Marcos Jr. administration

Call to action or PR blitz? Marcos gov’t mounts ‘Bagong Pilipinas’ grand rally

Dwight de Leon

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Call to action or PR blitz? Marcos gov’t mounts ‘Bagong Pilipinas’ grand rally

Presidential Communications Office

To be held at the Quirino Grandstand, the 'Bagong Pilipinas' event, according to critics, is merely intended 'to boost the image of the current administration'

MANILA, Philippines – The Marcos administration will hold a rally on Sunday, January 28, to launch the so-called “Bagong Pilipinas” (literally translated as “new Philippines”) movement.

The Philippine Information Agency describes the event as a “historic gathering” that seeks to “ignite hope and inspire participation in building a better Philippines through collective action.”

Critics, however, see it as an “expensive PR blitz” seeking to deodorize the supposed shortcomings of the administration.

Here’s what we know so far about the event.

The rally will be in Manila.

The event will be held at the Quirino Grandstand, and is expected to be attended by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the First Family.

According to Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Director Cris Villonco, the rally will start at 1 pm, and will feature performances from various artists.

She said the lineup includes Geneva Cruz, Arci Muñoz, Ronnie Liang, Skusta, Andrew E., Jose and Wally, and 4th Impact.

Organizers are expecting around 200,000 attendees.

The event is an interagency effort.

Publicity materials on social media about the event bear the logos of the Office of the President, PCO, and Radio Television Malacañang, but other government agencies are expected to play a role too.

Numerous agencies will set up booths providing various services – from registration for a national ID to payout for the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations.

Photo grabbed from Twitter/PIA Desk

Social media accounts of other government agencies have also changed their cover photos on Facebook to promote the kickoff rally.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government has called on barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials, as well as provincial officials in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, to come to the event.

It is unclear how much money will be spent for this event.

Rappler asked the PCO through the Malacañang Press Corps about the budget it allotted for mounting the event, but the agency has yet to answer our query.

In an interview with state-run PTV on Friday, January 26, the PCO justified the need for such an event.

“We need to be able to call to action. We need to be able to ask everybody to be able to come together, participate, and be able to do this together because there is no ‘Bagong Pilipinas’ if there is no bagong Pilipino (new Filipino), and that’s all of us,” Villonco said.

The upcoming event has raised some eyebrows.

Bayan president Renato Reyes believes the event is just “an expensive PR blitz to cover up the crisis the country is facing.”

“The various agencies of government are asking employees to attend. Taxpayers are spending for this event and it is still not clear what the purpose of the activity is other than to boost the image of the current administration,” he told Rappler.

“No amount of pageantry and glitz can conceal the fact that there is no ‘Bagong Pilipinas’ right now as the nation is besieged by so many problems. Charter change is not Bagong Pilipinas. Rising poverty and hunger is not Bagong Pilipinas. What is really new with Bagong Pilipinas? Or is it a revival of Bagong Lipunan from the Martial Law years?”

Former congressman Neri Colmenares also called the event “a waste of people’s resources.”

On social media, one X user pointed out that the event will coincide with the candlelight prayer rally in Davao City against charter change, to be led by former president Rodrigo Duterte.

The Marcos and Duterte families coalesced in the 2022 elections, a partnership that resulted in a landslide election victory that has never been seen since the restoration of Philippine democracy in 1986. But recent developments – particularly the apparent rift between the President’s cousin House Speaker Martin Romualdez and Vice President Sara Duterte – have ignited rumors of the alliance collapsing.

Vice President Duterte has yet to announce whether or not she will join the “Bagong Pilipinas” rally on Sunday.

The rebranding already started in 2023.

The government made the “Bagong Pilipinas” logo and slogan official in July 2023, when a memorandum circular instructed government agencies to incorporate the theme in their programs, activities, and projects.

Malacañang said the motto “serves as the overarching theme of the administration of President Marcos, characterized by a principled, accountable and dependable government reinforced by unified institutions of society with the objective to realize the goals and aspirations of every Filipino.”

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The catchphrase itself was popular during Marcos’ presidential campaign, as it was part of a jingle by rapper Andrew E.

The tagline is also reminiscent of “Bagong Lipunan” (literally translated as “new society”), the slogan of the administration of the President’s late dictator-father Ferdinand E. Marcos, who placed the Philippines under a bloody Martial Law regime, and ruled the country for 21 years, from 1965 until his ouster in 1986. –

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.