Song and dance skit to promote federalism draws condemnation

Palace official Mocha’s bid to promote political concept slammed for being ‘lewd’

Manila: An attempt by a palace communications official to promote a political concept through a song-and-dance routine drew condemnation as the number was perceived to contain “lewd” gestures.

Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson’s take on promoting federalism was heavily criticised after a video of the skit was posted in her blog, the “Duterte Good News.”

The video was shared by a considerable number of people and continues to be passed on after it was posted by Uson on August 2.

In the clip, Uson’s co-host Drew Olivar, also a blogger, set apart two syllables from the word federalism in an apparent bid to make a catchy jingle and make it ingrained into the minds of Filipinos.

“Ipepe-ipepe, idede-idede, i-pepe, i-dede, i-pederalismo,” Olivar chanted while making a gesture on two body parts that the two syllables—pepe and dede—pertains to in Filipino.

“Pepe” is slang for the female genital organ while “dede” refers to the breast.

The skit, drew the ire of Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, an advocate of federalism.

“I never through they would debauch the cause of federalism,” an exasperated Pimentel said.

“I was wrong. Uson should have studied closely the concept first,” he said in Filipino adding that this is critical since sending the wrong message about the idea could spell disaster for the government’s bid to popularise federalism.

“As I understand, she (Uson) was not the one in charge of this campaign but another person who is more competent in explaining this idea such as the members of the Consultative Committee (Concom), Pimentel said.

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III for his part, said: “Theatrical techniques will not work to explain a very serious and high falluting issue such as Federalism!”

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, in a palace briefing said Uson may have not presented the matter in a proper manner but she may have the best intentions to convey the message to Filipinos.

“She could have expressed the issue in a more serious but in a manner,” Roque said.

He clarified that Mocha’s presentation “did not have the President’s blessing”.

The gaffe comes at a critical period for the government. The Duterte administration is bent on making the Filipino voters understand the concept of federalism because according to a March 23 to 27, 2018 survey by pollster Social Weather Stations, only 37 per cent of Filipinos support the shift to a federal system of government while only one out of four Filipinos are even aware of it.

The current leadership sees federalism as the way to spread out development to the regions.

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