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2022 contenders will run pesos 3.7 billion worth of ads in traditional media before submitting candidacies

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Candidates in the 2022 Philippine election ran tens of thousands of television, radio, print, and billboard ads valued at 3.67 billion pesos ($ 72 million) from January to September 2021 – before submitting their certificates of candidacy (COCs) – and showed the cost of running for public office in the Philippines.

“It is important that voters see it as a red flag when their candidates spend so much money,” said former election commissioner Luie Tito Guia. “Hindi mo alam ang (you know your) motivation to run when you are willing to spend that much,” he said.

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) tally came from Nielsen’s monitoring of potential candidates’ ad spend in early January 2021. The amounts were based on published price lists, but industry players and ad buyers interviewed by PCIJ said candidates could receive discounts.

Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano was the largest ad spenders during the nine month period, running ads valued at 610.4 million pesos ($ 12.2 million).

Television took up the majority of Cayetano’s spending as he was planning a presidential campaign. It ran a total of 584 TV commercials valued at 595.5 million pesos ($ 11.9 million) on a variety of channels, the majority of which aired in September (£ 185.7 million). From January to September he also broadcast radio spots worth 14.8 million pesos.

Despite huge advertising spending, Cayetano performed poorly in presidential polls. In October, when the filing of COCs began, Cayetano dropped his presidential candidacy and instead submitted his COC for the Senate, where his polling scores were better.

Filipino Center for Investigative Journalism

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who is seeking re-election, succeeded Cayetano and ran ads valued at 555 million pesos based on price lists over the nine month period.

Gatchalian invested money in radio advertising and aired 16,436 spots valued at 420.2 million pesos. From January to September there is an average of 60 radio spots per day.

The legislature, son of businessman William Gatchalian and ranked 10th in the 2016 Senate election, didn’t start broadcasting television ads until September, or a month before the COCs were filed. He aired a total of 177 TV spots valued at £ 134 million.

It was rumored that Gatchalian himself had the vice-presidency in mind after print ads posted showing him alongside Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, valued at 1.3 million pesos, from May to June.

PCIJ reached out to the Senator and a campaign officer asked for Nielsen’s details, but he had not made a statement at the time of this writing.

The campaign agent told PCIJ that the senator received “more than 30% off” based on price lists. She said the senator’s family paid for the ads.

PCIJ also reached out to Cayetano but had not yet received a response at the time of this writing.

The Nielsen data to which PCIJ had access did not include candidates’ spending on online platforms that required a separate subscription.

Facebook is transparent with its advertising data through the Ads Library, a tool that records spending on social issues, elections or politics. It showed total spending of 129 million pesos on the platform from August 2020 to November 2021, though the list wasn’t strictly reserved for politicians.

Potential bets start with advertising on Facebook as the 2022 campaign shifts to social media

Gatchalian was Facebook’s largest funder, running a total of 746 ads valued at 7.8 million pesos from August 2020 to November 2021.

PCIJ does not have access to data about the advertising spending of the candidates on Youtube, TikTok and other popular social media platforms.

The Senate’s hope are the top donors

Filipino Center for Investigative Journalism

According to Nielsen’s observations, the Senate’s hopefuls spent more on traditional media advertising than the presidential candidates.

Mark Villar, the former public works secretary who also comes from big business, ran ads valued at 524.9 million pesos and was the third largest funder during the nine month period.

It doubled its spending in September, ran 428 TV spots valued at 354.7 million pesos, and made it the top TV advertising station that month. He ran an average of 14 commercials per day, accounting for 25% of the total ad spend of all candidates on television during that period.

Villar also led radio advertising spending in September, recording 3,559 radio spots, or an average of 118 commercials per day. The ads were valued at 91.4 million pesos and accounted for 29% of total radio ad spend that month.

He didn’t start running his own ads until August, but his high spending was reminiscent of the campaign strategy of his own father, former Senate President Manuel Villar, who consistently topped advertising spending in elections he ran for.

In June and July 2021, he also appeared in 162 separate TV commercials worth $ 174.2 million.

Villar’s mother, Senator Cynthia Villar, also ran pesos 8.1 million worth of print ads, while his sister Camille, who represents Las Piñas in the House of Representatives, spent pesos 559,535 on ads.

By combining their ads, the Villars emerged as the top ad spend over the nine month period, overtaking Cayetano.

PCIJ reached out to Mark Villar’s staff but has not yet received a response.

Former Vice President Jejomar Binay and another senator seeking re-election, Joel Villanueva, were the fourth and sixth largest donors. They ran ads valued at pesos 351.4 million and pesos 262 million, respectively.

Binay followed Cayetano in January-September advertising spending, but was overtaken by other candidates in September.

Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Risa Hontiveros, who are also seeking another term in the Senate, placed ads valued at 71.1 million pesos and 5.5 million pesos, respectively. Ancient Representative Loren Legarda, a former senator seeking to recapture her old seat, ran ads valued at 3.1 million pesos.

Filipino laws, which limit candidates’ advertising spend, won’t apply until the 90-day campaign period begins in February 2022. Under Republic Act 9369, the Electoral Automation Act of 2007, those who submit their COCs only become candidates during that period and are therefore “illegal”. Actions or omissions applicable to a candidate will not take effect until the beginning of the … campaign period. “

The head of the Comelec Campaign Finance Office, lawyer Efraim Bag-id, had his hands tied because there were no sanctions against premature election campaigns. “Simply submitting the COC does not automatically make you a candidate…. Bans on candidates do not apply to them, “Bag-id told the PCIJ.

Presidential candidates, VP candidates lagging behind on advertising spending

Filipino Center for Investigative Journalism

After Cayetano slipped into the Senate, the mayor of Manila, Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, became the largest donor among the presidential candidates. In September he began spending on TV advertising, running 227 spots valued at 305.9 million pesos based on price lists.

Moreno had already published print ads worth 17,820 pence in March.

The front runner in the presidential poll, former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., held back with traditional media ads, based on Nielsen’s data.

Marcos saw just 165,552 pence in advertising spend on print ads published in July 2021.

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson was the second largest donor after Moreno, with advertisements valued at Pesos 182.1 million.

Lacson began running ads in August and doubled its spending in September when he spent P133.4 million on TV commercials and P26.3 million on radio commercials.

Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo has shown advertisements worth 120 million pesos. In contrast to other candidates, she poured her resources out in radio spots. She topped advertising spending on the platform among presidential candidates in September after running 1,602 spots worth 57.8 million pesos.

Before September, it aired radio commercials worth 51.8 million pesos.

Robredo began serving TV ads in September but only aired 16 spots valued at 9.5 million pesos based on price lists. It also placed six print ads worth P784.143.

Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao and Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go had limited advertising spending on traditional media during the nine month period.

Pacquiao published P890.079 in advertisements, mostly in print. A group called the United Muslim Supporters of Pacquiao also published pesos 48,600 in print ads in July.

Go’s ads, valued at £ 131,718, were also mostly in print.

However, both Pacquiao and Go have enjoyed significant media exposure through the news. Pacquiao had a boxing match in August while Go was always present at President Rodrigo Duterte’s television speeches and events.

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan was the largest funder of the nominees for vice president. Like its Vice President Robredo, Pangilinan invested its resources in radio advertising and spent nearly its entire advertising budget of pesos 21.7 million on the platform. He also placed print ads valued at 76,638 pesos.

In addition to the ads she shared with Gatchalian, Sara Duterte ran separate ads valued at 8.9 million pesos on the radio and 2.8 million pesos on billboards.

A movement that arose from its local party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago – the Ituloy ang Pagbabago movement – also spent 2.1 million pesos on outdoor advertising in September.

Senate President and TV presenter Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, the top performer in the poll, recorded only 75,622 Ps in spending. But he enjoyed a high profile comeback on the popular noon show Eat Bulaga to meet up with his former co-hosts before announcing his offer for 2022.

L.Local politicians, party list groups

Local politicians and party groups also recorded significant advertising spending.

Pangasinan’s Governor Amado Espino III and a number of politicians from the northern province of Luzon spent a lot on radio advertising.

Espino was among the top donors, had radio commercials worth 92.5 million pesos and beat many national candidates on the platform.

Other Panamanian politicians who have spent a lot of money on the radio include Mangatarem Mayor Balong Ventenilla (Pesos 60.7 million) and San Carlos City Mayor Julier Resuello (Pesos 9.7 million).

They topped the list of local politicians included on Nielsen Media’s list.

Two groups on the party list had significant advertising spending – Cancer Party List (P10.7 million) and Ako Bicol Party List (P10 million).

Several politicians ran ads but did not file COCs in October. Among them were Senator Grace Poe (P 63.7 million), Palace Spokesman Karlo Nograles (P 47.7 million), Minister of Transport Arthur Tugade (P 10.4 million), Senator Nancy Binay (P 193,745) and Senator Eduardo “ Sonny “. Angara (P188,904). – Rappler.com

This article is republished with permission from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

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