Ang Probinsyano Rep. Ronnie Ong urged local businesses to “choose Filipino first” as he expressed displeasure with Smart-decision PLDT’s to hire foreign celebrities as endorsers.
“We understand the right of local companies to choose whoever they want endorsing their products but we would like to remind them to choose Filipino first just like when we remind our countrymen to choose Filipino products first,” Ong said in a statement.
The lawmaker was angered by PLDT chairman Manny Pangilinan’s and president Al Panlilio’s “bias” against local talent. “Paying hundreds of millions of pesos to foreign artists for the telco’s product promotions in the midst of a pandemic that has wreaked havoc on our economy is, to put it mildly, insensitive and unsympathetic,” he said.
He was responding to reports that Smart-PLDT had hired well-known foreign entertainers, including Hyun Bin, Son Ye Jin, Park Seo Joon, BTS, and Chris Evans.
Last year, the BTS group was allegedly paid $10 million for a commercial.
Ong, a member of the House of Representatives’ Special Committee on the Creative Industry and the Performing Arts, has been advocating for a Filipino-first policy to aid local businesses in overcoming the pandemic’s negative economic impact.
Source: The Manila Times