Online campaigns can only work on voters in urban areas: expert

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MANILA – The online campaign for next year’s national elections may only work on voters in urban areas, a political sociologist said on Sunday.

While the election campaign has moved to cyberspace since 2016, a majority of Filipino voters have not, said Frederick Rey, who also teaches at the University of Santo Tomas.

Rey noted that internet access is not widely available in rural areas compared to urban areas, which is why countryside in provinces may have to go the traditional route.

“In the rural area naman, sa tingin ko, nakasalalay by rin his privacy … ito ‘yong ang kandidato, kinamayan ka. Kapag nahawakan ka niya, nagbabago lahat,” said Rey.

(In rural areas, I think, the campaign still relies on intimacy … that’s when the candidate shakes your hand. When a candidate makes physical contact, that changes everything.)

That’s why candidates need to carefully strategize their online campaign spending, as the majority of votes still come from provinces and rural areas, Rey said.

Rey also warned that parties could use technology to intervene in the transmission of votes in elections.

There is a lot at stake for President Rodrigo Duterte in the 2022 election, especially after the International Criminal Court decided to investigate his war on drugs, according to Rey.

“It’s not an election for them, it’s parang a struggle for survival. That’s why nakikita ko there really is a possibility that the whole family will call on Sara [Duterte-Carpio], he said, referring to the presidential girl who is invited to run for the highest office in the country.

(It’s not an election for them. It’s like a struggle for survival. That’s why I see there really is a possibility that the whole family will call on Sara.)

Duterte-Carpio had previously denied his interest in running for president and had applied for his last term as mayor of Davao.

However, substitution will still be allowed until mid-November.

“[The] the same situation exists, the same for Bongbong [Marcos], Imelda also has outstanding arrest warrants against her, ”Rey said of the late dictator’s son, who filed his COC to run for president last week.

From October 1 to 8, the Election Commission received a total of 97 people who applied for the highest office in the country for the May 9, 2022 elections. The list will be sifted to determine who is serious and who which are harmful bets.

Aside from Marcos, other contenders include Senators Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Manny Pacquiao and Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa; The Mayor of Manila, Francisco “Isko” Moreno, and former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.

The final list of candidates could be finalized by December, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.

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