By: Lcid Crescent Fernandez
One public statement.
That’s how much it took for whispers to turn into rumblings that Mayor Isko Moreno would make a fine presidential candidate in the next national elections. The move was absolutely masterful. It had everything you’d ever want from a PR perspective.
The act of clearing out Divisoria of vendors is massive on three fronts: tangible change, positioning, and coverage. Straight out of the gate, the message is simple: I’m going to drastically change Manila, and people are buying into it. Already, he has people chanting his name.
Let’s break it down.
Change you can hold.
As a public official, there are many roads one can take to create legitimate reforms to uplift the quality of life of the public. The best road, however, is the one where you give the public something they can readily see and touch. This goes beyond the number of how many people benefitted from a certain piece of legislation or new program.
Let’s make the effect visceral.
You can go to Divisoria yourself and feel it.
You’ll remember every other experience you’ve had where it was cramped, where you had to watch your belongings at all times, where you were stuck in traffic. All these negative experiences you’ve had are now gone.
This man erased those experiences. You can barely even recognize the place anymore. You don’t have to think about it. You just know something big has been done. There’s no need for someone to tell you about it, because you can touch it with your own hands. And when anyone wants to talk about what Isko Moreno has done, they will point to Divisoria. They will remember.
Best of both worlds.
Our current President’s greatest asset in perception creation is the fact that he supposedly has great political will to do what needs to be done.
He has branded himself as a populist strongman.
The biggest criticism his critics have of him is that in reality, he isn’t. He’s all talk. He doesn’t deliver on his promises and the critics do have a point (getting rid of drugs in 3-6 months, jet ski to defend the West Philippine Sea, getting rid of rice cartels in 3 days). Mayor Moreno promised to deliver “Bagong Maynila”. His first week has been very convincing. He has brought together both sides to fervently support him simply because he is delivering on promises that were made in the same style by the President. Thus, if people attack or praise the President, Mayor Moreno is brought up in the conversation. He has both sides currently looking at him as the hero they’re looking for, and that’s never a bad thing.
Isko. Isko. Isko.
Were it not for Kawhi Leonard breaking every Laker fans’ hearts by not only moving to the Lakers, but also bringing Paul George with him, Mayor Isko would not have any competition in media mileage for this week. EVERYONE is talking about him. Every media outlet is giving him coverage. As we speak, memes are being made about him. He must have gotten billions of pesos worth of media mileage FOR FREE. This is key, and a very important lesson in using shock and awe. I thought Divisoria to be an institution that could not be erased from Manila. When he removed it, everybody talked about it out of sheer incredulity. And his public statements added to the conversation. 5 Million Pesos a day. Everybody knows that phrase now because he said that’s what he was offered to keep Divisoria alive. It’s so unbelievable, the media absolutely has to repeat it through different platforms. Everyone is discussing if it’s real or just a joke.
Trump did it when he said he would build a wall to block out immigrants.
Duterte did it when he said he would fill the streets with the blood of criminals.
Mel Carreon did it when he said he was going to build gundams to defend the Philippines.
Outlandish claims lead to more media coverage. That has become a universal truth.
Now everyone knows who Isko Moreno is.
Everybody’s settling into their offices. Isko Moreno has already positioned himself for 2022. The campaign season has begun.