“Bread and Circuses” is a phrase attributed to Juvenal, a Roman poet. It is translated from “panem et circenses” It refers to how public satisfaction is generated through superficial ways. “Give them bread and circuses, and they will never revolt,” is the full quote.
The second half of “Bread and Circuses” was on full display at the Marcos inaugural. A civil-military parade marched at the event. Allies of the President were quick to commend the display. The parade supposedly “raised the morale” of Filipinos. It also apparently showcased “national pride”.
Such symbolism and myth-making were central to Marcos’ campaign. “Unity” was not just a tagline. It was central to his marketing. It differentiated him from the unnamed, shadowy “dividers”.
And it appears that symbolism will be key to the Marcos government. “Unity” and its variations were mentioned at least 6 times in his inaugural speech. In fact, his address was still essentially a campaign stump speech.
Hopefully, we will see more policy in the State of the Nation Address. We want to see the prose of governance.
Our Daily Bread
We do not need a President who will run a permanent campaign. Especially with what is at stake.
The “Bread” in “Bread and Circuses” also loomed large in the Marcos inauguration. The Philippine Baking Industry Group (Philbaking) recently sought a P4.50 price increase for bread products. These include the popular Pinoy Tasty and Pandesal. Prices of wheat have been soaring because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Bread was not mentioned in the inaugural speech. However, he did talk about food security. He gave us four half-baked paragraphs. He said that food sufficiency must be given “preferential treatment”.
Surely, this will be the biggest item on the President’s plate. He has decided to retain direct control of the Agriculture portfolio. He has no alter-ego to blame in his Cabinet.
Hopefully, the President will soon buckle down on securing our daily bread. Food on every plate is better than distributing Nutribun 2.0.