Palace bats to transform interest on federalism amid viral ‘jingle’

MANILAMalacaAang said it is taking the controversial dance video on federalism as a challenge to transform new interest on federalism into explaining how this proposed system of government will benefit Filipinos.

In a Palace briefing on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said although the Palace did not agree with Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson's way of promoting federalism, it should be seen as an opportunity to start discussions on the true meaning of this new system of government.

Bagama't hindi kami sang-ayon doon sa pamamaraan, eh talagang naging kontrobersiyal ngayon ang pederalismo (Although we do not agree with the method, federalism has really become controversial), Roque said.

May kontrobersiya kasi; so habang may kontrobersiya, pinag-uusapan. So magkaroon na tayo ng mga diskusyon kung ano talaga iyong pederalismo (There's controversy, so while there's controversy, it's being talked about. So we'll have a discussion about what federalism really is), he added.

Roque said there was always an opportunity to translate controversy into something positive.

That's the challenge now How to transform this new interest on federalism spurned by this controversy in explaining why we want this change to the Constitution towards federalism, Roque said.

Try to make the most out of the controversy and explain the positive side of federalismeh naririyan na iyan eh. Hindi mo naman mababalik ang panahon 'no para burahin iyan (It's already there. We can't turn back time and erase what happened), he added.

Roque, meanwhile, encouraged federalism advocates to take advantage of all the talks on federalism to educate those who knew little about it.

Let's try to use it to our favor, and just explain now what the controversy is and what true federalism is. Gamitin ninyo na po itong pagkakataon na lahat ay nagtatanong tungkol dito sa pederalismo at i-explain kung ano ito (Use this as an opportunity to explain federalism to those asking about it), Roque said.

Last week, Uson posted a video on her personal blog showing Drew Olivar, her co-host in Good News Game Show, singing and dancing while making vulgar gestures to raise federalism awareness.

The song and dance number was criticized by netizens, lawmakers, and even members of the Consultative Committee (ConCom), who found it inappropriate.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said he understood that Uson had the best intentions in posting the dance jingle but stressed that explaining federalism should take a more serious approach.

Unconventional video

Roque, meanwhile, bared that President Rodrigo R. Duterte has seen Uson's video since it was shown to him. However, the President did not give any instruction on what to do about it.

Wala naman po siyang binigay na (He didn't give any) instruction, (and) the President was very cool about it, Roque said.

According to Roque, although Uson's video was not a big deal for Duterte, he also wanted federalism to be explained in a serious manner.

He's a first and foremost a believer in freedom of expression. But of course he knows that charter change has to be more serious but to him it was not really a big thing. He would want a more rational approach to the dissemination, Roque said.

Roque said Duterte also found the video unconventional.

He (Duterte) found it...well unconventional to get the people's interest into federalism. In a way, I guess, everyone's talking (about) federalism, Roque said.

Probably not in the way that we want them to talk about federalism but certainly we're sure that the number of people who don't know what federalism has gone down. Let's just transform the debate now into something more substantive, he added.

Mocha's blog

Roque said he will leave it to PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar to determine what steps to take in relation to Uson's video.

I am not her superior in government and I come from a completely different department from her. So I leave it to her and I leave it to her bossSecretary Martin Andanar, Roque said.

He also reiterated that Uson's video was not part of her official function as PCOO Assistant Secretary since she was not authorized to release the video in the first place.

She was not actually performing her official functions. Because as Secretary Andanar clarified, she was not authorized to do that video on behalf of the inter-agency committee on dissemination for the proposed charter change, Roque said.

The inter-agency task force on federalism is composed of members of the PCOO, Department of Interior and Local Government, Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Consultative Committee (ConCom) which drafted the Federal Constitution.

So she was doing it in her personal capacity. You can't stop her, he added.

He emphasized that there has yet to be a final communication plan on the federalism information drive being prepared by the inter-agency task force formed by Duterte.

Wala pa pong final plans, kaya nga po nagulat kami na may ganitong nangyari (There are no final plans, that's why we were shocked that something like this happened), Roque said.

Trainer's manual

However, he said it was clear during the inter-agency task force meetings that there would be a trainer's manual and that there would have to be minimum content to be discussed by trainers.

Ang unang-unang gagawin po diyan (The first thing we will do) is the trainers' training that we had hoped that Asec. Mocha Uson will also attend 'nolike everyone else who wants to be a disseminator for federalism, Roque said.

Earlier, Andanar said the inter-agency is considering creating comics, social media cards, radio advertisements, and perhaps jingles to promote federalism awareness.

Not out

In a chance interview, Andanar was mum on details about Uson's controversial video but denied that she was being kicked out of the federalism information drive.

Hindi naman out. Wala akong sinasabing out, out ito, out yan (She's not out. I didn't say she was out, or this is out, that is out). No one is out. Any Filipino can join the Federalism campaign because this federalism is for every Filipino and it's for the entire nation, Andanar said.

The PCOO chief said what he wanted was to assure that all efforts to explain federalism have approval from the inter-agency task force.

Ang gusto lang namin mangyari na kailangan yung inter-agency ang mag approve ng lahat ng mga lumalabas na communications or communication strategy. Dapat ang inter-agency ang mag approve (What we want to happen is that all communications or communication strategies get approval from the inter-agency), Andanar said.

He, however, reiterated that the final campaign has yet to be finalized.

As far as the campaign is concerned, wala pang final na napagusapan kung ano ang dapat. Pero meron kaming meeting ulit sa Friday (we have not agreed on a final plan. But we have another meeting on Friday), he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency