'Noynoying' irks Palace but anti-planking solon backs new protest 'inaction'

Picture from the Facebook page of Anakbayan shows activists 'Noynoying' during Thursday's protest against oil price hikes.
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MANILA, Philippines -- After Malacanang spokesman Edwin Lacierda initially brushed it off as “propaganda (that) will not sell to the public,” Malacanang on Friday suddenly found “Noynoying” offensive even as the novel form of dissent introduced by activists during Thursday’s protest against oil prices became a hit.

In fact, a congressman who had earlier filed a bill seeking to ban “planking,” the stiff-bodied, face-down pose activists had adopted in earlier protests, proclaimed himself a supporter of Noynoying.

But Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma saw nothing good in Noynoying, calling it “degrading.”

Quezon City Rep. Winnie Castelo, the lawmaker who said 'No' to planking, supports 'Noynoying.' (Photo by Joseph Holandes Ubalde)

Named after President Benigno Aquino III, whose nickname is Noynoy, the new protest form involves a bit of play-acting since it requires people to pick a lazy or laidback pose and then act the same way in a parody of what activists say is the chief executive’s attitude towards incessant oil price hikes and other national problems.

Vencer Crisostomo, national chairman of the youth group Anakbayan, described it as “when you do nothing when in fact you have something to do.”

Thursday’s protesters took to Noynoying to get around threats reportedly made by the Metro Manila Development Authority to arrest plankers.

According to Crisostomo, Noynoying became a top 10 Twitter trend and also inspired memes on the popular humor site 9gag.

Pictures of activists Noynoying have also been spreading on Facebook, spurring Anakbayan to create a fan page,

“In our view, this is highly inappropriate and we take vigorous exception to this,” Coloma said, as he stressed that Aquino was a hands-on president who plays an active role in seeking solutions to key issues facing the country.

He cited Aquino’s role in disaster preparedness as shown during recent calamities, including storm “Sendong,” which devastated northern Mindanao last December.

Aquino came under criticism for not immediately visiting areas struck by Sendong, especially Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities.

“(Noynoying) is not attuned to the reality that is seen especially with regard to the President’s response to climate change and risk reduction, ” Coloma said.

He added that Aquino continues to enjoy high approval ratings despite the criticisms hurled against him, even as he implored the public to speak up and defend the President against the “lazy protest.”

Crisostomo justified Noynoying saying it gave people “the opportunity to laugh at something which is normally enraging, even if for a while.”

On the other hand, Quezon City Representative Winnie Castelo told InterAksyon he supports the new form of protest “inaction.”

“We will definitely not put it into (a) law (banning Noynoying). We respect the rights of the individuals to express their grievances,” Castelo said. “I for onewill oppose any move to prevent the Noynoying.”

He maintained that planking is dangerous in contrast to Noynoying , which he described as “a passive expression of our sentiments that will not put the lives of the people in danger.”

Castelo said he remained keen on the passage of House Bill 5316, or the “Anti-planking Bill,” which he filed last September.

"The anti-planking is on hold. We will continue with the debates, it is under study; it is in the back burner," Castelo said.