today, June 3, 2016 is a news day in the philippines. you may not feel it yet but you can certainly read it off at today’s issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
for the first time in this country’s history and history of Philippine journalism, a national newspaper has used the word “fuck” on the title of an article on its front page. no bleeps, no asterisks but good old, plain “fuck” in all it’s four letter glory.
not only was it used on the front page, it was used on the second lead article in the newspaper, right below the lead article for the day.
beyond the initial shock or glee from reading the word on the newspaper, we think there is a deeper reason for its use.
we are describing it as poetic. in simple terms, it can be described as PDI is making a point here.
first the poetry in today’s PDI issue – look at the whole front page. top of the page is a big photo of outgoing president Noynoy Aquino beside the losing LP presidential candidate and Aquino’s cabinet members having wholesome fun on the videoke.
from that giant wholesome picture, right below it is the headline: “Seek to understand Duterte, aides urge” accompanied by a photo of Duterte here he seems to be smirking and close to looking arrogant and below it the magic word “fuck” in the article “Don’t fuck with me, he tells media”. then on the far left is the article explaining the wholesome picture on top of the newspaper “P’noy. Mar lead LP in singing blues away”
next, we think all that was intentional. it was designed and laid out that way with exact purpose. these are the messages :
- draw contrast between the outgoing and incoming presidents of the country
- the outgoing president ad administration is all about fun and wholesome
- the incoming president and administration of Duterte is all about “fucking” (“we are all fucked”?)
- if not that, well at least the incoming president Duterte is not wholesome
- the big irony of it all is that as the headline says, we are supposed to “understand” the incoming president
the contrast that PDI painted is clear, done in words and pictures that we all understand even if we didn’t think about it too much. it is obvious and plain to see.
but none of this is PDI’s fault – they are just giving it to us in words and pictures the thoughts that we have been suspecting specially in the past few days if not thoughts we have known all along and all that based on actual words and actions by Rody Duterte.
PDI’s front page just might be the signs of the times. and the sign starts with the word “fuck”.
true story – we were shocked when we saw that cover of Esquire Philippines for its November 2014 issue. to calm down my heart which was in complete disbelief, we shifted from coffee to apple juice. it was after all still early in the morning. we wanted to give our heart some reprieve this early Friday morning.
then, it dawned on us – wait, this might be a hoax. this might not be the real cover of Esquire Philippines’ November 2014 issue. Esquire we thought does not have bad taste and certainly not this bad. so for another half hour, we searched the internet to find out what is exactly the November issue cover.
it was not easy to find but we eventually found out that yup, this is the real cover of the November issue. see for yourself here : https://www.facebook.com/EsquirePh/photos/pb.183140925069879.-2207520000.1415326861./827886413928657/?type=1&theater
after having it confirmed for sure that that is the cover, here is why we were shocked by the cover:
no, the shock is not that the choice for the cover article is Mar Roxas. we will not pass judgement on that editorial decision of the magazine.
but we are passing judgement on is the editorial choice of the photo of Mar Roxas. we are very sure there were dozens of photos taken of him for the cover and in fact before that there should have been an editorial meeting on what kind of cover photo should be taken and what choices will be made eventually.
what we were shocked about is the choice of this particular photo of Roxas on the cover of the magazine. the choice stinks. and it puts the DILG secretary on a very, very unflattering pose and look. that made us wonder out aloud – is Esquire Magazine insulting Mar Roxas, an almost sure thing presidential candidate to the 2016 elections? did they lampoon the possibly next president of the country?
look at the photo :
- Roxas has a sheepish almost grade school smile on his face. it’s not a smile of an adult and an adult who is the secretary of the DILG and possibly the next president of the Philippines
- his hair is unkempt and not brushed, like he just woke up in the morning and immediately went down from his hotel room for the shoot before he took a bath and brushed his hair
- and that wave – what is that? is that like a Miss Universe beauty queen wave?
- not only that, why the heck is Roxas waiving to the audience? what is the message here, what is the point? why is he saying hello? or why is Roxas giving a Miss Universe beauty queen wave? we could not find a sensible reason. we think the wave is the worst in this photo.
- okay, we get the background – these are construction materials and some delivery van which we get means Roxas is on the rehabilitation of Tacloban which is the status of the city. we get the message but is this the best way to deliver that message?
- and why on earth are there 3 people standing on the background? the photographer and producers of Esquire Magazine were not able to ask them to move out of the shot even for 5 minutes?
- very minor, but why is he holding a cellphone?
on the over-all and even on specifics that cover photo sucks! it does not present the subject in a flattering look and pose, something you usually want for a cover photo. and the pose does not make sense at all, plus the production values suck.
Esquire is a men’s fashion magazine cum intellectual magazine, it is stylish and of substance. none of that is reflected on the choice of this cover photo. the magazine on the top left of it describes itself as “Man at its best”. in this photo, they presented Mar Roxas, a man, a DILG secretary of the country and possibly the next president of the country not “at its best” but at “its silliest”.
we can’t help it, we are drawn to it like gravity will pull down something that is up in the air, our conclusion is this – Esquire Philippines lampooned Mar Roxas.
the same Esquire Philippines magazine cover is apparently getting a lot of attention in social media and is on the Philippine Daily Inquirer website:
Mar Roxas gets social media flak for magazine cover
MANILA, Philippines — What about Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas saying hello from Tacloban got netizens irked?
Roxas received flak on social media after he was featured on the cover of “Esquire Philippines” magazine commemorating the first anniversary of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan).
The official Facebook account of Esquire shared the photo of its cover featuring a smiling and gentle Roxas, whose right hand was raised in a greeting while sitting on a pile of cut wood behind a cargo truck.
The caption of the photo reads: “Hello from Tacloban… One year later.” Roxas’ smiling photo was taken about a year ago or on November 21, 2013, at the Tacloban City Port.
Some netizens called the photo “insensitive,” in “bad taste,” and an “insult” to the typhoon victims. Still, others noted a hint of sarcasm, a sense of a story, and even a note of hope.
“Esquire this is really done in bad taste. Give respect to the people of Tacloban,” commented Joseph Ongkeko Delos Reyes.
“Bad move. How about putting the pictures of those who survived the disaster?” Dee Ferraris Necèsito pointed out.
update on this one, as of November 9, 2014, 6:48 pm.
we did not know these things before we published this post:
a PDI article says that this picture of Mar Roxas was taken last year and not recently as we would think it would be since this is the cover of the November 2014 issue.
a Rappler.com article says Mar Roxas DID NOT grant an interview with the magazine for the article. it also said the article on Mar Roxas was written by Boo Chanco, a columnist from a newspaper.
note that we have not read the article itself, we just saw the cover photo on the website of Esquire Philippines.
given those two things from PDI and Rappler.com it looks like we were right that this article lampoons Roxas. it is meant to mock or put him in a bad light. that explains very well why the choice for the cover photo was really a terrible photo of him. from the point of view of cover photos, they usually flatter the subject but from the context of mocking and lampooning the subject matter, Roxas, choosing a bad picture of the subject is the correct editorial decision. the choice is meant to disrespect Roxas.
our instinct, well okay our suspicion based on that horrible picture was right.
question – did you dislike roxas after you saw this?
we have been posting comments on this at Facebook, please read here : https://www.facebook.cothis one m/wawam.blogs
one of the things we posted:
we do not think this article was a PR effort for Roxas. it was reported that Roxas did not grant an interview for the article. if it was a PR effort for him, he would certainly give an interview. not only will he give an interview, he would have a say on the cover photo and for sure this is not a photo he will agree to.
we also did a scan of Esquire covers for the Philippines and the USA magazines. all of the cover photos i saw are of 1 person, almost all are studio shots, glamour shots and high concept. none of that is in the Roxas cover photo. this one is very different from the rest can mean something happened on this one.
there is more to this :
posted November 10, 2014, morning.
many netizens were hating on Mar Roxas because Roxas appeared on the cover of the magazine on Yolanda and Tacloban. many of the netizens thought this was a PR effort for Roxas, something that the camp of Roxas has engineered for him to appear at the magazine to promote himself for the elections. as we said previously, we were not concerned on the choice of the magazine to feature Roxas on it. we were reacting just to the photo choice of the magazine and even at the start we thought this was a lampoon of Roxas given the terrible photo choice. in other words, we did not think this was a PR effort for Roxas. on the contrary, we thought this was meant to mock Roxas. it is some kind of a demolition job on him.
last night, we saw boo chanco, author of the article at the magazine post at Facebook the message above – the article was not a PR effort for Roxas.
this also appeared at the PDI internet edition last night:
Magazine denies endorsing Roxas on cover of ‘Yolanda’ anniversary issue
MANILA, Philippines—After receiving backlash from netizens by featuring a smiling Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II on its cover, Esquire Philippines denied that they are endorsing the secretary, saying that he is just “a symbol of national government response.”
“Secretary Mar Roxas is on the cover as a symbol of the national government response. Nothing less or more. We were certainly not paid or persuaded to put him on the cover,” Esquire Philippines said in a post on its official Facebook account Sunday.
Roxas is said to be the leading candidate of the administration’s Liberal Party for the 2016 presidential polls.
Esquire Philippines said that its November issue, which commemorates the first anniversary of the onslaught of Super Typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan), is dedicated to dignify the “memory of those lost, and the pain of those left behind in Tacloban City.”
“We at Esquire Philippines will always dignify the memory of those lost, and the pain of those left behind in Tacloban City. Our November issue is dedicated to that purpose.”
“In the issue itself, our writers and photographers revisit Tacloban in order to gather and present the very human tragedies that are still ongoing one year after Yolanda, as well as sift the facts regarding the government’s response,” the magazine said.
there are a few things on that explanation by Esquire :
- how is Roxas the “symbol of the national government response”? and in that kind of a pose with a “hello” wave? what kind of symbolism is that? we have not read the article but we hope this was explained in the article. but surely the photo they chose does not seem to speak of any symbolism of any substance.
- we are totally lost and it really does not make sense how a one year old picture of Roxas in that kind of pose and quality achieves any of this : “We at Esquire Philippines will always dignify the memory of those lost, and the pain of those left behind in Tacloban City. Our November issue is dedicated to that purpose.”. for sure there is no “dignity” in that picture at least for Roxas and the whole concept of a high ranking government official giving a “hello” wave. they talk of “pain of those left behind” – again, there is nothing in that picture that comes close to that.
- then Esquire talks about our “writers and photographers revisit Tacloban in order to gather and present the very human tragedies that are still ongoing one year after Yolanda, as well as sift the facts regarding the government’s response“. they talk about “current” and yet they chose a one year old picture and it is a picture of Roxas, not of the city or things that are being done at the city, or how the city itself looks now. with that stated goal, you would think a picture of Tacloban the place or Tacloban the place and its people now would have been more appropriate and more on strategy with that thinking. instead they chose a one year old picture of Roxas in a silly pose.
here is where we are at :
- the cover photo and article is not a PR effort for Roxas
- it is a terrible photo choice of Roxas
- this is an extreme departure from all previous Esquire cover photos. this photo is highly inconsistent with the other cover photos the magazine puts out – glamour shots of the subject, shot in a studio and with some high concept or has some drama in it
- that cover photo does not achieve the stated goals of Esquire
- or Esquire can’t seem to justify their cover photo choice no matter how hard they try
- a photo of Tacloban or Tacloban and its people would have been more appropriate given their goals and what they say is the content of the article inside the magazine
- which leads us to confirm our first suspicion – this was a lampoon of Roxas, a demolition job on the possibly next president of the country
the longer this thing goes on and the more info we get, the worse this becomes for Esquire Philippines. instead of hating on Roxas, netizens should be hating on Esquire for its stupid editorial decisions.
these are the aerial photos of the alleged Binay Hacienda. binay says he does not own it. it is nevertheless magnificent. aside from the things inside it, it is half the size of San Juan City.
pictures from here :
– See more at: http://www.ellentordesillas.com/2014/10/09/binay-can-kiss-his-2016-presidential-bid-goodbye/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EllenTordesillas+%28Ellen+Tordesillas%29&utm_content=Netvibes#sthash.QC4ekcaY.dpuf
we saw the above tweet by philippine daily inquirer this morning. the strong coffee we were drinking was no match to that tweet waking us up.
first thing that popped in my mind was – “what? wow is roxas that rich that he will ‘give P4B to survivors’?”. i thought roxas would be the biggest individual donor to yolanda survivors. i thought roxas deserves a monument with his P4B donation to yolanda survivors.
i immediately clicked the PDI (philippine daily inquirer) link to read the full article and this was what we found out – contrary to the headline of the article, the P4B that “roxas will give to survivors” is not coming from his own pocket but actually from the government.
that headline surely and very strongly communicated the P4B was coming from mar roxas’ own pocket not from any government fund or government project.
the words said it (“Roxas to give P4B for survivors“) and not only that the lead-in to the headline also reinforced it – “Christmas in Lent”. that lead-in clearly says it is like some christmas present that roxas is giving to the survivors.
(full article here : http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/593735/christmas-in-lent-roxas-to-give-p4b-for-survivors)
all that of course is incorrect. in fact the whole article talked about the funds coming from government funds. there was nothing at all in the article where it said it will come from the personal funds of roxas but all of it from the government.
it feels like two different people handled this article – the person who wrote the article is a different person who wrote the headline.
The P4 billion is apart from the almost P1.8 billion in rehabilitation funds that the government has started distributing to typhoon-stricken cities and municipalities in three regions in the Visayas, Roxas said at an orientation seminar on the Recovery Assistance on Yolanda here.
so what happened there?
we think the misleading headline is the result of some PR work from Mar Roxas for the 2016 presidential campaign. the roxas campaign was able to get to the PDI reporter and/or the PDI desk editor on this one. often, the desk editor is the one responsible for writing the headlines for articles submitted by field reporters to the “desk”. the desk editor also has the prerogative to rewrite or add things to the article from the original that reporters write.
it is either the roxas PR team got to them or the PDI writer and/or desk editor somehow found it smart to write a misleading headline on their own. of course the first part is speculation on our part and perhaps even the second one too.
to be fair the PDI is one of the most if not the most difficult to do PR work with. they are very independent will write and publish what they want regardless of who it is trying to influence them.
we suspect that this was PR spin for two reasons – (a) the framing of the fund release is highly suspect, it was being framed as like a christmas gift (“christmas in lent”) and (b) “roxas giving P4B” is an idea that is not at all in the article. it does feel very much that the one who wrote the article is not the same person who wrote the headline.
on the first one, the closest that to the framing of a “christmas gift” was what roxas said was this which was in the article:
“Advance Happy Easter. May you spend your money wisely to help your [constituents],” Roxas told local officials of Capiz as he handed over more than P200 million in rehabilitation aid for his home province.
roxas mentioned “happy easter” but somehow the framing morphed into a “christmas gift”. “framing of messages” to favor or skew the message to a particular person or group is typically done by PR practitioners, not editors of newspapers. in this one, it is obvious the effort was meant for the benefit of mar roxas.
the other part of this is that we think saying the money is some kind of “gift” we feel is very insulting and degrading to the survivors. gifts, specially christmas gifts are a happy occasion and a source of joy, something that is given willingly. these funds are not at all in that context, the funds for the rehabilitation of destroyed properties of people. the people suffered and lost a lot. this is being received as a gift in the context of Christmas joy, it is aid or help to the misery that the people had to endure and are still enduring.
we understand mar roxas has plans to run for president in 2016 and by the looks of it the campaign period has already started with efforts already being done by his main competitor, vice president binay.
with that we also understand that there should now be PR efforts for the presdinetiables, but we think this kind of PR effort for the presdientiable mar roxas is very much misplaced and incorrect from a marketing and political campaign point of view.
if we are right about this being spin for the mar roxas campaing, then we think the campaign has not developed and is not following a strategic plan for the roxas campaign. that is a very dangerous lack and can hurt the presdientiable roxas.
the pork barreal scam or the PDAF scam has taken a large portion of the country’s attention in the past months. since it was first published as headline news on the front pages of Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), it has stayed and not left the consciousness of the nation.
if at all, it the issue has even grown from just the PDAF to now the DAP which while very different from each other, the DAP has taken the same sinister image of the PDAF.
corruption has once again become the number 1 issue among the people and the PDAF is the one and only poster boy for it, the DAP following closely.
the pork barrel in all its forms, in all its systems in whatever set of letters it gets resurrected into should be abolished :
1. The PDAF is a duplication of what line agencies and LGUs (local government units) are mandated to do. Line agencies like the DSWD (social welfare), DOH (health) and DPWH (public works) and others perform the same function as what the PDAF funds are “claimed” to be used for. LGUs are the elected local officials like the governor, mayor and barangay officials who are primarily responsible for day to day life in the barangays.
The PDAF are spent on the same projects and programs that line agencies and LGUs already have or are supposed to do.
2. The legislative branch of the government, House of Representatives (congressmen) and the Senate (senators) have a specific role as mandated by the constitution – they write the laws of the land, not perform the function of the line agencies and LGUs. It is the reason why they are called “lawmakers” or legislators, not government agency or local government executives.
Some legislators defend the PDAF on the basis of them “representing” their specific constituents and therefore are in a better position to know what the needs of their localities.
That thinking is infirm in two points – the lawmakers are the representatives of their localities in lawmaking, not in daily life improvements and needs which the line agencies and the LGUs perform on a daily basis.
The LGUs who actually live and serve right in the localities of the barangays are better if not as fully equipped as the lawmakers are in knowing what is needed by the constituents.
3. The PDAF institutes and nurtures the padrino system or the politics of patronage between the president of the country and the lawmakers. The control and disbursement of the PDAF has several gatekeepers. The first gatekeeper is the president who through the DBM allocates the amounts among the lawmakers and approves the projects which the PDAF fund will pay for. This system makes the lawmakers beholden to the president for his PDAF. The lawmaker may feel the need to please the president if not not go against the president and bend his principles on questions of legislation so that the president will return the favor and release his PDAF. The lawmaker might vote in favor of legislation not on its merits but just so to buy favor from the president. In fact some legislators have admitted as much on it where it apparently was rampant during the arroyo administration.
The president may also use the release of the PDAF as a bargaining chip to force lawmakers to go his way. This in fact has been one of the rumors during the impeachment trial of the Supreme Court chief justice where lawmakers who were not supportive of the impeachment charged their PDAF was being put on hold or its release delayed by the president.
4. The same padrino system and politics of patronage is also being instituted and nurtured between the lawmakers and voters. Unfortunately, it has been a habit of Pinoy voters to ask money from their lawmakers for their emergency needs like money for sickness or death for example. The lawmaker who gives them the money expects that the voter to whom he gives his money to will vote for him in the next election. At the same time, to ensure getting the money, the voter who receives the money promises to vote for the lawmaker.
We often here voters admit that they vote for a certain candidate and also campaign for the candidate among his/her friends and relatives because the specific congressman has “helped” him with his financial emergencies.
When this happens, the voter votes for the candidate not for his skills or record but because he was given money by the candidate.
5. Lawmakers have used the PDAF like their own re-election campaign fund. The PDAF is taxpayers money but the lawmakers have used it like it is their personal fund that they can use in any which way they want to, including getting them reelected.
Epal politics, where elected officials put their names and faces on ambulances, waiting sheds and buildings evolved from the PDAF. Epal politics make it appear that these came from them, like they spent their own money on them while in truth these are from their PDAF which are taxpayers money.
6. As shown in the most recent pork barrel scam that is occupying the minds of the nation, the PDAF is the petri dish for corruption. It has been used by the lawmakers to amass wealth for themselves with the help of a citizen like Janet Napoles.
Based on news reports, the money stolen by the lawmakers and Napoles is at minimum P10B! and this is just the initial report. there should be more to be revealed.
People see the PDAF is cancer itself that has invaded the pinoy soul. While most of us are not involved in it nor are the beneficiaries of it, we see it now as affecting our lives in a very major and negative way. It is very painful to hear our government leaders talk or complain about not having enough funds to hire more competent people to do the work, for facilities and equipment in government hospitals, or not enough bridges and roads and many other things lacking and yet now we know at least P10B of taxpayers’ money may have been siphoned off to the pockets of lawmakers and individuals.
We see more than corruption here, we also see grave injustice, the type that tarnishes the soul of the nation. To cleanse it, the PDAF needs to be abolished. maybe starting from a clean zero state will help us rebuild our souls.