Another one on “Ako Mismo”

Fellow Bloggers’ Kapihan crew Bikoy beat me to posting what I’ve been meaning to say about this new campaign that has been making the rounds among blogs and making quite an impression during the Pacquiao vs Hatton match; “Ako Mismo.

The TV ad was catchy and well done, it was packed with celebrities the youth of today would not think twice to listen to, or watch on TV at least. Heck, even the legendary Ely Beundia is in it.

Allow me to reiterate, borrow and short of plagiarize what Bikoy has said, which I couldn’t have said any better:

I don’t wish to offend anyone. I have friends from many advocacy campaigns of this type. But let me explain my reservations whenever I’m invited into these campaigns. My problem with “Ako Mismo” and the dozens of other “I” campaigns that have been initiated (and have flopped) these past years, is that it fosters an illusion that mundane individual efforts to do good, and nothing more, is enough to change society. These are well meaning campaigns, but I don’t think they actually call for positive action or call for change. These are calls for neutral action–to do things we’re supposed to be doing anyway.

What I think is dangerous about campaigning for this is that it neutralizes a person’s capacity to do more than what one is supposed to do in the first place. It’s like, fine, just pay your taxes, smile at people, sweep your backyard, do things within your comfort zone and that’s enough to change society. It’s not. Let us not justify the laziness or the inability of the middle class to get out of their comfort zone to change society.

These are the types of campaigns, believe it or not, that people in power or in government and big businesses employ to maintain the status quo, simply because doing ’simple everyday good things’ do just that and nothing more. It effectively cloaks their part in the equation as to why we are where we sadly are. It makes you forget their role in sustaining the rotten order of society. It makes you think of questioning their policies or their authority as simple pagrereklamo. And worse, it demonizes those who do that. “Forget about the corruption and the repression we commit, just do your own little nice things!” And even worse, it blames the individual Filipino for all the problems he is experiencing!

Exactly! This is the classic “divide-and-conquer” tactics of the ruling class. Since our individual selves are to blame for the so-called problems of the country, we, in our individual capacity can and should fix this.

Again, why not “we” or “tayo”? Bikoy once more answers this eloquently;

Its always about the individual. It’s never about the collective. It’s never the “We”. Collective action is too dangerous for the status quo. It’s all about pacifying the individual to be content with the things he already does and to buy a dog tag, a t-shirt, or a bracelet to show it off.

What’s really dangerous about the “ako mismo” ideology is that the individual is left to blame himself for the troubles this country has. And since he blames himself, he takes on efforts to change himself and only himself. But I’m telling you, your entire life could be spent on trying to change yourself, but the troubles are still there because everyone else around you has not changed. My college mentor once said it beautifully,

“Mamamatay ka na siguro, hindi mo pa nababago ang sarili mo. Kaya paano mo mababago ang lipunan kung hihintayin mo munang mabago ang sarili mo?”

Since when did social change became a one-man thing? Was Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio alone when they worked to free the Philippines from tyranny and suffering? Did the brave Filipinos made individually-unique pledges when they sign-up for the Katipunan? Heck, even Jesus took on twelve disciples to carry out his mission and ministry. Kung gusto natin ng pagbabago, magsama-sama tayo, hindi lang ako o ikaw, TAYO.

It’s election season

With the election season shifting to full gear, I cannot help but be suspicious of this campaign, particularly its website. When I visited the site to explore it last Sunday, it required me to register first, before I was allowed to check out all the pages and sections.

The registration asked for my real name, home address, e-mail address and telephone numbers. A confirmation e-mail is even required to activate your account and verify your email address at the same time.

From a PR perspective, every sign-up is another individual in my database of potential contacts/targets for a campaign to help a candidate, party or group.

The many stars and high-profile individuals who were featured in the TV ad hint that the folks behind this campaign have deep pockets. Even if the celebrities volunteered, the fact that the TV ads were shown during Pacquiao vs Hatton match in which airtime cost millions, it simply validates my earlier hunch.

Lastly, since reports have said that Edu Manzano had launched this campaign last month, I cannot help but get even more suspicious of this one.

Addendum:

As I’ve commented on Sir Martin Perez‘ (a fellow BK Crew) blog, I thought for a while that he may have just started another big thing in PISAY, with a huge budget too! Because of all the stars and the TV ad spot during the Pacquiao match, but it was too good to be true. All because his blog’s name is “Ako Mismo” and has used this long before this campaign hit the television airwaves. Just like me, he too is bewildered by this.

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