MAP: Major political families in PH after the 2019 elections

Category: Best data-driven reporting (small and large newsrooms)

Country/area: Philippines

Organisation: Rappler

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 30/08/2019

Credit: Michael Bueza, Glenda Marie Castro

Project description:

After the 2019 midterm elections in the Philippines, Rappler mapped the major political families that are serving at the same time at national and local levels, starting with the senators, representatives, and governors, and their relatives. Based on our count, there are at least 163 such families spanning the entire country.

Impact reached:

This is an attempt to map these political families, while also depicting their locations, sizes, and positions held. Political families are almost a staple of Philippine politics, and this visualization aims to depict the phenomenon.

Political families enjoy a great deal of influence in their respective localities. With them in power, checks and balances in governance tend to decrease, according to an election lawyer. To stem the tide of this culture, political pundits recommend the strengthening of political parties and reforms in the electoral system, among others.

Techniques/technologies used:

After collecting the data using Microsoft Excel, it was converted to CSV and plugged into D3.js. The base map for the Philippines was obtained from the PhilGIS website.

What was the hardest part of this project?

The hardest part is manually putting in the coordinates of the dots on the map. Since one of the authors was a beginner in D3.js, he had to adjust some dots around manually, so that the collision algorithm still reflects a precise location of the group of dots (representing a political family) as much as possible.

What can others learn from this project?

By seeing the map, readers would have an idea of the extent of political dynasties not just in their area but in other provinces as well. For fellow journalists, the conversation on political families should continue, as long as there is no enabling law yet to ban their proliferation, as mandated in the 1987 Constitution.

Project links: