Epal on air

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

“If you can’t convince them, confuse them.”

From time to time we hear of biddings gone bad or an unhappy loser wanting the project so much that they are willing to spend money to discredit the project they wanted to win or discredit the institution just to get people to give them a second shot or an alternative business. From guns, helicopters, uniforms and shoes to “cats eyes on the road, business is so tough that people literally won’t give up without a fight.

Once again we hear rumblings of a supposed bum deal involving the Philippine Air Force’s purchase of UH-1 helicopters that are being black balled by certain people as old, defective or the result of a rigged bidding. But in a time of transparency when project announcements biddings are done on line and in an industry that is so TINY, it would be difficult to manipulate the purchase of over a dozen huge helicopters especially at a time when several Police Generals are in jail or on bail in a case involving helicopters and rigged biddings. Self preservation also dictates they they don’t get flying coffins.

All the bad press could be an attempt to salvage a lost bid. But it could also be the handiwork of some PR strategist trying to salvage a President and 2 generals from PR hell by burning some other house. Chances are the UH-1 controversy is one very real PR Spin!

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After throwing us into a panic on power shortage, Secretary Petilla seems to have sobered up on the matter and has now toned down his alarm from “definite shortage” to “sufficient but critical.” Since then I’ve become particularly mindful and careful of any statements, claims or actions being undertaken by Secretary Petilla, which is why I immediately noticed his radio commercials that are repeatedly aired in the morning prime time radio.

In the advertisement Petilla teaches people how to be wise users of electricity and introduces himself with his full name at the end of the advertisement. This is not the first time that some government official and ex-politician has voiced over or starred in a radio, TV or Print ad and unless legislators move to outlaw these EPAL ON AIR, they will continue in their shameless self-promotion and free political advertisements at our expense.

What really makes the practice distasteful is if the “star” is a known politician who will soon be out of office, might resign before the end of term and run for an elected position in an election which is just a little over a year in coming. Aside from the shameless “Free Ride” there is a dark side to the practice where Cabinet members, Asecs and Usecs, as well as Senators sit as Host or Co-hosts on a radio or TV program with the unspoken agreement that the concerned government official will bring a regular stream of advertisements to be provided by government agencies or government financial institutions.

Some of the most abused and raided offices would be PAGCOR, PCSO, government banks and government offices that collect large sums of money such as SSS, PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG etc. In addition to all that, there is the unspoken state of affairs where advertising packages make the government official or his office “Banat-proof” or free from continuing criticism.

To avoid any suspicion or the possibility of “transactional relationships” we the people need to expand our rejection of EPAL and extend this to EPAL ON AIR and encourage legislators with integrity to limit participation in advertisements either to professional talents or trained information officers. Keep out the potential abuse by keeping out the politicians from the program!

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I may be howling at the stars but if anyone in the DTI is interested, they should seriously visit warehouses where imported food, beverage and alcohol are being stored. While looking for a business establishment at the Veterans center in Taguig City, I happen to pass by a bunch of workers moving cases and cases of imported wine and beer for loading and delivery. It was a hot day with the sun so strong I had to squint most of the time, and here were three men hauling cases of wine in temperatures and sunlight that would surely spoil the product.

The warehouse they were in was not air-conditioned and the insulation did not stop ambient or air temperature from heating things up. It’s bad enough that there is a high risk of spoilage for products that travel half way across the globe but if local handlers, dealers and authorities don’t step up their game it is always the end buyer/user who has to pay for their mishandling.

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After all that’s said and done by the LTO, it’s usually more talk than done. Whenever I get to talk to LTO officials or personnel they all sing the same chorus when talking about new license plates: It’s all “there” and if new car owners don’t have them chances are its their dealer or sales agent who is too lazy to pick up the plates. Even the LTO official spokesman must be blue in the face sending out the message.

Yet every time they guest on radio or TV, a counter reaction of angry car owners always show up or speak up to ask the LTO officials they’ve been smoking! Clearly what the people at the tower of power know and speak of is not what their customers experience and knows first hand. If the LTO cannot even supply the tiny stickers for those very plates, why should we be surprised that the LTO can’t produce the license plates? If the President himself has confessed and publicly declared that he was lied to or taken for a ride, how impossible is it for the LTO officials to be experiencing the same? Instead of publicity and radio visits, LTO officials should go down to the ground, verify and don’t make any further statements until they have enough proof or fact on the case of the “missing plates.”











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