Yellow, peach and black

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

PRESIDENT Noynoy Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) next week will feature a play of colors. This, after the President, during a televised speech last week in defense of the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), asked his supporters to wear yellow ribbons, which figured prominently in his campaign for president in 2010.

“We’ll come up with, perhaps, a manifestation of the support—if I still have the support of our people—and concrete examples of these. Perhaps wearing our yellow ribbons, amongst other things, just to demonstrate exactly in a quick manner where the sentiments of our people lie,” he said.

It was an interesting call considering results of recent surveys that showed a slide in P-Noy’s approval rating. Malacañang, though, backtracked days later, with the President’s spokespersons saying the call should not be taken seriously. But it has taken a life of its own.


Today, employees of the various courts will start to wear black to signify their protest over the perceived attack by Aquino of the judiciary. During his televised speech last week, P-Noy chided the Supreme Court for declaring portions of the DAP as unconstitutional. Some sectors took that as the executive declaring war at the judiciary.

It’s possible the said employees will continue with their “black” protest in time for P-Noy’s Sona. That’s already two colors.

Militants, meanwhile, want to be different. Instead of black, they are pushing for peach, which is symbolic of their effort to “impeach” the President.

Or at least that was the drift in the call of the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) for people to wear peach-colored shirts or tie peach-colored ribbons outside their houses.

“Peach is the color of the time. Yellow ribbons nowadays will be irrelevant, unnecessary and powerless as the color yellow has been proven to bring forth economic hardships to the people and has been used to defend and justify measures raiding the people’s money through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and various pork barrel mechanisms in the government,” a Bayan statement said.

So P-Noy’s Sona will feature a mix of yellow, black and peach. We will soon find out which color will prevail.

But I don’t think the color yellow is already irrelevant as Bayan said. The militant group’s error is in associating yellow solely to the Aquinos.

Yellow was the symbol of the opposition against the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and was therefore used when P-Noy’s father, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. returned to the country in 1983 from his exile in the US. He was shot on the tarmac of the airport that now bears his name.

Yellow was again used by the opposition in the snap election of February 1986. It was just coincidental that the presidential bet of the opposition in that election was P-Noy’s mother Cory. When the Edsa People Power uprising broke out in the same month, yellow was again the dominant color, representing the moderates, as against the radical’s red.

While P-Noy appropriated yellow for his campaign in the 2010 presidential elections, it became acceptable only as long as he represented the ideals of those who fought the Marcos dictatorship. At that time, he represented the push for good governance and the battle against impunity and corruption of the previous president.

But it has been four years since then and P-Noy may have strayed from the Edsa ideals.

I am not sure, therefore, if his Sona will have an emotional pull among the “yellow crowd” enough for them to come out in full force and wear their favorite color.

What I am sure is that they will resurface in 2016 to carry the battle for good governance, especially when Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. runs for president.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 21, 2014.


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