Sun, Jan 18, 2015 - Page 14 News List

Philippine firms flog ‘Brand Pope’ amid papal visit

By Joel Guinto  /  AFP, MANILA

Philippine bishops did not put out guidelines on the use of Francis’ image for merchandising to give the poor a chance to make money, said Father Rufino Sescon of the organizing committee.

“[And] if we regulate, it might look like we’re the ones trying to make money off the pope,” he said.

Josie Rudavites, who runs a tiny stall outside one of Manila’s most popular churches, said daily sales had jumped 10-fold to 3,000 Philippine pesos (US$67) since she started selling badges and calendars bearing Francis’ image.

“The pope is all the rage,” said Rudavites, 36, who normally sells candles for praying at the church.

A customer at a nearby stall, Angie Nalang, said she had brought her 17-year-old autistic son to the religious market surrounding the church because he was desperate for a souvenir.

“He said he wants anything with the pope on it,” Nalang said, as her son picked a white T-shirt adorned with an image of Francis smiling and waving.

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