A PALACE spokesman said Thursday that President Aquino’s call for supporters to wear a yellow ribbon should not be taken too seriously, in the wake of criticsm that he was polarizing the nation.
“At least our country has become colorful. Maybe we should not be too serious about it,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma.
“You will have noticed that the President did not really have very specific ideas on his mind when he answered the question,” he added.
On Tuesday, Aquino was asked by Management Association of the Philippines president Gregorio Navarro what support he wanted from the Filipino people after the Supreme Court declared several acts under the administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program as unconstitutional.
“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,” the President said during the open forum portion of the Daylight Dialogue.
“But we will be posting a more detailed list of requests to our bosses in the coming days,” he added.
Several groups, however, have made their own color-coded calls to oppose the President’s yellow ribbon pitch.
The militant group Bayan Muna has called on the public to wear peach to show support for the impeachment complaints filed against Aquino.
On Facebook, ordinary citizens began using black ribbons and ribbons bearing the colors of the flag as profile and cover pictures.
Coloma said the President’s response was “just a light moment in the entire dialogue.”
“I don’t think there will be efforts to start counting who are yellow and if the peach have more numbers,” he said.
“We can take it seriously but not too seriously. There is no intention to start a competition of colors,” Coloma added.
The President is always seen wearing his trademark yellow ribbon instead of the Philippine flag during public engagements.
On Tuesday, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. accused Aquino of “dividing the nation.”
“It is plain ridiculous to force us to wear yellow ribbons. It is a self-serving call—childish and baduy. He is supposed to be answering questions on DAP, not dictate on what color of pin we should wear,” Reyes said.
“He is dividing the nation. People don’t really care about yellow ribbons anyway. The message he is sending is a dangerous one: that if you are not yellow, you are the enemy; that if you are not with us, then you are against us.”
“Perhaps Aquino is set to release DAP funds to buy 98 million yellow ribbons, thereby stimulating the economy and spreading wondrous benefits to all,” Reyes added.
On Friday, teachers belonging to the ACT Teachers party-list will march on Mendiola near the Palace wearing black ribbons and arm bands to dramatize their protest against the DAP.
“President Aquino is just setting himself up for embarrassment as wearing a yellow ribbon will not catch on,” ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said.
Tinio reminded Aquino that wearing a yellow ribbon during the time of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos meant fighting the dictatorship.
“Today, it’s the opposite. Yellow ribbon means supporting [Aquino’s] dictatorial usurpation of the powers of Congress through the unlawful DAP,” Tinio said.
Also on Thursday, Migrante International said Aquino should not expect yellow ribbons from overseas Filipino workers who were disappointed by the President’s continued defense of DAP.
“No yellow ribbons for Filipinos overseas and their families. They want him out,” said Garry Martinez, chairman of Migrante International.
Various labor groups said they will burn a huge yellow ribbon, the official symbol of the Aquino campaign in 2010, to dramatize the workers condemnation of Aquino’s arrogant defense of the DAP at Mendiola Bridge in Manila.
Hundreds of workers from the Kilusang Mayo Uno, Migrante, Anakbayan, Gabriela, and other militant groups will march Friday to demand the immediate auditing of the Aquino government’s P172 billion DAP fund. With Christine F. Herrera, Vito Barcelo and Sara Susanne D. Fabunan