With the electoral season approaching, the Mindanao voting population’s power and its role in the Philippine election were emphasized during Piniliay 2022, a virtual forum on the Philippine political landscape held via Zoom and FB Live on January 26.
In the said forum, Carolyn Arguillas, the Editor-in-Chief of Mindanews, presented the statistics and the history of the Mindanao vote, showing how much it has affected politics in the country despite Mindanao being divided most of the time.
“The problem with you in Mindanao is that you are united in your advocacies, your lobbying for this peace, but you are divided during elections. There is no Mindanao vote; you vote on the basis of your regional affiliations,” Arguillas mentioned, quoting former Senator Rodolfo Biazon.
Arguillas also cited examples from past elections on how the Mindanao bloc has always been united with their votes and how Mindanaoans acted upon oppressions, especially during the Martial Law era. Mindanao helped to remove Marcos from his presidency.
Dr. Patricio Abinales from the University of Hawaii at Manoa highlighted that most Mindanao votes are from the central zones, and uniting the Mindanao and Visayas votes will create a more substantial impact during the election.
“Instead of thinking about Mindanao vote but thinking of a Visayan vote, mulahi ang litrato sa voting pattern. Kung magsolid ang Bisaya, ang porsiyento sa mga botante na pwede magcontribute sa overall vote, musaka,” Abinales said.
The recent Pulse Asia Survey shows that Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos is the most preferred presidential candidate of the Filipinos. The data shows that most of the support for Marcos comes from Mindanao.
With this, political analyst Richard Heydarian explained that Mindanao would greatly influence our future leaders. However, this might still change because of the unpredictability of the Philippine elections.
Heydarian also added that the media also impacts how voters decide, just like how Binay’s ratings went down after the presidential election in 2016. He also pointed out how many Filipinos watched Jessica Soho’s recent presidential interviews.
“People care about debates. People like intelligent discussions. People like subjecting their candidates to scrutiny.”
Abinales also suggested that voters can still change the lead of Marcos in the Mindanao area once the people remember the tragedies of the Martial Law era.
“All Mindanaoans should remember the fact that one of the most brutal wars happened during the Martial Law.”
Piniliay 2022 is the first of a series of events that Ateneo de Davao University and Blue Vote is organizing in connection with the 2022 national elections to give the public a glimpse at the country’s political climate and tips on choosing a leader that will solve the country’s problems.
AdDU Blue Vote will also organize an interview series for presidential, vice-presidential, and local candidates this February and March. Details are soon to be announced.