Opinion: Early emergency campaigning by “BongBong” Marcos

It is just about that time. The son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos Jr. Just as he had proclaimed and held his speech as a Presidential Candidate. The team and whoever associated with him. Has allegedly sent out “Emergency SMS” in favour of his candidacy.

There will now be an investigation between several of government entities. As these sort of SMS’s or texts are supposed to sent out, if there is a typhoon in a area or dangerous amounts of rain. It is an emergency message or alert for a reason.

That’s why even the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) have come out saying this is not the way or usage of the emergency message/alerts, and they were not sending these ones out. The National Telecommunication Commission which had to come out, and they are saying that these messages are not from the NDRRMC. Since, in this regard, they got no “request” to do so. The NTC have even stated that the texts was not from their network, but from portable cell-sites.

We can clearly wonder, which Telecommunication Company wanted to do this and who would earn political capital on this. These emergency text is only showing fault-lines and misrepresentation of what they are supposed to be.

Let’s be clear BongBong is not an upcoming typhoon, heavy rain-fall, earthquake or a volcano alert. It is not like created hazardous eruption from a volcano. No, he just held a speech for up-coming campaign. He used a means, which is to save people from natural disaster. We don’t know if he defines himself as a natural disaster, but that’s all up to him.

It is not right for a candidate to take “hostage” or misuse “government systems” to finesse the system. Campaigning where you shouldn’t campaign and sending the wrong message. An “Emergency Alert” should be taken serious and not as a joke. That is why the NDRRMC and NTC has procedures and protocol before sending these out. Since, they have to make sure the public gets verified messages and correct information at the right time.

This is why we need to know more, just like Kontra Daya in their press statement today: “It is not enough for COMELEC to say that it is ill-advised and for NDRRMC to deny sending the emergency alert. There is a need to know who is responsible, what kind of technology was used and why this is available to certain nefarious characters” (…) “National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios was quoted as saying that it is illegal to buy and sell portable cell sites that can be used in issuing alerts. As the NTC initiates its own investigation, both the buyers and sellers of the technology used by the Marcos camp should be publicly identified and formally charged” (Konta Daya – ‘Investigate the electronic hijacking, castigate the opportunistic grandstanding’ 07.10.2021).

So, it is possible that BBM Team did this without the authorities and with portable cell sites, which is also illegal. It is not only the misinformation and misuse of the airwaves. The associates could easily come with recites and prove their innocence. However, expect the investigators have to inquiry and possibly subpoena documents from them. Since, if they are implicated or participated in this. The authorities have to do this properly to prove their guilt.

We know the BBM is the only one earning on the emergency text and it happened right after he launched his candidacy for President. Hopefully, we get to know the full extent of the matter, but this is a bad precedent and so early in the 2022 elections. No one should ever be allowed for personal gains to use emergency texts/messages. That is a national safeguard and not publicity channel. This has to be addressed and not just fizzle out. Peace.

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