Egalitarian | Economics of elections

SUPPOSEDLY, barangay elections and the Sangguniang Kabataan elections are initiated to establish government at the primary levels. The barangay is expected to decongest request for public service, but if at the instance of its creation, it was established with discrimination and violence, then the barangay already lost the ascendant authority to deliver welfare in the barangay. The voting behavior of the public cannot go beyond the economic values offered by the economics of the day. Many political scientists and behavioral economists establish the strong link between voting for a candidate and the economic value that the candidate represents.

The behavior of the electorate may be described by economics of elections. The candidates offer value which the electorate weighs in against their preferences. The value includes vision for the barangay, the reputation of the candidate, and/or the value of actual freebies or money worth before or during elections. In economics of elections, giving out money is the behavior of putting reward ahead of the acts.

When reward is given ahead of the acts, then there is nothing more to get when the act is completed. When money determines the decision to vote, then there is no public service to talk about when the candidate gets the position. The worth of money received is already the worth of the public service offered ahead; this is the brand of public service of the barangay.

As it is, barangay elections should be made much like any market; best value offer must be chosen. The competition of offering actual value ahead of being elected catapults the election of regular competition of skills and abilities to offer public service into a stiff rivalry of networks and money. Too much is involved. In this case, the candidate separates himself from being a candidate and a would-be-elected official.

When too much investment is done for a public office, then private return may lie overboard the regular threshold of service. This is placing in the equation the value of service against exercise of power, income share from Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), and big politicians’ support against the intention of public service.

The associated cost of choosing an SK and barangay officials include efficient welfare services like immunization, family health care, fitness programs; effective public safety and peace situation; reliable dispute resolutions and disaster response; quality kindergarten education, wellness and sports programs, and primary infrastructures like access roads.

Local politicians are party to be blamed as well. The politicians support a barangay candidate in order to establish political turf, and a strong political machinery to advance bid for elections in the future time. A litmus test of political presence in the barangay, and a proxy rivalry of politicians. So, no wonder, barangay and SK elections are as much bloody as any general elections of the country. In 2010, a total of 47 election-related violence erupted resulting in 32 lives lost, this increased by 10 in 2013 with a total of 57 cases with 22 dead and 32 wounded individuals. This year, as of this writing, a total of 20 incidents were reported with 27 deaths and 6 wounded.

In the end, it is the public who will gain benefit or suffer from the choices we made today.


Posted in Opinion