An election lawyer has decried what he said was the commercialization this early of the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines next year.
“It is sad to note that the entire stretch of EDSA [in Metro Manila]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,’” Romulo Macalintal said in a statement on Wednesday.
With their apparent intention to advertise their products, these companies are no different from politicians who were warned by Manila Arcbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle not to use the occasion for political purposes, Macalintal added.
These commercial establishments, according to the election lawyer, “are obviously using the pope’s holy and religious visit to the Philippines for commercial purposes.“
Tagle earlier called on politicians not to take advantage of Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines in January 2015 to get political mileage as it is “not an occasion for political campaigning.”
In his call, the cardinal warned “against plastering the route of the papal visit with tarpaulins and other promotional materials involving the pontiff.”
Tagle appealed to those planning to welcome the pontiff not to use the occasion for other motivations.
“Let us respect the nature of his visit,” he said.
Macalintal noted that the appeal was made by Tagle not only upon “politicians” but it was also addressed to everyone not to use the pastoral visit of Francis for other motivations or personal or self-interests.
“For sure, such act [of the commercial establishments]is covered by Cardinal Tagle’s solemn call to all of us not to use the papal visit for personal or promotional reasons.
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,” he said.
Macalintal added that Pope Francis would highly appreciate it more if these commercial establishments had instead donated the millions of pesos spent for such huge billboards to the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda.