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Timely election reminder: Stop blaming ‘bobotantes.’ Experts explain why in this webinar

Timely election reminder: Stop blaming ‘bobotantes.’ Experts explain why in this webinar

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  • Wait, do “bobotantes” or the so-called “uneducated” and “irrational” voters really exist? A UP webinar answers this and other questions surrounding people’s right to vote
illustration of voters in a polling precinct

“Bobotantes,” a shorthand for the so-called “uneducated” and “irrational” voters, are often blamed for unsatisfactory election results—by those who are under the impression that a rightful leader should’ve been elected instead. Politics is divisive, hence this phenomenon.

It can also be argued that such a classification is classist, as people often labeled as bobotante belong to lower-income groups, with little to no educational background. Said deficiency is often blamed for their “illogical” voting behavior, prompting righteous voters to call for limiting the right to a ballot to those who are “educated.”

“The dangerous myth of ‘bobotante’ (misguided) voters, which foolishly blames the masses for all the country’s political troubles eerily reflects the profound inequities that besmirch our democratic aspirations,” Inquirer columnist Richard Heydarian wrote in August. “You know a democracy is in trouble when foolish (‘bobo’) victim-blaming supplants civic duty and cross-class solidarity.”

[READ: LIST: Register to vote at these mall satellite voting centers]

An upcoming symposium organized by UP Socius, the University of the Philippines Los Baños Department of Social Sciences’ academic organization, will tackle this phenomenon and more on Sept. 24.

The webinar entitled “Dispelling the Myth of the Bobotante: A sociopolitical analysis of the voting behavior of the Filipino masses” argues that blaming a specific set of voters can do more harm than good. The organization invited researchers who have been studying voter behavior and related fields to back this. 

Associate Professor Jayeel Cornelio PhD, director of the Development Studies Program in Ateneo de Manila University, was the co-investigator in the “Vote of the Poor 2016: Bottom-up Perception of Electoral and Political Strategies,” a study published by the Institute of Philippine Culture.

Joining him in the webinar is Renee Karunungan, a doctoral researcher at Loughborough University. Her doctoral thesis is entitled “The Role of Influencers in shaping the narratives of the Rodrigo Duterte Era.”
“Dispelling the Myth of the Bobotante: A sociopolitical analysis of the voting behavior of the Filipino masses” will be held online on Sept. 24, Friday, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Click here to register.

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