PUBLIC service or clever political advertising?
Either way, Pacquiao fever was a chance to get some early campaigning done in Cebu City where the Bando Osmena-Pundok Kauswagan is hosting free live telecasts in several barangays today.
The free viewing in at least 16 of 80 barangays is a boon to ordinary fans, who can’t afford a P1,500 pay-per-view cable TV subscription or a Sunday brunch for P600 in a hotel to watch Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao square off with American boxer Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“The barangay captains and leaders asked us for the free viewing so we chipped in,” said Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young.
He said he paid for the pay-per-view fees for barangays Mabolo and Hippodromo, while Rep. Tomas Osmena and other BO-PK members covered the rest.
Barangay leaders took care of physical arrangements on site like setting up wide screens.
The move is clearly part of BO-PK campaign strategy for 2013 where Osmeña is eyeing a comeback in City Hall as mayor.
“So what? What’s the big deal? Election season or not, we sponsor this (free viewing of Pacquiao fights),” said Young. The BO-PK also sponsored select barangays for a similar project for Pacuqiao’s fight last year.
Streamers emblazoned with “Type O” were distributed to venues. “Type O” is the new campaign teaser that reminds people that Tomas Osmena is running for mayor next year.
Young, who is seeking reelection, said he won’t be watching the Pacquiao fight “because I can’t stand the excitement.”
He said he would rest to prepare for Osmena’s return next week when BO-PK members will be visiting barangays for rounds of handshaking.
In its blocktime radio program yesterday, the BO-PK announced free viewing in government sports complexes in Mabolo (Mabolo sports complex, Camansi and Holy Name), San Miguel in Apas, Camputhaw, Capitol Site, Hippodromo, Talamban, Tejero, Sambag II, T. Padilla, Buhisan, Tisa, Labangon, Pasil, Pahina San Nicolas, Guadalupe and Pardo.
Nanette Garong, the radio host, said “Type O” round girls will be walking around the venue to announce each round of the boxing bout.
Osmeña left for the US on Friday with his wife, Councilor Margarita Osmeña, and son Miguel for his annual medical checkup, a visit timed for the Las Vegas boxing match.
Several hotels, restaurants, cinemas, and the Cebu Coliseum offer guests a chance to watch the fight in air-conditioned comfort for a fee, with some of them bundling it with a lunch buffet for P600 to P800.
The Cebu Coliseum lowered its rate by half with ringside seats at P150 , P100 for the lower box, P50 for the upper box and P20 for general admission instead of P50 before.
“Whoever is his opponent, the fight can really draw interest because of Pacquiao”, said Joey Nolasco of the Over Coffee Management which initiated the pay per view in the coliseum.
He said they lowered the rates from last year’s Pacquiao match so more people can afford to see the fight.
For P100, people can also watch it at the Mandaue City Sports complex said the city government public information officer Roger Paller.
SM is opening its Cinema 7 in Cebu City and Cinema 3 in Consolacion for viewers who pay P500.
Skycable said about 1,800 TV subscribers in Metro Cebu availed of pay-per-view to watch in the comfort of their homes for P1,500.
Councilor Raul Alcoseba will be watching the Pacquiao fight from his restaurant Yayo’s Grill near the Capitol where the bout will be aired for free starting 9 a.m.
In barangay Tejero, free public viewing will be held in the 200-capacity sports complex which can hold 200, said barangay secretary Sarian Roque, who said the sponsor was Congressman Osmena.
“We will start setting up at 7 a.m.,” said barnagay captain Michael Gacasan.
He said they solicited donations and accepted the sponsorship of the congressman.
In Punta Princesa and Kamputhaw, the free public viewing is not sponsored by any politicians, said Lorenzo Basamot , barangay Kamputhaw captain.
“The free public viewing is supported by our barangay council,” he said.
Carreta barangay captain Eduardo Lauron said he would have their “traditional” public viewing of the Pacquiao fight in his compound beside Queensland Motel.
“We didn’t accept the offer of the BO-PK because I stick to the usual venue,” Lauron said.
The venue can accommodate more than 200 persons but they have to pay P50 each.
Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama said he will be roving around different barangays today to check on peace and order then watch the main fight with Citom chairman Jack Jakosalem at Cebu Parklane International Hotel.
“I will be watching at Parklane with Mike Rama as we always do in every Pacquiao fight,” said Jakosalem, in the company of sports reporters and columnists. /Jhunnex Napallacan, Edison delos Angeles and Tweeny Malinao