsible and accountable.
We encourage our fellow Filipino voters, especially the youth being the hope of our Motherland, to vote wisely and do our part to promote a safe, orderly, peaceful and fair barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on Oct. 30.
Together, let us build a principled, accountable and dependable government, a “Bagong Pilipinas”, we all deserve. — WILSON ISICAN, Mountain Province