That was, of course, one of Imelda Marcos’s famous lines (more at: the Wit and Wisdom of Imelda Marcos, an Internet fixture since 1997). It’s also the Zeitgeist of the Chosen People in the Palace. Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye says,
It is no wonder then that in a recent SWS survey commissioned by the AMA Computer Learning Center, 41 per cent of Filipinos nationwide think that the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s media have become Ã¢â‚¬Ëœpurely negativeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ and are no longer helping the country. In Metro Manila Manila, where most of the media outfits are concentrated, a bigger percentage of 47 per cent share this perception…
Media should not only inform. It should also educate, uplift and inspire our people. Our people deserve relief from excessive politicking. It is time to turn self-destructive negativism into positive images about our country and our people that we can rally behind.
Since Newsstand pointed out that Bunye’s attempt to deflect flack from the President’s “bad boy” characterization of Philippine media marks a “new low”, perhaps the Press Secretary’s decided to stick to the Boss’s message. He has no choice; as Ellen Tordesillas points out, the President has been unhappy with the media for months; certainly things have gone a long way from five years ago, when, as Conrado de Quiros points out, the President (then Vice-President) took up the cudgels for media.
The Inquirer editorial (which begins with the unkindest cut of all, comparing a Macapagal to a Marcos) issues forth a trumpet blast:
We, therefore, challenge both the President and her spokesperson, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye, to categorically state that any story that seeks to locate Garcillano, a prominent Filipino whose life may be in real danger, is in fact negative. We challenge them to declare that any story that seeks to determine Garcillano’s role in alleged election fraud last year is in fact unpatriotic. We challenge them to sue mainstream media for any story they may run that seeks to hold the administration accountable for Garcillano’s appointment, actions while in office, or continuing absence.
…Journalists can in fact “expose, criticize, exalt and destroy,” or “shape minds” and “influence opinions.” But that does not make the media a “bad boy,” in the President’s pungent phrase. They are not wayward sons simply because they seek from even those who presume to act as their mother a possibly critical accounting.
Apropos of the President’s “bad boy” tagging of media, Marichu Villanueva in the Philippine Star is amused that everyone wants to take credit for pissing off the President (Jose Sison thinks the President has a point, though). Jove Francisco reacts to Sen. Jinggoy Estrada favorably comparing his dad to the President (perhaps he forgets the reporters banned from Palace coverage, the ad boycott of the Inquirer, and the shutting down of the Manila Times? Jove asks). Miron is just cranky about the whole thing.
Now ExpectoRANTS may mull over which is truer to form, the President’s penchant for media to be Pollyanna, or her criticism of it’s being by nature more like Cassandra. But when government starts saying that it’s VAT policy lowered gas prices, you have to wonder…
In the punditocracy, my column for today is The DSL Disaster, in which I go on a rant about the deteriorating DSL service of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT’s media people called me this morning saying that it’s some sort of broader problem with broad band, and have promised to brief me about it soon). Billy Esposo analyzes why the opposition keeps failing:
The Philippine political reality is that people no longer want the rotten system. As a result, people do not rally behind anyone or any group whose proposition smacks of anything associated with the system. It is not that Madame Arroyo is more acceptable than the choices Ã¢â‚¬â€œ over 80% believe she stole the 2004 elections and a great majority want her ousted. Neither Marcos nor Estrada suffered such a dismal rejection. Yes, they want her removed but until someone comes up with an offer that proves equal to what the Filipinos now want, they cannot expect the people to go out and start doing something like another People Power.
Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J. suggests there are two challenges involving the Visiting Forces Agreement with the USA (one exists, the other potentially exists); Edwin Lacierda points out the clock will most likely run out on the rape case.
The Philippine News Agency press release was funny at first glance. Citing a Social Weather Station survey of Aug. 26-Sept. 5, PIA noted that only a “miniscule portion of Filipinos” joined rallies … “Have you ever joined a rally or march for or against the Administration?” Only 9 percent, or less than one in ten, said they did.
[O]f the 9 percent that joined marches, it turned out that 5 percent were in Opposition events and 4 percent were in Administration gigs. Given the surveyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s error margin of Ã‚Â±3 percent, the demonstrators on either side were statistically the same…
Then came more statistics, no longer funny. Of the 9 percent who marched, a big number were in Metro Manila and from the lowest D-E income segments. That makes one suspect all the more that hakot (bused) crowds must have been gathered from urban-poor communities by political operatives of either side…
Hiring mobs began in the waning years of the Marcos dictatorship. It resurged in the Ã¢â‚¬â„¢90s, peaked during the tenure of Joseph Estrada, and goes on at present. Foreign experts took note of the growing political malpractice in Southeast Asia also in the Ã¢â‚¬â„¢90s. In news magazine they denounced the cash-and-liquor enticements for anti-Chinese riots in Jakarta, as well as for pro- and anti-Suharto demonstrations elsewhere. Too, the cash-and-drugs lures for marches in Thailand and Burma as well. Filipino pols did better during the EDSA-Tres, an extended miting de avance of the congressional elections that ended with an assault on MalacaÃƒÂ±ang. They used cash, liquor and drugs to fire up the mobs, as attested by more sedate participants and nuns who later cleaned up the mess at the EDSA Shrine of the Virgin Mary.
The Los Angeles Times has an article by Rosa Brooks about the dangers of US Democrats adopting the rally-the-religious strategy of the Republican’s Carl Rove:
But imagining that red-state voters will turn blue if only Democrats talk more about faith misunderstands the role of conservative evangelical Christianity in American politics. Conservative evangelical churches played a big role in delivering voters for George W. Bush in 2004 Ã¢â‚¬â€ but neither that nor Kaine’s victory prove that red-state voters are simply hungry for “religion” and will reward whichever candidate speaks most convincingly about his or her personal faith.
Conservative evangelical churches were able to deliver voters for Bush in much the same way, and for much the same reasons, that labor unions and political machines like New York’s Tammany Hall were once able to deliver votes for the Democrats: They offer material benefits to people with nowhere else to turn, and that is easily parlayed into votes at election time.
The blogosphere has Ricky Carandang suggesting the President’s in for a bruising, what with Catholic bishops squaring off for a potential fight with the Palace;
Ina Alleco (henceforth my favorite “Progressive” blogger) has renamed her blog to Trephination Procedures, and writes an elegant entry on why she believes in armed struggle. Abe Margallo recently blogged about what he considers two developments to watch: the Citizen’s Congress and the attempt to change the Constitution.
Big Mango embarks on what promises to be another ambitious series: this time involving the Philippine Medium Term Development Plan.
New Economist delves into why London remains the financial capital of the world (his title is a play on a phrase Londoners used to use about American stationed there during World War II: “overpaid, oversexed, and over here.”). He suggests London may be upstaged by Shanghai in a decade. Go Figure blogs on bioeconomic supply-and-demand (fish stocks, for example).
Unlawyer says the provinces are more eager to support entrepreneurs than the big cities. Regarding France’s troubles, Hillblogger says part of the problem is that Arabs have to accept integration. Presto Vivace suggests bloggers have a backup of their blogs, for the historical record (speaking of the historical record, the Philippines Free Press blog reprints an editorial on lawless youth -from the 1960s) . And RG Cruz has moved his blog. Again.