In the Philippines, seeing the names of politicians printed or embossed on multi-million infrastructure projects is not a new thing.
In the city or municipal gymnasiums, where amateur inter-barangay basketball league usually happens, the political logo, let’s say of the city or municipal mayor, is more often than not painted at the center of the gymnasium’s flooring.
In public school buildings, columns or pillars are usually designed or creatively-shaped according to the first letter of the potician who spearheaded the construction project. In Rizal, to cite an example, the columns or pillars of public schools are usually Y-shaped. You already know why.
The pillars of waiting sheds in various cities and municipalities are designed and shaped to look like the first letter of the surname of the mayor. A names of politicians are also adorned on one side of the shed.
Politicians during relief operations distribute relief packs with their printed name and political logo on the packaging. It is as if they are prematurely campaigning for their re-election. This form of passive electioneering constantly receive backlash these days, thanks to social media.
Earlier this month, San Jose del Monte City Mayor Arthur Robes and his congresswoman wife Florida Robes drew criticisms on social media because of a mural.
The mural is located at the newly-inaugurated convention center of San Jose del Monte City, which features the mayor and his wife depicted as shepherds, together with the images of other local officials painted as other biblical characters that include Mary and Joseph, illiustrating The Nativity.
The mural also has the image of President Rodrigo Duterte seen on the upper left part, gesturing his signature fist bump.
For their part, San Jose del Monte City’s Public Information Office said: “Ang mga mural painting ay pagpapakita ng mga opisyales na mga nakatulong sa pagbuo ng Convention Center. Nandyan po si Senator Nancy Binay and DPWH Secretary Mark Villar. Pagkilala lamang po (ito) sa malaki nilang kontribusyon para maitayo ang pasilidad.”
Filipino netizens, however, still slammed the mural, with some even accusing the local officials of being “epal,” a Filipino term for grandstanding, usually referring to politicians.
The said mural reflects an Imelda Marcos-level cult of personality for me. And to borrow the words of one Twitter user: “Masyado namang obvious. Paalala lang: HUWAG SABIK; WALA PANG ELEKSYON.”