Sunday, September 4, 2016

Duterte's comms team need to shape up! Image matters!



At this point, most Filipinos already know that Leila de Lima is trying to get sympathy from foreign media because her credibility in the Philippines is way below zero.

So the question now is, how can the Duterte government counter her foreign media blitz?

De Lima’s ties to drug lords and her mismanagement of the Bilibid national penitentiary during her stint as DOJ secretary in the previous admin are common knowledge in the Philippines. So how come she is still able to get foreign media to listen to her?

I wish I didn’t have to keep bringing this up because I know they are working hard, but we need to keep pointing this out until something is done about it—President Duterte’s communications team is a mess. If Noynoy Aquino’s communications team was a three-headed hyrdra, Duterte’s comm team is a headless horseman.

They could not even get their messages straight regarding the declaration of state of lawlessness this weekend. I understand that things were still chaotic in the hours after the Davao blast, but in any organization, it is basic to have a standard protocol so that only one person is authorized to speak to the media. This way, you don’t contradict each other, even if you have to “update” your answer later due to a change in direction.

If the current communications team cannot get this simple matter right, how can they expect to counter Leila de Lima’s black propaganda in the foreign media which is being backed by powerful, well-connected entities?

It is so frustrating to watch Duterte’s spokespersons fumbling because we can see how hard President Duterte and PNP Chief Bato are working, and how despicable Leila de Lima’s distortions are. The communications team needs to get its act together asap because propaganda/spin doctoring is the strongest skill of the yellows. This is the one area where the Duterte government cannot afford to be weak.

I’m starting to think Martin Andanar may be more suited for running PTV 4 rather than acting as presidential spokesperson. Ernie Abella has the president’s trust but does not have the right experience. A more senior and more experienced head of communications with the right management and strategic-thinking skills is needed. More articulate and quick-thinking spokespersons are needed.

(I think a good peg is the spokesperson of former Pres. Gloria Arroyo. Remember Len Bautista Horne? That woman was good. Always sharp, calm, clear, professional, and direct to the point, could throw poison darts at critics while still looking and sounding like a nun.)

While Duterte’s comm group is still in flux, is there something we netizens can do to help improve his image among foreign audiences? Can the private orgs from Davao who did those superb crowdsourced online campaigns for President Duterte during the elections please organize something?

We need to show the world who the 91% are.

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