CBCP blogger Carlos Antonio Palad calls Reproductive Health Bill supporters ‘enemies’

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines is reportedly now “tapping” Filipino bloggers in the “fight” versus the Reproductive Health Bill currently being “debated” in Philippine Congress. The CBCP’s official press release, indicated that its “media affairs” people had met with “several bloggers.” Though the title of the article described the purpose of the initiative (i.e. to “tap[…] Catholic bloggers to strengthen its fight against a measure on contraceptives”), a meeting with these “several bloggers” was described as one that merely sought “to acknowledge the role of blogs in modern communications.”

Yet a certain blogger named Carlos Antonio Palad, described to be “a young professional and blogger” referred to those who supported the RH Bill as “enemies”…

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Carlos Antonio Palad, a young professional and blogger, cited the need to be pro-active in campaigning against the RH bill.

“Do not be afraid. Let’s engage our enemies (in the RH bill debate),” Palad said. [boldface added for emphasis]

This seems to be another instance of an ill-thought-out public messaging exercise on the part of the CBCP as evident in the two inconsistencies or contradictions that leap out; specifically:

(1) On one hand stating that the initiative involves a “tapping” of bloggers presumably to send out a specific message endorsed by the CBCP while within the same body watering down the agenda of a meeting with said bloggers by calling it one that merely aims to “acknowledge the role of blogs in modern communications”; and,

(2) Demonising of the camp opposing the CBCP’s agenda by calling them “enemies.”

Blogging under a specific agenda provided by a third party backer is widely seen by the mainstream blogging community as bad form. Under the influence of a backer or sponsor, a communicator’s credibility is eroded and the message in the content he or she publishes is rendered suspect. Indeed, even ordinary real-world relationships by themselves could already severely limit a blogger’s artistic license

According to the twit of the eminent Dean Jorge Bocobo presumably twittering as “SagadaSun”:

Commercial Journalists and Entertainers are PAID to do a job. Bloggers generally are not. THAT’s the basic difference.

… which, as I recall, was what bloggers originally tended to see as their selling point in the on-going competition for eyeballs between Mainstream Media and our lot. Sadly, this line originally drawn between (a) real blogging and (b) real-life relationships and real-world money is being blurred as many bloggers become too caught up with being well-liked and popular — a quality they seem to be confusing with relevance and insight.

Add being in bed with a powerful backer to the list of what many bloggers have become too caught up with nowadays.

Recall also recently the whole stink raised around the case of a restaurateur being harrassed by a public relations (PR) firm which went on to describe in its pitch how it routinely mobilises a cadre of presumably affiliated bloggers to write “rave reviews”. Featured on the Inquirer.net on the 22nd January 2011 under the article MENU : Please Don’t Give Blogging a Bad Name, this case reads out like a scene from The Godfather

The (PR) Firm approached [Filipino restaurateur] Georgia, telling her that she could increase her sales by three if she hired them. Georgia gently declined, saying that she had been lucky in receiving good reviews from the press. “But we can also help you through social media,” The Firm’s representative said. “We call this service ‘buzz creation’ or word-of-mouth generation,” the rep explained.

The Firm said that if hired for this service, they would invite bloggers to eat at Georgia’s restaurant and blog rave reviews. They would also create a restaurant Facebook page and make sure that a significant number would “Like” the resto’s page. When the resto would be featured in a blog, they would make sure that there are positive comments on that post.

So one thing reported about the intent of this latest of CBCP “initiatives” is right: our men-in-robes indeed have “discovered” the power of mobilising a community of “bloggers” to further its agenda.

I’m starting to forget so can someone please clarify: Are Filipino Catholic Bishops Catholic?

21 Replies to “CBCP blogger Carlos Antonio Palad calls Reproductive Health Bill supporters ‘enemies’”

  1. Benigs,

    I’d probably point an exception whereby the blogger, before being tapped by the CBCP, was already against the Reproductive Health bill at the very start.

    Ang mahirap eh kung dati siyang for RH and then because binayaran siya ng CBCP eh against na siya.

    Moreover, I don’t think it’s as simple as getting one blogger or several bloggers to blog a particular point of view.

    Perhaps the better approach would be to organize bloggers who are already against the RH Bill into a force that could create a movement bigger than the Pro-RH bloggers.

    So maybe if that is done, you’ll have more articles climbing up top rankings in google search results for RH bill or whatever key words you can think of.

    Anyway, I think that the key is to make the Anti-RH bill movement gain more adherents rather than just putting out blog posts ad infinitum.

    1. True. The Church is displaying its lack of experience in handling this kind of media. (Bear in mind, my personal opinion is that they should not be doing this at all, but we’re just talking about a marketing concept here.) This is astroturfing, ethically distasteful but — and here I differ with a lot of people I know — incredibly effective if done correctly. From my perspective the CBCP ought to be a little more analytical and take a good luck at what the pro-RH activists have done along these lines if they seriously want to co-opt the media format to advance a certain point of view.

    2. The Church’s ineptness with the Media and the whole approach to communicating has been evident even further back. It’s been unable to put a sock in the big mouths of its priests and bishops who’ve been going on record willy-nilly with all sorts of inanities and mutually-contradicting bullshit dished out around their politics and advocacies.

      And that’s coming from an institution composed of henchmen who made a “vow of obedience” to their bosses. You’d think that this sort institution that has absolute control over the voices and actions of its members would be as cohesive and coherent as a military organisation.

      It’s all a good show, of course. I think we’re sitting in the front row of a really great comedy act. 😀

      Too bad much of the jokes cracked in this show is on Da Pinoy.

      1. The Church could be inept in the media in the arguments against RH bill but do you think attacking them is a better argument?

        For me, I still can’t agree that the best arguments for RH Bill are poverty and mothers’ health. Both of these are not supported by convincing data.

        RH Bill for me is just a PC spin.

        But then, I might agree with it. Just remove the mandated indoctrination and using my tax money to buy birth control pills.

  2. Why can’t they do their move quietly? Why do they need to tell the press? It’s just so bad taste.

    In chess, you don’t tell your opponent what you intend to do, you just do it. Why should it be any different in fighting for any advocacy in real life?

      1. “Good point. Actually, it’s not really bad taste, it’s just really naive.”

        I agree. Naive is the word. These people are no match with politicians and progressive bloggers.

    1. “In chess, you don’t tell your opponent what you intend to do, you just do it”

      I’m a chess player. I always assume my adversary knows my next move.

      Good chess player never leave anything to chance.

    1. I’m sure the CBCP will let us know. Anyone want to make a bet they’ll either make their blogs comment-free or heavily moderated, though?

    2. The guys over at the Filipino Freethinkers site are already a bang-up job laying on the snark at all the crazy things coming out of the CBCP website. Methinks the Church is better off just sticking to the homilies, you can’t do a rebuttal of the priest’s sermon during mass… the last person who did that, Mr. Celdran, was promptly sent off to jail for it.

      1. hahaha…one time I almost raised my hand to ask a question in the middle of a sermon. Good thing I realised where I was 😉

  3. Why not the CBCP, put an advertisement on Newspapers: “Wanted – Bloggers, who can blog against the misfits of the Blog Sites. Compensation assured, including, free meals in good restaurants.”
    The more the CBCP becomes desperate…the more they are showing their nonsense.
    Go after., the WebMasters…they are the real culprits in AWAKENING the minds of the Filipinos…now the CBCP cannot have its ways…

    1. Don’t include Hyden Toro in your plans for Inquisition/Stake Burning plans. He is just a foot soldier…you will not get anything from him…

  4. The Church could be inept in the media in the arguments against RH bill but do you think attacking them is a better argument?

    For me, I still can’t agree that the best arguments for RH Bill are poverty and mothers’ health. Both of these are not supported by convincing data.

    RH Bill for me is just a PC spin.

    But then, I might agree with it. Just remove the mandated indoctrination and using my tax money to buy birth control pills.

  5. Watch the documentary “God, Church, Pills & Condoms”, a Filipino story about the RH Bill, health care and family planning in the Philippines.

    The 30-minute documentary directed by Fritz Kohle and produced by Arleen Cuevas will premiere at the Cinemalaya film festival on 25 July, 3:30 P.M. at the CCP Dream Theater, Philippines. Its part of the Cinemalaya Film festival Documentary Section.

    http://www.youtube.com/reproductivebill

  6. I think “bloggers” are giving themselves too much credit as far as having the power to significantly influence what goes on in society is concerned. The real power lies in mainstream media. Blogs are really just pastimes to express opinions to a limited group of people. I am not pro-CBCP but to think that they will pay “bloggers” to “blog” for their agenda is ludicrous. Even if I oppose their views, I give them the presumption of basic intelligence.

  7. It’s simple really. Just offer all the bishops a Pajero and I am sure they will support the RH Bill.

    Don’t forget, Roman Catholicism was OK with abortion up until about 150 years ago (something which was, is, and always will be an abomination in the sight of God). It can shift its dogma again… especially if Pajeros are offered.

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