This Is How Much Candidates Spend on Their Campaigns

How much would you need to run for office?

Billions on top of billions of pesos, at rates we have never seen before, are circulating around the campaign trail as the May 9 polls are nearing.

IBON Foundation, a nonprofit research organization that aims to empower Filipinos through education and advocacy support, painstakingly analyzed and crunched numbers from the Commission on Elections for this yea'rs estimated average campaign spending. According to data, the estimated total campaign spending for each presidential candidate is about P3 billion. Vice presidential candidates, on the other hand, are shelling out around P1 billion each.

Higher campaign spending, of course, doesn't necessarily translate into wins.

For comparison, research from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism back in 2016 shows that a total of P1.91 billion was used by presidential aspirants during campaign season. The presidential candidates back then--Sen. Grace Poe, Ex-Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, former Vice President Jejomar "Jojo" Binay, former Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, and the late Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago--spent P510.8 million, P487.3 million, P463.4 million, P371.5 million, and P74.7 million, respectively.

President Duterte only placed fourth in terms of political-ad spending among candidates. However, he ended up winning the presidency by roughly seven million votes more than his main opponents, top spenders Roxas and Poe.

In 2010, on the other hand, the eight candidates who ran for president spent around P1.58 billion.

IBON Foundation's data also shows that senatorial candidates are spending P350 million pesos each for their respective campaigns. Meanwhile, those who are running for a seat at the House of Representatives have an assumed average spending of P15 million.


With 1,634 candidates for mayoral positions, aspirants have an estimated total campaign spending of P14.7 billion. Even aspiring councilors have already utilized P4.1 billion for their runs.

Adding in the numbers for total campaign spending for vice governors, board members, and vice mayors, we are already seeing about P76.5 billion worth of campaigning so far.

With less than a month left before the elections, chances are these figures are only going to grow at an even more exponential, historical clip.

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Bryle B. Suralta
Assistant Section Editor
Bryle B. Suralta is the assistant section editor of Esquire Philippines.
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