Mong Palatino

Blogging about the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific since 2004


@mongster is a Manila-based activist, former Philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of Asia-Pacific affairs.

Written for The Diplomat

Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. ended his second State of the Nation address on Monday by declaring that the country’s situation is “sound and improving” as he heralds the rise of “Bagong Pilipinas” (New Philippines).

This was a reference to the new branding adopted by the Marcos government as part of its communications strategy.

Marcos’ “Bagong Pilipinas” instantly stirred suspicions not just because of the recent flops in agency rebranding but all the more so because it resembles the “Bagong Lipunan” (New Society) slogan of the Martial Law regime of his father and namesake who ruled the country for two decades until his ouster through People Power in 1986.

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Philippines’ New Tourism Ad Draws Flak

Written for The Diplomat

The Philippines has a new tourism slogan – one that quickly became controversial after it was exposed that a video ad promoting the rebrand contains stock photos of exotic destinations from other countries.

Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco led the launch of the new slogan “Love the Philippines,” describing it as the country’s “love letter to the world.”

Marcos spoke during the launch of the tourism rebrand a few days after he vowed to fight disinformation and declared that “fake news has no place in modern society.” It is ironic that he preached about the value of truth right before the release of a tourism promotion video with plagiarized content. Marcos will soon deliver his second state of the nation address as he marks his first year in office, and his critics might cite the tourism ad scandal to highlight the weaknesses of his governance. It certainly doesn’t look good that the president, whose family is accused of acquiring ill-gotten wealth during the Martial Law era, has endorsed a campaign tainted with “stolen” content from other countries.

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