From the period of January 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016, various politicians including at least four presidential aspirants have already spent P7.75 billion in pre-campaign advertisements.
A special report by Malou Mangahas for the Philippine Center of Investigative Journalism broke down the candidates’ ad spending estimates based on Nielsen Media’s monitoring data.
The report reveals that P7,750,307,696 categorized into political ads and “social ads” have already been spent in the span of a little over one year.
For the presidential candidates, Vice President Jejomar Binay led the pre-campaign spenders with P1.05 billion invested in 8,781 ads.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who has repeatedly said he lacked both political funds and machinery, was lagging behind having only spent P146 million for 1,533 ads.
Meanwhile, at least 22 senatorial aspirants spent close to P2 billion with a combined 27,435 ads.
Party-lists for their part spent a modest P6.5 million, while candidates for congress and other local positions spent some P221 million.
The report also shows how pre-campaign political ads easily trump government agency and private sector ad spending for the same period.
The massive pre-campaign ad spending was recorded despite the official 90-day campaign period kicking off on February 9 or just last month.
It also reflects the tight race for the presidency. So far, there is no clear frontrunner among the presidential candidates with Binay and Poe statistically tied for the top spot in a recent survey.