Editorial: Symbolisms in UNA, LP rallies-A A +A
Monday, February 11, 2013
THE campaign period for the senatorial and party-list elections officially starts today with the two major political groups in the country vying for attention by holding simultaneous proclamation rallies in two separate venues. Both are also going after symbols.
The administration Liberal Party (LP), whose 12-member senatorial slate is called Team PNoy (after President Noynoy Aquino’s moniker), will hold its proclamation rally at the historic Plaza Miranda in Manila.
“Plaza Miranda is the bedrock of democracy…It is the place of struggle where LP (Liberal Party) has been known for its principled, platform-based campaign,” said Team PNoy spkesperson Lorenzo Tañada III yesterday. In 1971, two grenades were lobbed on the stage in Plaza Miranda during an LP proclamation rally, killing nine people and injuring 95 others, including former Senate president Jovito Salonga.
Meanwhile, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), which has still to officially refer to itself as an opposition group, has chosen to hold its proclamation rally today in Cebu City’s Plaza Independencia, described as the “most historically significant plaza” in Cebu. It is just across Fort San Pedro.
The plaza was built during the Spanish period and was given different names. The American colonial government changed the name to Plaza Libertad, symbolic of the country’s “liberation” from Spanish rule. “Libertad” is not far a jump from “Independencia.”
The symbolisms actually clash if one considers Manila as opposed to Cebu. The latter was once the center of Spanish colonial rule until Manila became the point from where the archipelago was administered by Spanish, American and later Filipino governments.
Cebu leaders in recent times would refer to the nation’s capital as “Imperial Manila.”
That does not mean, of course, that UNA is different from LP on the matter of looking after the welfare of its constituency, meaning that if it becomes the ruling party it would be less Manila-centric.
But the hope is that UNA choosing Cebu as venue of its proclamation rally would go beyond symbolism and into actually benefitting the island if the party takes over Malacañang. Or that it would prod PNoy to give more attention to Cebu in his last few years as chief executive.
This is noteworthy, as no Cebuano is running for the Senate in May.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 12, 2013.