Dissecting A “Praise” Release

Here’s an interesting report from www.philstar.com. I am posting it in full with my comments in bold typeface.

OCLP supports Pasig River rehab

MANILA, Philippines – Ortigas & Co. Ltd. Partnership signed a memorandum of agreement granting four hectares of land in Tatala, Binangonan, Rizal to Kapit Bisig para sa Ilog Pasig, which would now serve as a relocation site for informal settlers along the Pasig River. Kapit Bisig managing director, Gina Lopez received the donation in a charity banquet held at the Circulo Verde Guest House last August 31.

Kudos to OCLP for this. Relocation sites are important since we can’t just uproot people from their communities without providing them another place to stay.

“Our river system has been suffering for decades from all the pollutants that have been dumped in it. We recognize Kapit Bisig’s strategy of taking control of pollution sources and ensuring that the overall waste dumped in the river is reduced,” according to Rex Drilon, COO of Ortigas & Co.

Good of Mr. Drilon to state the obvious about the state of Pasig River. However, being a non-believer in publicity stunts and other marketing gimmicks, I am annoyed by the obvious “praise release” for the benefit of Kapit Bisig and the (also) obvious attempt to force an association between OCLP and Kapit Bisig.

Kapit Bisig covers all bases of their massive rehabilitation program through Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs), information, education, and communication (IEC) campaigns, relocation, and area redevelopment. With the recent appointment of Lopez as chair of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC), the success of this project is ensured because of guaranteed support from the private sector and government.

This is an exaggeration of the facts. Kapit Bisig doesn’t cover all bases. If you notice there’s not one mention about doing anything about the industrial facilities along Pasig River and its tributaries. While it can work on removing squatter colonies, Kapit Bisig seems to turn a blind eye on those manufacturing plants, factories and other industrial facilities in the area. How then can Kapit Bisig’s work be considered a massive rehabilitation program?

Hundreds of families living in the Pasig riverbanks had been relocated to Montalban, Rizal and Calauan, Laguna for many years now. The addition of the donated OCLP property in Binangonan, Rizal will provide a relocation site for at least a thousand more endangered families living by the banks of Pasig river. “By partnering with an organization that works as methodically as Kapit Bisig, we ensure a broad scope and maximum impact to beneficiaries,” Drilon added.

Publicity, publicity, publicity. As far as I’m concerned, a company that talks too much about its good deeds is a company that is overcompensating for something.

In the same ceremony, OCLP also handed over the proceeds of the May 2010 Golf Tourney to Kapit Bisig and two other beneficiaries, Habitat for Humanity Philippines and ANCOP (Answering the Cry of the Poor), represented by Habitat president Ricky Jacinto and ANCOP’s Noli Medalla respectively.

The three organizations were granted two hundred thousand pesos each, dedicated to their different sustainability efforts. Habitat for Humanity Philippines has built more than 24,000 houses in around 100 build-sites nationwide providing simple, decent, and affordable houses with the help of volunteers. ANCOP, on the other hand, has been working with Ortigas & Co. since 2002, being involved in shelter building for the poor and child education sponsorships.

Question: Did the money come from OCLP or the participants of the tournament? Just asking.

Incidentally, OCLP is the developer of Circulo Verde. I visited the project’s website and in its location page I found this:

Nature’s glory in the midst of the city

Circulo Verde’s accessibility allows its inhabitants to be a stone’s throw away from the rest of the bustling city. It is easily accessible via Metro Manila’s major traffic veins such as EDSA, Ortigas Avenue, E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue (C5), Katipunan Avenue and Marcos Highway. From Circulo Verde, you can immediately reach prominent commercial centers such as Greenhills, Ortigas and Cubao. The Ortigas Center and Makati Business District lie minutes away. Prominent schools such as the Ateneo, U.P. Diliman and La Salle Greenhills and sports facilities like Wack-Wack and Aguinaldo Golf Courses are also easy to get to.

Conspicuously absent is any mention that Circulo Verde is located along Marikina River. Incidentally, last night I heard a news report that Marikina Representative Marcelino Teodoro is eyeing a congressional inquiry into the construction projects along Pasig and Marikina River. That should be good.

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