Why the Philippine Propaganda Machine prospers

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar and DDS bloggers [Photo from Rappler; see footnote]

By Joe America

Here are some things we can observe about the official Philippine State propaganda machine run out of Communications Secretary Martin Andanar’s office and taken up by cabinet secretaries, spokespeople, compliant legislators, and the troll brigade anchored by Asec. Mocha Uson:

  • It is an orchestrated effort that seeks to diminish critics and elevate President Duterte. This approach was used effectively during the presidential election campaign. It continues as an advocacy for the President. Not the State.
  • Once a topic is put on the agenda as important, all the king’s horses take up the charge. Recently, the focus turned to renewed attacks on Vice President Robredo. Why? She is gaining in the popularity polls and people are impressed by her graciousness and kindness, and her principled statements for democracy and human rights. She is deemed a threat. The State’s trolling attack is an astounding endeavor: taxpayer money is being used to disparage the State’s elected vice president. It is a nasty business that undermines everything the Constitution stands for.
  • Lies, character assassination, bullying . . . these are tools of the State’s agents. We see this when the Secretary of Foreign Affairs claims that human rights officials are tied to drug lords without a shred of evidence. And as trolls relentlessly slander people and make up news, and as convicts are freed or granted witness protection so that they may testify against decent people. This is diplomacy, civility, and due process turned upside down.
  • The propaganda effort probably has foreign backing or funding. We know it has training by Chinese mentors. Troll farms and trolls. Lists and more lists. Claims that ‘destabilization’ is an organized plot. Rationalizing mistakes with blames rather than accountability. It’s like China is operating directly from the Palace. The techniques are similar.

The proof that it is a work of State is evident from the fact that President Duterte and his chiefs do nothing to stop the abuses, even when they are life-threatening (tying critics to the drug trade). A government of constitutional integrity would recognize that these activities damage civil order and stop them.

Why do these destructive acts prosper?

They prosper because the disenfranchised and emotionalized masses see the State’s brutality as evidence that their strongman is working to punish the people who did nothing for them. So many Filipinos have spent a lifetime with nothing and going nowhere. They get to strike out at “the system” through their strongman president. Targets are the yellows, LP, the entitled, the elite. Anyone who is doing better than they are.

Popular support of the President is held up as a ‘mandate’ to continue the destructive activities.

The State has weaponized the nation’s crab culture.

How can this destruction of civility be stopped and due process resumed?

(1) In time. The opposition can wait until more people feel the pain and more people realize that it comes directly from the Duterte government. When prices get painful, or jeepney drivers, Boracay workers, MRT riders, WPS fishermen, and other victims of government’s decisions finally ‘get it’ that it is THEY who are being abused. The tide will turn naturally.

(2) Now. The democratic opposition can find a charismatic leader who will inspire a demand for civility and order and oppose abuses of Filipinos by those who seem more loyal to China than to Filipinos. As President Duterte used drugs as a strawman, the opposition can use China. And prices. And crude behavior that diminishes all Filipinos. If the effort is large and loud enough, it will attract swarms of backers like ants to sugar.

The third approach is to live a lifetime obediently as a non-thinking, suffering member of the Filipino borg hive.

_______________

The photograph is from Rappler’s article “State-sponsored hate: The rise of the pro-Duterte bloggers” by Natashya Gutierrez. This article describes the nastiness of the online dialogue, and is a part of the reason the Duterte Administration is working to suppress Rappler and Executive Editor Maria Ressa, along with reporter Pia Ranada, who has been banned from government premises because she asked too many uncomfortable questions. JA

 

Comments
175 Responses to “Why the Philippine Propaganda Machine prospers”
  1. Yvonne says:

    U.S. SET TO REQUEST FIVE YEARS OF SOCIAL MEDIA HISTORY FOR ALL VISA APPLICANTS

    Some years ago, if my recollection is right, Raissa admonished some posters in her blog site about their strong anti-American rhetoric. She cautioned that some of their posts in social media could someday come back to haunt them.

    In another instance, again if my recollection is right, someone (was it Johnny Lin?) joked in her blog site that Parekoy better keep Joe Am’s contact number handy when he visits the U.S. in case he gets held up at the point of entry.

    Well, what do we know? Raissa’s foresight seems to be coming true.

    According to ABC News datelined Mar 29, 2018, 5:59 PM ET:

    – QOUTE –

    US set to request five years of social media history for all visa applicants

    The Trump administration is seeking to change visa applications to require all applicants to turn over five years of social media history.

    The move is a major expansion of President Donald Trump’s effort to implement “extreme vetting” and change how immigrants and visitors to the U.S. are processed.

    The proposed new rule would require foreigners applying for a visa to include their social media usernames on various platforms including Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, as well as previous email addresses, phone numbers, international travel — all from the last five years.

    The State Department, which filed a notice of the proposed change, estimates it will affect 14.71 million applicants, including those who apply as students, for business trips, or on vacation.

    – UNQUOTE –
    .
    With this latest news I will not be surprised if we noticed a sudden drop in anti-U.S. rhetoric and bullying tactics of many in Duterte’s adminstration, as well as a significant drop in the spread of fake news and anti-human rights sentiments in many social media sites especially in Facebook.

    You can read more about this latest news here:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-set-request-years-social-media-history-visa/story?id=54106598

    • Thanks for that update, Yvonne. I suspect Facebook will see about 14.71 million people scrambling around trying to delete their files, and I agree it may cause some to temper their language. I also imagine people will try to be vindictive by reporting people to the US when there is no basis. So it will be fascinating to see how this plays out in the execution/vetting by US immigration. The vetting is already a slow, laborious, multi-step process that goes through at least three screening steps, NSA, Immigration, and local office (Manila Embassy).

  2. I volunteered to work in social media campaign for a peesidential candidate last elections. Propaganda prospers because fake news are infinite, truth is finite. I had to find legit sources of resibos to counter a fake news about my candidate and when I find them, another bunch of fake news comes up.

    Propaganda prospers because people are fond of shallow issues like colours or grammar flaws. They are easily distracted. Not bothering to look at the bigger picture. They’d rather talk about Mocha or Sasot’s supposed stupidty. They’re not stupid. They’re paid to distract people.

    • Yes, very clearly that is a global trend and the Philippines is in the lead. It probably started here back in the texting age and got accelerated by Facebook. I think the conversation has to be in that same vein, which is why I say a ‘charismatic’ leader is needed. Someone who can speak in sharp, popular sound bites. If there were a ‘democratic party’ primary with three candidates, Kris Aquino, Leni Robredo, and Florin Hilbay, I’d bet on Kris Aquino drawing more votes.

      • yes, Kris would easily get millions of votes.

        slightly OT: methinks PH was the testing ground for Cambridge Analytica, and when it worked they used same for the US. i read an article few days ago about CA doing psychological analysis and how it was used for political agenda.

        • Wouldn’t surprise me at all. I believe Facebook worked directly with the Duterte campaign as well, guiding them on how to use its power.

          • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

            may be, MAY BE. but in precedence (recent history), you only need Pampanga, the Ilocos and Leyte viz Tacloban to win a presidential election. It’s really political clout and dynasty as deciding variable which can have the COMELEC in their pockets. How many of the 16 million voters are facebookers, potential for the dynamics offered by Cambridge Analytica?

  3. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    Do you remember Valentin de los Santos and his band of amulet-wearing, bolo-wielding followers? They were made to believe that bullets will bounce off them. Thinking they were indeed formidable, they charged a detachment of government forces armed with brand-new Armalites on Taft avenue in 1967. The resulting carnage was predictable. Thirty-three of them were killed, 47 wounded, the survivors charged with sedition, de los Santos hauled off to the National Mental Hospital (wiki). End of story?

    Apparently, not yet.

    What is in Rodrigo Duterte that inspires crackpots and those who believe in the fakest of fake news? I’m sure the photo of a fictitious BRP Duterte, supposedly our own aircraft carrier, will go the usual round of hossanahs from pro-Dutz, calling to mind the insanity of Lapiang Malaya.

    To be pitied, these people in their happy place of complete surrender to the whims of a demented leader, Rodrigo Duterte as the new Valentin de los Santos?

    Your take is as good as mine.

    Okay. Back to Good Friday. Wait, but didn’t Martin Paandar liken Dutz to our Lord and Savior, the name above all names? That nails it.

    Back to the Good Friday of our lives as Filipinos struggling with our own crowning with thorns, carrying of the cross, nailing and dying on the cross in the Philippine Golgotha.

    Good to know that we will resurrect.

    • chemrock says:

      Valentin de los Santos — First time to hear this. It sounds much like the Boxer Rebellion. Bet Bato and his men think they are immune to ICC’s noose.

    • Insanity reigns, and the people in the asylum don’t even realize they are in the asylum.

      • MCD says:

        Precisely. Many do not know that they do not know. Pied Piper playing and the rats following. Soon the villagers. Sad.

    • i wonder when there’s gonna be a Valentin de los Santos and who among the dds it would be.😂 and speaking of hossanahs, i am reminded of when Duts threw his snot-filled towels to his delighted fanatics during the campaign.

    • Alan Robles once made the connection between Duterte and Haiti’s Papa Doc Duvalier.

      The parallels are indeed scary, including the antielite populism and use of superstition.. https://www.historyanswers.co.uk/people-politics/papa-doc-duvalier-the-voodoo-president-who-killed-kennedy/ – and power going from mulattos to ‘real blacks’.

      In Haiti they say don’t speak French with me, speak creole – ‘huwag sobrang disente/maarte/ipokrito’ and Duterte’s swearing would be the Filipino counterpart.

      • Francis says:

        @Irineo

        Thanks for the link. Wow. My impression of “Papa Doc Duvalier” (from what little I skimmed and heard) is that he was some sort of crazy, barbaric dictator. I honestly did not expect him to be actually the opposite.

        Amazing.

        Duvalier had all the trappings of a moderniser. As a doctor he had worked tirelessly to stamp out malaria and tropical skin diseases and as a political activist – a reader of Renaissance thinker Machiavelli and Turkish reformer Atatürk – Duvalier spread his word not at gunpoint but through the urbane nationalist journal Les Griots (meaning ‘The Bards’).

        With the keen eye of an amateur historian, anthropologist and ethnographer, he compiled studies of the island’s Voodoo religion, Haitian Vodou – an intoxicating mixture of Catholicism and deep rooted African beliefs that had thrived on the slave plantations and gripped the wider consciousness through its tales of blood sacrifice, malevolent curses and shambling zombies – but rather than a progressive new model, Duvalier exploited the drum beats of superstition in his vision for a new Haitian identity with himself clutching at its heart.”

        “Keenly aware of the lingering national humiliation left by the 1915-34 US occupation of Haiti (which had relied heavily on mulatto rule) and recognising the simmering distrust of the Roman Catholic church which had attempted to suppress Vodou, Duvalier espoused a cynical new breed of nationalism that equated this “heathen” creed with the nation’s African roots, appealing to the marginalised black working class and pitting them against the mulatto ruling class.”

        I do not mean to offend, but my observations of many previous discussions is that the issue of “ideology” has been neglected. I am not saying the practice is unimportant but I do think that “ideology” and “theory” has been woefully recieved not much attention (if any).

        Of course—one may wonder: do we have to devise complex ideological and theoretical refutations of what appears to be the simplistic populism of Duterte. Oh! It’s just Andanar/Mocha/Roque throwing typical tabloidistic distractions that have little (if no) ideological content save for a a dumbed-down cult of personality…

        Let us not forget that this sensationalist (often social media-derived) thing we call propaganda is but an actor. A charismatic, attention-grabbing actor.

        But the lines? But the plot of the play; the screenplay? That is written in this thing called society, the stage: the context—or in other words, the mindsets and patterns of thought, or in one mere word: the reigning ideology.

        He who wins the ideas, wins all else.

        My favorite quote has always been this one from Keynes. Did not read him, but just picked up this quote from Goodreads some time ago. It struck me then, and it still strikes me now:

        Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back

  4. I can relate to your Valentin de los Santos recollection, Sir Will.

    During that carnage I was in college. My PE instructor in judo was a grandson of delos Santos. Instructor seemed intelligent enough, so I could not reconcile the fact that he, too, believed that bullets wont harm them. Fortunately for him, he had a class in school so he was spared.

    Yes, good to know that we will resurrect!

  5. NHerrera says:

    CONNECTING THE PREVIOUS BLOG WITH THE CURRENT ONE

    I read the last few items in the previous blog [“bullshit” blog] before the current one, and the latter again demonstrates the accuracy of that AI psychological-test algorithm — which chemrock and you took and of which chem labeled as scaringly accurate. The current blog as well as other blogs you authored/ edited are evidence of that algorithmic analysis, among others, your being: Liberal and Artistic, Impulsive and Spontaneous, Contemplative. It is nice that TSH which is admired by many of us is edited/ authored by such a person. Thanks, Joe.

    I like your ending paragraphs-prescriptions on what to do, especially the last one on using a strawman as an effective strategy just as Duterte used the drug war as an effective strawman as the main vehicle for his China-embrace and constitutional change strategy.

  6. NHerrera says:

    Not quite off topic

    I hope that when Mueller’s Investigation on the Russian meddling on the 2016 US Presidential Election is completed, someone like John Grisham writes an in depth non-fiction account of how Mueller and his team proceeded with their investigation. It will be a great treat for me as a non-lawyer.

    I wrote the above after reading how CNN thinks Mueller and his team proceeded on Gates, and as an antithesis to the Andanar Propaganda Machine, including Aguirre, Alvarez, and Cayetano in that Machine:

    https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/29/politics/mueller-gates-russia-investigation-contacts/index.html

  7. chemrock says:

    Propanganda probably started during the cold war years. The tecnhiques, expertise, and tools expanded over the decades in tandem with technological advances. The Anericans achieved the kind of slickness in political campaigns long before any other nation.

    Today, Americans and liberal countries are aghast at the Russian interference in the US elections. But nobody remembers how 4 slick Americans helped Boris Yeltsin won his re-election. He came back form a poll of 6% chance to eventual winner. It was’nt state interference then. Yeltsin engaged American campaign managers in stealth, with full knowledge of Bill Clinton, but not necessarily connivance.

    We can be cry babies that Team Duterte utilised Facebook assistance, Chinese troll machinery, Nic Gabanuda to run his internet campaigns, etc.. But the truth is the Roxas campaign screwed up in 2 areas. (1) They correctly identified the threat of Binay and neutralised him early, but incorrectly identified the 3rd force as Poe instead of Duterte, until it was too late when the epimanes from Davao was already on a roll. (2) They failed to utilise the internet effectively.

    There is black propaganda and there is white propaganda. One is the dissemination of falsehoods the other is fact based. We counter the black with whites. Unfortunately, we live in a world where man-bites-dog news sells and dog-bite-man news does’nt. Facts alone cannot sell. It has to be dished out with some omph. It is the delivery that matters. The people who can do that belongs to the advertising industry.

    Propaganda has its useful place in a political campaign. Once the battle is over, and the king is in place, to prolong that same tactic will see marginal utilities, if not self-destruct. It is often said a lie repeated too many times becomes normalised. But it is also true man-bite-dog news can only last that long. It is only a matter of time when dog-bite-man news is preferred. This is called propaganda fatigue. Mocha, Sass, or Thinking Pinoy’s nonsense can only go so far. They no longer have any impact beyond the die-hard DDS.

    • NHerrera says:

      Right. It is interesting to me that this propaganda fatigue is being evidenced in both Trump and Duterte, though in different rates.

      • There are two fatigues at work. One is that propaganda becomes tiresome and people start to wake up. The other is that people get tired of seeking knowledge, and go with emotional judgments. Both are happening, I think.

    • As you recognize in the last paragraph, the campaign is one thing. Running the state is another. Propaganda, to be effective, demonizes some citizens so that others may thrive, and it is against the spirit and letter of the Constitution, which calls for integrity and honor. There is nothing to compliment Gabunada and the PCOO for, after the election was won. Also, I think faulting Roxas for misjudging the power of Poe is a misplaced judgment. Poe was offered the Vice Presidency, but she could not wait six years, and I’d fault her more than Roxas, for her’s was material greed while his was miscalculation of effort/method. Big difference. Wrong culprit, it seems to me. Also, it is only in late 2017 that the world woke up to Facebook and foreign meddling, and no one exists who can investigate whether the Duterte win was done by Chinese funding and meddling. There is no special prosecutor in the Philippines.

  8. A. Filipino movements and mystical beliefs

    A.1. Lapiang Malaya was not the first movement to believe in “Anting-Anting”, magical amulets to ward of bullets. Two other examples:

    A.1.a. Some Katipuneros, Bonifacio’s men, wore Anting-Antings as well. Many Anting-Antings today have the triangular form of some original Katipunan flags – and three stars. Some have only a sun. Meaning there is some semi-pagan (plus masonic) symbolism in the Philippine flag itself.

    A.1.b. Some pulahanes or colorums in the 1920s/1930s also did. Aka Sakdalistas. Why colorum? Because they recited apart of a prayer “in saeculo saecolorum” before going into battle.

    (the pulahanes/Sakdalistas/colorums were usually poor or landless peasants, they battled the Philippine Constabulary in US times just before the Commonwealth. Some later turned into Hukbalahaps under Taruc -> so there is a straight line to the NPAs, Ilagas and others there)

    A.2.a. Dutertistas were not the first movement to appeal to crab mentality. Ricartistas were very popular in the 1910s. Ricarte, Aguinaldo’s General before Luna was appointed, wanted the Philippines to be more Asian and was rabidly pro-Japanese.

    A.2.b. He was very popular among street toughs and those who wanted to be – does that sound familiar?

    A.2.c. It took the good looks and the swagger of young Manuel Quezon, a former revolutionary officer, to counteract Ricarte. And the 1916 Jones Law with the Senate and more autonomy – Quezon’s work (Mark Twain rightly said, history never repeats itself, but it rhymes. Ricarte rhymes).

    A.3.a. There has always been a strongly religious element in Philippine movements. There is a seminal work on this, Rey Ileto’s “Pasyon and Revolution”. Hermano Pules 1800s movement. “Brother Pule” aka Apolinario was a lay preacher in Quezon province, declared a heretic.

    A.3.b. The more rational “Propaganda Movement” of Rizal and friends was first inspired by the execution of Gomburza – Fathers Gomez, Burgos and Zamora. Burgos was mestizo, the other two native, all were charged with sedition and public strangled. The First Propaganda Movement had been a movement for equality among the Filipinos who were priests – it is often forgotten that Sin, Tagle and others also come from a tradition. The Second Propaganda Movement was abroad. Propaganda just meant something like “PR” in those days. More on that later on. Many members of the Propaganda Movement became masons out of protest against the Church. A lot of members of Aguinaldo’s republic were freemasons (the triangle in the Philippine flag is a masonic symbol)

    A.3.c. Of course 1986 had Marian overtones, even if nobody was crazy enough like Andanar calling Duterte Jesus, to call Cory the Virgin Mary, but there was a bit of fervor then, including the nuns. That Duterte is called the “Poong Nazeraan” (the Crazy Nazarene) in reference to the Black Nazarene of Quiapo is not surprising. The mix of brutality and self-flagellation of Dutertistas of course is as deeply Filipino as the call for peace and mercy in the original Yellow Movement. Yellow is of course now in part intellectualized (Hilbay etc.) like the Second Propaganda Movement.

    There is of course the seminal work on Filipinos and mysticism, Pasyon and Revolution by Prof. Rey Ileto – BTW that man is now fervently pro-Duterte, and I am not really surprised.

    TO BE CONTINUED…

    • NHerrera says:

      Irineo: thanks again for the historical perspective; will await the continuation.

      • Welcome… some additions:

        re A) there is a certain kinship between revolutionary spirit and the Lenten spirit in the Philippines. Including the ideas of sacrifice (Yellows) up to self-flagellation (EDSA) – in the extreme I think it goes until brutality (Dutertistas)

        There is a strong element of syncretism (pagan beliefs continued) in Philippine Catholicism, I wonder how well it is investigated. Self-crucifixion and self-flagellation seem to have headhunting/warrior origins, there is the element of resisting pain in these rituals.

        The connection of headhunting (ritual sacrifices) to tokhang is patently obvious. There were also crazy “lost commands” in Mindanao which practiced “Tadtad” (chop-chop) and some even gave themselves pseudo-religious overtones (Rock Christ and Kuratong Baleleng)

        re B) The peaceful revolutions of 1986 to the late 1980s all owed part of their success to international TV and also videotape. The 1983 killing of Ninoy may not have resonated as much with an emotional people without the secret videotaping including the shots heard.

        People saw and heard much less of the outside world then. Probably nowadays certain things no longer have the same effect because we see and hear so many things via the Internet – before that it was MTV, CNN, Al Jazeera or even Fox News.

        (BTW Obama said he wouldn’t have voted himself if he would only be watching Fox News. So are we back to the 1500s were Catholics and Protestants only believed what was printed by their own side? Maybe we already are, and 1618-1648 was the Thirty Years War)=

    • B. Propaganda.. in Spanish still simply means public relations or advertisements.

      B.1.a. the war for opinions is probably even older than the printing press. But I once wrote an article “Lügen wie Gedruckt”. The German term means “Lying like Printed” and comes from the time shortly after Gutenberg, where many strange pamphlets were printed.

      B.1.b. Catholics and Protestants accused each other of lying. Before Gutenberg, monks had to laboriously copy manuscripts. The printing press allowed anyone to print any pamphlet.

      B.1.c. The Jesuits were (also) formed as part of the Counter-Reformation. Protestants were known to debate the Bible by citing its verses, something originally reserved for the priests who interpreted the Bible in their homilies. Jesuits of course perfected counter-debate, something their predecessors in the Holy Inquisition didn’t do – they just tortured and burned those who disagreed. But here you have an example of how a “troll machinery” was countered by another PR machine, which included monks who practiced science!

      B.2.a. First World War was known for its black propaganda. Some fake news from that war survived even after. I think one example was the story of Germans killing babies in Belgium.

      B.2.b. Propaganda got its negative connotation in WW1. Already existing stereotypes were magnified, especially among French about Germans and vice versa.

      B.3.a. The Nazis, in particular Goebbels and Hitler, perfected the use of the radio and mass stadium events to mobilize people.

      B.3.b. Orson Welles was able to make people believe aliens were invading by making a satirical radio show in the 1930s.

      B.3.c. The counter to Nazi propaganda was BBC broadcasting into Central Europe, with its adage “never tell a lie”. My German grandmother was a secret listener – risky because you could get into trouble if you got caught “listening to enemy radio”.

      B.4.a. Communist versus Capitalist after WW2. Radio Free Europe broadcast eastwards.

      B.4.b. Germany was a special case were everybody tuned into West German TV secretly. The most radically communist areas were those not reachable by West German TV.

      B.4.c. Communists tried to infiltrate and fund student movements in the West in the late 1960s it seems. Former Anti-Nazi fighter and Social Democratic Chancellor Willy Brandt had to resign when one of his closest staff members turned out to be a Communist agent.

      B.5.a. The age of peaceful demonstrations started in 1986, then was continued in 1989-1990: East Germany, Poland, Romania, the dominos in Eastern Europe fell.

      B.5.b. Then there was the presumed “end of history” and a global view of news promoted by CNN, and a global youth culture led by MTV.

      B.5.c. The backlash came with Fox News on one side and the Rise of Putin on the other. There it RT which is the Russian answer to CNN. Even earlier, the Arab world created its own kind of CNN with Al Jazeera. Different “Weltanschauungen” – views of the world.

      Russian trolls BTW started to appear on European websites during the Ukraine conflict. Their methods are directly descended from classic Communist agitprop (agitation and propaganda) and Chinese trolls are from the same school of “confusing the enemy”.

      The Duterte campaign mobilized the heretofore hardly political “Pacquiao crowd”. One should also not forget that EDSA 1 was mobilized via Radio Veritas and international TV, EDSA 2 by text messages and a broadcasted impeachment trial. Media always count.

      The liberal side in the Philippines (small l, not necessarily LP) is catching up and is trying to get its messaging to the Pacquiao crowd also. Pinoy Ako Blog is not only trying to do that, it is succeeding. The Duterte side tries to recruit columnists to convince the English speakers..

    • Integrity, what is this animal? Why was it even written into the Constitution if Filipinos don’t believe in the stuff and the only way to win an argument is to out brutalize, trick, or slander the other guy.

      It does not speak well for much of the nation’s history, lacking of heroes, rife with scoundrels.

      • There is much of the tribal tradition there – winning counts. Somewhat pre-Christian, like it didn’t count much for a Viking whether he used Thor’s or Loki’s methods, fight or trickery.

        http://www.fmapulse.com/content/fma-corner-magic-tagabulag – this is a source which shows the continuity of the anting-anting, the magical powers called “galing” (I knew someone adept at arnis/escrima who told me a bit about the Filipino “Force”) till today:

        The power to be invisible was among the magical powers or galing used by Filipino fighting men of the olden days. Among the Tagalogs of Luzon, it was known as “tagabulag.” The root word of tagabulag is “bulag,” which means “blind” because the magic supposedly will make other people blind to the presence of the owner of the galing.

        The existence of the power to become invisible was mentioned in credible writings on Philippine history among them William Henry Scott’s “Barangay: Sixteenth-Century Philippine Culture and Society.”

        “Tagosilangan were persons with a charm which enabled them to see hidden things and tagarlum was a charmed herb that rendered its owner invisible,” Scott wrote.

        Perhaps the most popular character in Philippine history that wielded the power of the tagabulag is Gregorio Aglipay. Aglipay participated in the revolution against Spain and consecutively against the Americans. He was also the founder of the Aglipayan or the Philippine Independent Church. What Martin Luther is to England, Aglipay is to the Philippines.

        Hartzell Spence in “For Every Tear A Victory” (Biography of former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos) wrote of Aglipay’s war exploits using the supposed power of the tagabulag, “There was just enough documentation of the talisman’s existence to give it credence even among some of the sophisticated. Aglipay himself admitted his possession of it. A dozen live men who, at one time or another, have vouched to newspapermen and even to serious scholars that they have seen the fetish, and have witnessed its powers to work. They had known General Aglipay, on a great white Arab horse, to disappear from their camp, to reappear a moment later a half mile away at the critical section of battle. The priest had even used the charm to provide amusement. Several times he descended from his mountain lair on a Sunday afternoon to mingle with the American soldiers at a village cockfight, knowing that the Americans had a price on his head. When he was recognized and the soldiers rushed at him, he vanished.”

        A more recent mention of this magical power was published in TIME Magazine May 11, 1987 issue. A part of an article titled “The Philippines: Rise of the Vigilantes” by M.S. Serill reads, “Some of their members are menacing-looking young men and women with headbands and bolos stuck in their belts. The more bizarre group are called Tadtad, or Chop-Chop, because they ritually slash their bodies during initiation. They believe in potions and amulets they say make them invisible to their enemies.”

        The bizarre connection between religious groups and pagan beliefs (Aglipay) and of course the belief in people having warrior powers (Marcos!) and the Dark Side of the Force (Tadtad, some may still remember Norberto Manero) is also illustrated here.

        • One of the legends about Marcos was the Aglipay gave him his alleged anting-anting..

          • http://www.stuartxchange.com/AntingAnting.html

            During the 1896 Philippine Revolution against Spain, Emilio Aguinaldo used the anting-anting Santisima Trinidad, the Katipunan Supremo Andres Bonifacio carried an amulet called Santiago de Galicia / Birhen del Pilar, while General Antonio Luna used the Virgen Madre. Most Katipunan veterans were known to have anting-antings and were sometimes called “men of anting-anting.”

            Then there is Manuelito, the great Tulisan, who repeatedly escaped the sprays of bullets from the frustrated Guardia Civil, his legend brought to an end by a silver bullet from a Macabebe.

            A cast of characters of questionable repute rides the historical horse, their anting-anting stories told and retold, aggrandized and embroidered into apocrypha: Nardong Putik, Tiagong Akyat, Gregorio Aglipay, to name a few.

            In a more recent event, May 21, 1967, demanding reforms from the Marcos government, members of the insurgent Lapiang Malaya, a religio-political society, led by the 86-yr old Bicolano Valentin “Tatang” de los Santos, armed with sacred machetes (bolos), “bullet-defying” uniforms and anting-antings, thinking themselves impervious to harm, marched against the military’s superior weaponry. Of course, the rebels were summarily wiped out..

            On Good Fridays, anting-anting holders gather to test and demonstrate their powers and invincibility. Orasyons (oraciones) figure heavily in these rituals: the kabal at kunat oracion for surviving bloodless bolo hacks, the tagaliwas to cause bullets to deflect, the pamako to paralyze and the tagabulag to blind the enemy. Awed witnesses are never lacking for these demonstrations of anting-power.

            Many healers and albularyos are believed to be in the possession of some form of anting-anting. The possession of such makes it more likely that the healer’s use of prayers, either as bulongs or orasyons, common in many indigenous healing modalities, will be more effective in helping to bring about a cure.

            • I’m not sure if a pharmaceutical company should be coming up with a cure, or bottling the stuff like viagra for underperforming people with the disease we neo-liberals call integrity.

              • One wonders what kind of ‘magic’ Duterte used on Sharon Cuneta.

                Hopefully not the one known as ‘gayuma’. It is scary how many Filipinos still believe stuff like that, including aswang neighbors, or getting sick from ‘kulam’.

            • madlanglupa says:

              > Nardong Putik

              Whose exploits and sometimes apocryphal events have made money and fame for Ramon Revilla Sr, and thus the agimat now associated with them.

    • NHerrera says:

      The primary playbook used by authoritarian regimes is the use of an avalanche of creative and oftentimes not-so-creative explanations [lies], when caught with a hand in the cookie jar.

      The playbook, to a much or lesser degree, of course, is used by most countries, but it seems the Russians may lay claim to being masters of the art. I do not know how we rate in this art. (PH seemed to have earned a lot of being number 1 in a lot of negative things, so we may yet challenge the Russians to this [dis]honor.)

      https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/29/opinions/russia-snark-may-pushed-west-too-far-intl/index.html

  9. Micha says:

    It was Edward Bernays who extensively developed and cashed in on the modern art of shaping the public mind. He deployed his skills both in the service of the state and, later on, private corporations promoting among other things, the habit of smoking among women. He branded cigarettes as “torches of freedom” which effectively resonates with the feminist movement. He introduced the idea of “engineering consent”.

    A nephew of Sigmund Freud, he is considered the “father of public relations”.

    For a propaganda to be effective, according to Bernays, there has to be a modicum of truth in it. It cannot be built entirely on falsehoods. You can for example exploit the desires and ideals of the feminist movement and couple it with normalizing the habit of smoking. If men can smoke, why can’t women? How many women he killed with lung and throat cancer we never knew; but sales of Marlboro and Philip Morris increased.

    The deployment of certain amount of truth is the reason why the Duterte propaganda machine prospers. And Joeam has rightly answered his own question in this article. That it is the legitimate feeling of disenfranchisement and alienation of the masses which is being exploited to the hilt by Duterte propagandists.

    However, branding the grievances of disenfranchisement as “crab culture” is rather off-base and the main reason why counter-propaganda by the opposition has largely remained inutile. Appealing to such nebulous concepts as civility and democracy to be championed by a “charismatic leader” when the immediate issue is disenfranchisement is a perfect formula for failure.

    • And the perfect formula for success would be?

      • Having a charismatic figure and walking the talk on enfranchisement and opportunities can be a formula. Quezon vs. Ricarte not only had sheer charisma, he realized both dreams of democratic participation and opportunities through mass education (and government jobs) for a lot of people. If Leni Robredo’s programs (add the education and Negosyo stuff of Bam Aquino) start showing first successes and people get tired of Duterte giving their livelihood away (Scarborough, Marawi, Boracay, jeepneys, Kuwait) it might work.

        • MCD says:

          Agree. Philippine elections are not won by ideologies. Our party system is unstable. It is always personality-based. The opposition needs a very strong charismatic figure who must be symbolic messiah to all the masses’ frustrations. Maybe, he or she should not even be identified as “coloured” yellow as this instantly becomes a Marcos vs. Aquino game again which shouldn’t be, or polarizing again the nation’s elite vs. unperfumed. Maybe Leni will evolve into one if she remains true as she is now, with an intelligently maneuvered (hate to use this word-) propaganda.

      • Micha says:

        This is politics Joe, we compete for the hearts and minds of the people. The whole shebang is one big propaganda game. Now, what currently animates the hearts and minds of the majority of the people, those mass supporters of the current admin?

        Not civility. They don’t care how many putang ina’s you utter in public stage.

        The issue they cared about, as you correctly pointed out, is disenfranchisement.

        Now why jump from disenfranchisement to civility?

        If the opposition hopes to try to win the hearts and minds of the disenfranchised people, it should address the issue of disenfranchisement.

        Simple.

        • NHerrera says:

          Micha,

          You elaborated on your comment, thanks. But I was waiting for that “perfect formula for success” that Joe asked.

          Sorry for butting in. If Joe is satisfied, that’s that. Don’t mind me, I am sometimes dense.

          • Micha says:

            @NHerrera

            Joe’s diagnosis of why Duterds propaganda machine prospers is spot on (exploiting the legitimate feeling of disenfranchisement among the masses).

            He offers a prescription, as counter-propaganda, of looking for a charismatic leader in the opposition to champion civility and democracy instead. Do you see the disconnect?

            If there’s legitimate feeling of disenfranchisement among the masses then the perfect formula for opposition’s success would be to look for a charismatic leader who will address the issue of disenfranchisement. How utterly clear and simple is that?

            • NHerrera says:

              If I may use chem’s note below, the HOW is what I thought you will essay on in answer to Joe. It is my engineer’s orientation. The formula you described lacks the explicitness — the how — that I expected. But let us leave it at that from my end. And thanks for your additional note.

              • Micha says:

                If disenfranchisement is the issue then we address the problem of disenfranchisement.

                The nitty-gritty, the details, and the how of it deserve one serious official policy proposal that can best be democratically hammered out by the official opposition – assuming they are not co-opted by the haciendero class.

                The core of that proposal would be to build an inclusive society of engaged and empowered citizens.

            • You still are not there, and the suggestion that it is simple seems wrong, because I still don’t get it, nor do any of the ‘yellows’ as far as I can tell. Give us the message that will touch hearts and minds. That’s what the democrats need, I think. They can’t just say “Well, you are poor and going no where and we are going to change that and give you paradise.”

              • Micha says:

                @Joeam

                See my reply to NHerrera above.

                If you and the yellow opposition still don’t get it then I am afraid you and the opposition is indeed lost and losing in this propaganda game.

              • I get the concept, and have written about it. But you have not gone beyond the nebulous yourself, so I can only conclude that you have no idea how to reach the hearts and minds of the disenfranchised.

              • ps, your personalization of argument is noted.

              • Micha says:

                @JoeAm

                You’re making this unnecessarily complex than it actually is. I’ve said you were spot on the diagnosis of why the admin’s propaganda machine prospers but was suspect in your prescription on how to counter it.

                If the admin exploits and thrives on the legit feelings of disenfranchisement among the masses, why do you think shifting the issue towards civility be an effective method to counter the propaganda?

              • Micha, let me pull together several of your recent comments and respond to them here, as there are some worthwhile things to discuss.

                First, as to the comment “it’s really that simple”. This grates because it is similar to the frequent comment made by Benigno at the fake news site Get Real Post (GRP) who frequently ends his posts with “It’s simple, really!”. The comment is used to suggest that others are really too dumb to get it, and it is an intimidation statement aimed at curtailing any further discussion. Anyone with the audacity to question such simple wisdom by definition calls himself dumb. It is social media argument technique 29 and condescension method 9B.

                You say “answer the questions Joe and, behold, as day follows the night, you will find the way.” Not true at all. For example, what do you mean by “we”? Do you mean you and me, or the disenfranchised, or the yellows, or the Duterte government, or all Filipinos everywhere? The answer is different depending on the definition, so clearly you have added confusion rather than made statements that would be clear. Asking questions rather than making statements shifts the onus of responsibility to me, and keeps you in a safe place. You never have to put yourself on the line. It is social media argument technique 19.

                1. The first question is ridiculous. If you don’t know the answer after all your readings here at the blog, then I can’t help you much.
                2. Yes, we are in it together.
                3. No we are not building an inclusive society the way we are going about things under Duterte, but, yes, that is the goal.
                4. Depends on who ‘we’ is. The yellows seek to build a law-based civilization. Duterte, not. The disenfranchised don’t even think about it.
                5. No.
                6. The subject of class divide is huge. Removing bigotry from human emotions and equalizing wealth are ideals that have little bearing on the pragmatics of getting elected. The goal of the yellows is humanitarian with equality of opportunity, but not forced wealth equalization as in socialism; better wealth distribution would be seen as good. The Duterte way thrives on class divides, and the crab culture represents the realities of the current class conditions which are economic, language/region, religious, and culturally determined (drug users are criminals worth killing).

                So, having done my best to answer your questions, I am still not seeing how you would suggest the yellows speak to the disenfranchised in a way that would be inspiring and convincing, yet work toward the goal of civility and laws (that is, without lying and manipulating). That is why I ask you to “show me the words”, like “show me the money”. If you were in charge of the yellow’s marketing campaign, what would you say?

                You say that “your ideal politician” has to re-orient himself and stop power tripping and being selfish. I agree that is the goal, but it is not the way politics works, anywhere there are elections. But there should be an ethical and service frame of mind once elected, rather than populist or greedy power mongering. I agree with that as a goal. But that does not help us know how to speak to the disenfranchised.

                You ask “Why do you think shifting the issue towards civility (will) be an effective method to counter the propaganda?” Civility is not actually an explicitly stated method to be used in talking with people, I think. One is unlikely to inspire the disenfranchised by saying “be civil, obey the laws”. But I think leaders should themselves adhere to civilized norms, like human rights, truth-telling, ethical service, and the like. Then that becomes the nation’s culture if it endures.

                So, in effect, we are probably saying the same thing TO THE LEADERS. Drop the selfishness. Get civil and ethical. What is still unclear in my mind is how to do the translation to the disenfranchised. I think the message has to be more emotional than rational, thus the charisma is important. Simple, profound messages: Stop China from taking Filipino jobs. Stop killing the poor. Get more jobs that pay well. DO SOMETHING about transportation that works NOW. Stop unfair taxation that raises prices.

                Someone who rants on these points is likely to have more success than someone who talks calmly and intellectually about them.

              • Micha says:

                Well, why thank you, Joe, for responding, I thought you’ve already said you’re not interested in pursuing more discussion on this thread.

                1.what do you mean by “we”?

                I would like to refer to “we” as the broader collective whole. The whole of humanity, or at least humanity in this part of the world, though of course our struggles and desires and aspirations are more or less probably the same as the struggles of the Italians, the Bolivians, or the Ethiopians. There is afterall a common thread that links all of humanity.

                2. So, having done my best to answer your questions, I am still not seeing how you would suggest the yellows speak to the disenfranchised in a way that would be inspiring and convincing, yet work toward the goal of civility and laws (that is, without lying and manipulating). That is why I ask you to “show me the words”, like “show me the money”. If you were in charge of the yellow’s marketing campaign, what would you say?

                Now this is the approach that I probably have not been clear about or that I just assumed we were on the same plane.

                For all their lowly bearings in life, the Pinoy disenfranchised don’t want as much to be talked to. They more or less already know the issues and they can tell bullshit from a mile away. This is one of those things where action speak louder than words.

                Fight for policies out there, say, raise the living wage, put an end to contractualization, raise pension benefits, implement the law on tuition-free college education, and you don’t have to tell them who to vote for in the next elections.

                3. I think the message has to be more emotional than rational, thus the charisma is important.

                I have second thoughts on this, but if there’s a charismatic figure out there who is both capable and inspiring, why not.

          • I responded to Micha before reading your comment. No, I didn’t find a perfect formula either.

        • But we are dealing with words here, and if civility and integrity do not work, how do the aspiring democrats (little d) express the idea that they can do something about the disenfranchisement (a big nebulous word), when curing poverty is a 20 year deal, and impunity and corruption stand in the way. I don’t think it is that simple. You’ve not shone the light on it for me yet. How do those who have failed to this point know exactly how to express themselves to the disenfranchised to win their hearts and minds. What do they say? What is the campaign slogan? What are the convincing statements?

          • Micha says:

            Do you care for your fellow human beings Joe?

            Are we in this together or not?

            Are we building an inclusive society or not?

            Are we building a civilization or just brute Darwinian colonies?

            Should humanity be in perpetual war with itself?

            Should class divide be maintained?

            The answer to your how question depends on your answer above.

            And it’s really that simple.

        • *1*

          When it comes to disenfranchisement, the options are either only to deliver, apologize, or shut up.

          Duterte continuously flip-flops between all three, albeit effectively. So how does he become effective at it and why do the many people eat it all up?

          Well, why not look at the whole MRT fiasco? It’s been an issue that has hounded the previous and current administration. So who do you suppose has gathered much leeway and understanding for their failure?

          • Francis says:

            Disenfranchisment is not just an objective phenomenon that can be measured quantitatively, but it is also a subjective phenomenon that can also be evaluated qualitatively.

            In short, disenfranchisment when “loss,” “oppression,” and “inequality” is felt physically and emotionally: both concrete and emotional aspects are required and are virtually intertwined and inseparable from one another.

            We are baffled at how the Duterte administration, despite…what a polite observer might term “dubious” allies (Arroyo and Marcos) and overly close relations to foreign actors with suspicious intentions (China). At how it can maintain the trust and awe of the majority despite the many, many gaffes that have occurred—one, two or three of which would have been enough to make any other politician a laughing stock. At how once trusted and formidable bedrock institutions are now themselves the laughing stock.

            Duterte…may not do not much to solve the “quantitative” side of disenfranchisment, but it can’t be denied that his folksy, populist manner satisfied much of the emotional, “qualitative” disenfranchisment. True–he may not seem to be actually putting sustenance into the belly of the long-ignored “forgotten man,” but at least he’s feeling the tummy with the warmth of…a heart.

            He’s someone you can drink a beer with—and a technocrat who, for all his or her good intentions, was raised in completely cultures, settings would be akin to crazy magician with whom you have doubts about.

    • chemrock says:

      Micha, I go along with you on this. But the question on everbody’s mind is HOW,

      I contend that if we have a presidential election today, an LP candidate can easily defeat a PDP Labuan candidate, heck even Duterte if he is allowed a second term. The question remains how to drain the upper and lower houses of the legislative, and the judiciary, of the evil and unethical occupants there currently. Are there adequate numbers of good politicians in the Philippines to carry the nation forward. Sadly, the answer is no.

      • Micha says:

        chempo,

        If the opposition cannot supply a credible narrative that it too cares for the well-being of the masses then it deserves its own shellacking in the current popularity and propaganda contest.

        Will it be able to win nonetheless after 6 years of Duterte’s treasonous and incompetent handling of state affairs?

        Maybe, maybe not.

        But 4 more years of Dutertism is, I would say, torturous.

        How to drain the scums in other branches of gov’t? I don’t know. How about lining them up on the edge of a deep crater?

      • There are quite a few good politicians, I think. They are under attack by the Administration’s “marketing people”, and are not nasty enough to fight back on the same terms. President Aquino ran a solid government, no problem. But the charisma was missing, or the magic message that Micha is thinking about. They didn’t speak to hearts and minds, and knew it, at the end. But I’m not sure anyone has gone to the level of core honesty yet, to be convincing. It has to be tangible, with sizzle.

        • Micha says:

          To be convincing and honest, your ideal politician has to re-orient himself on what is the national project is all about.

          If his orientation is just all about self glory and power tripping then forget about it. He is as lost as most everybody in the political establishment. And he gets elected not because he is honest and useful for the national project but because he subscribes to that lowest, misguided Ayn Randian common denominator : selfishness is the greatest virtue.

          That’s a toxic cancerous brew for the idea of a society.

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        Chem,

        “Sadly, the answer is no.”

        We can always try. But, yes, democracy is only as strong as the weakest and poorest voter whose business it is to sell his vote to the highest bidder, results guaranteed by the culture of utang na loob.

        • chemrock says:

          Karl, of course try n try we must.

          Regarding buying votes – I read somewhere in the last election, BBM had an elaborate loan for vote scheme. Sign up to get 10,000 peso loan. If he wins, debt is foregiven. If he doesn’t win, repay by instalment 500 peso per mth. He engaged an army of agents to sign people up. I’m wondering if this is for real. Does he know what is the delinquency rate for credit cards? What is his collection cost? Also, as expect, his agents who are amart will get borrowers to pay for something to avail of the loan. Indeed they did. Also how many ghost borrowers were there?
          Just wondering.

          • NHerrera says:

            Interesting, true or not. What is the saying — There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute?

          • karlgarcia says:

            Chem, that reply was for Wil.
            Maybe BBM will go for microfinancing thru an App, you can borrow up to 10 k, but first buy an11k or more smart phone.

    • That is supposed to read as profound, I suppose. But I don’t have the slightest idea what you mean.

      • NHerrera says:

        I love the exchange: to that simple one-liner, the retort seems to be appropriate.

        This reminds me —

        This is like using a lawyer’s advice on cross examining a hostile witness — never ask a question the answer to which you have not anticipated and prepared for. In the current situation: do not make a proposition, when you may not be prepared for the answer to the counter-proposition (explicitly stated or implied) when asked.

        (Reading quite a few novels with trial parts lately.)

    • karlgarcia says:

      It is now obvious that he is not stating the obvious, allow me. I think means we allow the propaganda machine to propagate.

      It may mean that there are many ways to stop them, and the opposition are not even trying or something entirely different from my interpretation.

  10. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    It may not be being WAKAGEN to say that things Boring will NOT kill you, what is NOT BORING but blood pressure titillating (raising) wrong doings could kill you. Any news, positive news about Health, Education, Labor and Employment, National Defense, Foreign Affairs, Justice, Finance, etc. as will be dished out by the Information and Communication Agencies could be very BORING, IF ONLY and when these guys ARE DOING THEIR JOBS. Like they do, say, in Bhutan, in Britain, or Singapore or in many of the Nordic Countries.

    However, if instead of doing their jobs these guys prefer to do exciting things like pursuing delusions opposite of grandeur, there is good book to read if TSoHers have the time:

    The book sends a message that Delusions may have social value if they are pursued for social virtue.

    To say that anything Boring can bore you to death is the grand delusion of them all. Pray tell me of a recognizable name who has been actually BORED TO DEATH because of repetitive accomplishments. However, DELUSIONS not boredom could kill a lot of people. You can name the countries (not the people) that come to mind.

    • I think a nation without inspiration is a horrible waste of humankind. That’s pretty much the way the Jodie Foster character put it in answering the question, “is there life out there?” She said something like , “If not, it would be a terrible waste of space”. Boredom, stagnation, failing to aspire . . . color me dramatic, but I think of that as being pretty close to death. As if we should be happy being vegetables.

    • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

      About my promise (in the previous blog) to say something non-mathematical about regression and progression, I’d wish in my past lives (regression) I was born, grew up and died Bored but happy in Bhutan or Tibet. I’d wish too, in the future to be born (progression) like Siddharta or Rabindranath Tagore, boring and not warlike causing deaths to many people like you know the names of numerous many.

      Many in TSoH already know this. Regression and progression is a kind of mental (not physical) time travel. An old fragment of weird science that made inroads to psychology and psychiatry through deep (about 6 hours) hypnosis. Progression (what you will be in distant future) like Gandhi, El Cid, Rizal or Enstein is harder to predict than to regress back to know whether you have been a politician thief or serial murderer or was bishop or cardinal.

      • NHerrera says:

        Popoy,

        A play on the mathematics or statistics of regression: by doing regression analysis on dependent variable, Z, over two variables X and Y, you will know approximately how Z will “progress” when you change X and Y.

        My one track mind showing in the above.

        I like your note on regression and progression. At my age right now, I will be glad to regress to my age 35 and do some substantial changes. 🙂

        • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

          Thanks NHerrera, for jogging my memory to 55 years plus. Failed my math subjects, in UP Los Banos, got sent to England for PG Soil and Water Eng, if ambitious and not terribly homesick could have pursued DPhil in Soil and Water Eng.; Earned 3 units of Stats at Padre Faura, got involved in demographic projects (Pop I). Because of the discussion here I like to find time to review regression and gini index to augment my favorite simple conjecturing using the chi-square and correlation methods of stats to view the world of governance.

          For example can I use the chi square method to determine whether there is FACTUAL CHANGE in the control of illegal drugs menace to society? Is there a positive or negative correlation between EJK and health and economic aspects of the society? Like, increasing EJK means increasing wellness and livelihood in poor communities. To be REDICULOUS in gated communities do increasing frequencies of showers means decreasing incidence of respiratory illness? Stretching (not lying) could be a mild use of statistical analysis.

          • NHerrera says:

            You got me there, Popoy. Once you start writing about chi-square and correlation methods, then I deduce you know more math and statistics than you modestly let on here. I better stop writing my X, Y and Z gibberish before you expose me. 🙂

            • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

              I think it is A-Okay between us NHerrera;
              no river to cross that separate us,
              no arsenal of fireworks to explode.

              we SURVIVORS here in TSoH
              through Joe Am’s ministrations
              have only respect for each other.

              I said elsewhere that love of country
              is about respect.
              That’s not it, if one has no respect
              for its people, for a person.

              Did not Jesus preached; Love One Another
              despite the whatevers. Respect it was
              hard for some. what Jesus’ is asking.

              Mastery or ignorance
              of statistics or calculus is merely
              eche bucheche of the many whatever
              of our short existence.

      • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

        I could be misunderstood. WAKAGEN is my word for GENIUS.

  11. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. MIA.

    2. Attending to final exams in Buddhism course.

    3. Have skimmed comments, photos, and lively exchanges. Will have to re-read to understand.

    4. Will resurface ASAP.
    *****

    • NHerrera says:

      Hi, edgar. Resurface soon and don’t mind this note until you resurface. Won’t it be nice if we have a Propaganda on the tenets of Buddhism to counter Andanar and Uson — whatever they are propagandizing.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        Buddhism abjures propaganda.

        The applicable moral norm from the Eightfold Noble Path would be:

        o Path 3 – Right speech

        “The Buddha was precise in his description of Right Speech. He defined it as “abstinence from false speech, abstinence from malicious speech, abstinence from harsh speech, and abstinence from idle chatter.” In the vernacular this means not lying, not using speech in ways that create discord among people, not using swear words or a cynical, hostile or raised tone of voice, and not engaging in gossip. Re-framed in the positive, these guidelines urge us to say only what is true, to speak in ways that promote harmony among people, to use a tone of voice that is pleasing, kind, and gentle, and to speak mindfully in order that our speech is useful and purposeful.”

        https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/family-dharma-right-speech-reconsidered/
        *****

        • chemrock says:

          Abstinence from idle chatter will cause a 99.9% decline in socmed postings.

          • I think that depends on how the user uses social media. One can choose who to follow. My twitter feed gives me news reports straight off the press from reputable sources, as well as insights and awareness of current events, as they happen. There is a lot of repetition on hot topics, yes. But there is very little idle chatter. Facebook is a different animal, but I don’t use it for personal affairs, just as a posting outlet and discussion site for blogs. The internet is in its youth, and for sure, it has been used badly and is a major contributor to emotionalized, uninformed debate. But maybe we’ll learn and do better going forward.

        • Propaganda is the art and science of lying. I think there is also a commandment about that, if I remember my bible studies correctly. 🙂

          (Feel free to insert a plug about Monday’s blog here . . .)

    • NHerrera says:

      karl,

      I believe, pragmatically speaking, the concept is not all bad. One key is the criteria that are used. Take the case of our country. The criteria that define the good and the bad guys becomes a problem — since the ones who may filter or define the criteria are not good guys themselves (ref Aguirre, Uson, Andanar? not to mention their boss).

    • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

      Karl thanks for the link that concretizes
      attempts to create purgatory on earth
      prior to judgment to qualify
      for eternal heaven. The link
      led to my musings below:

      The Bad Connotations of Change

      It seems universal every time
      change is invoke it will be
      for the best or for the better.

      Never it’s said for bad or worst
      except in matrimonial rituals
      where vows are required for both
      good fortune and misfortune.

      Change has been bandied around
      as the only thing that’s permanent
      in this forever changing world.

      Change is huge in the name of
      social and political change
      as promised by charlatans.

      But for the good of mankind
      there are ten things CHANGE
      CAN NOT CHANGE even when
      imposed and enforced by million laws
      calling for genetic or social engineering.

      And that’s no other but God’s
      TEN COMMANDMENTS.
      I learned at Grade Four while
      attending basic Catechism.

  12. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    HAPPY EASTER TO ALL.

    On this year’s Biyernes Santo (last night) fittingly, I watched Alice Vikander essayed the movie: Testament of Youth which brought back snatches of memories of Oxford and Cambridge (where as you walk the main campus road you hear no word of English among its students) and the farmers of Cambridgeshire whose philosophic opinions reflect those of their Filipino counterpart and the UK country side in summer as I (with three Pinoy engineers) drove up north to the Scottish highlands and posed for pictures with the street boys at Edindurgh Castle. The film gave me proof again why they say Hollywood films are so corny compared with those made by the Brits. They don’t need Oscars or whatever in UK. So Alice V. didn’t win any. But as the new Lara Croft, who knows?

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Lara+Croft+the+movie&view=detail&mid=876DAA8DE6245CFC4F41876DAA8DE6245CFC4F41&FORM=VIRE0&mmscn=tpvh&ru=%2fsearch%3fq%3dLara%2bCroft%2bthe%2bmovie%26form%3dEDNTHT%26mkt%3den-ca%26httpsmsn%3d1%26refig%3dbdbd34d084704135841ec8fbb847d085%26sp%3d-1%26pq%3dundefined%26sc%3d0-17%26qs%3dn%26sk%3d%26cvid%3dbdbd34d084704135841ec8fbb847d085

  13. Francis says:

    Ideology is a package of ideas. Narrative is a story of ideas. The former focuses on the ideas as a seemingly static, organized set—while the latter focuses on the inherent motion of ideas through time-space.

    Propaganda are ways to effectively convert people to some sort of ideas—to some sort of ideology. Or narrative.

    Institutions are solidified patterns of repeated action. If enough people decide to gather at some place for some reason and at a certain time—that is an institution. So the act of public officials regularly meeting up with desparate citizens in a fast food joint for “fixer” bribes is just as much of an “institution” as your local bureau or department which, if you strip away all the fanciness, is simply the common agreement of a bunch of men and women in semi-formal collared shirts and ties to meet up at a certain place for a certain duration of times to do a certain set of actions. Will Durant (and many people think Aristotle, but actually Will Durant interpreted Aristotle has thinking something along these lines—which is ironic because I got this not from reading Durant or Aristotle from searching BrainyQuotes to confirm a barely remembered quotation mentioned by my first year high school teacher) said: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

    Why is that Christianity won over Paganism in Europe?

    Because Christianity was a relatively (for all the variations: essentially monotheistic) unified ideology and narrative that had strong and relatively unified institutions (the Catholic Church) to put the ideology and narrative in the minds of everyone—from the kings and queens and nobles, to the humble peasants and serfs.

    Why is it that the Left still can hold much more louder rallies than the relatively unorganized collection of moderates?

    Because the Left is institutionalized, and it has a clear ideology and narrative. Meanwhile, the moderates have a somewhat clear (but still unsophisticated) ideology and narrative while lacking institutionalization beyond the most rudimentary forms (read: barely any organization whatsover).

    Why is Marcos winning? Or rather—why is his PR ops so smooth and clean, and actually miles (lightyears) ahead of the billion-peso operation that is the PCOO?

    He has institutions (well-structured networks of troll armies and influencers) to deliver a carefully-developed narrative of ideas.

    —————————————————-

    To win the battle of ideas (and hearts) is like building the best pizza delivery service ever. It is indispensable to have both good pizza (ideology and narrative) and really fast and efficient delivery boys (institutionalization).

    Now, the opposition is doing (sorta) good on the latter—but is utterly not doing enough on the former.

    While Micha’s policy ideas may not be (in the opinion of some) the most ideal—it is advisable to absolutely not ignore the underlying sentiment, which is something I think that is valid whether or not MMT is a true or not: it is not enough to demonstrate that the personalities, structures, ideologies and narratives of those in power are flawed—but to also demonstrate a clear alternative…hopefully not just in personality, but also in structure, ideology and narrative.

    This can be left-leaning, right-leaning or whatever. But this must have depth.

    It is not enough to get good people into power or to show that you have good people on your side but to demonstrate that your alternative will be a good system that will generate good people as a natural byproduct—to paraphrase a biblical saying: people may be impressed if you give them fish, but they will be eternally grateful if you teach them to fish.

    “Ah, but the masses and common man will not relate to such abstract thought…”

    For that we have propaganda. But missionaries are useless without theologians; what is the best missionary in the world, without at least some bare concepts from Aquinas or Augustine?

    The point of paying attention to ideology and narrative is to win over the educated sections and intelligentsia of society. The medium term. The long haul. Marx only probably reached a few people at the end of his life—but his legacy (for better or for worse) touches us all.

    Win the ideas. Win the long run.

    …but as Keynes did say: in the long run, we are all dead anyway.

    Pardon my scattering of thoughts.

    • Ahh, Will and Ariel Durant, husband and wife, bound in intellect and passion and work for a lifetime. My first ex-wife was an ardent feminist and intellectual of major might. She introduced me to the couple’s writings, and also taught me that intelligence and passion and character are what life is about.

      Thank you for the definition of ‘institution’, and its application to the success of leftists in claiming a voice larger than their numbers, whilst the poorly institutionalized yellows can barely muster a peep. It is a bunch of individuals yelling into the wind for distance, I suppose.

      I’m inclined to ask you, what would your marketing slogan be if you were hired as the chief marketer for the yellow cause? I struggle with the words, fully understanding the ideals whilst finding the narrative to be rather fuzzy.

      • The democratic narrative is NOT YET fully part of the Filipino bloodstream.

        There are ideas about how nations assimilate foreign influence. Is a hamburger still the meat between two loaves of bread German immigrants brought in, or is it American?

        Is the Pasyon or the Pabasa imported Spanish Catholicism or already Filipino? Is the Black Nazarene a statue made by an Aztec sculptor or Filipino? Was Fernando Poe Filipino?

        Two American-imported institutions are fully part of the Filipino bloodstream – UP and PMA. Nothing they do feels foreign or imported anymore. Like a jeepney is no longer a jeep.

        I think the fight as to whether the idea of democracy is Filipino or not is being waged NOW. One major contribution I think is this: https://www.facebook.com/doyromero/posts/10155938602298880

        Excuse me, we are not looking for a savior from despotism

        We are not looking for a single person to lead us, for no single person can. We are looking for leadership that represents the collective wisdom of the people as distilled in a set of principles and strategies for inclusive governance, inclusive development, and inclusive security.

        We need real, principled, programatic, disciplined political parties supported by organizations, movements, and fronts that compete in articulating these principles and strategies. We need political parties that are able and ready to govern on the basis of operational platforms and programs they propose and which the people approve in elections, from time to time. We need party government, not a single person government.
        A people who look for a savior to look up to are an indolent people, unwilling to create the system by which it is they who eventually decide how government should be run, by whom, for whom, where, and why.

        We are a people struggling against a regime pregnant with despotic potential, yet we remain pillarized into fragmented factions, each pillar with factional leaders on top, supporters at the middle, and followers at the bottom. We all cast stones at the despot and his minions, yet we do so without concerted, ensemble, or bayanihan-level leadership.

        It is time our leaders and their close advisers cast away their respective images of themselves as potential saviors, and build the collective leadership this country needs to overcome despotism. Failure to do so is exactly the revenge of Ferdinand Marcos, as we would in effect be trying to erase his mark on the nation by following the very savior model he pioneered.

        The word bayanihan falls there – and the idea of democracy as collective leadership. There is, in addition to the “datu” and barangay autocratic forms of leadership, the idea of bayanihan exists – in the Katipunan it was called kapatiran or brotherhood. “our” in contrast to the constant “my” in the speeches of President Duterte. Leni Robredo’s approach is closest to that in practice. The question still remains about where to go from there.

      • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

        WE ARE FOCUSED.
        WE ONLY DO OUR JOBS.

        POLITICAL ENEMIES DO NOT EXIST
        SO WE DON’T RUN AFTER THEM.

        how is that for low intellect wallop of marketing?

        OOPS THAT’S NOT for the yellows. Come to think of it,
        you can not market A MANDATE -power which you don’t have.
        You have to earn PEOPLES’ POWER.

    • Micha says:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts Francis.

      I ,for one, am coming in from the progressive side of things (nothing new there), also a humanist who happens to find the latest iteration of capitalism abhorrent and highly divisive of mankind’s attempt at civilization.

      The depth of MMT’s ideas can be found online freely available to anyone who is interested. MMT is not, for the record, my idea. I just happen to stumble on it while reading NYT’s economic section, clicked on the links and found its narrative, to this day, sufficiently coherent.

    • Christianity not only has its coherent narratives – it has always had different ways of bringing its message across:

      1) philosophical texts for the thinkers

      2) words for those who listen in church

      3) pictures for those who think in pictures

      Of course Protestantism mostly did away with pictures which are like memes, insisting that people listen closer to the narrative, and think about it themselves. Islam also insisted on listening to the word only and forbade pictures altogether.

      ..there is of course the liturgy of Catholicism, which I can personally say that it feels like home to me, even if I rarely go to church these days. But that I guess is about habits.

      -> the question is: how can Philippine democracy be made to feel just as much part of home for Filipinos as Catholic Church rituals, as the stories of the Passion? Or even better, how can it be made to feel as powerful as an anting-anting in the hearts of people? Hmmm..

      • Why did the anting-anting not work for Lapiang Malaya, while crosses worked for the nuns on EDSA?

        Because the men who had the guns also believed in the cross, but not in anting-anting.

        So common beliefs are extremely important. Even if it is just motorists believing in red and green lights. Or motorists and pedestrians believing in pedestrian lanes.

        • Micha says:

          To be fair, soldiers only obeys orders in a well structured hierarchical organization. They did not fire on EDSA crowd because there were no orders from the top.

          And the top dog in the Palace did not order to commence firing because there is, afterall, a God.

          His name is St. Reagan.

      • Francis says:

        @Irineo,

        Thank you very, very much. This is exactly the direction I was trying to get at; in particular, the distinction between the multiple ways Christianity utilizes to get its message across is most useful—thanks.

        “Christianity not only has its coherent narratives – it has always had different ways of bringing its message across:”

        “1) philosophical texts for the thinkers”

        “2) words for those who listen in church”

        “3) pictures for those who think in pictures”

        The contrast between the liberals/moderates and the Left becomes sadly stark when you apply the framework above as an analogy.

        Moderates/Liberals:
        1 = ??? (Twitter…???)
        2 = (Divided) Public Statements…and Opinion Columns
        3 = (Weaker) Rallies

        It is the “1 = ???” that profoundly worries me. How can we after all synthesize liberal democracy into Filipino culture—if we lack the intellectual depth to articulate it fully. It would be (pardon the odd analogy) to say that you love a shoe, despite never having worn it—never having your toes squiggle as they make the inside of the shoe comfy, cozy and fitting for your feet. We need to make liberal democracy truly our own before truly binding it to Filipino culture—and to make it truly our own, we must be comfortable to play around with it.

        Make our own philosophical justifications, our own theoretical takes on liberalism. Make it our own—not just import wholesale from the West.

        It saddens me that there is probably only one book I know of that actually tries to (sorta) articulate a Filipino liberalism explictly: Claudio’s Liberalism and the Postcolony.

        The Leftists and Nationalists in UP have produced piles and piles of very thought-provoking writings—that while one can find much to disagree with, one cannot also deny the ambition and depth of these attempts.

        Meanwhile…

        • Yes, Leloy Claudio’s book has caught my attention too – kind of a last-ditch attempt to inform about liberalism when it is almost too late, just like Raissa Roble’s book on the dictatorship was a reaction to widespread and already believed lies before the 2016 elections.

          Of course the leftists and nationalists have made one thought very common – that liberalism is neocolonialism, is just imported thought. And of course Duterte borrows from the language of both leftists and nationalists, as their thoughts are common in the country.

          Another tragic effect of Filipino late reaction is that the response to Chinese imperialism will come way too late, when the effects could be irreversible and the majority is still moaning about past mistakes of the USA. While Filipinos join the club Tibetans and Uighurs are in.

          https://nuspress.nus.edu.sg/products/liberalism-and-the-postcolony-thinking-the-state-in-20th-century-philippines

          Extricating liberalism from the haze of anti-modernist and anti-European caricature, this book traces the role of liberal philosophy in the building of a new nation. It examines the role of toleration, rights, and mediation in the postcolony. Through the biographies of four Filipino scholar-bureaucrats—Camilo Osias, Salvador Araneta, Carlos P. Romulo, and Salvador P. Lopez—Lisandro E. Claudio argues that liberal thought served as the grammar of Filipino democracy in the 20th century. By looking at various articulations of liberalism in pedagogy, international affairs, economics, and literature, Claudio not only narrates an obscured history of the Philippine state, he also argues for a new liberalism rooted in the postcolonial experience, a timely intervention considering current developments in politics in Southeast Asia.

    • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

      Once upon a time I found old definition of an institution to refer to prisons or asylums for marginal personalities. To be institutionalized is a dreaded word. But this has changed into a modern process of development (social change accompanied by growth) which became longish words like institutionalizing or institutionalization found in academic literature. as for example

      http://lynchlibrary.pssc.org.ph:8081/

    • chemrock says:

      Francis, thank you. You helped bring some clarity to my thoughts.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Francis,
      Scatter away your gems!

    • To expand on the pizza analogy:
      – Good Institution is good pizza delivery service and roll-out. (Good service)
      – Good Ideology is good pizza preparation and ingredients. (Good tasting)
      – Good Narrative is good pizza presentation and packaging. (Good looking)

      So how do you market your pizza?

      Hmm… What are the promos and guarantees? Accessible customer service? Pizza packages? Presentation? Etc.

  14. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. This is a very rich thread.

    2. I haven’t had the time to go over it with a fine-tooth comb, but Francis’ and Irineo’s comments on the ways Christianity was propagated caught my attention.

    2.1. Irineo’s comment centered on the use of different methods and media – texts, words, and pictures — to cater to the capabilities of the believers.

    3. I would like to add to the methods of proselytization and propagation.

    3.1. The first thing to note is that conversion to Christianity was by the Sword. The ruler(s) were first converted and they, in turn, converted the ruled by the force of power. The conversion was from above.

    3.2. The conversion was formalized through splendid ceremonies attended by pomp and circumstance. The ceremonies were intended to impress and entertain.

    3.3. The ceremonies were used (a) to establish the rites of devotion and (b) to impart the doctrines of belief.

    3.3.1. It would seem that believers adhered more to the rites than to the doctrines. This is important. The rites become habitual behavior more than the doctrines become habitual practice.

    3.4. The Roman Catholic branch of Christianity adopted an eclectic rather than a strictly ideological pure approach and allowed native elements to be incorporated into the doctrine. The polytheism of native cultures, for example, were absorbed and made acceptable by the practice of idolatry.

    3.4.1. The Church also catered to the archetypal reverence for the Yin force (earth, female, mother, mystery, darkness) by an emphasis on the Virgin Mother, the Marian tradition.

    3.4.2. I would go so far as to say that the rosary and other devotional items are counterparts of the anting-anting.

    3.5. The doctrine had strong positive and negative poles. If there was the light of the Savior there was the threat of the Devil.

    3.5.1. Part of the success of the proliferation of Democracy was the Communist bogeyman.

    3.6. The doctrine was institutionalized in several ways.

    3.6.1. As mentioned, the periodic devotional practices. As in Islam, prayer was exercised several times a day.

    3.6.2. The building of churches as a place to carry out weekly devotional practices (mass or Sunday service) but also ad hoc ceremonies, rites of passage, like baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and deaths.

    3.6.3. The appeal to the irrational and emotional aspects of human life through the use music and hymns.

    3.6.4. Multi-calendar events within the year to celebrate the major events of the birth (Christmas) and death/resurrection (Easter) of the Savior. Minor events in the Annunciation, Ascension, Pentecost, Epiphany, and Saints’ days.

    3.6.5. In the Philippines, the annual celebration of town fiestas that center around the town’s patron saint.

    3.6.6. Special events like the Black Nazarene, fluvial parades, and processions.

    3.6.7. Intrusion into the secular state by religious officiating at state events, the celebration of religious services and the presence of religious paraphernalia in government offices.

    4. I am certain the Chinese Communist Party and North Korea have adopted variations of these practices, such as their impressive military parades. Now if counterparts of these practices can be adopted by the State to propagate Democracy, then perhaps the democratic narrative can flourish.
    *****

    • re 3.6.7, I’ve been writing on a blog, and one has to explain why President Aquino failed to inspire Filipinos to want democracy. Then I remember how some Catholic Priests wanted to ex-communicate him (about RH law, I believe), and how INC was the institution that first demonized then Secretary of Justice De Lima, and shut down Edsa with their protest, and how Muslims attacked the SAF which was Aquino’s Waterloo. I can say with some certainty that religious faiths in the Philippines don’t get democracy, and are a major force in undermining civility and human rights.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        Part of the reason is that we are not creating the myths and traditions of Democracy. America has, among other things, its Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, the Star-Spangled Banner, and Mount Rushmore.

        What do we have? Perhaps just the anthem “Lupang Hinirang” — or is it “Bayang Magiliw?” — and the flag, which is not unsurprisingly known by its name of “Pambansang Watawat” — or is it “Three Stars and a Sun?”

        (See, we don’t even have pet names for our “dearest” symbols.)

        We could enshrine, for example, a pantheon of Founding Fathers with:

        o Manuel L. Quezon – first president of the Commonwealth
        o Claro M. Recto – author of the 1935 Constitution
        o Manuel A. Roxas – last president of the Commonwealth and first president of an independent Philippines
        o ???

        We could craft a narrative about the “Five Waves to Independence and Democracy:”

        o First Wave – the Philippine Revolution against Spain
        o Second Wave – the Philippine-American War
        o Third Wave – the Philippine-Japanese War
        o Fourth Wave – EDSA I (or the Fall of the Marcos Dictatorship)
        o Fifth Wave – To be named (the Fall of the Duterte Autocracy)
        *****

        • Quezon is a memorial circle, a city and a province.

          Recto is where you get fake diplomas, formerly Avenida Azcarraga.

          Roxas is a boulevard and a goofy politician who fell from a motorbike in Tacloban.

          Rizal is a statue in Manila that does not sweat, even in a heavy overcoat.

          Bonifacio is in the middle of Monumento, Caloocan and doesn’t mind the fumes.

          Lapu-Lapu is a fish.

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            Ahaha! And this is how we commemorate our heroes — in crowded streets and places full of fetid air and hawkers.
            *****

          • Per Rep Kit Belmonte (partial):

            There were lots of other things to do in the succeeding days. But on Day 6, after everything was basically stabilized, and we were finally ready to pack up and leave, Sec Mar finds time to check up on the market. To say that he was frustrated is an understatement. The firemen had merely hosed down the mud, spreading it around even further. And because the available pay loader had suffered a flat tire the previous day, the garbage and debris remained uncollected. One could see the worms crawling in the mud amidst the all that squalor.

            The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) General and all of his men got a reprimand, the market master was dispatched to buy shovels, and every one – including his entourage and escorts – were made to buckle down and start clearing the mud and garbage.

            Mind you, these were the same men who followed him into the eye of the storm not so many days ago. These were the same men who helped clear the road to Dolores. And these were the same men who made the dangerous boat rides to relieve the isolated offshore islands. The firemen in particular spent the night of the storm evacuating people who waited till the 11th hour, and there is no accounting the number of people they had rescued. In my eyes, they were heroes – every one of them. And I am sure that they were all pissed at Sec. Mar for the censure they received and the manual labor he made them do! No matter how exhausted everyone was, no matter what they had accomplished before, in his eyes the work was not yet done, and no one had the right to slack off. He led them himself in that clean up operation!

            After seeing how news of his motorcycle slide was taken out of context by people who were not there, I think it is a good thing that there was no media in the market that day. If there was, I am pretty sure that all that drive and determination, all that attention to detail and leadership by example would have been reduced to a seemingly epal photograph of a perceived contender for the highest office in the land, shoveling mud and picking up trash in the market to curry popular favor. No, for us who were there that day, Mar Roxas was not popular. But he got the job done!

            And speaking of that motorcycle ride, there were two cabinet secretaries, two congressmen, and two generals making those last 20 hectic kilometers from the stalled convoy to Dolores in the tail of the storm, and approaching twilight in borrowed motorbikes. Among ourselves, we had several combat veterans, several experienced motorcycle riders, and a couple of iron man finishers. And let me tell you that most of us would have quit to wait for the rest of the convoy if not for Sec Mar leading the way.

            There was a whole off-road stretch of at least fifty meters of mud capped by an eerie cemetery that made every one’s knees tremble (from fatigue or fear, I don’t know). Of course, we all fell, slipped, and slid in the sometimes knee-deep mud and fallen trees. But it was only Sec. Mar’s picture that was published, out of context, by someone who waited for him from the relative safety of the road.

            But it was all worth it when we saw the gratitude and relief in the eyes of the people of Dolores when we finally broke through. They were no longer isolated, they had not been left alone, and their national government was with them. Together, they were going to get through this crisis and rebuild.

            The wise man says that the problem solver is always the least appreciated, his successes un-acknowledged, his every shortcoming magnified. Fixated on our image of the populist politician, we mistakenly think of his direct and no-nonsense approach as being high handed and elitist. In attempting to fit him into the mold of traditional politics, we dismiss his willingness to get down and dirty to handle the brass tacks of the job as simply desperate, epal attempts to garner media mileage and gain public sympathy. Always skeptical, we attribute other motives to the problem solver for simply trying to do his job. But in the end, the wise man says, it is not the populist nor the vigilante, but the problem solver who truly serves the people.

            My past experiences have often made me a skeptic. But one thing is clear in my mind: for those 6 days in Eastern Samar, many people were simply trying to do their jobs to the best of their abilities: the mayor who left her hospital bed in Manila to be with her people; the planning officer, in over his head when he was made DRRM officer; the governor who deferred his chemo treatments to stay in the command center; the local and international NGOs and relief volunteers who rushed to help without hesitation; the media men and women who were on the ground reporting responsibly from the start; and many others who did their share.

            Like them, Mar Roxas was merely doing his job. He was serving the people.

            https://www.rappler.com/move-ph/ispeak/77986-mar-roxas-motorcycle-slide

            • I think that to call Mar Roxas goofy is to perpetuate the myth of trolls, and is a kind of emotionalized banter that promotes poor decisions that risk destroying the Philippines.

            • edgar lores says:

              *******
              In a fair world, there should be no need to propagandize such dedication. The dedication should spread by word of mouth. But even without the dissemination, people should also be able to see and sense character. Of someone performing duty without fanfare.

              In this unfair world, the unfortunate happenstance moment gets captured on film and the gossipy and shallow media publishes the moment as the significant event. Without reference to, and providing the context for, the real significant events
              *****

              • Thanks Joe for the context… which I did NOT know until now, proving what Edgar writes.

                http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/a-big-mess/Instant gratification seems to be an issue with a lot of Filipinos. Thinking problems can all be solved quickly, like in action movies where heroes do exactly that. Long- or medium-term work, real work on improving fundamentals isn’t that visible, so it is not rewarded with social prestige. Maintenance is even less prestigious, and overhauling badly maintained systems is even worse as blame can be attached to it. Often the solution is just to buy something new.

                I could add.. helping hands-on in catastrophes can attach blame to you. Example: Yolanda. But I have also seen truly stupid memes blaming Mar for the Zamboanga Siege.. wow.

                (so do Filipinos deserve a helicopter leader like Duterte. Maybe! Just karma?)

                many of the entitled in positions of power and privilege tend not to care much about detail. That is something underlings do for them – at home and in the office. Politicking is important. Getting real work done is beneath them. Roxas – too good to be true? Might be the case in the Philippine context, where we are pulled down by our expectations. Or Pilipinas, being a she, is like the woman in the cartoon below:

              • It is unfair, and tragic as it rolls aout, and I think it will take discipline to right the ship, rather like the whole world is alcoholics and it is best to start with an agreement to do 12 steps, or at least seek and tell the truth.

              • Joe, just FINDING the truth is hard enough in the present context, even if one spends a lot of time putting things together. Even harder if it is about the recent past, based on sources that are usually slanted or otherwise lousy. Every day I find out something new about the period from 2002-2015 where I basically had turned away in disgust. Now imagine how hard it is for those who do not have my possibilities. Then one knows why things are like this.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Irineo,
                To add a little, we might have discussed things like the motorcycle incident, but we maybe looking at it from another angle.

                My dad asked what’s the difference between fake and false.

                I said if it is a wig, it is fake and if we are talking about dentures then it is false.

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                False is untruth, the opposite of the Truth. Fake is falsity parading as Truth.
                *****

              • Karl, a recent example of very weird spin.. this is the article..

                http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2018/03/23/ph-space-program-development-DIWATA1-DIWATA2-philippine-space-act.html

                NOW this is one important item in the article:

                Duterte and DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña have expressed support for creating a PhilSA. Seven bills are pending in both houses of Congress for the creation of this agency, including one introduced by Sen. Bam Aquino.

                Aquino said a new space-dedicated agency will improve the capacity of government bodies tapping space innovation.

                “The need for a Philippine Space Agency is further emphasized by the demands of coordination with counterpart institutions from other advanced and emerging space nation,” he said in an interview.

                Under Aquino’s bill, ₱1 billion is allocated for PhilSA’s first year of operation, supporting space research and development.

                But what was the byline in the shared article on Facebook – the sentence BEFORE:

                The country is also well on its way to creating a Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA), with President Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement in February to create a National Space Development Office as its precursor.

                So what do you expect people to think?

                The factor of experience and time plays a role here as well. Most don’t have time to fact check, and in fact I have seen the best people fall for stupid bylines, clickbait and more..

              • Sup says:

                Another one Irineo…..Duterte water engine…76 million…

                New Washington, Aklan—The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has given the go signal to start the assembly and construction of the first trimaran vessel in the country to be fueled by a mix of gas and sea water.

                Science Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, who came to visit the project site this week, said that he considers the project a part of the three topmost priority to be undertaken by the department this year. The two others include the space program and artificial intelligence.

                The DOST has pledged some P76 million to fund the trimaran project, which will be implemented with the collaboration of other agencies, such as the Aklan State University (ASU), Maritime Industry Authority, Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development, Metallica Consultancy and the Aklan Congressional Office.
                https://businessmirror.com.ph/fuel-efficient-duterte-trimaran-boat-in-the-works-dost-says/

              • karlgarcia says:

                What you do next after reading it is what matters.
                The worst thing that could happen is you will have malware.
                Other things you do is to like and share it without reading the whole thing.
                I had my share of impulsive likes and shares.

                The good (or bad) thing is there is always that someone to message you on private(or not) if they object.

                Regarding that article, it started as discouraging, it talked about failure, we showed them that failure is always an option.
                No one or Nothing is Fail proof, not even NASA.
                Without failure, Houston wouldn’t have a problem.

              • No Karl, it isn’t that harmless. Most people when looking at the space article appearing in their timeline because someone shared it will see “Duterte space program”. Only the few who read the article will see that Bam Aquino is behind the bill – substantial difference!

                As for the article shared by Sup, the link suggests that Duterte is having a fuel developed. Probably DOST is just continuing a program started before – we know what they have all done including Roadtrains, the AGT and more, but most people know nothing about that.

                http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/the-filipino-is-not-crazy-mr-hussein/ – it could of course be the first step in developing Dutertane, which I mentioned in this satirical article:

                ..Did you not know that the Filipino ruling class, the real ones, not the yellow, are descended from the Goa’uld who once ruled Egypt, until that Moses stole their energy source? Dutertane, the powerful fuel that drove their chariots and made their eyes glow red with rage when the Jaffa disobeyed. Nowadays, the Jaffa in the Philippines, the slave race, no longer respond when their rulers look at them in anger. This is due to the drug shabu and too much freedom in society.

                Now the descendants of Moses, known as the Mossad, still are controlling the Dutertane that they stole from our glorious ancestors. Together with your Jordanian countrymen, dear Mister Hussein, they are conniving with Loida Nicolas-Lewis and Leila De Lima to destroy our nation with drugs. They are even known to have directly contacted the International Criminal Court and met with Agnes Callamard at the Moulin Rouge in Paris just before taking the train to Brussels 3 weeks ago..

              • karlgarcia says:

                I am not saying it is harmless, I acknowledge the danger of impulsive liking and sharing.
                Examples.

                I has an argument with the misis, in sharing an article where she herself had an argument.
                (you know this)
                I was admonished by someone( you know her) for spreading fakeknews, which I only knew it was fake because I read it after the fact.

                But people will believe what they like to believe. People are not that Tan-GA or Bo-Bo.
                Though there is still a sucker born every minute.
                Lesson: Read or scan the whole article.
                It is your your choice if you nitpick,cherry pick or pickup everything.

                Having said all of these, this is a good discussion regarding propanda.

              • There is a lot of personal like/dislike involved – and bandwagon/crowd mentality.

                1) Miguel Syjuco, among others, prefacing defences of something Aquino did with “I can’t stand Aquino, BUT”. Or some others I respect highly saying, “I don’t like De Lima at all, but what they are doing to her is wrong”. Where is this fear of being associated with them?

                2) It is a bit like in high school (c) Giancarlo. Once the buzz has established certain people as “uncool” then even people who might like them don’t want them sitting next to them, don’t want to be associated with them. Propaganda made Aquino, Mar, Leila etc. “uncool”.

                3) The neediness for perfection Joe noted so often. Flaws in people (I think Ninotchka Rosca is referring to Leila De Lima below) are made into an excuse not to help them:

                Musing on the other night’s discourse: Friend said the problem with supporting opposition people who are being suppressed by the PDutz regime is that some are unappealing and flawed beings and do not seem worth saving. My response is the same: nobody is worth the effort until he/she becomes the cusp of contending forces of fascism and democracy. Then one simply has to make a choice. A non-choice always serves the party in power; it is a tacit agreement with fascism to circumvent due process and gives it the right to oppress and suppress, to imprison and to kill. It took me a while to work this out — particularly in the light of how women are a) turned into sexual outlaws; b) belittled as not worth it and “not intelligent enough”; c) at fault over the pettiest of issues.

                And yes, Joe is very right about integrity. It takes integrity NOT to always go with the crowd.

                And yes, “I started a joke” as the song goes, but I also have found the discussion fruitful.

              • Thanks for that ‘not wanting to sit beside them’ example. It makes clear that there is popular integrity and simple, direct, courageous integrity. A lot of Filipinos don’t like sitting next to good people, but don’t mind slinging an arm around a tough guy who does mean things.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Please bear with me again.

                Intregrity – Wholeness.
                Is it buo ang loob or buo ang labas at loob?
                In IT parlance, integrity checking is checking for any changes.

                You need to be whole and unchanged inside and out to have integrity

              • http://www.dictionary.com/browse/integrity

                It is like honor easy to understand but hard to define.

              • Karl, you have indirectly given me an idea for my next blog project. I have said nearly all I have to say on this admin. I might give recent history a shot, reconstructing major events during the Aquino administration – pork barrel, Yolanda etc. – then Arroyo admin.

                Would be glad to have your comments and additional sources / links when that comes out. What I suspect is that pork barrel will reopen anyway soon, including old links and sources.

              • karlgarcia says:

                @Edgar,
                Actually that is near what my dad actually said to answer his own question.
                @irineo,
                you mean dating gawi. Game!
                Before you having a few thousand followers on fb and twitter, I inundated you with emails and comments of your blog.

            • isk says:

              I missed this article, thank you Sir for posting.

              Happy Easter.

  15. karlgarcia says:

    Propaganda of any color is present everywhere.
    Before fake news there was Black propaganda, before Black propaganda, there were confidence tricks, then there were cults, and in the beginning there was darkness.

  16. On another front, Mayor Osmena of Cebu is calling Duterte “scared of China” – too scared to tell them to stop the flow of drugs. THAT might be the way to deal with stuff in the Philippine setting.

    The path ahead is definitely not smooth, in fact I think it will get bumpier and many will vomit.

    • karlgarcia says:

      I don’t know if Osmeña had his share on the responsibility on EJKs, but it is rumored that he will be part of the opposition coalition senate slate.

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