The Tide is Turning: In the Philippines, Here’s How a Political Campaign Ignited the Spirit of Volunteerism and Change

Narratives & Perspectives

More than the usual campaign of promises and vows, this election season has shown a different side of unity within Filipinos. We have seen how, from her announcement to the remaining days of the campaign period, Vice President and now-presidential aspirant Leni Robredo triumphed in igniting the spirit of bayanihan at pagkakaisa, unveiling a new face of hope for a better normal.

The seasons of elections have always been chaotic for the Philippines, especially now with the advent of new technology where election content are at its peak and are revving up double, triple time. However, this year’s election campaign has taken a historic turn when the political rallies of Vice President Leni Robredo, running for the highest seat in the country, have evoked a new sense of volunteerism.  

Among ten presidential candidates for this year’s Presidential Elections, Vice President Leni Robredo has turned out an impressive and immense number of attendees during her political rallies across different cities and provinces in the country. But more than the titanic numbers, it is what these coming together of ideals represent that fuels each grand rally to churn out more inspiring results.

For one, various artists from in entertainment have been attending to perform for and campaign for the Leni-Kiko tandem and its senatorial slate, among them are Ben&Ben, Itchyworms, Ebe Dencel, Sam Conception, Mayonnaise, Moonstar88, Nadine Lustre and more making it a breathtaking list. These artists volunteered to be part of the event withstanding the heat and hours of standing, not just to perform but what they call pag-tindig. 

With different groups of people from labor workers, farmers, indigenous people, medical front liners, NGOs, and a lot more from the marginalized sectors and academic organizations have shown enthusiasm and hope in supporting Robredo and Pangilinan to ignite the change in the country. Not only the eye-catching pink decorations from the entrance to the end, what motivates the people to be part of the rally is it signifying the people’s movement, deeply rooted in the hope for actual change.

Different volunteer chapters have shown a remarkable setup for each campaign, but the grand act that surprises everyone is how small business owners and individuals have all taken part in the rally by sponsoring food, medic, security, and all the things that are needed making it a large-scale bayanihan in times of elections.

More incredibly so, not only are the volunteers present in small and large-scale rallies, but in the house-to-house campaigns that have grown stronger with volunteer artists. With thousands of attendees during the large-scale rallies, volunteers opt to take it on the roads to reach each household in hopes for closed doors to open and know what the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem does and are capable of to deserve the people’s vote. More than sheer number, the why and how of this whole movement is more inspiring than ever.

Compared to previous elections, the scale number of attendees for each rally is impressively high despite the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Different age groups were present from youth who are not yet voters to adults. Some were bringing their friends, families, and even schoolmates or workmates to be part of the pink ocean. 

More than a campaign, without a doubt, this movement has demonstrated the people’s initiative. From bringing food and sharing with other people, volunteering when the organizers called for manpower, an immediate call to action when the medic is needed, creating freebies and flyers for educational purposes, creative placards and props during the rallies, and all the murals that the people dedicated to campaign Robredo at their own free will, is a picture of hope for the Philippines we are and can be with a leader that serves. 

With the recent survey of Pulse Asia for April 16- 22 with 2,400 samples, the dictator’s son Bongbong Marcos leads with 56% followed by Robredo with 23%. However, supporters are still hopeful that this survey will change before voting day. 

In the midst of this people’s campaign, if and when Robredo, Pangilinan, and her senatorial slate take office but fail to fulfill her promises, thousands of Filipinos who rooted for her, the bright pink lights that waved for her campaign have sworn to be on the lookout and call out the wrong, as encouraged by Robredo herself. Because in a democracy, it is the mark of an intelligent citizen to work with an elected official, criticize for the betterment of the nation and not patronize with blind fanaticism.

For years, in an age of fake news, targeted smear campaigns and disinformation, Filipinos have been yearning for a real government that will ignite real change. And with Robredo’s months of campaigning, not only has the transformation of political campaigns changed but the Filipino spirit who act and stand up when it matters most.

Additional text by Leo Balante