Politically tone-deaf and/or opportunist?
By Raïssa Robles
I was reading a piece on the spike in Covid cases on the Philippine Daily Inquirer site when out popped a Google ad showing a smiling Karlo Nograles asking we, the people, to donate to a Palace-driven project to aid the poor. Nograles is the secretary to President Rodrigo Duterte’s cabinet.
So I posted this on Twitter:
Two things wrong with this pic: 1) Duterte’s secretary to the cabinet Karlo Nograles asking 4 donations when Palace has not released all Bayanihan ayuda; 2) Palace wants to centralize ALL PRIVATE DONATIONS after discouraging everyone from donating to various groups. #ManigasKayo pic.twitter.com/0T7VtidOKK
— Raissa Robles (@raissawriter) March 10, 2021
In other times, I would applaud such a call for aid.
But not this time.
It’s obvious that Karlo Nograles has political ambition, like his father the late former House Speaker Prospero Nograles who was charged with graft over his 47 million pesos pork barrel.
Karlo Nograles wanted to run for senator in 2019 but dropped the idea early on for reasons unknown. Probably because he was scoring low in polls.
What irks me about this ad is that the government told us citizens early on not to donate to various citizen-led groups, and warned that we may unwittingly be donating to the leftist “terrorist” cause.
This means the government has actually politicised its anti-Covid effort, folding it into its campaign against communism.
Which, I think, is WHY we are not healing as one, as the government proudly claims we are.
For instance, the presidential palace was very slow to give ayuda or cash aid to jeepney drivers who are members of the red-tagged Piston. Members of the red-tagged Kadamay on their way to transporting donations to their members were arrested and their donations seized.
Then the government announced that all donations have to be vetted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development which is headed by a retired general, who is also part of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTFELCAC). To deny aid to the enemy.
Yet more and more, the enemy is looking like the men in uniforms.
But let’s go back to Karlo Nograles. Obviously, the presidential palace sees no wrong in using his face for the ‘Kontra Gutom’ campaign. Which is an apt slogan, come to think of it, for someone who is hungry (gutom) for power.
Come 2022 elections, let’s remind voters of Karlo’s use of his position to campaign prematurely.
There is always a thin line between politicians using their office to further their political ambition. Good performance is a way of doing that and there is nothing wrong with it.
But you and I know that such things like this Google ad, plastered all over the Internet, goes beyond good performance and becomes e-pal or, as writer Pete Lacaba explained, pumapapel.