"Have you slept in the market, Papa?" our seven-year old son asked out of the blue yesterday.
Taken aback by the question, I blurted "what?"
So he repeated himself, "When you were young, have you slept in the market?"
"He's always like that, Papa. He imagines that it was better in the past," his elder sister interjected.
"Why are you asking Leon, is it because of Manny Villar's story?" I pretty much knew that it was because he's been talking about Manny Villar on and off in the past weeks.
In fact, both my older kids had been interested with Manny Villar when his campaign jingle about having taken a bath in a river of garbage and spent Christmas in the streets came out. They say that their schoolmates also likes Manny Villar.
I have always been disgusted with politicians making a spin to gain political mileage, i.e. giving half-truths to improve image or mass appeal. This one is particularly hideous. Why?
- Tunay na mahirap. It uses children (and the disadvantaged ones at that) to carry the message that Manny Villar is poor himself.
- Nakaligo ka na ba sa dagat ng basura? It glorifies poverty, a subliminal message that effectively gets into the impressionable minds of children. Effective because my kids got infected with the message (often singing the jingle), and they only get to watch television 1-2 hours per week! How much more for those who are allowed to sit in front of the television a couple of hours or more every day.
- ...mapag-aaral...mapagtrabaho...magkabahay...Magtatapos ng ating kahirapan! It appeals to parents' fear about their children's future and promises heaven on earth if Manny Villar gets to be president. Unfortunately, many parents will fall for this bull****. It's again the easy way out of poverty-- find a savior, a magician or a billionaire. And with the right propaganda, they're willing to latch on to anyone, even known (or suspected) scumbags who answers to no one.
I have no choice but to dig deeper into this matter and be vocal about it. The issue cannot be ignored anymore and the outcome cannot be left to chance.
As I research about it, I found mannyvillar.com.ph where they unabashedly praised this shameful campaign strategy. They think that it's okay to use children and to make "very directly and brave claim as to eradicate poverty." Read for yourself through this link and let me know what you think.
Making outrageous claims as to end poverty (Tapusin ang kahirapan is seen in his orange campaign materials all over the place) is again giving Filipinos false hopes, that would further erode credibility of our political institutions, as expectations are set so high that it's short of claiming magical powers. How can someone make such outrageous claims in the face of so much poverty in the country and get away with it. Ooops I forgot that if you answer to no one, not to political institutions, not the courts, probably not even to God...then duping Filipinos is as easy as ABC-5 (or ZTE).
Fellow Filipino parents, we should remember the adage...if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
After learning that Manny Villar has spent billions on advertising, which started even before the campaign period, I just wondered if he really intends to serve the Filipino people...why didn't he just do public service directly as he says he doesn't need to get richer anymore. I can think of at least two ways he could have done it with his own resources:
- Pay off our country's debt, as debt-servicing is sucking the budget dry, the highest portion of which is supposed to be allocated for education.
- Build houses, schools and create jobs with the money he's spending in his campaign. He can even start small in strategic areas (including his own Las Pinas or Tondo) and find broad support when small gains are at hand.
But now since he has invested so much in his campaign to be president, do you think he would not recoup his investment? I am sure he'd be happy with his salary as President of the Philippines.