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THE PERSISTENTLY unpopular President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo may be proof that sometimes advertising just doesn’t work. In early April, or just a little more than two months before Arroyo is supposed to step down, yet another Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey had her posting a net satisfactory rating of -53 (satisfactory minus unsatisfactory) — her worst showing yet in her nine years as the country’s chief executive.

THE GOVERNMENT seems to want your ear really, really bad that in 2009 alone, its agencies, along with various public utilities, placed tri-media ads totalling P6.34 billion in ad value. This amount, as recorded by Nielsen Media, was composed of 771.03 hours of TV ads worth P3.84 billion in ad value, over 2,604 hours of radio ads worth P2.08 million, and 7,674 print ads worth P426.19 million.

From 2002 to 2008, COA reports had scored huge expenses for what could have been identical projects in Maguindanao and ARMM, under the Ampatuans. The reports painted a sorry picture of how one powerful clan could have dipped into public coffers, willfully and wantonly, as if these were its personal purse.

On Nov. 23, 2009, 58 persons were killed in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province. The victims included 32 journalists and media workers, two lawyers, six motorists passing the same route, and the wife and sisters of Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, at that time the vice-mayor of Buluan town in Maguindanao.

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