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Of Personality Cults And Birthday Tributes

April 6, 2009


Metro Manila’s broadsheets made a killing over the weekend with full page advertorials from various government agencies paying homage to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on her 62nd birthday.

Nothing wrong with that her supporters would say, right? But wait who paid for the ads which cost anywhere from 50 to 250,000 pesos depending on which publication carries them Even the Philippine Daily Tribune, mainly considered an anti-Arroyo paper, benefitted from the advertising windfall.

DZMM radio anchor Ted Failon took the initiative of calling Health Secretary Francisco to ask how the expensive tributes were funded and he sheepishly admitted that public funds were used, lamely adding that the birthday greeting lay-out included the mention of health assistance benefits programs of the DOH.

On Failon’s prodding, Duque sort of apologized and said that next time they’ll  just send Mrs. Arroyo a 1 peso text message to greet her.

Also interviewed was Press Secretary Cerge Remonde who confirmed earlier reports that President Arroyo would be gifted with a giant photo mosaic of her likeness that will be submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records.

What are we witnessing here???!!!

Wikipaedia has this relevant entry:

A cult of personality or personality cult arises when a country’s leader uses mass media to create a heroic public image through unquestioning flattery and praise. Cults of personality are often found in dictatorships. A cult of personality is similar to general hero worship, except that it is created specifically for political leaders. However, the term may be applied by analogy to refer to adulation of religious or non-political leaders. Sometimes a personality cult was meant to be a political religion, where the leader is looked up as a religious figure meant to be “worshiped” like a deity. Such as in the case in North Korea, Soviet Union, and Nazi Germany.

Those sycophants in government who are shamelessly trying to curry favor with GMA are doing her a disservice while clearly assaulting the public’s  intelligence.

They obviously do not realize that by doing this they further stoke public disdain for a  leader who promises to relinquish power next year as mandated by the Constitution!

They are also seemingly blund to the parallels being draw, unfairly or not, between Arroyo and Ferdinand Marcos who did not stop his boys from constructing that concrete bust of him on a mountainside in Tuba Benguet.

That monument was bombed by vandals in the aftermath of EDSA 1 and has now become a relic of a dark,dark  era in contemporary history.

That giant photo mosaic is planned for presentation at the historic Quirino Grandstand.

Where will they hang it? Malacanang Palace???

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