The presidential contenders and vice-president wanna-bes have released their tv ads, and so far, it’s been obvious:all the ads feature the candidates with members of the masa; all the ads make it appear that the candidates are saviors and that they will be the ones to provide solutions to the problems of the masa.
For the longest time, government employers and officials have been called ‘public servants’ because their salaries come from taypayers’. The elected officials got into office precisely because they were supported by the citizenry (if they didn’t cheat their way to victory, or killed their opponents. It’s already a given that some of them got votes by buying them and issuing various promises).
Public servants. So how come they never obey their masters?
In the tv ads, Gilbert Teodoro, Manny Villar, Loren Legarda, Mar Roxas, Noynoy Aquino are seen mingling with the ordinary Filipinos, hugging their children, being sympathetic, listening, looking kindly.
The masa, in turn, speak out about their problems- unemployment, low wages, the difficulties of making ends meet. Their are images of them struggling against the atrocities of life, both man (government)-made and borne of natural calamities. They are in turn defiant, despairing, angry, desperate. As they tend to their chores, as they go about their menial jobs and worry about where the next meal will coming from, they look for saviors, and it is to the presidential contenders they turn (because the incumbent president and her corrupt government has failed them).
And the clincher of the ads? The candidate steps in and presents himself/herself as the one who will provide the solutions.
Of course he/she says that he/she will work with the people to find the said solutions, but who believes this?
In reality and in actual practice, politicians ignore the demands of their constituents, defy their calls for reforms and refuse to heed their pleas for help. Once elected, all the professed love, all the compassion and sympathy are gone, and the so-called public servant turns tyrannical master.
Among all the ads, I like Gibo Teodoro’s best. They’re quiet, and the masa are depicted with dignity. They’re not desperate — they’re assertive: they say that they want a leader who offers intelligence and not just heart.
But intelligent as Teodoro may be, how intelligent can he be if he professes to believe in the program of government begun by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo? And what kind of heart has he if he believes that taking the military solution is of the utmost importance when addressing the civil war in the Philippines?
Manny Villar’s leave me angry and frustrated. The masa are shown as snivelling, weak and prostrate. They often are, I know- – nothing breaks the human spirit like intense poverty and the problems created by lack of opportunities; but it still sets my teeth on edge at how the ads convey the message that all the Filipino people need are dole-outs. That their problems can be solved if they’re given jobs and food by some charitable and kind soul who also happens to be running for the presidency.
On a personal level, I appreciate Manny Villar’s efforts to bring home stranded OFWs. It’s just so self-serving the way his campaign is being conducted: he has to be depicted as a strong hero. His money and his generosity are supposedly what make him heroic.
Ditto for Mar Roxas’ ads and his pedicab.
Loren Legarda’s ad is downright annoying. Climate change-climate change, huwaaat?! Talk about jumping on popular issues (that aren’t known or important to ordinary folk, by the way) and trying to run away with! It would have been more practical, more real if she said that she was going to help improve the efficiency of the country’s garbage and waste disposal systems; that she would help improve city planning so there would be no more floods everytime there’s a drizzle; that she will put an end to the endless traffic jams because she will fix the public transportation system!
Noynoy’s ad. What to say, what to say. It’s condescending. Does he actually believe that Filipinos will vote for him because he has so-called stars behind him? Filipinos are not that easily swayed; so many actors and actresses have learned their lesson the hard way when they ran for public office in 2007: they failed to secure the support of voters.
In any case, he had a pot belly, he looked ridiculous when he got on top of that rock-pedestal thing with the lit torch. He had a goofy smile on, and it was embarrassing. I actually winced when I saw the ad for the first time. Anger came next as I saw the simulated sugarcane fields and remembered Hacienda Luisita and how Noynoy looked like he wanted to throw a chair at Bayan Muna and Anakpawis lawmakers Satur Ocampo and Rafael Mariano when they brought up the massacre of November 16, 2006 in plenary.
Chiz Escudero’s ads. I still have to think about them in the light of all the ambiguity of his plans. Is he running for president or isn’t he? Because he’s the one I will vote for if he is. It’s so frustrating because because among all the candidates, he’s the only one who has previously shown any sense and intelligence; a genuine grasp of economic and political issues; and he’s media savvy and popular, too (doesn’t hurt to be that). He has shown that he has already achieved a level of political maturity and it’s not only in words because he was prepared to go off on his own to prove a point.
His break from the NPC is seen by many as a positive step, and perhaps it is. I can acknowledge that now, in hindsight. Perhaps there really was sincerity in his move, in his motives for leaving.
But I will give his ads this — the tagline “Para maiba naman,” is catchy, and so is the melody of the line “May bagong pag-asang darating.” A bit messianic, but hey, aren’t they all?
My baby dances whenever Chiz’ ads are shown. The moment she hears the jingle, she’s on her feet and swaying.