by Kattryn Erryc Sayo

PLARIDEL, Bulacan - A 24-year-old independent political aspirant filed his Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) last October 4, at the municipal’s office here.

Rhandy “Mando” Marcelo, the youngest of all the 25 candidates for the councilor post, chose to submit his application on the date October 4, the feast of St. Francis, and the time 3:00 pm, the time of the Lord. He was the only one who submitted application for that day, and was accompanied by his family and friends, including a lyre band.

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduate chose to run independently for candidates under the other political parties are his family’s friends and acquaintances.

“Naglakas-loob akong mag-independent na lang kahit mahirap kasi mga kaibigan namin sila, kilala na namin. Iniiwasan na ‘yong samaan ng loob. Saka isang araw lang naman ang eleksyon. Pagkatapos no’n ayaw kong masabihan na may kinampihan ako,” said Rhandy.

Rhandy isn’t new to the political scene. He had grew up with a father as the barangay captain of Parulan and his uncle the barangay captain of Banga II (both in Plaridel) and had gain knowledge and became exposed on how political affairs run, especially on the legislative.

Aside from this, he had also served as a leader and president to numerous youth organizations and church activities, in which he had developed his governance and communication skills.

He had been a little board member of Bulacan, became the president of the student government in his high school alma mater at Bintog, Plaridel, represented the town in the National Leadership Training, all in 2005. At present, he is the president of the Squad Kapanalig, a group of Catholic youth in the town.

As a leader and an active church member, Rhandy became well aware of the needs of the people, especially his co-Plaridelenos.

If ever he will be elected, a number of his programs will be focused on social welfare which includes charitable activities in which he had already done as the Committee Organizer of Plaridel Parish’s housing project; more health services and benefits in which he had already gained knowledge of as a Nursing graduate; and privileges for the Senior Citizens.

In addition, he also said that he will be the negotiator between the government and ordinary citizens if there are suggested ideas which are possible to become ordinances.

Rhandy disclosed that it isn’t easy to run as an independent candidate. Though he believes he has the capability to serve, his main problem is the financial assistance, especially in the campaign which will start on March 29.

“’Yon ang natutunan ko sa Commission on Service. Least option palagi ang budget, titignan muna ang goal. Kung gusto mo naman talaga tumulong ‘di ba, kahit hindi man tayo mayaman,” he said.

But since he had gained a lot of friends, and his family as well, many  have shown their support to the aspiring councilor.

“May mga nag-alok na tumulong. May gagawa na ng jingle ko and mayroon nang mag-su-sponsor ng mga flyers  at tarpaulin para sa’kin,” he added.

Though not blessed with great financial status, Rhandy believes that money is not always the way to win, but the principles and knowledge he upholds.

“Ang pinaka-pinanghahawakan natin ay pakikisama, dahil wala namang maipapakitang yaman,” he ended.