Every day I worry about what the Philippine government is doing and planning on doing with taxpayer money. With proposals such as one on spending P58 billion on modernizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 2021 and projects that shouldn’t have gotten approved like the Mr. Covid mascot, it’s a valid concern. Today, the answer to my question is this: a Christmas music video starring presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
To end the last press briefing before Christmas held earlier today, the People’s Television Network (PTV) broadcasted a video for the song “Payapang Daigdig.” “Merry Christmas to all of you and I hope you enjoy [this simple gift] from the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson,” said Roque before it was played.
It starts with a little girl putting on a face mask and going outside. There are three kids in an alley who are playing a game and slowly disappearing like the Nileseyy Niles meme. In a big cursive font, the words “Simple noon…Bakit kay hirap ngayon…” flashes. After a few more shots taken around Metro Manila, Roque shows up—singing in a studio. Judging from his facial expression, he’s enjoying living his recording artist fantasy.
More shots across the city follow before it cuts to Roque singing in front of the Rizal monument. A group of people (I’m not entirely sure if they’re also from the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson) join the frame. However, instead of joining Roque at the park, they’re singing at Manila Bay. Why there was a need for an on-location shoot is beyond me.
Afterward, there are shots of passersby paired with Facebook posts that are mostly about being grateful and staying positive despite the pandemic. One of the posts included says, “I am vaccinated by [the] precious blood of Jesus Christ[.] No virus can touch me.” Surely, the team behind the video didn’t spread this possibly dangerous message, right? Right? I didn’t have expectations for this video, but somehow it still managed to disappoint.
The video ends with this message: “Ngayong taon, tayo ay pinagpala sapagkat matutunghayan natin ang paghahanay ng dalawang planeta, ang Saturn at Jupiter, [na] kada walong siglo [lamang nasasaksihan.] Sa ika-21 ng Disyembre, sama-sama nating pagmasdan ang maningning na waring tala sa langit [na] dala ay pag-asa sa ilalim ng payapang daigdig.” I’m not sure if there’s a basis for this statement but astrology does warn us to be “cautiously optimistic” of the effects of the Saturn and Jupiter alignment a.k.a the Great Conjunction. There’s a bit of foreboding.
Nobody asked for this (slightly narcissistic) music video but since it’s out in the open, I hope Roque isn’t using his time on-air to his own advantage since he’s “looking forward to retirement” and does not plan on running for Senate. But then again, he has a history of backtracking so…
Photo screengrabbed from the Dec. 22 press briefing with presidential spokesperson Harry Roque
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I never thought a COVID-19 mascot would debut as a pandemic response, but here we are