If there’s anything the past week has revealed it’s the slow death of troll discourse. It’s entirely possible the social media armies aren’t being paid enough, but it’s also possible that we just have ceased to be afraid of being bullied online. The latter is my more optimistic perspective, because it’s been a year after all, and now more than ever, this government’s strategies of silencing and skewing discourse have been exposed to be nothing more than bad communications and terrible damage control.
The only reason it requires mention at this point in fact, is the existence of one Mocha Uson, whose behavior has not evolved from being rabid Duterte supporter during the campaign to being a government employee whose salary is being paid for by public funds. The latter behooves us all to critique her and her actions — as we should all government officials, especially when they continue to be a source not just of falsity and hate, but also — and more importantly — the most terrible kind of propaganda that justifies the killings of thousands.
Now of course she is working for a principal who pushes for the same thing, and sure she’s a Duterte supporter which is why she’s in this position at all. But contrary to what she believes, the PCOO is not primarily about Presidential propaganda. It is about delivering information about government to the public.
To say Mocha is not doing her job would be an understatement.
Because no, sharing different government agencies’ infographics about their projects is not what you’re being paid thousands of pesos for. Neither is it acceptable that you post about say, the tax reform program, and merely say: suportahan natin ito mga ka-DDS! without actually telling us why you think it’s correct. And no, saying that this is what Tatay Digong wants, is NOT an explanation for anything — that makes you his puppet, not a government official.
And certainly this job demands of Mocha to cease and desist from sharing articles and opinions from questionable sources.
Lest it’s not clear: any person that shares anything from a page called balitanga.ph should not be in public office.
But of course Mocha shares these sites because she insists these are the alternatives to real media. Which is to say that it is on these sites and pages that what Mocha and Duterte fanatics think are on grand display for all of us to see. So they tell us we should have bleeding hearts for those victimized by drug addicts, as we should for kids like Kian who were killed in the hands of the police implementing Duterte’s drug war. The other argument is the one that asks: why are we not mourning the policemen killed in the drug war? Duterte himself says the count is at 70.
But as with all troll discourse, that is the most superficial assessment and juvenile response to the anger against the drug war and its growing body count. Because the deaths of those victimized by drug addicts and the suspects killed by police in this drug war are both equally the responsibility of Duterte. He does not get to choose who is worth protecting: all of us are citizens of this country, and the protection of all citizens from harm is what Duterte signed up for when he ran for President.
Policemen are the same. They knew the dangers they were getting into when they signed on as policemen. If there is anyone to blame at all for their deaths, it is the President himself, for having pushed the policemen into a war on drugs that involves nothing more than the plan to kill as many suspects as they can. The outcome is not just blood on their hands, but also a police force that is tainted and mistrusted by the public. That’s all on Duterte, too.
But Asec Mocha will not get into a deeper discussion about anything: it is not something that she did when she was merely campaigning for Duterte and neither will she do it now that she is a public official being paid tens of thousands a month. Instead she will keep on talking about the Liberal Party Senators and VP Leni, she will laugh at them for not having had a bigger crowd at the people power monument last Monday.
What Mocha does not realize is that when you are a government official, picking on anyone at all paints the object of your anger as victim. In case we need to spell it out: Mocha herself is making the Liberal Party officials look good at this point. Her pettiness, her utter lack of sense about how to even operate as a respectable “social media practitioner” (whatever that is), also makes things worse for Duterte, the man she fanatically loves.
Case in point: she shared this from another questionable source, a false parallel between EDSA 1986 and the commemoration of Ninoy’s death, to push her point about social media being a good thing because we cannot depend on media to show us real crowds for Monday’s rally.
And yet what one realizes with this posting is not only that Mocha has no sense of history, but also that we are being reminded in such a wonderful way about People Power, the EDSA Revolution of 1986, which was by the way the culmination of a sustained resistance against an oppressive, authoritarian government that sold the fairytale of peace and order and development while killing citizens.
Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Also a timely reminder.
When troll discourse starts helping us out, what can that be but the light at the end of this dark dark tunnel of disinformation?