Colmenares, Hilbay bet on social media for possible campaigns in 2019 polls

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 18) — Aspiring senators Neri Colmenares and Florin Hilbay are turning to social media for their possible campaign in next year's senatorial race.

This, as they lack resources to pay for political advertisements.

"We are one of the powerful forces in social media in a sense that we have a lot of members in the country, all we have to do is to harness them," Colmenares told CNN Philippines' On The Record Thursday, referring to party-list Bayan Muna.

He said political ads are "very expensive" and that "politicians who didn't steal" while in office may have a difficult time campaigning due to lack of resources.

Hilbay said social media campaigns may just be the lone option for candidates who don't have funds like them.

"I think 2019 might be an opportunity to try a new model for campaigning," he said on the show.

"For example the relationship between social media and the ability to organize given na napakadaling dumiretso ngayon sa mga tao becasue of social media that's one experiment that you can do. And given that technology is new, people's penetration into the internet, the use of mobile phones, then we can  experiment [on] that," Hilbay added.

The two are among the 152 hopefuls vying to fill the 12 vacant seats in the Senate.

Colmenares served for three consecutive terms at the House of Representatives as Bayan Muna representative until 2016. This is his second time to seek a seat at the higher chamber.

Hilbay, meanwhile, is running for an elective office for the first time. He served as solicitor general during the term of former President Benigno Aquino III.

The Commission on Elections expects to release the final list of qualified candidates by December 15.