‘Bayaran’

11

ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS

“BAYARAN,” or paid—this is the most common attack against someone who espouses a partisan view. This is particularly gaining more virulence in social media, where just about anyone who speaks passionately in defense or criticism of one particular political personality is considered as a paid hack, implying an unprincipled mercenary work.

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Indeed, political operators have always offered themselves to the highest bidder, often to do the dirty job of cheating during elections, or mudslinging an opponent. These operators label themselves as professionals in the same way that narcotics dealers call themselves businessmen.

Many of these political operators do not have political ideologies. They are paid professional publicists and lobbyists who know how to separate their individual political beliefs and persuasions, if they have one, from their work. They can work for politicians regardless of their political platforms. Two things matter to them: the money they get and the influence that awaits them if their clients win.

Some operators have professional credentials, with political science degrees, or backgrounds in communication and public relations work. They help candidates prepare their winnable points, even advise them on how to dress and speak, and manage a campaign strategy that they think would propel their clients to victory. These people may also have a strict adherence to some ethical standards in that they market themselves as professional publicists or PR consultants.

These kinds of operators are in fact functional elements of a democracy. These people are performing legitimate political labor, and it is plainly exploitative if they do not get paid for their work.

However, there are those who operate in the shadows and whose expertise is to make gold out of trash in a political cesspool of intrigue-making, character assassination, and election tampering. They plot how to besmirch reputations and how to steal elections.

These are the operators whose political labor is as abominable as a gun for hire.

It is in this context that we should put an end to the shaming of the word “bayaran” as if when one gets paid for performing political labor that it is already a mortal sin, without making an attempt to discriminate on the basis of the kind of work being done.

It is not the fact that one gets paid that is the problem. Rather, it is the ethical and moral dimensions of the act that should be scrutinized.

One must realize that to have a blanket expectation that anyone who performs political labor should do it for free renders much of the political process as an exploitative endeavor, where only those who enter politics through the formal processes of the state are entitled to enjoy the financial benefits of doing politics.

Politicians are paid when they are elected. People who are appointed to assist and facilitate their work get their salaries and professional fees. Lobbying and political advocacy are paid work.

Gone are the days of political mobilization that are done out of voluntarism. Rally organizing has somewhat become another form of event organizing, with the latter becoming a paid profession. In fact, there are professional rally organizers, as there are professional rally performers.

Even revolutionaries nowadays are paid not only by the funds given them by their international supporters, but also by the monies collected as revolutionary tax.

Thus, it’s about time we take to task the people who use “bayaran” as a generic pejorative to accuse a person performing paid political labor that enable the work of either the government or the political opposition, whether it is in the real physical world, or in cyberspace.

We should now realize that the process of state-building is no longer a process that subsists on the goodness of the heart of a revolutionary willing to risk life and limb to make a better Philippines, and to contribute to the progress of the nation. If a politician who rarely attends sessions gets his salary, as do his minions in his congressional off ice, then we should not begrudge those who perform paid work on the keyboard to participate in the weaving of political discourse that would strike deep into the process of shaping the political fate of the country.

Cyber-netizens who are paid to write blogs and post ethically, and are there to express support for one or criticize another political figure or position, using their expertise in writing pieces that are well-researched and well-argued, deserve to be treated as legitimate political actors. They are the kinds of “bayaran” that are functional to democracy.

On the other hand, a cyber-netizen involved in political labor whose behavior in the internet is driven only by destructive intent, who operates in the shadows of a pseudonym, with the goal of not contributing to political discourse, but only in the taking down, or in targeting for demolition anyone whom their clients wish to destroy, is in fact engaged in a form of “cyberterrorism.” These are the kinds of “bayaran” who are enemies of democracy.

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11 Comments

  1. Greetings Ton-Ton

    Media is the pillar of truth in most democracies — the very means available to individuals and civilized societies to express ones ideas and opinions — creatively and responsively.

    Social media on the other hand is another excellent venue and has enhanced freedom of expression. Through technology, (social) media has cast a wider net to reach those previously unreached.

    In its original intent and form, media (& social media) are really pure and sincere platforms — in presenting truth and objective facts.They’re noble in intentions. Guardians of freedoms.

    Both “users” of these mediums must then have the solemn duty to preserve their sanctity and purity of purpose. They must be careful and responsible — presenting the complete verifiable information and objectivity (avoiding extreme bias) otherwise truth is bastardized and democracy is weakened.

    Getting paid or being “bayaran” is a prostitution of this noble duty. It must be avoided at all cost because it becomes “truth to the highest bidder”, “research” is skewed and “conclusions” are false. The end does not justify the means when one hired to do so — blinded by pecuniary benefits.

    The nation is eventually cheated of truth by those disguised and pretending to be “angels of righteousness” preying on innocent minds with “vanilla flavored” logic only to be revealed as paid propagandist.

    But then again, I guess nobility and honor are gone. What remains are contractual obligations — and a sad state of affairs. Salamat

  2. Sakristan…Rappler is an arm of LP and Is Presstitute! There I said it. Prove me otherwise! Why it is being boycotted along with other major Networks…Rappler is bayaran.

  3. Well, I used to be anti-Marcos in the 80s, thanks to my UP-bred communist professors and Sister Mary John. I took to the streets and believed their propaganda. I even became a leftist and agreed with the armed struggle of Joma Sison. I changed my mind after witnessing what transpired after the Marcos era and learning that many of the things they hurled against Marcos were lies (e.g., bombing of Plaza Miranda). I was not paid then and I am not paid today when I spoke for BBM, my experiences during the Marcos era, and the good things that FM did for the country.

  4. I agree all these probes that lead to nothing! Papago Lang
    ng mga Senatongs at Tongressnan. What happend to all
    The probes? Binay, masassapano, Aquino Dap and now
    Delimaw, who is still in the senate yaking with gay
    abandon and still being addressed as honorable. None
    Have been charged in court. This Justice Secretary has done nothing to get delima arrested! And as such he
    Is bringing the crabs unto him. JAIL DELIMA! AND CHARGE
    TRILLANES FOR TREASON TOGETHER WITH ABNOY AND THE LIAR CHEATER ROBREDO.
    AND GET IT OVER WITH IN COURT! If not let’s have
    Martial law Mr President”

  5. @a price, these “Bayarans” will deodorized. or portray you as the most despicable animal on this planet….

  6. Bongbong Marcos has lots of paid keyboard warriors (bayaran) and they were happy to pose for photos with him during their Christmas celebrations.

    • Rubbish! Kayong mga yellow tard ang naraming bayaran
      dahil madadami kayong ninakaw!!!kapal ng mukha nyo
      mga mangdarambong at madaraya.

    • how about Leni’s warriors who are blocking user who are giving opinions against their VP.

    • Did you see the author of this article, Mr. Contreras posed for photo with the former Senator Marcos? I remember well, after the election, Mr. Contreras appeared on TV or in major newspapers, and claims that based on his analysis, Marcos was cheated because the election returns beginning at certain time, Marcos was over one million votes ahead, but at certain time, he was overtaken by Robredo. Mr. Contreras was able to convince millions of Filipinos because he whipped out his credentials as a statistic professor, and he was joined later by another math professor to agree with Contreras.

      However, two Filipino writers of Rappler, Phils. have monitored and recorded the election returns, and they were able to explain the graphs made by Mr. Contreras in 15 minutes interval, and found no evidence sudden dumping of votes to Robredo, but Marcos was gradually overtaken by Robredo
      Here is the bottom line: Did Mr. Cotreras got paid by propagating wrong theory? It is okay to print this comment Mr. Contreras, because all of us make mistake; we are all humans. Besides, politics is not a precise science.