Malacañang has been consistent in its policy of pa-pogi  or painting a pretty-looking image to the world—both in the domestic and international audience.  This policy, of  course, is a derivative of a character trait among the Filipino citizenry.  It is so deeply rooted in the national culture such that it often boomerangs on the individual or entity that pursues particular acts towards such ends.

The politicians are so adept in this task of pa-pogi.  It comes so naturally with them, one is tempted to ask if it is a consciously programmed activity or just a ‘run of the mill’ practice.  But during electoral season, this act is part of very conscious propaganda stratagem.  And everywhere in the political landscape pa-pogi practice proliferates like kabute.  But fortunately through the decades the public has grown aware and fed up with these nauseous acts. And a new term has since emerged — epal !   

And so it is, that Malacañang has brought it to its extreme degree of execution on the occasion of his bringing the APEC Summit to our country’s heartland.  The abiding obligation and premise is to show to the world the considerable strides the country has gone through after the last APEC held in the Islands. That was during the regime of former President Fidel Ramos when the terms liberalization, deregulation and privatization were flown like kites as banner slogans to develop our struggling economy to supposedly tiger status.

The same slogans will be drummed with added frequency into the consciousness of the Filipino citizenry as the warranty of economic growth and development, in spite of the manifest failures in the implementation of the APEC injunctions during Ramos time.  Now,  in the time of President Noynoy Aquino’s government, the APEC propositions for the Philippines and for the other members of  this global economic club are  meant to verily infuse the will to insure the expansion of trade liberalization with its accompanying deregulation and privatization measures in pursuance of imperialist powers’ global intentions.

As a yelping puppy of US imperialism, Noynoy Aquino gobbles up the APEC doctrine like a dog’s meal.  It seems to him an imperative duty to give a manifest semblance of economic achievement in the appearance of the country’s heartland—Manila.  It must project an image of order and beauty to impress the international delegates to the APEC Convention.

Hey,  did not Imelda Marcos in her own stupendous time do this?  Did not she erect a concrete wall and paint it with murals to hide the “eyesore slums” of  her Manila?  No. Noynoy is too proud to follow that tact of the Marcos icon he abhors. He must do his own act in its most unique fashion!  And so, instead of mural art,  it would be the art of affording “forcible vacation stints” for the street people that constitute the eyesores in Luneta parks and other public places.   Remember the Pope Francis visit?

But this time around—even after profuse criticisms for the clean-up during Pope Francis’ visit—the Noynoy government must double the  clean-up act in not so benign manner.   Who cares if the Manila-and-suburbs citizens would be extremely inconvenienced! Some major Manila avenues and boulevards and streets must be closed during the APEC Summit days!  All airplane flights except those of the APEC delegates must be canceled to clear the NAIA airport runways of any obstacle! Never mind if the ”tanim-bala” operations of the well-disciplined OTS personnel will be suspended!  They can resume their extortion holidays after the APEC.

Of course, the Luneta and other parks must be bereft of  “unsightly matters”— people who have made parks-and-sidestreets as dwelling places, and all other vagrants—must not be visible in all these specifically designated  public places.  Hooray to the demolition squads!  They have had their demolition jobs done promptly!  Not without bitterness and  sour laments from the sidestreet vendors. Woe to them for they are the scums and dregs of society!

But of course, the Lumad Lakbayanis who had been in Liwasang Bonifacio in their historic Manilakbayan must not be spared from the clean-up decree!  “Unsightly and unsanitary”, disdainfully frothed one military officer.   They must be evicted,  and evicted promptly!  And so the Lumads were accorded some “preferred treatment”!  Because when they  moved away from the Liwasan in courtesy to Mayor Erap’s injunction who received extreme pressure from Malacañang, they were physically and threateningly confronted by hundreds of State security forces at the gates of the Baclaran church compound that welcomed them for their temporary refuge.

This is one image-building task that was to be done  fast and quick and smoothly in Hitlerian Gestapo style!  This is one ‘pa-pogi’ undertaking that must be done with willful thoroughness it doesn’t care who gets hurt among the Filipino citizenry!  This is one brand of a prettifying job that issues from the very command of the Commander-in-Chief whose obsessive whim is to glorify his puppetry to US Imperialism’s global ends.

And when a head of State forces his will in contravention of the short-term and long-term benefits of the country and people, he necessarily rams against the will of the people.   But come what may, by hook or by crook, all the APEC preps must go through.  Nothing must stand in the way of the capricious order.  This is ‘photo shop’ image-crafting Noynoy style—the fascist style!

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