Church: Pope banners with biz firms’ logos fund-raisers
The Pope Francis banners that line the streets of Metro Manila are meant to highlight Filipino hospitality, an official of the papal visit committee said in response to a lawyer who bewailed the commercialization of the Pontiff’s visit to the Philippines next month.
Fr. Anton Pascual, head of the papal visit subcommittee on media relations and publicity, said the banners welcoming Pope Francis were put up by the Church-run Radio Veritas with the help of corporate partners.
Pascual, also the president of Radio Veritas, said the space allotted for the logos of the companies beneath the banners “only serves as our token ‘thank you’ for helping us out.”
Pascual issued the statement when he was sought to comment on lawyer Romulo Macalintal’s observations.
Macalintal noted that “the entire stretch of Edsa and other areas are now practically plastered with billboards of some commercial establishments with their companies’ logos under the pretext of welcoming the Pope’s visit.”
“These establishments should know that such commercial gimmickry runs counter to the standards of ethical advertisement as it is clearly using the spiritual visit of the Pope for the promotion of their companies or products,” Macalintal said in a statement.
“With their apparent intention to advertise their products, these companies are no different from politicians who were warned by [Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio] Cardinal Tagle not to use the occasion for political purposes. They are obviously using the Pope’s holy and religious visit to the Philippines for commercial purposes,” he added.
Cardinal Tagle earlier called upon politicians not to take advantage of Pope Francis’ visit to get political mileage as it was “not an occasion for political campaigning.”
Macalintal said Tagle appealed to “politicians” and others not to use the pastoral visit of the Pope for other motivations or personal interests.
But Pascual explained that because the printing, framing, mounting and dismounting of the welcome banners would entail logistical and manpower costs, Radio Veritas, in partnership with various government agencies and local governments, had sought the assistance of corporate partners in displaying welcome banners to highlight Filipino hospitality.
“Cognizant of the fact that such an undertaking might be perceived as a commercialized undertaking, Radio Veritas has done significant strides only to raise funds to defray the cost of such a finance-laden undertaking.
“Moreover, the exaggerated ‘closeup’ photo shot of our banners would seem to highlight the logo of our donors but from a ‘solely’ commercial value such logos have no probative value since the space allotted for their logos serves only as our token ‘thank you’ for helping us out,” Pascual said in a text message to the Inquirer.
Purest of intent
According to the priest, the logo display found on the banners was “not in any way geared to refocus one’s attention from the real and noble intent of such banners … and that is to give the Holy Father our warm Filipino welcome.”
“A half-filled glass of water may be seen as half-empty or half-full. Only the values and perspective of its viewer give meaning to what one sees. We pray that in the spirit of true mercy and compassion, we may see that this banner placement initiative was done [with] the purest of intent and that we started such an undertaking to show our solidarity with our Filipino brothers and sisters in being part of Pope Francis’ historic visit,” Pascual added.
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