The declaration of martial law on the whole of Mindanao, following the takeover of terrorists on Marawi, has been met with mixed reactions. Some view the declaration as necessary. Others say that the military can only do so much. Perhaps these are the kinds of concerns that the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) aimed to address, to assuage our doubts. Thus, an information campaign on the necessity martial law. That campaign includes this Fast Facts video. Spot the intro, which made the rounds on social media yesterday.
…What? Huh? Why?
You’d think this administration would be capable of commissioning a decent animator. But I mean, okay, let’s try to pick this apart.
Okay. So, that’s the average citizen, gazing in fear upon a bleak future filled with terrorists and extremists. But like… watch the video, dude ain’t even movin’ his feet? Kinda just, bobbin’ up and down the way a kid would make an action figure walk. Also, what’s up with this pink and red background?
Dark figures slowly emerging in the horizon. Okay. It’s at this part, though, that you notice the music playing? Right? I mean this video is supposed to give the populace hope and encouragement, but these trumpets sound like John Williams’s crappy first draft of the Imperial March.
Okay, so I guess this is where the symbolism (loaded term right there though, the way some people use it) comes in. What makes this such an eyeroll is that while martial law is being portrayed here as a protective measure, Ferdinand Marcos used martial law as a veil for committing human rights abuses. Plus the fact that the current administration has been giving zero f***s against innocents caught in the crossfire of the drug war.
WHAT!!! They’re down! That kid didn’t even touch ‘em!
And can we get a load of the copy, please?
“In the free society, there are groups who don’t want to give independence. They are adamant on detaining peaceful spirits. They are distressing feelings with fears. Let us not allow them to terrify us. We will all fight in unity. Martial law should be the rule of the land. Martial law, now.”
Dear PCOO, how do you detain peaceful spirits? Is our republic being threatened by evil Ghostbusters? Also, it’s fun imagining a terrorist ticking boxes off a checklist like: distress feelings with fears, detain peaceful spirits, and pick up milk and eggs at the grocery.
Now, to be fair, it’s not just the Duterte administration who resorts to propaganda, but pretty much every politician ever. And again, we can’t blame the Palace for trying to engage with worried citizens, especially those in Mindanao, who have every right to want to feel safe and look to the military to feel that safety. But let’s please all agree that this video is hella ugly. So ugly, we can laugh about it, or at least try, which is all most of us can do in times as bleak and terrifying as these.