KMU warns: Anti-militant ads will abet killings

MANILA, Philippines – A labor group on Friday criticized actor-satirist Manuel Urbano Jr. (a.k.a. Jun Urbano) for starring in a government bank infomercial depicting militant groups as troublemakers even as it said that the recent killing of a peasant leader was the ‘opening salvo’ of a new campaign against militants.

The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) warned Urbano he could be held responsible if the commercials of the Development Bank of the Philippines trigger another wave of extra-judicial killings.

“It has been observed that for the last few days a black propaganda against militant legal organizations, purportedly a patriotic commercial TV ad, have been shown in TV programs with Mr. Shooli (Jun Urbano) as lead actor,”the KMU said.

“With flags of KMU and League of Filipino Students providing ad backdrop, Jun Urbano warns off militant organizations and disparage concerted mass actions and people power-type mobilizations in affecting social changes,” the KMU added.

The statement was posted on Friday night in its website.

Urbano gained fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s with his portrayal of the “Mr. Shooli,” a Mongolian trying to learn the ways of the Philippines.

Mr. Shooli, who “starred” in the television and movie satire “Mongolian Barbecue,” poked fun at government officials during its run.

But now, KMU said the DBP commercial declares the illusory “pagbabago’y nasa sarili” or self-remolding as alternative solution to Philippine crisis.

“By allowing himself to be used in such devious commercial, and in the context of the menacing Oplan Bantay Laya, Jun Urbano contributes in putting in danger the safety of the progressive activists. And he could be held guilty and accountable in future extra-judicial killings by the military,” KMU said.

It added the ad was reminiscent of a similar move in 2007 where an anti-KMU black propaganda full-length VCD starring Bembol Roco was circulated in factories, communities and rally areas.

KMU said no solution to the extra-judicial killing of peasant leader Celso Pujas of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas can be expected from President Arroyo, whom it described as “the tyrant herself, the practitioner of state terrorism.”

“And no real and honest investigation can be expected from the PNP, the AFP and the department of justice because their preoccupation is to cover up and let the death squads continue their dirty and murderous acts and discredit the human rights organizations and fact-finding missions,” it said. – GMANews.TV

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