IF you are a motorist regularly plying Edsa, you've probably noticed the thank you messages to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel coach Alfrancis Chua flashing on Metro Manila Development Authority-installed LED screens along the busy stretch of road since Monday.
And how come it is no longer there? Here is the explanation.
MMDA director Yves Gonzalez told Spin.ph on Wednesday their office received numerous queries regarding the public announcement showing a picture of Chua with a message that goes: “Salamat sa laban coach, babalik tayo next conference."
Gonzalez explained the message, which was seen on each corner of the LED screens, did not come from the MMDA but from the private partners that installed and maintains the giant screens in strategic locations along Edsa.
“Ad siya … pero hindi siya paid,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, a lawyer, stressed that only the middle portion of the screens is controlled by the MMDA, where the office regularly releases traffic updates, advisories, and other public announcements.
“Yung gitna lang ang sa amin doon. Kaya when we received inquiries from fans, nag clear kami sa private partner,” explained Gonzalez.
Here's the catch.
The company that installed and maintains the LED screens for the MMDA, Consortium of Cyber Research Corporation and HDI companies, turned out to be staffed by people who are mostly fans of Ginebra, from the boss down to the employees.
Gonzalez even shared the message sent to him by a representative from HDI.
“Ang reply sa akin nung private partner: ‘Sir it is just a form of support to the basketball team that lost. Barangay Ginebra fans lang boss. It is not a paid ad,” Gonzalez said, reading the text message.
In response, Gonzalez advised officials of the multi-media company to remove the much-talked about announcement to avoid the impression that the MMDA, a government institution, is supporting Ginebra.
The company took down the message on Tuesday evening.
“So we asked them to kindly remove it na lang. We’ve been getting a lot of queries if MMDA is supporting Barangay Ginebra, when we have no position on the matter,” said Gonzales.
Chua also denied having anything to do with the message.
"Kung ako ang nagbayad at nagpalagay nyan, de sana mas malalaki pa dyan," he told Spin.ph in jest.
HDI companies corporate legal counsel head Noel Cruz explained that most of their employees, including the owner himself, are big Ginebra fans.
The message, he said, was their way of expressing support to the Gin Kings and Chua after their dream run in the just-concluded Commissioner’s Cup ended in a loss to Alaska in the Finals.
“We cannot deny that majority of our company employees and officers are Ginebra fans,” added Cruz. “Natuwa lang siguro sila sa ipinakita ng Ginebra kaya they came out with that ad.”
Even PBA television broadcaster Magoo Marjon was surprised to see the messages along Edsa.
“Ang tibay ano? Tinalo pa nila yung nag-champion,” Marjon laughed.