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Is The Use of Taxpayer Money For Political Propaganda Ok?

January 27, 2010

DZMM  radio of ABS-CBN reported Thursday afternoon that there’s a report from the Commission on Audit that the government spent just under P 2-B for paid media advertisements in 2008 and 2009 (673-M in 2008 and 1.14B in 2009).

The report also quoted former NEDA Director General Ralph Recto as disclosing the a further 818M is earmarked this year also for government advertisement.

Earlier last week, Philippine Information Agency chief Conrado ‘Dodi’ Limcaoco was quoted as telling reporters that the Arrroyo administration, which is ending its term this June, does plan to “ramp up efforts to inform Filipinos how the government is successfully delivering onits promised reforms and services.

No one should, I guess, really argue against the need for such image-building operations both as a mechanism for transparency and accounting for how public money is spent for social services and such.

I wonder, however, about whether the government’s own huge information machinery is not enough that ads have to be bought in private media outlets.

Eyebrows rise and doubts surface when there are ads which ostensibly project programs but also quite obvious buff up the thinly disguised image of political agenda of politically ambitious heads of agencies.

There is, indeed, quite a grey area than can separate proof positive ‘reporting of solid accomplishments and political propaganda, particularly when elections are in the horizon.

But one must ask if what’s really happening is the misuse of public money for electoral campaigning and if that isn’t a crime?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2010 3:33 am

    It makes no sense for government to spend bundles of money for advertisements. The Office of the President is the most widely covered institution in the Philippine media. Hardly anything, both good or bad, that transpires in Malacanang is not reported on television, radio or print media. That’s not to mention online media like blogs.

    All that the government then needs to do is DO GOOD. Performance is the best advertisement. Accomplishments will always hit prime time news. And with the government owned media like RPN, NBN and IBC, Malacanang even has the distinct advantage of access to millions of Filipino homes.

  2. January 28, 2010 7:57 am

    I do not subscribe to the idea that my tax money should be used for propaganda and posturing for an elected seat in gov’t.

    Seriously, if ever there are media buys, then these should be in the form of public announcements since agencies are more of implementors. I will value a gov’t ad that tells me of a new service/ new policy/ rule. I don’t need my agency heads to be entertaining. If they want to be seen on TV, they should apply for a showbiz spot.

    On that note, was there a study on how many people availed of a TESDA scholarship after Mr. Syjuco’s dancing? I’m wondering. Were they even down to begin with? Was it so low that Mr. Syjuco went full-on with looking like an idiot on TV?

    Echoing the previous comment. Satisfaction in government services/ performance is better felt than read. To add, boo on the 2-page spread they did last week or was that the week before last week? I already forgot. See? Waste of media bucks!

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