Monday, May 4, 2009

Ako Mismo: Pop-culture Social Activism

Ako Mismo

I was away during the weekend for the committee deliberations of the University of the Philippines Diliman University Student Council. Now we're back in Manila. While I was catching up with news, reading the Sunday papers, one whole spread advertisement caught my attention -- Ako Mismo! And so, being very curious about what it is and why Ely Buendia, Edu Manzano, Maxene Magalona and Chris Tiu among others are there, I registered to find out. After I registered, I saw from a friend's post that she saw this TV ad while watching the delayed telecast of the Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton bout.

The main point of the site is to make a stand and to take "real action for the causes you believe in, causes that you yourself can truly pursue to make a real, positive difference to your fellow countryman and to your country", for me, this is really good. No doubt about that. I believe that this heck-of-a-site (no pun intended) would make Filipino people aware and join in. With about 30,000 pledges, and a lot more to come, this is a great vehicle to raise consciousness of the inequalities, irregularities, and problems individuals have and see right now in society, and among our midst. This is a sample of the pledges people committed in the website:

Ako Mismo Pledges

Now, yes that this is a good site, but more than that, I have qualms regarding my full support to it. More than knowing what Ako Mismo really is (who is behind it, is it a political ploy for 2010, and all our other questions), I am more particular in pointing out that although as I have said that this raises people's awareness, this also creates pop-culture social activism or worse, an illusion of actually doing something, for change, for the nation. What do I mean by that?

This campaign only gives the Filipino people an excuse to feel-good, and feel that they are actually doing something by joining the bandwagon for social activism and change. Yes, you can easily register and pledge something. Not doubting one's capability to actualize the pledge, but I find it too superficial and hiding behind the curtains.

Bikoy clearly gives an example of my point saying, "Sure, by all means, let us pay our taxes, register to vote, obey traffic rules, sweep the floor, pray, smile at others, be nice, be proud to be pinoy! Aba, dapat lang. Isn’t that what one is supposed to do regardless of any campaign for social change? Isn’t that what we are already doing? Let’s not stop doing it, fine. But please, it reeks of great naivete to think that doing things we are already doing will change Philippine society." He adds that "let us not justify the laziness or the inability of the [people] to get out of their comfort zone to change society."

But for me, I still believe in the "I", the "ako", the individual aspirations, dreams, hopes, and actions that create a whole, that move the I to become the "we" or the "tayo". As Fritz say, We cannot engage collectively without the I. It is important for everyone to believe that he or she is the change, thus "I am Change!" Once the people or majority of the people are aware, then the collective action can take place; it enjoins more people, thus making the action bigger, louder, and maybe can actually see change systemically.


As I was browsing through other bloggers' sites, I found reason to speculate against or doubt about this as blogged about by Carlo Ople, but I leave these to the political analysts and technical specialists like Manolo Quezon, "who thinks that this might be the program that will launch the candidacy of Manny Pangilinan", and others who are questioning why the site is requesting a lot -- from your full name, contact details, email, among others.

P.S. I'm sure those Dog Tags would sell like hotcakes (a really nice way to market something, don't you think?)

Related Links:

Bikoy's On Ako Mismo

Karla's Ako Mismo!

AkoMismo: Steak served on a black plate

What is "Ako Mismo"?

Ako Mismo advocacy for change in the Philippines taps Old and New Media

ka-edong's Ako Mismo

Ako Mismo...


Ako Mismo Campaign

Ako Mismo Doubts and Concerns

Edu Manzano Spearheads "Ako Mismo" Movement

Ako Mismo Campaign and Questions over Privacy

DBB Takes Ownership of Ako Mismo Campaign

Taking My Blog's Name Back - It's AKOMISMO

Ako Mismo: No Thanks

Crab Mentality

Ako Mismo's DDB Fires Up the PR

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  1. That was a nice commercial if I do say so myself. Efren Penaflorida! I know him! We did a segment of him on our show and I was the contact person! :) I like the point of the site/project, awareness is a good thing. But yun nga, sometimes pushing through with what we say we'll do, is what many people lack.

    Thanks Bong!

  2. I must admit Crista that it's a PERFECT commercial in my book. I'm not entirely against it because I see the need of the ad and the awareness, but siguro lang we must take into consideration many other factors, some pointed out by Bikoy among others.

  3. hmmmm..haven't thought of it that way...

  4. got this from an email:

    To all those that signed up with AKO MISMO!

    You are now part of SMART telecoms network for potential campaigns in 2010.

    The amount of information they have asked is so detailed that they can track you down to your zip code and contact you any time. In all my years of signing up for information I have never had a site require so much information AS REQUIRED FIELDS.

    This makes for a perfect voter mapping database and campaign tool for anyone that wants to pay SMART for the information.

    Did you think SMART would pay MILLIONS in production and advertising and talent costs for nothing?

    If you refer to their privacy policy that no one ever reads, it states:

    AKO MISMO MAY use the personal information you provide to:
    • Contact you – either in response to a query or suggestion, or to mail newsletters, documents, publications, etc.
    • “Remember” your online profile and preferences;
    • Help you quickly find information that is relevant to you based on your interests, and help us create site contents most relevant to you;

    In other words the can PUSH information to you which is an important tool in making sure that you can receive even unwanted campaign messages.

    • Undertake statistical analysis.

    They can use your answers to this PUSH for other mapping and trending purposes.

    They also wash their hands of any person “accidentally” cracking the site and getting all your info. If you read privacy policy, again, which no one reads:

    AKO MISMO shall not be liable under any circumstances for damages resulting from unauthorized use of information collected from visitors to the site.

    AKO MISMO may change this privacy policy to reflect changes in the way we collect visitor information.

    As a final warning, their privacy policy claims that you can still access this site even if you do not sign up (again from the privacy policy page):

    What if I don’t want to provide personal information?
    Providing personal information on the AKO MISMO web site is optional. If you choose not to provide personal information, you can still browse and use the AKO MISMO site, but you will not be able to carry out certain actions.

    This is not true. None of the pages are viewable unless you have signed in. This is already a sure sign that their intent is to make you sign up and not just to make you a part of a youth reform activity.

    A friendly piece of advice: Go back to the site and change your details please change all the details that pertain to AGE, SEX, and, LOCATION.

    Also change your phone number if you like. This is to protect your privacy.

    And remember you are still holding on to your pledge of participation in making our country great and they promise not to bar you from accessing the site even if you change your details so you will lose nothing but you will take back your security.

    Please pass to all the people you know who may have signed up.

    Ingat lang tayo po sa mga ganito.


  5. it's a new years resolutions list in may.

    again, nothing inherently wrong in that. but that's just that, a list of personal and individual resolutions gathered together masquerading as... I don't know, a social movement?

  6. It's actually a lot like, but that one was established before Ako Mismo, and done by students. :)

  7. Maxene Magalona comments on Ako Mismo -

  8. Christa, i also happen to be a fan of Efren "Kuya F" Penaflorida (kahit na 30++ na ako, kuya pa rin) Well, I've read awhile ago na tama si Efren when he said na hindi nya sasayangin and CNN recognition as a hero para sa isang campaign na malasado at politically motivated. Wala pa naman silang awarding eh mabubulilyaso na sya. Hindi naman siguro ganon sya katanga to waste his decade of pushing that kariton tapos ang ending eh magpapagamit sya sa kung sino. SAYANG NAMAN! Kaya I trust him kasi in my fullest belief, what he did in Cavite silently for a long time surpasses all the politicians projects using (or I must say "misusing") our taxes.

    Bong, paniwalaan natin si Maxene at si Kuya F at huwag yang mga naninira.

  9. Celso, I think that the work of Efren is really good. No doubt that the commercial and the campaign is well thought of. I do believe na he should be noted because of this.

    I love the project, but what I am just pointing out is that the possible scenrios of molding the Filipino people's minds into thinking that natatali lang sa ganito ang pwede nilang gawin. (okay fine, I might went overboard in saying that "This campaign only gives the Filipino people an excuse," but rather I should have said that "This campaign may give the Filipino people an excuse and a false-mindset of doing something," to dispel prejudice to each individual's capability).

    Parang ang comfortable for everyone to just sign in and pledge, while a lot of the Filipino people have no cellphone to text to the campaign or to access internet to sign up for it.

    Yup, okay, after reading Maxene's statments, I slashed off the "edit" part to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    Ok, given this campaign, it is more apt to channel all the people who have pledged and their awareness to actualize something for the nation.

    I dunno what it might be, but sayang eh, we must collectively push for good governance and ethical leadership for example. With all these people and those who would be enlightened by the campaign, I believe, madaling makapagbago ng isang mali na obvious na obvious na existent, but walang gumagalaw? or konti lang ang lumalaban para roon, di ba?

    To dispel notions of paninira sa kanila, I am not destroying them, or the campsign. I am just pointing different mindsets or viewpoints we can look at this whole thing. I am just providing the venue for different opinions to be expressed. In fact, I am very willing to help in the campaign, and give my two cents as to its success and development. Mismo.

  10. I am not a celebrity. I am just an ordinary Filipino citizen. I also don't get to join rallies and my advocacies don't have wide-scale platforms. This makes me live among like-minded citizens on a daily basis, seeing them behave and interacting with them. And I can assure you, most of the Filipinos I know need to shape up. They are not being responsible citizens. This is why they need to be reminded sometimes that they have a responsibility to their country with who they are and what they have without, for once, blaming other people for their misery and struggles. Although this doesn't meant that they need to oblige to suspicious advocacies like Ako Mismo. I, myself, did not. On a positive note, I also know of Filipinos who are responsible citizens and they are quiet not in demeanor but meditative in their firm commitment to be on a reflective mode on a daily basis as revolution is not the answer when the pace of change that they want in others can be started with who they are. After all, looking forward to a better unified Philippines can't happen when we are hung up on our collective mistrust of authority. Such victim complex only misleads us to think that the real government is in Malacanang when we are the true government.



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