Despite the appearances and active updates on social media of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., his plan for the Philippine government to provide a solution for inflation, is nowhere to be seen.
It is undeniable that the win of Marcos Jr. was greatly caused by maximizing the use of social media. A recent study states that more Filipinos are avoiding the news as it wears them out and feels hopeless. In lieu of traditional media sources, social media has been the go-to news source for people, with Facebook being the top platform and Tiktok as the emerging source. However, it is during the campaign season for the 2022 national election that disinformation was rampantly shared. Due to convenience and very promising edits and clips, many were misinformed as those who shared it doesn’t even check if the sources are credible. Many organizations try to warn and inform individuals to filter fake news as it continues to weaken true journalism. Indeed, the maximized use and spread of false information in social media have been made.
Tsek.PH, a coalition that promotes fact-checking, saw that in February 2022, the top fake news was spread about Sen. Bongbong Marcos Jr. and his family, while the top victim of disinformation is Vice President Leni Robredo. Some of the top fake stories were the following: the resurfaced of the alleged attempt to kill Marcos Jr. which took place six years ago, the Philippines having the highest gross domestic product during the reign of the late Marcos Sr. but is actually sixth in Asia due to a deep recession during this era, Marcos Sr.’s wealth from being a lawyer and not because of his presidency, and the downplaying of 70,000 human rights abuses were all made beneficial to PBBM gaining the vote of many. During the campaign elections, questions from journalists and appearances on political debates were most of the time dodged by Sen. Marcos Jr, as his supporters reasoned that Marcos Jr. is already qualified for being the next president, and he doesn’t have to prove it via debates.
Now, Filipinos’ primary source of news and information has been social media such as Facebook and Tiktok. With 92.5m social media users in our country, PBBM continues to maximize his visibility in social media compared to previous administrations. PBBM acknowledges in his Facebook post on his first 100 days, that he is just starting his term when wars and economic recession welcome him. However, it is not a hinder to reaching victory, and states some of his achievements such as reaching out to countries like Indonesia, Singapore, and the US for capital, business, education, jobs, and agriculture aimed for development. Letters and MOUs were made and signed in the field of renewable energy, data centers, e-commerce, broadband technology, start-ups, government housing, and agriculture, totaling a value of USD 14.36b or PHP 804.78b. Some of the members of his cabinet also shared their plans such as the Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Office of the Vice President (OVP), and Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). In another post, he reiterated that he acted fast during his first 100 days, with a clear theme of his admin to focus on health, jobs, and peace for quality service to achieve change. He also gave honor to his best and brightest of employees which are all under his slate. With those vlogs, one couldn’t deny that the quality of the videos and clips is world-class. This makes me wonder why couldn’t those vlogs be shared on national TV, and why journalists don’t share them. However, the biggest question is, what is his plan for saving the Philippines from inflation?
Inflation has been felt around the world. Since May 2022, there have been countless increases in prices of basic commodities (i.e. fuel, transportation, and food), leaving many Filipinos challenged to make ends meet. As of this writing, PHP continues to have a low forex USD and is expected to trade at PHP 61 in 12 months’ time. It is a hot topic when the President’s son, Congressman Sandro Marcos’ quote on the Philippine peso being weak shouldn’t be taken literally, as it only means that the US dollar is strong.
What does lower PHP versus USD means? It could be a win-win situation depending on which lens people would like to view it. When the PHP depreciates, it could mean high tourism for our country as goods and services produced locally are cheaper for foreign travelers. On the other hand, if it appreciates, local goods and services are expensive compared to imported goods. As of the moment, our daily routines are affected as everyone has felt the increase in the prices of food (i.e. compared to our neighboring countries in SEA such as Vietnam and Thailand) and weekly in fuel leading to an increase in fare and services.
As Filipinos continue to look for solutions and act on how to save, we all know that our basic salary isn’t increasing anytime soon. We would like to demand a concrete answer, aside from continuously holding on to the word “unity”, what is the government doing to ease the ongoing price hike?
Excellent piece. As the Norwegian Nobel laureate, Christian Lange has put it “Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.” Social media enabled communities and families to be closer even from thousands of miles away. And with more than 2 million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) spread out all over the globe, social media/networking during times of the pandemic lockdowns became invaluable. But as you have articulated, its effectiveness was also used for disinformation and historical revisionism during May 2022. The winning candidate even used the platform to highlight his administration’s economic achievements and plans. Yet I would posit a different set of questions, How aware is the Filipino on the impact of social media to their daily lives?
John Ulysses Te
It is empowering to read how you pointed out a social issue – inflation, which is timely and relevant in relation to democracy. Indeed, economic recession is a factor affecting the democracy of a country. The Philippines is an agricultural country that has a low-income economy and is vulnerable to commodity price fluctuations. Its rapid population growth poses a threat to agricultural and food security. The current high commodity prices and limited number of resources can increase levels of conflict among consumers. Harsh and poor living conditions are mostly the roots of unwanted crimes and tensions among the vulnerable population, and these are contributors to the eroding democracy of the country when peace and order is at total risk. On the other hand, I am with you on pointing out how the President is very consistent on his social media presence more than being present with and for the Filipino people during the most difficult times.