Wednesday July 18, 2018

Velez: 'Press-titutes’ vs political pimps

THIS October 5, I’m joining the International Day of No Prostitution because of personal reasons: I’ve been called a pimp.

That’s what a former journalist turned government propagandist calls me, specifically, someone “in the business of pimping one’s opinion to the public.”

Pimping, in slang, means selling pleasure or making a cool impression. And being called a pimp is a demeaning team. But that’s not the first time journalists are being maligned by the powers-that-be. Mocha Uson, sexy dancer-blogger-turned assistant presidential communication secretary, calls journalists as “Press-titutes”.

President Duterte knows only three types of journalists: the mouthpiece, the vulture or paid-hack, and the crusader. For him, there’s only out of every three journalists who is true to their profession.

It’s a cruel thing that journalists are being branded as sell-outs by the government and its paid media spinners and social media army. But you need to ask, are we really sell-outs?

Ask the journalists who stick their necks covering the warzones like in Marawi or Maguindanao, the dispersal of Kidapawan farmers and strike camps, the exposé on local corruption and police abuses. Most times journalists do these with all the risks, not getting paid enough or getting insured. But they do it because it’s a public service, without the government money. Actually, putting our bodies at risk makes journalism much like prostitution, it’s a risky job.

Contrast that to Mocha Uson, who by the way is paid P100,000 a month from our taxes for her work to peddle fake news and cat fights online in the name of defending the president at all costs. Or contrast thatcomms secretary Martin Andanar is planning

But let’s focus on the issue that is prostitution. October 5 reminds us that prostitution is real, and growing and endangering our women and children. The Philippines is still considered one of the countries with high cases of prostitution.

Worse, child prostitution is rising. The NGO Talikala which tackles prostitution, noted that in the past few years, that around six of 10 prostitutes here are minors, some as young as 12.

There is no definite solution from government to address this problem. There are efforts to stop trafficking. But prostitution is symptomatic of deeper problems: landlessness, displacements brought by wars and disasters, lack of opportunities for school and employment, and law enforcement failing to do its job most of the time.

For a government that likes to wage wars, waging war on poverty should have mattered. But that doesn’t sound sexy. And the way government officials such as members of Congress selling their loyalties for a bigger piece of the budget and cover these spicy rhetoric, it seems like government is the real pimp. Politicians and their mouths are the real obscene things that are objectionable to our senses.

Which shows that politics and prostitution are the two oldest professions in the world and both need to be stopped. For that, I’m all in to support the International Day of No Prostitution, and political pimping.