A lot of brouhaha has been raised on the botched Pilipinas Kay Ganda program, especially with the revelation of a “lutong macaw” scheme, that of Enteng Romano’s daughter already being given a contract in the program without a bidding. Add this to the alleged plagiarism of the Polska logo of Poland. But notwithstanding, this was not the real problem with the program. As I commented previously on it, it comes as a dishonest slogan; a lie. It’s inappropriate to say after the Bus Hostage Crisis, and of course with the squatter areas all over.
I was reminded of Alex Lacson’s note in the wake of the Bus Hostage Crisis. What he basically did was namedrop many known Filipinos and emphasize their “beauty.” Then his tips, which BongV summarized in the “12 things little things,” had the attitude, let’s build up our beauty and make people forget the negative. Basically, he was trying to draw attention off the negative and distract with the positive. He wanted to “protect and defend” the Filipino. But somehow, it didn’t seem like the right way.
It’s like, for example, a Filipino going about with a foreign guest. The foreign guest sees the squatter area and asks, “Hey, those are the poor of this country? I didn’t know there are so many of them.” The Filipino says, “nothing to see here, move along now.”
It’s also like an employee who was caught falsifying a document and lying to clients, and was going to be terminated. He comes in defense saying, “I got this account for you! I made this campaign work! I’m also loved by my co-workers!” But sadly, those achievements are now soiled now that he committed a grave offense, and he’ll still get the boot.
It reminds me of the time when foreign delegates were invited during the Marcos era (of course, I hear this from my parents and older siblings). Marcos ordered the building of high walls at the roads where the foreign delegates will pass to cover the squatter areas from the delegates’ view. It may have been shameful indeed to see, but it was dishonest to cover them up.
The above attitude, which I call the “kapalmuks” attitude, is one of the driving forces behind the defense of the Pilipinas Kay Ganda campaign. They say, focus on the positive, ignore the negative – basically sweeping the dirt under the rug, instead of cleaning it out. In the end, it comes out as dishonesty. Sadly, this is a common trait in Filipino culture. But it’s this trait we have to clean out, aside from the dirt we have to dig out from under the rug.
Foreigners aren’t fooled. Now a foreign group, the Asian Human Rights Commission based in Hong Kong, calls the Philippines a broken and lawless nation. How can you say Pilipinas Kay Ganda with that? To them, it’s Pilipinas Kay Panganib. It’s hard to disagree with.
That’s the real flaw with Pilipinas Kay Ganda: it reflects the cultural attitude of not cleaning house, sweeping the dirt under the rug and hiding it with flagrant and arrogant pronouncements, like “Proud to be Pinoy,” that are more like bangka-lifting. The irony is that it was an effort to hide what’s ugly about our country. But it actually served the opposite: reveal that ugliness even more.
Or perhaps this is the real flaw: the problem is not with the slogan itself, or the country. It’s the inhabitants.
If Filipinos only dropped the “distract with the positive, hide the negative” mentality, we would go one step further away from being Pilipinas Kay Palpak.
Of course, let’s not just clean the logo and slogan. Let’s clean house.