Political branding: Naga City’s priority?

It’s difficult to miss the juxtaposition of blue and green in Naga City these days, what with the color combination painted everywhere from the Plaza Quezon stage to the Bicol Central Station, even on signs on cubicles at the City Hall.

The color combination, of course, is the branding strategy of newly-elected Mayor Nelson Legacion.
Dubbed as “Naga na,” the branding is something he made sure to be put in place on his very first day as local chief executive.

In the days following his assumption to office, Legacion made numerous symbolic moves to eradicate any remnant of previous administrations. These include attempting to rename the official Facebook page Naga Smiles to the World, to erasing the face of former Mayor Bongat on the plaza mural, and even a widely-publicized clobbering of the symbol for the Heart of Bicol on a waiting shed.

All these considered, it is hard to imagine how this rebranding of the City of Naga is anything other than political.

On both the literal and metaphorical levels, it is an obliteration of any vestige of the past administrations while asserting itself of its all-encompassing presence, so that anywhere on which you happen to rest your eyes, you would think, “Naga na.”

We wonder why, of all possible urgent priorities, Legacion chose to focus on the city’s branding, as if it were more pressing than say, perhaps, the city’s garbage crisis, the perpetual traffic problems, the wanton proliferation of illegal drugs.

By doing so, it is apparent that the honorable mayor fails to see several vital facts.

One of these is that the government has limited resources, so that the principle of governance has always been prioritizing not what the constituents want, but what they need.

In relation to this, he likely also fails to see how this political branding in the guise of cultural or tourism-related ends, uses local resources—financial and temporal and whatnot. These resources could be channeled to other more exigent needs such as healthcare, education, livelihood, or food—needs that would undoubtedly serve a wider demographic other than just himself and his cohorts.

We fear that the kitschy color combination now adorning almost every nook and cranny of our beloved city could have blinded him into thinking that the city belongs to him, and not to the Nagueños.

Still let’s hope this blindness and delusion is momentary, and that the honorable mayor would awaken from his deep slumber to the many critical concerns of our community.

Mayor Son, Naga na!