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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Of course, it was BBM’s project

"Rappler did not even bother to check."

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I am talking about the now-famous Bangui Windmills in Ilocos Norte which Rappler has falsely and maliciously claimed was not BBM’s (Bongbong Marcos) project. 

In a so-called fact-checking report, Rappler claimed this without bothering to check the origin and eventual implementation of the project that the same was done by a private company – NorthWind Power Corporation. Of course, Northwind was the project developer but Rappler should have dug deeper to inform its readers that the project was essentially a kind of public-private partnership set up in the 1990s during Marcos’ second term as governor of the province. It was he who broached (actually hammered) the idea for the local electric cooperative, INEC, to issue a “ take off” document (a kind of power purchase agreement)  to ensure the usage of the plant’s output. It was also BBM who got the DENR and the other government agencies to assist in securing the leases on the project site involving 28 huge windmills, fast track permitting, securing the areas and otherwise ensuring that the project gets implemented in the soonest possible time. It was also BBM who assured the project developers and the Danish government who provided the grants and low-interest loans as well as the supplier, VESTAS, that everything will be properly and responsibly handled to set up Southeast Asia’s first wind farm. In short, he was not only present at the project’s establishment. He was, for all intents and purposes, the proponent.   

Renewables and energy development have always been one of BBM’s advocacies.The initiative to precisely harness the province’s renewable resources was originally stated and affirmed in the Provincial Development Plan which was completed with assistance from various national and international agencies during BBM’s first term as governor from mid 1982-February 1986. Had the family not gone into exile in 1986, this project like the now aging Tomato Processing Plant (Northern Foods Corporation), the country’s only tomato processing plant, which was set up during his first term would have been completed much earlier. I should know. I am a native of Bangui and I was BBM’s Special Assistant and provincial administrator during his first term and served as adviser during his second term when the windmill project was undertaken. 

When Rappler issued that fake “fact check” report, I thought: What else is new? It has always been about its own agenda, not about the facts — much less the truth.  .  

So, in this windmill brouhaha, Rappler did it again. Remember early on, it deleted its online ‘ presidentiables’ survey after BBM was found to be leading by a mile. Without as much as an explanation, the outfit suddenly took the polling platform down on the laughable ground that it was not “aligned with its core objectives.” This was an act which was immediately denounced by vloggers and users alike as whimsical, arbitrary and biased.

Vloggers chided Rappler’s move, noting it was a “clear attempt to deceive the public into believing that independent presidential candidate Leni Robredo is getting the support of netizens.” As reported, Vlogger Maui Becker said Facebook and Rappler’s systems crashed when they allegedly tried to manipulate the polling process to show that Robredo was garnering 100,000 to 130,000 votes, far ahead of Marcos’ 72,000. Eventually, it turned out that BBM got 558,000 votes (72 percent) to Robredo’s 188,000 (24 percent).

In that report, Becker stated that “ she suspected that as the Facebook administrator in the Philippines, Rappler had access to inactive accounts, and that it misused its authority by using those accounts to cast a vote.” As it turned out, those who clicked the Robredo emojis were “mostly accounts of Pakistanis, Arab poseurs, accounts without profile pictures or even fake accounts..” Another vlogger, Chika Doro, described the poll as “a sabotage survey”  charging that even as he clicked the Marcos emoji, the count was charged to the Robredo one. 

With this fake sabotage operation, what else can we say except that Rappler has become weaponized tool to demonize and sabotage its and its funders’ targetted enemies completely misusing its “standing” as an “online publication” under an obliging environment it has been denouncing to high heavens. 

And it deserves a Nobel Peace Prize?   


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