My first reaction to the “Sunset View Block Condominium” Billboard on CCP’s lawn would have been outrage, if I didn’t know better.
If I didn’t take to heart GMA TV New’s Howie Severino’s slogan, “Think Before You Click”, I might have clicked SHARE or TWEET immediately without reading the article, checking the facts, or thinking it through. Â After all, I believe Severino when he says that reporters/journalists shouldn’t be advocates and I do believe that he read his own memo before clicking send.
It is a sad state of affairs when you can’t just believe anything you read that says “news” on it.
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Anyway, instead of outrage, my reaction to the billboard ad was well-grounded disbelief, and then, with a flick of a finger, sent the status FB status update of a PR expert off the edge of my tablet’s screen.
Sadly, too often, you encounter people who believe that deception is a legitimate tool of propaganda and they’d be right, but only in the context of war or conflict.
In peace time, when citizens are expected to engage in civil and civic debate over issues that will affect their community, there should be NO PLACE for deception.
Perhaps there might have been some one who misunderstood the word “militant” when it was applied to “ideology” or “advocacy” and took it to mean “military” which by some stretch of association gave them the impression that being militant about an ideology or advocacy automatically meant it justified the use of deceptive propaganda.
Perhaps, it’s one of those college hangovers that refuse to go away like, for instance, being an officer of the ROTC Corps or Captain of the Debating Team.
But really, only the unlearned, unenlightened, and freedom intolerant charlatan would resort to deception. Â And it is funny that someone proclaiming to be open minded often seeks to squelch views other than their own. Â Moreover, for someone who is “change oriented”, there is a lot of cleaving to the tools of the establishment.
As far as ethics in Public Relations is concerned, a passage in a book written by Patricia Parsons (currently Professor of Communication Studies and a past chairman of the Department of Public Relations at Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax NS, Canada where she has taught since 1989) says:
“Public relations is a public communication function and as such practitioners have responsibilities that speak to the greater good — whether we like it or not. Â The public areÂ skepticalÂ of the truth of what is communicated to them and we really don’t have a right to clog up the channels of public communications with more untruths and half-truths.”
The Public Relations Society of America in its Code of Ethics includes Honesty as an item in itsÂ PRSA Member Statement of Professional Values:
“We adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of those we represent and in communicating with the public.”
Further on, in theÂ PRSA Code Provisions of Conduct, it says:
FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION
Core Principle Protecting and advancing the free flow of accurate and truthful information is essential to serving the public interest and contributing to informed decision making in a democratic society.
To maintain the integrity of relationships with the media, government officials, and the public.
To aid informed decision-making.
Oddly enough, I can’t seem to find a copy of the Code of Ethics of the Public Relations Society of the Philippines and that seems odd! Oh well, perhaps I should take that up with a Facebook friend who is a member of that society.
Going back to the billboard that rose on the lawn of the CCP, I think it could have been an intelligent and witty art du jour”Â in time for Earth Day to protest a proposed reclamation project on Manila Bay at the BACK of the CCP.
It wasn’t witty. It wasn’t intelligent. It wasn’t art. Â And hardly anyone got that it was a protest until after a lengthy explanation and that made it even worse as “protest art”.
Rigs of war, NOT.
The thing is, if you have to print an explanation about the art and post this explanation at the back of the installation, it has not only FAILED as art — it has also FAILED as a protest action.
Some people may have actually gone by the sign and said, “Good thing they’re tearing down the CCP! It’s time for something new.” or “I’ve always hated that giant, cement toilet bowl.”
Someone apparently wasted a lot of good money and we just hope it wasn’t government funds.
It seems the “brand architect” of the protest was given a picture of a sunset and some time on a rented computer to do some photo shopping butchery.
One piece of advice, and take this to heart, any kind ofÂ communication projectÂ that is NOT founded on the simple value of honesty will ruin your career and your company.
That the picturesÂ of this communication project was Tweeted and posted on Facebook by some one or other social media big shot doesn’t give it any weight at all to the crowd that really thinks things through.
You can fool some people, or it can seem like you’re fooling some people, but really… These days, it’s quite easy to see through the deception foisted by outrage shock-tivists — and it doesn’t take that much time either.
On the claim that the Manila Bay Sunset will be blocked by a reclamation project on Manila Bay, all you have to do is log on to www.suncalc.net and key in “Manila Bay” as the location, and you’ll be shown a picture of the sun’s path for ANY DAY OF THE YEAR.
I did that and here’s where the sun sets on Manila bay from December to February. And as the year progresses, the sun sets farther and farther away from the reclamation project being protested.
In fact, by June or July, the actual point where the sun sets on Manila Bay will actually be nearer to the Manila Oceanarium or the Manila Oceanpark.
Which makes me think, why didn’t anyone protest the building of that place at the back of the HISTORICAL Quirino Grandstand? Â You know, the place where almost every President of this country takes their oath of office? Â Apart from having huge aquariums, the Manila Oceanarium has a hotel, a spa, and a pool disco.
Well, apparently no one really thought that one through. Â Who owns and operates this hotel? Â Who is profiting from this GRAND view point of Manila Bay?
The thing is, one of the BEST times to view the sun set on Manila Bay is from November to January when the weather is cooler. Â And that is exactly when the sun sets nearest the Manila Oceanpark!
So, viewing it from the CCP, you’d have the Manila Ocean Park partly obscuring the view of the grand sunset.
Moreover, if you want anÂ unobstructed view of the sunset, access to the sunset viewing deck of the Manila Oceanpark ISN’T EXACTLY FREE and ACCESSIBLE to the GENERAL PUBLIC. Â It is the veranda of a restaurant cum bar!
Now, here’s a hint on who PROFITS from the unobstructed view of the Manila Bay Sunset:
The Manila Ocean Park is an oceanarium in Manila, Philippines. It is owned by China Oceanis Philippines Inc., a subsidiary of China Oceanis Inc., a Singaporean-registered firm that has operated four oceanariums in China.
Here’s some more information on China OceanisÂ but right now, I can’t seem to find any reference about the Filipinos who owns Â part of China Oceanis Philippines.
Oh! By the way, if I remember correctly, the Manila Oceanpark was a project supported by former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza — who is the father of Kim Atienza, who lives at the famous Syquia Apartments.
And while we’re at it, we might as well raise a huff over Harborview — you know, that clutch of restaurants just off the CCP owned by Ricky Razon.
Or any of the high rise condos, hotels, and office buildings along the stretch of Roxas Boulevard because all of theseÂ structures block the view of the Manila Bay sunset from the original shoreline of Manila Bay!