Let's take a look at how the (mis)communications group of Malacanang play up this "My penis is bigger than yours" bit: In his US trip, Penoy and the boys continually emphasize the "frugality" of Penoy's US trip, pointing out that there will be no repeat of the Le Cirque Restaurant incident that became an issue for the GMA administration. The Malcanang dog-waggers played up Penoy's eating at In-and-Out Burgers and their use of a commercial flight.
While it is commendable to be frugal at a time when most filipinos are hard strapped for cash, one must use the Roatary Club's Four Way Test to see if what we are hearing from Malacanang is accurate.
IS IT THE TRUTH?
is the government really spending only P25 million pesos? Does the P25M include the pay for the PR firm they hired to "promote" Penoy's visit? If it is the truth, why can't Carandang and his pals come up with the exact cost of the PR firm deal? Coming from the media, Carandang must have known that once you admit that you hired a PR Firm to promote your boss' trip, the next question your former colleagues in media would ask is "How much did it cost?" If it is true that this administration is for truth and transparency, Carandang and his pals should have had that data ready and at hand during his admission.
IS IT FAIR TO ALL CONCERNED?
Is it fair for Malacanang to constantly compare itself to the previous administration? Is it fair to the Filipino people to be kept in the dark as to the exact and actual cost of Penoy's trip? Is it fair for Pinoy taxpayers to be misled by sweeping statements like "The PR Firm deal is much cheaper, even by Philippine standards"? Is it fair for former President Arroyo who has yet to be charged for alleged crimes against the people (In any civil society, one cannot be presumed guilty without the benefit of a fair and just trial)? The answer to these questions is a resounding No.
WILL IT BUILD GOODWILL AND BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
First off, constantly comparing Penoy's administration to that of Gloria Arroyo isn't going to build goodwill. In fact, it is causing much division in our society, and we really need division like a hole in the head. Secondly, you don't need a PR Group to build goodwill and better friendships among your fellow world leaders. Goodwill and better friendships come from being a true statesman, with or without the need for a promotional gimmick. It is all about political will, charisma and true leadership qualities. You only need a PR firm if you lack these 3 qualifications. Enough said.
WILL IT BE BENEFICIAL TO ALL CONCERNED?
Will hiring a PR firm be beneficial to us filipinos? Not to all. But it will certainly be beneficial to Penoy, who has lost much face because of the August 23 hostage incident, having been played out on international news networks like CNN (courtesy of Penoy's ally ABiaS-CBN).
Is it worth spending P44 million for? Maybe not. In his first SONA, Penoy practically said we had no money left, and here they are trying to appear frugal and yet hiding the fact that we hired a PR firm to drum up the Penoy's image. Mind you, this isn't about promoting the Philippines' image, as much as the (mis)communications group would like to claim that it is. It is, to be candid, to promote Penoy whose bumblings in his first 100 days make him look like, in the words of Senator Joker Arroyo, "a student council president" in the eyes of many world leaders.
Because of his massive insecurity and his and his administration's failure to pass the four-way test, Penoy needs to go full blast to convince the Filipino people that he really is qualified to be president of this nation. No amount of PR will cover up his incompetence. More to the point, if he keeps up with his constant comparison of the past administration, the people may end up thinking the past administration is actually better than his. But that's just my opinion.