THEY are avowed representatives of the poor and the marginalized, but in the May 10, 2010 elections, 12 party-list groups allied with two candidates for president, one for vice president, and one for senator splurged a staggering P426.16 million on television ads that aired in the last two weeks of the campaign period.
Where they got the millions to burn for these candidates, despite their claimed poverty, is the ambiguity. But why they burned millions on political ads that featured the four candidates, not their party-list groups, is the absurdity.
IN A move that bewildered political analysts, 66 party-list groups went the way of mainstream political organizations during the three-month campaign period for the recently concluded polls and placed tri-media ads worth a total of P597.54 million, based on data from the media monitoring agency Nielsen.
But some big ad spenders among the party-list groups may be in for a very rude surprise themselves.
PR EXPERT Jonas Campos observes that one reason that political ads failed to work for some party-list groups is because they used the wrong “channel.”
Campos is not trying to spark yet another network war. Rather, he is referring to party-list group ads that did not carry the organization’s message or advocacy and instead showed the faces of mainstream politicians or carried a major party’s slogan.
THE HORRIBLY costly air war for the presidency has in recent weeks ceased being the exclusive domain of moneyed politicians and political parties. The new players and big buyers of political advertisements on television are seven apparently cash-rich party-list groups accredited by the Commission on Elections as supposed representatives of the “marginalized” and presumably poor sectors of Philippine society.
Three of the seven groups are neophytes in the electoral arena. How they managed to raise funds to purchase TV ads is just the first mystery.
PITY party-list organizations. Although Republic Act 7941 reserves 20 percent of House seats for these groups, which are supposed to be from marginalized sectors whose interests are not represented in Congress, the reality is that it is difficult for them to win votes. That’s because Filipinos are still mostly uninformed about the party-list process and the Commission on Elections has done nothing in terms of a voter-awareness campaign to remedy the situation.