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Voter’s Ed in the Fruit Basket of Benguet

For this Friday’s program on Election Day at our Balitaktakan segment at Regional News Group Luzon, we will be having a special guest, Mr. Jeffrey S. Rubino, the Election Officer of the Commission on Elections, Sablan, Benguet. In his previous guesting on Election Day, Mr. Rubino talked about his own election-related advocacy. Although our office, the Commission on Elections, regularly requires us to conduct voter’s education activities, Mr. Rubino’s methods are somewhat different from the usual practice of merely announcing what is new or the latest programs of the Comelec. He has conceived a Voter’s Ed tool which he terms as “Vote Right.”

Briefly, Vote Right is a program launched by Comelec-Sablan, early this year. It has the primary purpose of educating the voters therein about putting into their thoughts, the quality of their votes. While educating the voters about basic election laws, this program extends to recalling their good values and properly applying them in choosing the right leaders, hence the term “Vote Right.” In one of the discussions on RNG Luzon where Mr. Rubino was a guest, he mentions that this program has helped increase the number of applicants for registration. An idea was also espoused during the program that a proposition could be made to the Department of Education to include voter’s education – choosing the right leaders as part of the school’s curriculum, with the result that, in the future, some Filipino citizens would put quality into their votes rather than just selling them to unscrupulous politicians.

This Friday, Mr. Rubino will update us as to how far he has moved forward with his Vote Right project in the municipality of Sablan, Benguet. Sablan has eight barangays, forty-nine established precincts and 26 clustered precincts. It has 7,399 registered voters.

Voters in this area are relatively a peaceful folk, just like the rest of the voters in the municipalities of Benguet. They are kind, friendly and family-oriented. Campaigning in this municipality includes occasional gatherings and door to door visits to express their platform and their plans for the municipality. In our discussion, we will be dealing with how the candidates can campaign while limiting personal contact with the constituents. We will also know the other programs that the municipality is busy with and if there are already signs that the would-be candidates are gearing up for the National and Local elections next year.

Sablan is also known for being the Fruit Basket of Benguet because of the production of a variety of fruits in said area owing it to the semi-temperate climate that it has, unlike in the other areas of Benguet, where the cool climate is prevalent.

It is with great hope that since Sablan can always bear fruits, it can also bear quality voters who can put in quality votes for next year’s elections. A tree’s life always begins from a seed. Sablan is named after a tree named “Sabdang”, a local tree that grows in the area. A good seed known as ‘Vote Right’ can, in the long run, grow into a study tree and can help in the development of our future.

Watch Election Day at RNG Luzon on Friday, July 23, 2001 at 9:00 o’clock in the morning.

**All comments mentioned in this article are made in my personal capacity as a lawyer and are not made as an employee of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

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