In preparation for the upcoming General Elections (GE), the University Student Government Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has approved a new provision mandating candidates to use jingles as part of their campaign materials. The move is a creative response to the growing concern over the low voter turnout seen in previous elections.
COMELEC has added a new rule in Article VI Section 3 of the election code—a section in the election code allocated for specific campaign rules. The rule states that campaigning parties are mandated to produce a campaign jingle and perform it during the campaign season next term. This rule reflects the practices of some national politicians as part of their campaigns for national
The reason for the change
“The commissioners unanimously agreed that the provision will help create a different atmosphere for the upcoming general elections. We want students to feel like exercising their right to vote can be fun too,” explained COMELEC Commissioner John Chua. COMELEC has been trying to look for ways in which the general elections will yield positive results and one is to encourage the student body to vote.
Political parties and any participating candidate having their own campaign jingles are expected to boost voter turnout. Chua added that COMELEC is considering awarding the candidate or party with the best jingle in terms of musicality and popularity among students.
The participating political parties, Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon (Santugon) and Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista (Tapat), both expressed strong support for COMELEC’s decision. “We’re always open to the idea of exploring non-conventional campaign mediums and this is a great opportunity for us to think outside the box,” says Santugon President Abe Lozada.
At the time of the interview, Tapat President Justine Millete was already in the process of writing down potential chords to use and contemplating whether or not to include a rap for their jingle. “We were delighted to hear that jingles would be required during the campaign season. These jingles would be a great asset for winning the elections. We would be ready to showcase the best that our party can offer in the jingle that we would be producing,” he comments.
Understanding the new provision
As per the rules stated in the provision, campaign jingles can run for a minimum of 45 seconds and a maximum of 1 minute and 15 seconds. The lyrics and tune must be original and cannot be commissioned through an advertising or marketing agency. All writers, composers, and musicians involved in the making of the campaign jingles must be duly credited for their work. They may use either Filipino or English in writing their lyrics but are strongly discouraged from including any profanities or offensive words.
Candidates running as part of the slates of Santugon and Tapat will only be allowed to use a uniform jingle, regardless of the position they are running for. Independent candidates may personalize their jingles but must follow the same regulations mandated by the COMELEC.
The jingles will be played during the 15-minute interval allotted between class hours. Only assigned COMELEC officials will be authorized to man the P.A. systems of each building for the playing of the jingles to guarantee equal air time. In addition, candidates may opt to share the jingle on their official social media accounts. Music videos, original choreography, song covers, and lip dubs are also highly encouraged to strengthen the student body’s involvement in the electoral procedure.
Students respond to campaign jingles
Students were fairly surprised with the announcement of jingles being a mandated campaigning strategy for the next elections. Nevertheless, some students believed that these jingles would be a good addition to the candidates campaigning.
“I never expected jingles being a requirement for the University campaigning, although I must say that since this strategy is new, it might capture the student’s interests thus the possibility of having a positive impact on the voter turnout”, Sarah Layne (II, AB-PSY) stated.
Max Medina (II, AB-CAM) considered the decree as a refreshing way for students to perceive the USG General Elections. She believes that the jingle will motivate more students to vote wisely.
However, the newly-added rule also drew a negative reaction amongst some of the student voters. Joseph Bryan (III, BSE-MAT) raised the view that election jingles are unnecessary and will not result to higher voter turnout. He emphasized, “COMELEC must come up with a more appropriate and fresh idea, preferably one which will not encourage those campaigning to do things they would regret doing.”