THIS presidential campaign is turning out to be the most expensive yet in Philippine political history, but it is also a story of two extremes – profligacy and penny-pinching on political advertisements by the candidates.
In just the two months since the official campaign period began last February 9, six candidates for president racked up a daily average ad spending total of P10.5 million, or almost P633 million in 60 days. By contrast, the remaining three candidates had a total tri-media ad bill of zero, with data by media monitoring company Nielsen failing to yield a single print or broadcast spot bought by any of them.
These days, the number of Filipino Internet users is pegged at around 24 million and mobile phone users at around 63 million. Not surprisingly, candidates for both national and local posts have taken interest on those figures, and have been busy putting up complex, interactive websites of their own, even as they litter popular online publications, blogs, and social networks with political propaganda. Text-blasting, or the sending of unsolicited SMS messages, appears to be on the rise as well.
IN THE unnervingly expensive race for the Philippine presidency, the candidates who splurge are those less open to discussing their campaign spending, while candidates who spend the least are the most open to talking about their finances.
The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) managed to ask most of the presidential candidates about their positions on various issues involving campaign finance: where they get their campaign money, their major donors, and their expenses.
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