PNoy twitted by tweeps for pals epalling in relief operations
(Update 9am & 2pm: PNoy & epals, in 4-5 choppers forced to land on SCTEX)
you’re right. I just conjugated the word “epal”, and used “tweeps” in a so-called “headline” ; (and also wanted to alliterate with twit and pals); “epal” is a Filipino slang originating from the word “papel” or “mapapel” , a person is “mapapel” when he/she does extra work and goes out of his/her way to draw attention to himself/ herself; in the Philippine social context, “epal” has come to mean those traditional politicians who use public funds and facilities to promote themselves in preparation for being elected.
Update: At about 9:40 am, Palace communications usec Ricky Carandang on phonepatch in GMA “News- to-Go” said that the President and his contingent in two or three passenger choppers and a security group in two choppers, were forced to land on SCTEX, on their way to Tarlac, Pampanga, Bataan, and Bulacan, due to “low visibility”. The news anchor, clueless of the epalling event yesterday, forgot to ask: And who exactly were with the President? Hmmm, he had to use three passenger choppers…? And so… did he bring the same group that he brought with him yesterday in Marikina? The following: (enumerate)….? Oh. By the way, aren’t those his senatorial bets?… Didn’t some of them lose in the previous elections? And a follow-up from me: And… perhaps, the choppers were overloaded …?
At about 2pm, DZMM’s Rod Hizon, with more savvy and wit, reported that the President and his contingent looked like they were on an election campaign sortie because he brought with him his senatorial bets who were “pakaway-kaway” or waving to the crowds and smiling sweetly during the relief operations.
In the previous blog post, we commended the government agencies and said “Good job”, as follows: “To be fair, PAGASA (the weather bureau), local government units, and media organizations, gave us a three-to-four hour heads-up. GMA News announced the red warning a few minutes after the PAGASA tweet, ABS-CBN cast the widest net of field reporters 24 hours ago and had a non-stop coverage since then. Good job by these organizations.”
The LP campaign manager, the publicists and the epals probably said: “Why are PAGASA, Project Noah, MMDA, NDRRMC, getting all the credit? Why are Francis Tolentino, Mahar Lagmay, Benito Ramos, Nathaniel Servando, getting all the invites for interviews 24-7, they haven’t slept for three days and their throats are already sore from fatigue yet they are getting more praises! What about us?” said the epals. And that’s why : they have descended upon us. This is the time of the LP Epals.
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“Netizens slam politicians riding on disaster” by TJ Burgonio, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 4:30 am | Friday, August 10th, 2012
“Electioneering in the midst of disaster.”
“Facebook user Rolando Luzong posted this line on his account to describe a photo of a waving President Benigno Aquino aboard an Army truck alongside his potential senatorial candidates in a relief operation to help flood victims in Muntinlupa City.
“The photo showed the President with his Liberal Party allies, Bureau of Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director general Joel Villanueva, Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel Roxas and former Akbayan party-list Representative Risa Hontiveros.
“Aurora Representative Juan Edgardo Angara, Villanueva and Hontiveros were also seen with the President visiting flood victims who had sought shelter at a public school in Nangka, Marikina, and riding an Army truck with him to check on flooded areas in the same village.
“These politicians drew criticism in cyberspace for allegedly trying to bolster their popularity for next year’s elections by distributing relief goods, including repackaged ones that contained their names and photographs.
“Mr. Aquino, who motored for four to five hours to visit evacuation centers in four cities and a town in the capital, justified their presence.
“ “Of course, those helping us—Joel Villanueva, Risa Hontiveros and Sonny Angara—are here,” the President said when he introduced them to evacuees at the Gen. T. de Leon High School in Valenzuela City.
“ “Sonny is here because it’s budget season in Congress. If we have a project, it’s Sonny who will push for our interest,” he added.
“Angara, Villanueva, Hontiveros and Biazon are reportedly being eyed for inclusion in the administration’s senatorial slate in the 2013 mid-term elections.
“ “I’m just helping out. I guess there’s nothing wrong with that. We were asked to go along with the Cabinet,” Angara said in a phone interview. “It’s part of being in politics. You can’t please everyone.”
“Villanueva, for his part, said his relief operation was by invitation. “First of all, I’m a member of the Cabinet and anytime the President wants to be anywhere, I will be there. Besides, in those places which we visited, including Bagong Silangan, we have trained residents in disaster management.”
“He said he had not kept his political ambition a secret and that he’d prefer to learn the ropes and find out about the concerns of the people now, rather than after he gets elected.
“Hontiveros said she was asked by the President to join his visits to evacuation centers because of Akbayan’s relief operations in Marikina, Pasig and Caloocan cities.
“ “He wanted us to join forces for a day,” she said by phone, explaining that Akbayan had reactivated its relief centers in the aftermath of the heavy flooding.
“Netizens had a field day posting their reactions to the politicians’ alleged electioneering activities.
“ “Anyone else notice how the relief operations by the President is turning out to be campaign sorties for Risa Hontiveros and his other senatorial candidates for 2013?” Facebook user Joaquin Ang posted.
“A number of social networking sites also displayed and slammed images of canned goods bearing photos of politicians, including a hashtag #epalwatch on Twitter, an account named “epalwatch” on the free blog hosting platform Tumblr and a number of pages on Facebook such as the Anti-Epal page.
“In epalwatch.tumblr.com, “epal” is defined as “any public official who has his/her name/image on any public signage, public space, and/or public property … or anything that relates to such behavior.” It also described precampaigning as an “epal activity.”
“Actress Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan tweeted: “Please lang po, kung tutulong kayo, ’wag n’yo naman gawing promo para sa mga plataporma ninyo. ’Wag kayong epal! Hindi ko talaga kayo iboboto (Please, if you wish to help, don’t make it a promotional campaign for your political platforms. Don’t be scene stealers! I’m not voting for you).”
“A Facebook post which had about 3,000 shares was also circulated online. It said: “Fellow Filipinos please spread: Any grandstanding politician who will display his or her photos or banners in relief operations will be photographed, archived and forever mocked in an online site of shame. This is a time for solidarity, not an opportunity for political prospecting. Thank you.”
“User @MrFrancisBaraan posted on his Twitter account: “To those politicians whose ulterior motive for sending out relief goods for flood victims is to get reelected, shame on you.”
“Twitter user @ederic also posted on his account: “Hello politicians, do not use this disaster for your 2013 campaign. Someone did that during Ondoy. That candidate lost.”
“On a positive note, a post on the Facebook page Anti-Epal showed relief operations by the Department of Social Welfare and Development accompanied by the comment: “The DSWD gave out relief goods yesterday. Look at the bag: No names, no faces, just the way it should be.”
“Twitter user @mistervader, however, came to the President’s rescue: “My problem with the whole #epalwatch thing vs Noynoy is … if he didn’t do what he did yesterday, we’d call him lazy. The guy can’t win.” Inquirer Research
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“Early campaigning? Aquino allies say they were just helping out” by Andreo Calonzo, GMA News August 9, 2012 1:24pm
“When President Benigno Aquino III went to Muntinlupa City on Wednesday for relief operations, he was with four prospective Liberal Party (LP) senatorial candidates for the 2013 polls.
“Three of them were incumbent government officials: Bureau of Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva and Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara.
“The fourth, former Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, does not hold any position in government, but is currently the party-list group’s spokesperson.
“Aquino, who chairs the ruling LP, also went to flood-stricken areas with celebrity sister Kris Aquino to distribute relief goods.
“The scene caused some Filipinos online to criticize the President, saying that the relief operation was a form of “early campaigning.”
“ “Ang kakapal. Mga trapo [traditional politician]. Ang pagtulong sa mga naghihirap nating kababayan ay bukas at taos-puso. Maaga pa para mangampanya,” Katrina Mediante Garcia said on Facebook.
“ “Joel Villanueva and Risa Hontiveros were with PNoy during relief operations. That’s early campaigning for the Senate if you ask me,” Twitter user Arvin Crisol said.
“Just helping out
“Biazon defended his move to join the President, saying he was extending help to his former constituents. He was former representative of the lone district of Muntinlupa from 2001 to 2010.
“ “We simply cannot please everybody. As far as the recipients are concerned, they were happy that relief was delivered to them by no less than the President himself,” the Customs chief said in a text message.
“ “As far as I’m concerned, I am happy for my kababayans,” he added.
“Angara, for his part, said there was nothing wrong with reaching out to flood-stricken Filipinos.
“ “Kung makakatulong naman kami sa ating mga kababayan, why not? Hindi naman siguro masamang tumulong,” he said in a separate text message.
“Under Section 79 of the Omnibus Election Code, “election campaign” is defined as “an act designed to promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate or candidates to a public office.”
“The official campaign period for the 2013 polls does not start until February 12 next year. Certificates of candidacy may only be filed in the first week of October. – BM, GMA News
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“LP’s early campaigning amid disaster hit” by Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com . Posted at 08/09/2012 7:39 PM | Updated as of 08/09/2012 7:42 PM
“Some social media users and several politics pundits criticized President Benigno Aquino III and his allies for supposedly using relief efforts to campaign early for the mid-term elections.
“In a report from the CBCP News, Carmelite priest Ransom Rapirap said politicians must not use the victims of the disaster for photo opportunities and for mileage in the 2013 elections.
“Aquino, who usually shuns photo opportunities, went around Metro Manila to attend to the needs of victims. In tow were his sister, showbiz personality Kris Aquino, and former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros Baraquel. The latter is expected to run in the 2013 elections.
“Aquino told the victims that the government is doing everything to address the massive disaster brought about by heavy rains and floods.
“Some interpreted this another way, however. Criticisms were also hurled over at Twitter.
“@supahnova04 @wabby163 Ah u missed Pnoy’s campaign.. Este… Visit to Muntinlupa flood victims with sis kris, Mar etc (all 3 in yellow). #alamna
“Helping or campaigning? PNoy defends presence of ‘senatoriables’ in relief ops” by: InterAksyon.com August 9, 2012 7:14 PM President Benigno S. Aquino III, accompanied by his sister Kris and some members of his Cabinet, arrives on board a military truck in Barangay Tunasan, Muntinlupa City to distribute relief goods to flood victims in the area on Wednesday (Aug. 8, 2012). (Photo by Gil Nartea/Malacanang Photo Bureau/PNA)
“ Was the President in a relief operation or in an early poll campaign when he visited areas in Metro Manila devastated by floods?
“During his visit to flood victims in the cities of Marikina, Quezon, Caloocan, Malabon, Muntinlupa, and Valenzuela, Aquino was joined by Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Bureau of Customs (BOC) chief Rozzano Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon, Akbayan partylist spokesperson Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director general Joel Villanueva.
“Last June, Sen. Franklin Drilon, vice chairman of the ruling Liberal Party, said that Angara, Biazon, Hontiveros, and Villanueva had been included on the LP senatorial lineup for the 2013 polls. But in July, Biazon was quoted by the media as saying that he was eager to continue his job at the BOC than run in 2013.
“Photos from Malacanang show Aquino, on board an Army truck, greeting flood victims of Muntinlupa City on Wednesday with Hontiveros and Biazon to his left, and Villanueva to his right along with celebrity sister Kris Aquino and Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.
“Other Palace photos show the chief executive giving goods to Muntinlupa folk with Villanueva and Biazon also on August 8.
“More Palace photos show Aquino distributing relief goods in Marikina City on August 9 with Hontiveros, Villanueva, and Angara.
“On August 3, Aquino was also seen with Hontiveros when he went to Happy Land in Tondo to check on the condition of families displaced by a water surge induced by Typhoon Gener.
“But Aquino on Thursday defended the presence of the “senatoriables” in his relief drive.
“Aquino said he had brought Villanueva with him because TESDA is in charge of providing education and livelihood training vouchers.
“Also, Aquino said Angara was with him in order to ensure that the 2013 proposed General Appropriations Act is passed on time.
“ “Sisipsip ho tayo dito for our budget. (Angara) is a member of Congress, and they are now deliberating on our proposed budget,” the President said.
“ “Sonny is here because it is budget time in Congress. If we suggest that we need certain projects to be authorized, I believe Sonny will take the lead in promoting everybody’s interest so we do not have to content with this annual season of massive flooding,” Aquino added.
“Moreover, the President described Villanueva, Angara, and Hontiveros as “people who help us” during the Valenzuela leg of his visits. – with Chichi Conde”