Ben Contreras and his advocacy
This series is intended to provide our local candidates a platform to communicate their message to the electorate. I invite our readers to interact with us in a healthy discussion of the issues raised in each of my installments. Please visit our Facebook page @SunstarCDO. Again, this is not an endorsement, just a ground for us to know our candidates a little better as they lay down their platforms for the 2019 midterm elections.
The veteran local columnist Ben Contreras joins the 2019 Oro mayoral race. Those exposed to local elections would hastily say running as independent gives him slim chance of grabbing the highest local post considering he is up against titans in politics. And rightly so, more than winning, Ben’s candidacy as he shares with me is all about his advocacy for honest governance. “Wala koi ilusyon mudaug (I don’t have illusions of winning), I am just an ordinary businessman,” says Contreras who sells hardware items for 30 years now. “As a writer, I just want to vent my sentiments,” he added.
Ben Contreras is known for his hard hitting column in a local paper sparing no one as he raises issues that beset our locality.” The only time mahadlok ko is when I don’t say the truth. At my age, di nako mahadlok,” says the veteran writer.
He had planned to run for mayor in the 2016 elections but changed his mind after knowing Rufus Rodriguez was running as well. This time he is pushing through.
His advocacy is anchored on the idea that if you will not invest money during elections, you will have no reason to be corrupt when you win. That is why he said he will not be spending money for his candidacy, all the support he has received were all coming from volunteers. Instead of politicians, he calls for the people to invest in honest governance. And he says he is gaining momentum as his number of supporters continue to grow.
Interestingly, Ben says he has got no platforms at all, for they just end up to be empty promises to attract votes but can’t be delivered. He however expressed assurance that he knows what the real problems of the city really are since he was born and raised here.
The real root of corruption he says is expensive elections. And if people will see that and would not sell their votes then people are really serious about change. His plan for the campaign is to conduct series of voters education. And he is positive that the Kagay-anons will respond to it. The 2019 elections will be his barometer he says
When asked about his opponents, he zeroed in to hoping that the incumbent mayor be replaced whoever among the rest of the candidates gets the post basing again on allegations of corruption.
As an independent and a neophyte in the mayoral race, Ben Contreras probably do not have as much reach to get his target attention as his opponents have, but he has hit bulls eye on one thing there; the real problem in our government is the expensive elections. Even with the best intentions from the brightest candidate, no one will ever run just to give out millions and not get a break even on his or her investments.
With such a defective system right from the start, it would look like our only choice is to choose the lesser evil from among them, until we are all collectively ready not to sell our votes.