Just this weekend, the government of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. inaugurated the “Bagong Pilipinas” campaign by releasing Memorandum Circular No. 24 ordering the executive branch to adopt it as part of “the national government's branding and communications strategy.”
This branding campaign, I believe, demonstrates how committed this government is in achieving its development goals. As spelled out in MC 24 and in various pronouncements by government officials, the all-inclusive plan for economic and social transformation includes the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, which seeks to steer the economy back to a high-growth path; the President’s eight-point socio-economic agenda which seeks to enhance bureaucratic efficiency and sound fiscal management, reinvigorate job creation, accelerate poverty reduction; and, the Pambansang Pabahay Para sa Pilipino Program, otherwise known as the “4PH Program,” which seeks to ensure the access of underprivileged and homeless citizens to adequate, safe, secure, habitable, sustainable, resilient and affordable homes.
These are lofty goals which is why it requires all instrumentalities of government moving in unison. And this is also the reason why the Marcos administration launched this branding campaign. As MC 24 explained, government is committed “to embody a brand of governance and leadership that is focused on implementing an all-inclusive plan for economic and social transformation.” And “Bagong Pilipinas” is the “overarching theme” of the administration’s brand of governance and leadership. The memorandum elucidated on this brand of governance as one “which calls for deep and fundamental transformations in all sectors of society and government,” and, “is characterized by a principled, accountable and dependable government reinforced by unified institutions of society.”
The economic, social and political objectives of the Marcos administration are indeed herculean. But as I always remind budding entrepreneurs: “Dream big.” This is our government dreaming big for the country. I actually like the brand name — Bagong Pilipinas — because it implies getting rid of old habits and embracing new ones. It sets our collective vision to a new future. It is very hopeful and transformative.
It actually reminded me of former President Fidel V. Ramos’ “Philippines 2000” which he launched during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Congress during my first term as representative of the then Las Piñas-Muntinlupa district. I remember that the executive branch that time was very aggressive and enthusiastic in pursuing Philippines 2000 as our nation’s strategic framework to establish effective government. I clearly recall the philosophy behind Philippines 2000 as explained by President Ramos in the SONA and even in private conversations — “We need to put our house in order so that our drive for development can begin.” Just like “Philippines 2000,” “Bagong Pilipinas” is catchy, easy to remember, and inspires trust and fervor.
What needs to be done now is to make sure that the branding campaign goes beyond logos, colors and taglines. Branding — in private business and in government — cannot be limited to printing the logo in government letterheads or quoting taglines in official statements and speeches. They are important, of course, but for branding campaigns to be successful it needs to actually strengthen how people see government’s development plans and how they see this administration’s efforts at improving their lives. In other words, the program has to work.
A strong brand strategy sets the tone for people to understand what government is doing and inspire them to support these development efforts. And the most important element is that it should establish trust. We have heard of the phrase “trusted brands.” In the private sector brand trust refers to the confidence that customers have in your brand’s ability to deliver on what it promises. The same is true with government branding — the people must have confidence in government’s ability to fulfill the promises of its socio-economic agenda.
I hope the Bagong Pilipinas campaign gets the support of our people. I hope it inspires all of us to set aside differences and unite for a common goal — winning the war on poverty and prosperity for all Filipinos.