DASMARIÑAS, Cavite – Otso Diretso candidates on Tuesday said they would double their door-to-door campaign efforts despite a limited war chest after the latest pre-election survey showed 6 of the 8 candidates still suffering from low voter awareness and preference.
Of the opposition slate’s 8 candidates, only former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and reelectionist Sen. Bam Aquino had a statistical chance of winning the elections if the polls were held last month, a Pulse Asia survey conducted from Feb. 24 to 28 showed.
Roxas, who placed 2nd in the 2016 presidential elections, landed at 7-14th place as he maintained 99 percent voter awareness and 41.8 percent voter preference.
Aquino placed 10-15th with 95 percent awareness and 38.5 voter support.
Voter awareness of the coalition’s 6 rookie candidates — Gary Alejano, Chel Diokno, Samira Gutoc, Florin Hilbay, Romulo Macalintal and Erin Tañada — has been improving, but remains below 45 percent based on the latest survey.
“We have to work harder than ever before,” Hilbay, whose voter preference in February (0.9 percent) was statistically the same as in January (1.2 percent), told reporters on the sidelines of an election forum here.
“Pati ‘yung volunteers namin kailangan tumaya ng madiin sa aming kampaniya dahil ‘yun talaga ‘yung pangako ng kampaniya na ito, na kami ay dadalhin ng mga ordinaryong mamamayan, hindi ng pera ng mga politiko,” he said.
(Our volunteers have to bet hard on our campaign because that is the promise of this strategy, that we will be supported by ordinary citizens, not by the money of politicians.)
On March 19, the same day Pulse Asia released its February survey, the opposition slate relaunched a fund drive project called “Para Sa Laban ng Otso Diretso” (PaSaLODi) to raise money for the coalition’s volunteer campaigners.
“Anumang husay, karanasan, at paninindigan ang mayroon sila, mababalewala ito kung hindi sila kilala, kung hindi sila makakapagpatakbo ng isang pambansang kampanya,” Otso Diretso campaign manager Sen. Francis Pangilinan earlier said in a statement attached to the slate’s online fund account.
(No matter how good, experienced, and principled they are, it will all go to waste if they cannot mount a national campaign.)
“Malayo ang mararating ng iyong P1,000 na kontribusyon para sa ating volunteers sa kanilang weekly house-to-house drives, sa iba't ibang bahagi ng Pilipinas,” he said.
(Your P1,000 contribution will go a long way for our volunteers’ weekly house-to-house drives in different parts of the Philippines.)
Despite the worrisome survey rankings, the strategy of visiting schools, public markets and barangays to introduce themselves directly to the electorate is “working,” said Gutoc.
The lone female Otso Diretso candidate’s awareness number jumped by 14 percentage points in February, but her voter preference remained at 4.4 percent.
“Mababa pa din kami but there is a striking increase [which] I credit to women campaigners,” Gutoc said.
“The Otso Diretso is doing great. The strategy is working. You might get the first Marawi senator,” she said.
Diokno was optimistic that his 39-percent awareness and 6.9-percent voter support would improve in the March survey after his February 17 ABS-CBN Harapan debate performance and witty quips that trended online.
“Ano naman yan, little by little pero kayod lang ng kayod. Doble lang ang kayod,” he said.
“Ako’y very upbeat at very optimistic sa mga naging resulta ng survey pero sa akin naman, it’s secondary to getting known on the ground,” he said.