By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Antics and entertainment won’t work in the explanation of important issues such as federalism, senators said, as they hit Communication Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson for her video discussing the matter.
More senators have expressed disapproval Monday over the viral video clip of Uson and another blogger who danced a lewd jingle in their discussion of the proposed shift to a federal form of government.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III believes that federalism should not be taken lightly.
“You know me, I sometimes take some things lightly. Serious issues, high-falluting like that, can’t be taken jokingly or lightly. Perhaps if you are going to do it privately, it would be okay. But nothing is private in the internet, right? Nothing is private in the internet, therefore it could not add to the information campaign of the government,” Sotto told reporters when asked about the video.
“One thing is certain: theatrical techniques could not work for such an issue of federalism,” he added.
Sotto said federalism is not something to be joked about, admitting himself that he has yet to fully understand federalism despite studying for long hours the propositions for federalism, including the draft federal charter of the Consultative Committee (Con-Com).
In a separate text message, Sotto said Uson’s video was “not effective.” “That is not the way to disseminate information,” he noted.
While he refused to comment on Uson’s involvement in the administration’s information campaign for federalism, Sotto urged the Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO) to hire more credible personalities to explain the subject.
“I suggest to the PCOO, if they are really interested in a full information dissemination drive, they should get personalities who are more academic, and they would know how to explain what federalism is all about. Because…it’s not that easy to understand, so it will not be easy to explain in one or two minutes. That is not the way to do,” he said.
Senate President Pro Tempore Recto took a swipe at the government communications official, who sarcastically described Uson as the “perfect endorser” for federalism.
“She’s the perfect endorser for federalism. She symbolizes those in favor of federalism,” Recto said in a text message.
Sen. Francis Escudero, meanwhile, took to Twitter his comment against Uson’s video.
“It is a desperate attempt to attract attention by intentionally offending our sense of propriety! It is downright vulgar and has no place in the public discourse on such an important issue as THEIR proposed shift to federalism & charter change!” he said.
For Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Uson aggravated the Senate’s supposed stand of the proposed charter change and federalism, saying it could be “thrown far away.”
“Without Mocha Uson, federalism is already dead and awaiting cremation at the Senate. With Mocha Uson, the ashes should be thrown far, far away from the Philippines’ 7,107 beautiful islands,” Lacson also tweeted.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan, for his part, called on PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar to explain on the “indecency and disrespect” committed by his men.
“Dapat magpaliwanag si Sec. Andanar sa mga kalaswaan at kababuyan na nangyayari sa kanyang tanggapan na ginagawa ng mga tauhan niya gamit ang pondo, oras, at kagamitan ng gobyerno,” he said.
With Uson’s new blunder, Sen. Grace Poe said the PCOO, in addition, should also justify the proposed P100-million increase in its 2019 budget.
“The PCOO must justify its budget increase. What are the deliverables? Are memes and blogs also hit by inflationary spikes? Is the cost of feeding the nation with government information adversely affected by TRAIN, too? Will the PCOO be hiring campaigners to explain federalism?” she asked.
“The obliterated amount from some agencies will hit hard the people, who badly need social services. What will sustain them are education, affordable food, health services and social assistance, not gaffes and reckless communication campaigns,” she added.
Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said the video was done “in bad taste.” “I hope it doesn’t happen again,” he added.
Earlier, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel hit Uson for what he described as a “bullshit” manner of explaining federalism to the public.
In an interview Monday afternoon, Pimentel said Uson should take a leave from advocating federalism and study first.
“Continue to be an ASec of the PCOO, continue to take advantage of your blog, but do not, in the meantime, involve yourself in promoting federalism until you have studied very well. Aral muna,” he told Uson.
“[The PCOO should] review its press release that it’s naming ASec. Mocha as a spokesperson for federalism, review il a’yon. Withdraw, choose another one,” Pimentel said, echoing Sotto.
Uson earned anew the ire of netizens due to a segment of her “online game show” with blogger Andrew Olivar on federalism.
On their “Good News Game Show,” the two introduced federalism with Olivar chanting, “I-pepe, i-pepe, i-dede, i-dede… ipederalismo!” with a lewd choreography.
Uson, in her defense, clarified that the video was shot before she was tapped by the Con-Com and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to help in the government’s information drive on federalism.