It’s quite interesting how the start of the school season seems to be the signal for the administration to open the floodgates for the barrage of pro-administration propaganda. Suddenly, all sorts of tarpaulins harping the President’s so-called economic achievements and proclaiming empty slogans of prosperity have proliferated all across the metropolis, alongside posters bearing “Pilipinas kong mahal!” I was on the LRT 2 a few days back and I noticed how huge print ads have been set-up at the stations with large imposing pictures of the President and the words katarungan and ekonomiya beside her, in bold letters.
These are, of course, in addition to the other pro-Arroyo print advertisements on national dailies and anti-militant advertisements on TV. Also, in an effort to water down discontent and dissent among the people, the administration has been giving token dole-outs left and right, from electric bill subsidies, fertilizer subsidies, and scholarships. All of which are one-time, and of course temporary. Thus, the obvious motive for such is not to seek to change what’s inherently wrong in the prevailing order but is to simply quiet down and dupe the masses in a time where crises in basic commodities and social services have become unbearable, and in a time when such crises could spark another wave of anti-administration demonstrations.
No amount of bribes in the form of temporary financial reliefs nor rampant government propaganda will fool the people or solve their hunger and discontent. What we need are higher state subsidies and government regulation of basic industries and social services. Lest we forget, calls of accountability transparency amidst billion-peso corruption scandals are still being ignored. What I’m also trying to say is that the proliferation of government propaganda at a time when millions of Filipino students are about to return and reconvene in schools across the country is a recognition of the power of the youth movement in social change.
Youth Act Now!, an alliance of youth formations across the country, held a National Youth Assembly last May 30, 2008 at the College of Education Theater in the College of Education, UP Diliman. Present to speak at the assembly were NBN-ZTE Scandal whistle-blower Engineer Jun Lozada, Christian leader Eddie Villanueva, and another corruption whistle-blower Joey de Venecia. Also present at the assembly were representatives from student councils and student organizations across the country. The assembly was held to end the summer vacation and to kick-off the start of classes and rekindle the youth’s commitment in the movement for truth, accountability and social change.