Campaign strategists, bets unbothered by Google, YouTube political ad ban

Jervis Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 03 2021 12:14 PM

MANILA— Campaign strategists and managers of major political camps in the upcoming #Halalan2022 do not seem bothered by the Google ban on political advertisements.

Google PH announced on Wednesday that paid ads on their platforms, including tech giant Youtube, will be banned starting February 8, 2022 up until election day.

Lito Banayo, campaign manager of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, said it doesn't affect them big time as they rely on Moreno's and running-mate Doc Willie Ong's followers on Facebook.

"Although totoo na makaka-hamper 'yan sa communication efforts ng lahat ng kandidato, para sa amin kay Mayor Isko at Doc Willie, hindi masyadong problema 'yun because 'yung ads naman namin mostly nake-carry lang ng Youtube at Google platforms pero ang advocacies mostly organic eh. Sa Facebook naman si Yorme may 5.7 million followers, si Doc Willie may 16 million followers sa Facebook so tingin ko minimal ang magiging impact," Banayo said.

(Although it's true that it will hamper communication efforts of candidates, for us, it will not be a problem because while our ads are mostly carried by YouTube and Google platforms, our advocacies are mostly organic. Yorme has 5.7 million followers on Facebook while Doc Willie has 16 million followers so I think it will only have minimal impact.

However, Banayo said that the lawyers of all camps must have a dialogue with Comelec because of the very limiting restrictions they issued on campaigning.

Team Manny Pacquiao is also unbothered because they still have not run advertisements on both mainstream and traditional media.

"As long as the Manny Pacquiao camp is concerned, hindi po kami affected niyan kasi wala po kaming nira-run na ads sa social media and even in traditional media, kaya kung mapapansin niyo, wala masyadong commercial si Manny Pacquiao sa TV, radio, pati online," said Ron Munsayac of the Pacquiao camp.

(As long as the Manny Pacquiao camp is concerned, we are not affected because we have yet to run ads on social media and even in traditional media so if you notice Manny Pacquiao does not have many commercials on TV, radio and even online.)

"Ang strategy ni Manny Pacquiao, bababa kami sa grassroots level talaga," he added.

(The strategy of Manny Pacquiao is to really go down to the grassroots level.)

The administration camp led by the PDP-Laban Cusi Wing also shrugged off Google's decision.

Secretary-General Melvin Matibag said their group does not engage much on social media platforms anyway.

“Sa mga events namin, hindi naman kami masyadong magarbo sa ganyan, napaka-conventional nung PDP campaign, napaka-conservative. So, I don’t know kung apektado. Siguro, may epekto rin, pero kung malaking epekto, that’s another question,” Matibag said.

(We are more conventiona; and conservative when it comes to holding our events and the campaign. Maybe there will be an effect but as to how big, that's another question.)

Presidential aspirant Ping Lacson, on the other hand, said he approves of the decision because it's about time social media sites be made accountable in spreading fake news.

"Very good! Para talagang… Kasi 'yung trolls nag-aabound eh. It's about time na magkaroon ng responsibilidad talaga, lalo ‘yung mga trolls kasi ito ‘yung naninira. Parang, ano e, wala nang habas na dahil magpapakalat ng fake news. Mabuti na rin na ‘yung mga social media platforms ay nagiging responsible na enough para ma-regulate 'yung paggamit ng social media," he said.

(Very good because trolls abound. It's about time they take responsibility especially on trolls who spread fake news. It's better for social media platforms to be responsible enough to regulate the use of social media.) 

Partido Lakas ng Masa presidential aspirant Ka Leody de Guzman not only welcomed the decision, but also called on Comelec to ban all commercial political ads. 

"Gawing responsibilidad ng gobyerno ang pagmumulat sa mga botante at sa pagpapaunlad sa kanilang pulitikal na matyuridad. Sinasamantala ng mapeperang mga kandidato ng mga bilyonaryo ang kawalan ng batas laban sa premature campaigning. Nalulunod na sa mga political ad ang TV, social media, at radyo. Mas marami pa sa mga komersyal ng sabon at shampoo," De Guzman said.

(Let the government be responsible in raising voters' awareness to enrich their political maturity. Candidates of billionaires take advantage of the lack of law against premature campaigning. TV, social media and radio drown in political ad. They have far more commercials than soaps and shampoos.)
ABS-CBN News reached out to the camps of presidential aspirants Leni Robredo and Bongbong Marcos but both have not issued statements as of this time.

Experts believe the ban will be disadvantageous to candidates with smaller resources, especially those who cannot afford airtime on television and radio.

There has been a continuous rise of political campaigning in digital platforms as Filipinos are heavy internet users.

A recent study by Reuters say that the average Filipino is on social media for 11 hours a day, with 53% of the country tuning to Youtube for news content.

Google also banned political advertising in other countries such as Canada, Singapore, and even after the US elections in 2021 to prevent the spread of disinformation on the election outcome.


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