In the years of Ferdinand E. Marcos’ rule in the country, the populace became so polarized because he had increasingly intensified his propaganda that if you were not for him, you were against the state. This main theme was carried out in various forms: if you were against his policies, you were against the government; if you were against what government was doing, you were a lawless communist; if you held an ideology other than what he espoused, you were a criminal; an affront on his allies was a personal affront on him.
In the early days the ordinary Juan on the street would sit silently inside the jeepney while the dreaded Metrocom pulled his long 1970s style long hair from outside and just chopped it off. There was no place for hippies in the Marcos’ orderly New Society. Where the beauty salon was once the bastion of heady discussion on the nasties of polite society, the ordinary Maria was forced to keep her opinions to herself lest her latest gossip on some government functionary’s latest mistress land her in campCrame detention.
Some who truly advocated rebellion against the state were either jailed, disappeared or head for the hills.
But for the multitudes of little folk – most of whom loved the country found the leadership wanting – resentment built up until nobody could take it anymore.
Finally, they took to the streets and protested the injustice of the government as the sign of their loyalty to the flag. Risking the ruling class’ wrath, they took the government and reclaimed the state.
Fast forward to today, and it is becoming apparent that the same Marcosian theme is being employed by the propagandists of President Benigno S. Aquino III. First, as I wrote in my last post, the partisan yellow is still the color of the day. Not the Philippine colors… yellow. This has been there from day one: the day PNoy took his oath of office as President of the WHOLERepublic, it was a sea of yellow.
Then it carried on in the next three years, his yellow ribbon and the theme that his way – the daang matuwid – is the true way and anything that his government says is not part of it is a corrupt way. Thus everybody who had dealings with the past government – the administration of President Gloria M. Arroyo – was equally corrupt. Small businessmen who supplied the previous administration were not given the Daang Matuwid seal of good housekeeping. Legitimate contracts and contractors whose non partisan businesses supplied the previous administration were denied access to government, and collections for goods that were signed, sealed and delivered were simply ignored.
But that was OK. PNoy was riding an all time high trust and approval rating, not only here but all over the world. The government was only right to milk that for the good of the country. And, boy, it was good.
Now comes the funds scandal, in the legislature known as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), and in the executive known as the Development Acceleration Fund (DAP). The PDAF was a pork barrel for legislators which they dispensed at will to their pet projects, often to ensure political favor from constituents, and allegedly to revert to their own pockets. The DAP, when revealed, was likewise labeled as the President’s pork barrel, being a fund that the executive also dispensed to his pet projects, including the impeachment of the Supreme Court Chief Justice.
PNoy’s communications machinery worked overtime to disassociate his DAP from PDAF. They fed the line to reliable columnists like Greg Macabenta in Businessworld and Conrad de Quiroz of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
De Quiroz, brother of SSS President and bonus giver Emil de Quiroz and admittedly one of Pnoy’s most consistent public admirers and defenders – wrote in his column of this conspiracy to equate the evil PDAF with the saintly DAP, also hitting of a conspiracy to damage his idol, the President:
Overnight, the issue has turned from epic corruption, wrongdoing, and betrayal of public trust to questions about the ethics and legality of the DAP.
Overnight, the social and mainstream media have slackened on Janet, Jinggoy, Bong, and Johnny or stopped dead in their tracks like a deer caught in the headlights, staring only at the DAP, blinking only at Malacañang’s conduct in the impeachment. Overnight, the public itself has stopped seething at Janet, Jinggoy, Bong and Johnny, demanding that they be brought to the dock to face justice. Overnight, no one is thundering that if found guilty they be punished, they be made to return their loot, that is not their money, that is our money. It’s enough to make you believe their PRs are working overtime, though it has to be said for them that they know how to do their job, even if that job, which is to bury the scandal in a not very shallow grave, buries the people. (http://opinion.inquirer.net/63335/for-whom-the-bell-tolls)
This practically echoed Macabenta’s earlier lament: As I write this, the lead stories in the Manila dailies are no longer about Napoles, Tanda, Kuya, Sexy and Pogi. Instead, they tend to point an accusing finger at Malacañang… Where the opinion pieces used to be about the “Pork Barrel Queen,” meaning, Napoles, some columnists are now calling Aquino, the “Pork Barrel King.” (http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=Not-since-Ramon-Magsaysay&id=77627)
They likewise scoured social media with the same line, with their reliable allies in the yellow army and with the professional trolls – paid internet operators who used multiple social media personas on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
But the admin propagandists failed, and a new call started growing: the ouster of PNoy.
PNoy propagandists went into high gear with a new script: that if you are anti DAP, you are anti PNoy; and if you are anti PNoy, you are anti daang matuwid and therefore among the corrupt and anti Philippines. To quote one popular ally who took to the script: I will not support any call to oust PNoy. It is CLEAR na ang mga nagtatawag nito ay may mga tinatago. Ayaw nila matuloy ang mga imbestigasyon at gusto nila i-DIVERT ang attention. Kaya kung dun kayo, sorry, di ako sasama. This admin is our biggest ally in our fight versus corruption. Kung madali kayo ma-confuse at madali sa chismis, innuendoes, accusations na walang basehan, then you don’t deserve good govt. Sumama na kayo kay Sexy, Tanda, Pogi, BongBong, Binay at iba.
Then it was time to call out Pnoy himself, first in a major media forum of the Foreign Correspondents of the Philippines (FOCAP). When the message did not gain much traction, they preempted regular primetime television programming – ala Marcos – with the same message. DAP is not PDAF, DAP is good, and anybody who says otherwise is allied with the corrupt, against daang matuwid and PNoy and thus the State.
Along the way, a diversion occurred: Yolanda. Again the president found himself embroiled for his actions, or lack of.
Again the PNoy propaganda machinery kicked into high gear. Columnists, news media assets, trolls, social media allies sang the same tune: critics and complainers aren’t helping. Just shut up and give.
Posts one troll called Tabang Pinoy in my previous blog DAY 6 since Yolanda/ Haiyan
(https://jpfenix.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/day-6-since-yolanda-haiyan/): Gago tumulong ka nalang walang silbe yang mga pinuputak ng butchi mo…. halos dito na kami natutulog sa kaka repack ng goods. Mas pinoy pa ako sayo dahil kami mas pinili na tumulong kesa putak ng putak… walang kwenta…
Another troll, Kish, had this to say: the one who wrote this, are those people who are trying to destroy the administration, these are the people who are patronage and beneficiaries of marcos’ martial rule, part of the 10 billion Napoles scam, they are eager like a tiger to ruin the efforts of the administration in responding national disaster, drag the name of Pnoy and SEC MAR ROXAS into bias observations and press releases and discredit them… this is a TOTAL and a CLEAR destabilization efforts of the REEMS’ BROTHERHOOD! (Revilla, Estrada, Enrile, Marcos)… they are simply the team of corrupt who wanted to protect their allies who are now facing plunder charges and grab the presidency in 2016 just to save their king pins….PILIPINOS wag tayong mag palihis sa mga kulay itim!
And this is not going to stop.
In Marcos’ time, the propaganda was part and parcel of the strategy. It was being directed from the very top.
The question is: does PNoy even realize that his propagandists are doing this? And if so – if he knows what’s going on and is on top of this messaging activity – does he fully understand what it is doing to the ordinary Filipinos?