Sunday, August 3, 2008

Bayani Fernando: More Equal than Others

A snippet of an Inquirer report headlined "Lay off my posters, Bayani tells DPWH" reads:
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Bayani Fernando gave this warning yesterday to the Department of Public Works and Highways, which has threatened to tear down his posters around the metropolis.

Unlike commercial billboards, the posters bearing his photo do not imperil lives and property, Fernando said in a statement.

“They shouldn't do that,” he said of the DPWH's threat to remove the posters. “Unlike other billboards, they don't pose danger to lives and property.”

“They're part of an intensified information and educational campaign of the MMDA to instill discipline among residents and restore order in the metropolis,” he said.
Yeah right, BF. As a long-time public official, Fernando ought to know that those similarly situated should be treated equally under the law. And there are many reasons why Fernando's billboards should not be given special treatment.

First, what makes Bayani Fernando's billboard stand apart from other billboards? Are his billboards so much sturdier than commercial billboards that the latter will imperil lives and property while his will not?

Second, billboards bearing Fernando's mug cannot in anyway be fathomed even by the most imaginative mind to be informational or educational. All his billboards say is: "Kaayusan, Pagbabago sa Kapaligiran, Pagbabago sa Kaisipan." All it tells us is that Bayani is gearing himself for the 2010 elections. Nothing educational about that.

Third, contrary to his claims, his billboards will not instill discipline among the people. In fact, it reveals the lack of self-restraint of our public officials in using public funds for private gain. If Fernando's goal is really to inculcate discipline among the people, then he is sending the wrong message.

Fourth, Fernando's billboards will not restore order in the metropolis. They just add to the chaos of an already chaotic city - eyesores to a city already filled with so many eyesores. Just look at his billboards for crying out loud. Res ipsa loquitur. At least most commercial billboards show images that are pleasing to the eyes.

So Mr. Fernando, please do the right thing and take down your billboards. Unless you want to be likened to the pig leaders in George Orwell's Animal Farm who proclaimed, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

Photo: psd, Creative Commons, Flickr

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