The Slum

Vote for Me: Elections in Manila

During election season in Manila, politicians are out fishing for votes, but the locals are not all convinced.

Politics is at the heart of any city and no more so than in the slums of Manila. Every three years, over 300,000 local councilors and chairmen and women are voted into their barangays, or districts, right across the country.

At the end of the typhoon season, with local election fever sweeping through Manila, politicians out in force fishing for votes.

Erlinda squats in the Happyland slum amongst the mountains of rubbish, where she has lived without electricity and running water for years. She is a little sceptical when local politician, Leny Reyes, comes knocking. Promises have been made before and as far as she as she is concerned, nothing changes.

Across the road, Vicky Reyes is fighting for another three-year term as chairman of her barangay.

While politicians fish for votes, local pastor and former businessman Ramil Mateo fishes for souls from his tiny church at the base of now abandoned rubbish tip. His biggest challenge however is whether he can keep his marriage together. 

This six-part series follows residents of Manila’s Tondo slums as they live, love, survive and aspire in some of the world’s toughest living conditions.