July 27, 2010 · Posted in: Noynoy Watch

New President, old slogans

Organized, creative, and always prompt, the mainstream left or the so-called reaffirmist (RAs) groups were the early birds out on the street for President Aquino’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Carrying a 12-foot effigy of P-Noy clad in yellow with a matching star-spangled cape and a bubble machine attached to the dummy’s left hand, some 8,000 leftist activists assembled at 9 a.m. in front of the Diliman Preparatory School along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, and marched to St. Peter’s Parish.

At 12 noon, the rallyists who occupied the road from Ever Gotesco to Capitol Estate started their program dubbed “Peryante Pinas (Philippine fair),” where several speakers, artists, and musicians, including Chikoy Pura’s “The Jerks” performed on an eight-wheeler truck that was turned into a stage.

“We called the program Peryante Pinas because we want to remind the people that this isn’t the time to rejoice just because 85 percent of Filipinos trust the new president. Di dapat managinip o mag-ilusyon. Baka kasi nanaginip tayo (We can’t daydream or believe in an illusion). We have a new duly elected president but the problems are the same, joblessness, widespread poverty, landlessness, human rights violation,” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan international officer Rita Baua told PCIJ a day before the SONA.

Though the leftists believe that P-Noy will eventually fail in addressing the country’s core socio-economic problems, they promised that their protest will not end with the usual effigy-burning.

“Bago kasi s’ya, kaya pagbibigyan. Di katulad dati lahat na yata ng animal sa zoo na effigy ni GMA (President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) ay nagamit at sinunog namin (He’s new so we’re giving him a chance. Unlike before when we burned all the effigies of President Arroyo that were modelled after all the animals in the zoo),” Baua said.

Though their innovative ways of launching street protests seem to remain unmatched by other leftists, some of the mainstream left’s old rituals and rhetoric prove to be hard habits to break.

Effigies still include Uncle Sam’s head with a message, “Ibagsak ang Imperyalismo (Down with Imperialism)!” Speakers still start their speeches with a grim and determined greeting of “Isang taas-kamaong pagpupugay (I salute you with a raised clenched fist),” followed by “Sisikat ang pulang araw (The red sun will rise),” and concluded with, “Ang tao, ang bayan, ngayon ay lumalaban (The people, the country, are now fighting).”

There’s nothing wrong in mouthing those slogans, Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr. tells the PCIJ. “We have to say it as such because that is what it is.”

Nonetheless, Reyes admits that if his group wants an effective response from the still uncaptive audience, it needs to craft statements that are more quotable than slogans crafted during the time of Ferdinand Marcos.

Perhaps, in certain instances, the left needs slogans that have more wit and humor to get into the popular consciousness of Pinoys. Reyes believes he could learn some from watching telenovelas such as ABS-CBN’s “Iisa Pa Lamang.”

“Ikaw mang-aagaw ka ng lupa, dapat bigyan ka ng paso (You are a landgrabber, you should be given a flowerpot)” Aura played by Susan Roces tells villainess Isadora played by Cherry Pie Pichache, who responded by saying, “Haciendera ako, hindi hardinera (I’m an haciendera, not a gardener).”

Comment Form