MANILA, Philippines - Would you rather watch a political rally-cum-concert or a full-on rock concert with political undertones?
This seemed to be the main thrusts of top presidential candidates Sen. Manny Villar and Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III after their political parties sponsored separate free concerts for the youth on Thursday, the 24th anniversary of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution.
Liberal Party campaign manager Butch Abad said the "People Power equals Vote Power" concert at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City is meant to commemorate the historic revolt that toppled the Marcos dictatorship.
"This is essentially a commemoration, remembering EDSA and thanking people who made it possible for us to enjoy our freedom, take stock of what has happened since 1986 to this day and recommitting ourselves to the vision and ideals of People Power," Abad said in an ANC interview.
Abad said the event will not be a miting de avance for the LP but an important obligation to remind the youth of how freedom was regained through the EDSA revolution. "We hope that the young people will see historical continuity in this commemoration today as well as the political event that is the 2010 election," he said.
Aquino spokesman Edwin Lacierda earlier said they want to remind the youth of what happened in EDSA People Power. "Most of the youth right now, who were born before 1986, are not familiar with People Power. This is to remind them what happened back in those years," he said.
Lawyer and LP supporter Abigal Valte said the highlight of the LP concert is Aquino's giving of marching orders to the "Yellow Army." The so-called "Yellow Army" is Aquino's volunteer group tasked to protect his votes in May.
Providing entertainment during the event are Ogie Alcasid, Christian Bautista, Eric Santos, and bands SpongeCola and Brownman Revival. The concert starts at 2 p.m.
For its part, the Nacionalista Party of Sen. Villar is mounting its own "Wowowili meets Rockotropa" at the Mall of Asia concert grounds also at 2 p.m.
Nacionalista spokeman and senatorial bet Adel Tamano said the NP concert would focus mostly on entertainment to be provided by Villar supporters such as Willie Revillame, Sarah Geronimo, Andrew E, Randy Santiago, the Wowowee Kembot Girls, Parokya Ni Edgar, Kamikazee, Bamboo, and Juan de la Cruz band.
He also said that unlike the Liberal Party event, the NP concert is "not a political rally and we are not there to give speeches. It's really just a concert."
Tamano denied that the NP concert was meant to steal the thunder from the LP event. He said the concert was originally planned last year but was postponed after tropical storm Ondoy (Ketsana) hit Manila.
"This is not a People Power concert.This is a Rockotropa concert. We are not here to steal the thunder of the Liberal Party. They have their own thing and we wish them all the success. Kami rin, they wish us all the success for this concert," he said.
He added: "Personally, I knew about this concert 2 weeks ago but I only found out about the LP concert at the Araneta, although I don't know if you can call it a concert but more a rally, today. Amin, matagal na naming pinaplano ito."