Why the dilawan propaganda can never succeed

It’s Good Friday. Like every Christian I’m supposed to be in contemplative mode on the life and passion of Jesus Christ. But I’m not the type who becomes deeply religious only during Holy Week. I practice my faith every single day of my life. And I’m sure Jesus Christ won’t mind if I use this Holy day to write about politics. Anyway, his life was also about politics. The politics of good over evil. What happened to him was the result of the corruption in the politics of his time. That same politics is still very much visible in this modern day and age.

During the last few days, we witnessed another round of yellow propaganda against our President. The agitation has been stepped up. I can detect a sense of urgency in their shrill voices as they try to spread false allegations about what is happening in the country. Central in this propaganda campaign is the Covid 19 response of the government. Dilawans are desperately trying to paint a doomsday scenario: that if the government of Tatay Digong is not replaced, Filipinos are in grave danger from this deadly disease.

Their message is that the Duterte administration is inept, incompetent and plainly incapable of providing security and comfort to the people in these most trying times.

It must really be frustrating for them because aside from the occasional trending of the hashtags they coin to propel their disinformation to reach the entire population, none has even caused a ripple in the water.

Filipinos have shown a “hu-hum” attitude towards this propaganda effort. No matter how much flint have been rubbed together to produce enough sparks to start a conflagration, they are unable to start even a small fire. It’s like trying to light a fire with wet wood.

Haven’t they even paused to wonder why their desired results aren’t happening?

Well, let me tell them the reason: the experiences of Filipinos do not lend any weight and credence to their message. Incompetent and inept? An overwhelming majority of the people — as much as 90% — feel secure and safe under the current dispensation. Nothing in their everyday living, no matter how difficult it has become under Covid 19, tells them their government is not doing what it ought to. In fact, I would venture to say Filipinos trust their government now than ever before.

And the harder the yellows try with their current media strategy, their efforts only sink deeper in a quagmire. Filipinos detect a sinister motive in their behavior. A combination of the oligarchy, the Liberals and the communist insurgency is pooling resources to bring back the old order, a political state that had failed the people. They claim that hope is their currency; people can only see darkness ahead if they are allowed to regain power.

When people turn off comments or block others on social media

I just read an article about former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay having blocked pro-Duterte netizens because he apparently has no stomach to tolerate ideas that run counter to his own.

At once, this brought back to mind what ABS-CBN actress Kim Chiu when she posted a YouTube video entitled, “The Truth: Breaking My Silence,” two weeks ago. Kim Chiu hid behind a thick studio curtain, perhaps thinking it would disguise the truth.

Both are excellent examples of cowards who cannot handle the truth that in this world, there are always two sides of a coin. Or rather, many shades of gray. In this world of lightning speed travel of ideas, everybody has a word to say about issues. And those who pretend to espouse causes, and yet shield themselves from contradictory opinions, are quickly exposed as frauds.

A good idea can withstand the most severe of assaults from every side of an equation. After going through a rough storm, it will always emerge intact, and will gain acceptance from among the multitudes. Indeed, there are truths that have outlasted generations of people. The Bible is one of them. We also have the classics in literature. Good ideas are not temporary. In Pilipino, “hindi panandali-an.”

This is the reason the propaganda being propagated by the “dilawans” and the left, with plenty of financial support from the oligarchy, do not last long enough to sink into the public consciousness. These are superficial, hollow, empty. It doesn’t take much to demolish the falsehoods they throw into cyberspace. For every distortion and falsehood, a battery of Patriot missiles in the form of counter-ideas quickly shoot them down.

The same thing can be said about the fake news of ABS-CBN. Kung sa Hiligaynon, maalam na ang mga Pinoy. Hindi na ma-into (Filipinos are now smart. They cannot be fooled).

Kaya binisbisto lang ng mga katulad nina Hilbay at Kim Chiu ang kahinaan ng kanilang pinapakalat na propaganda. Ang taong bayan mismo ang dumedepensa sa gobyerno ngayon laban sa mga ganitong banta sa ating republika.

 

The reign of deceit

I never gave this affair about Jed Patrick E. Mabilog being nominated for a supposed “World Mayor” award until my friend, lawyer and journalist Teofisto “Pistong” Melliza, shared on my Facebook wall a campaign poster seeking voter support for the Iloilo City mayor among netizens.

What struck me as incredible was the statement that Mabilog is the only Philippine city mayor who was nominated to the top 25 local chief executives from around the world to vie for this award. It revealed much about what this supposed award is all about. It is a racket.

No sensible organization would confer an award as “World Mayor” on the basis of online votes by email. That method of selection could never qualify as a credible reflection of the sentiments of people from around the world. It is a deceitful ploy that will only help vultures gobble up more prey.

Inside me, I feel hurt that still a considerable number of Ilonggos are falling prey to this racket. In City Hall, officials and employees are allowing themselves to be used as tools to promote the deceit. In doing so, they are devoured by the scam and become deceitful themselves. For everybody knows Mabilog is not material for such an award if that were a legitimate one.

One just needs to look around the city to know that Mabilog can’t even qualify to be the best mayor of Iloilo City in its history. In almost every aspect of governance, Mabilog has done poorly. If there is one area where he excels, it’s in what I call “cosmetic governance”. This guy knows how to embellish an ugly picture to make it look good.

Right now, there is a public uproar over the frequent brown-outs in Iloilo City. There is hardly a day when the city is not hit by a power outage. In the past, power interruptions were caused by weather disturbances such as a thunderstorm, which caused tree branches to break and hit power lines. Lately, however, brown outs occur even in calm weather. The outages happen without obvious causes.

But Ilonggos have never heard their city mayor castigate Panay Electric Co. for its deteriorating service. Mabilog has kept unusually quiet as most of the people curse PECO for these brown outs. It’s as if Mabilog has been deaf about the people’s gripes about electrical services. The situation has turned so bad that Philippine Daily Inquirer ran a story about it. Still, Mabilog remained mum about it.

Well, Mabilog has been more vociferous on the water supply problems of Iloilo City. However, his words are never backed up by action. Four years ago, Mabilog said he would lead a picket march against the Metro Iloilo Water District unless it put an end to its inability to supply water to the city’s households. Nothing happened. Time and again, Mabilog would raise his shrill voice against MIWD. It never went beyond words.

The same thing could be said about Mabilog’s handling of the city’s garbage, crime, traffic and other major problems, to include health and sanitation. In all these areas, his performance could be described as dismal failures. He is so pre-occupied with “beautificaaation”. However, he forgets the problems can’t be hidden with cosmetics.

To my mind, Mabilog resorts to deceitful methods to hide his incompetence. He doesn’t know his job, but he doesn’t want to admit it. He needs camouflage to make him look good. He needs awards and titles to polish and shine his otherwise lackluster image. He makes heavy use of cosmetics, false eyelashes and wigs to accomplish this. Of course I use that in a figurative sense.

But there is one image that comes to mind when I think about Mabilog’s deceitful stratagems. Two years ago, he asked his media handlers to compose a “before and after” poster of his supposed achievements in cleaning up the Iloilo River. The left side of the poster showed a colony of shanties spilling over the banks of the Iloilo River, with Gaisano City in the background. The right side of the poster showed that portion of the riverbank cleared of the ugly shanties. Mabilog claimed it as his accomplishment.

Everybody knows that these squatter shanties were removed from the riverbank way back in the late 90s as part of the Iloilo River improvement project of Senator Franklin Drilon. The occupants were relocated to a village in Pavia, Iloilo. Mabilog was not yet in public office. And the improvement of the place was also upon the instance of Drilon one or two years after the structures were removed.

In short, Mabilog claimed credit for something he had nothing to do with. He shamelessly did it to project a positive image of what he had supposedly done for the Iloilo River for an upcoming international summit which Iloilo city was hosting. Such dishonesty tastes like bile, and no decent individual would consciously do it.

And so now, we see Mabilog aspiring for a lofty-sounding title as “World Mayor”. He hasn’t even started to do his job right, and he is trying to snare another false, empty, hollow title to his name.