In the Philippines, the basic campaign faces the behemoth of Marcos

In the Philippines, the basic campaign faces the behemoth of Marcos
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VALENZUELA CITY, PHILIPPINES – In the final round of critical presidential election in the Philippines, an outside campaign is mobilizing public flash mobs, online disinformation “Army of Truth” and knocking on doors with Kanida-inspired pink T-shirt volunteers. positive philosophy.

On Monday, they and the country will see if Vice President Maria Leonor “Lenny” gives Robredo enough momentum to outrun the late dictator’s son, his predecessor Ferdinand Marco Jr.

Robredo expects a tough fight from the start. The teenagers’ canvases were torn up and even thrown into the water as they tried to support voters. During a recent attack by one of the groups in the low-income area of ​​the city north of the capital, only a few asked for campaign materials, and a woman behind closed doors shouted that they should not even knock: “We are good. Marcos here.

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But while Robredo is still far from second place last month in the Pulse Asia poll, the number has increased 8% since the beginning of the year. The rise in recent weeks could make the elections more competitive and prevent the Marcos family from returning to power.

Lawyer and social activist Robredo, who entered politics after his wife’s death, won the vice presidency by defeating Marcos in 2016. In office, he had a fighting relationship with President Rodrigo Duterte. (The Philippines elects the president and vice president separately, while Duterte and Robredo come from different parties. The deadline prevents him from running again.)

Ten candidates are in the running, but since defeating Marcos in 2016, Robredo has been at the center of an intense libel campaign centered on both his professional and personal life.

However, its star-studded promotions still attract hundreds of thousands of people. In a country where politics and entertainment collide, beauty queens, rock stars and high-profile celebrities offer their approval. Artists paint their frescoes.

Robredo’s main message is alternative radical love, the strategy used by the opposition in Turkey against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The approach rejects polarization by listening to populist supporters rather than talking to them and prioritizing closely related issues such as hunger and employment.

The elections will test this strategy and the ability of Robredo’s campaign to impact the information ecosystem largely defined by paid propagandists.

Almost everyone in the Philippines is online, but most Miguel Paolo Reyes, director of the University’s Museum of Military Law, says people cannot distinguish between false information and true information. He describes it as a “perfect whirlwind example” of what happens when people have access to social media platforms but have low media literacy.

“We have a high level of technical knowledge, but we have not developed a culture of communication,” said Reiss. “We still haven’t figured out how to talk to each other about our common problems.”

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Anton Lim, head of the Robredo campaign in the southwestern region of the southern island of Mindanao, said the answer is an army of volunteers, who he hopes will travel to remote communities to combat the pervasive culture of voter buying. They have to disprove conspiracy theories, such as the false accusation that Robredo killed her husband (who died in a plane crash in 2012) and false scandals involving their three daughters. They continue to be disappointed.

“I feel in my heart that if we don’t help him win, he will make our lives more difficult as community development workers,” Lim said. he said. “If we have another six years [disinformation]The damage will be permanent. “

Robredo has broad support, from Catholic Church leaders to farmers he once stood for land rights. But he is struggling to beat Marcos’ popularity in all social groups, at least according to opinion polls.

Analysts describe the brand of “slippers” he uses for leadership – named after the flip flops he wears during his election campaign – as an antithesis to the traditional politics of the dynasties that characterized Marcos.

Ella Atienza, a political science professor at Diliman University in the Philippines, said the central initiative “challenges the traditional notion of patronage and nepotism.”

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Filling door-to-door efforts is a voluntary operation to combat disinformation.

Anton Caranza is the director of Digital Warriors, a network of over 400 chat rooms that Robredo calls the “Army of Truth”. After concluding that social media companies weren’t doing enough to combat disinformation, Caranza helped organize private citizens to take over the algorithm – and narrative – from the armies of sophisticated full-time trolls that flooded. social media with Marcos’ support materials.

When Robredo’s news is filled with hate, his volunteers, many of whom are retired or overtime professionals, flood the likes and dislikes posts. Positive comments to neutralize the trolls. Pro-Marcos accounts often try to undermine Robredo’s comment sections and spam with negative comments.

Net The house rules are simple: have zero tolerance for fake news. Fighting on “neutral ground” like news articles. And don’t directly interfere with trolls and propagandists.

“We are a rapid response team,” Karanza said. He said. “Let’s enable door-to-door [campaigns]But let’s not let the social media front be fought ”.

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Even though Robredo had a significant presence on Facebook – and he really was. The best spender of all Facebook candidate ads last year: YouTube is actually Marco’s territory.

“Anything borderline or gray, vague, warped, cherries picked, all the other more strategic disinformation tactics they’re using – that’s not part of what can be removed,” Fatima Gum said. General Digital Impulse, Election Speech Monitoring Project on Social Media Platforms.

Gaw’s research had previously found that 8 out of 10 YouTube videos of Marco attempt to rewrite family history, and this is the platform’s algorithm. More amateur content AND extreme partisan propaganda than academic news and sources.

Video blogger Marcos Santos Gambo, who supported the presidential election of Manila Mayor Francisco Domagos, explained that creators are encouraged to create pro-Marcos content as they have many sites that are guaranteed to have followers and viewers. These are the creators Make a solid profit through the YouTube Affiliate Program, which allows developers to use their own channels.

“YouTube is a brainwashing place,” Gamboa said. “If I change [Marcos] “I would do what I do now two or three times.”

The challenge will be how to support this popular movement after the elections. His spokesman, Barry Gutierrez, said that if Robredo loses, the move could become “the basis of the opposition”.

In the narrow streets of the city of Valencia, 17-year-old Janvipper Calade admitted that he lost a week at school knocking on Robredo’s doors.

“I found [fighting] “I was wasting my time on Facebook because we’re against paid trolls,” he said. “I can relearn the lessons, but not the selection.”

An elderly woman in one home requested Robredo’s campaign materials, even though her husband tried to fire the volunteers. Her neighbor came and took the volunteer by the arm, looked him in her eyes and said, “Please work hard.”

Source: Washington Post