Philippines – Puerto Princesa, Riot Squads Out

Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines, May 2016. Last minute campaigning by candidates up for election in Mondays country wide poll on who will become the next president of the Philippines. Every commercial break on TV begins with an impassioned political broadcast while the press seem intent on whipping up hysteria with reports of returning to Martial law and how one candidate is seeking a dictatorship!

Here in Puerto Princesa the local campaign trails are loud – vans adorned with loud speakers ply the high street all day long pumping put cleverly adapted well know Western tunes. One such tune which is actually pretty catchy in a Filipino kind of way, is Queens ‘We will Rock you’. The message, well, if only I could understand the local language – Tagalog. Saturday afternoon and the extremely hot weather isn’t deterring crowds from a political rally in the High Street – and right outside my favourite coffee stop!

The speeches are emotional, somewhat aggressive at times before returning back to a gentle impassioned plea for votes – well that’s presumably what this is all about. So far then its all pretty good matured but the riot squad are there, lined up and ready for trouble. Armed police are also in place ready to quell any trouble – but I don’t detect any real dissent at the moment. If it all turns sour I can easily make a run for it, yes I’ve figured out an escape route just in case, but for now I’ll enjoy my coffee and observe Filipino electioneering.


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