Thursday, May 10, 2007

Good Citizenship + Good Leadership = Dream Philippines

This is where I am coming from.

Bad citizens produce bad leaders. Good citizens elect good leaders. It is that simple. Manolo's Your Leader is Like You from the ArabNews somehow validates my view. We usually blame the trapos, who are indeed the salot of our society, but did we ever try to look at the mirror? It is so easy to put blame on everything but never on ourselves.

Yes, GMA is also part of the salot. Just look at the number of her relatives running is this election. Look at how the military is being used to her advantage. The problem is, GMA is in power because of our own doing, because of what we are as a people. (GMA's rise to power is not simply EDSA2. It was the result of series of events which are our own doing like electing Erap in 1998. What if we elected Joe De Venecia or Raul Roco in instead of Erap, would we be better than what we are now? No one can really tell.) What we have become as a nation is our collective doing. We cannot just blame everything on a single entity, be it a person, a party, a system or whatever. A major component of the problem is us. Ousting GMA will not really lead us to our DREAM PHILIPPINES unless we change first as a people. We should take responsibility on what our country has become.

The very first question that will be asked is how are we going to change as people? How are we going to influence the collective psyche and mindset of Filipinos to become good citizens?

This is all about creating a good citizenship product, package it and market it well. The product must be something that every Filipinos can identify with. Atty. Alexander Lacson has written a book entitled 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country. When I first read about the 12 little things, my first reaction is that the list is elitist, pang middle class. It is a good citizenship product but with a very limited market. It cannot capture the imagination of ordinary Filipinos. We need something better.

A lot of good citizenship products usually coming from private corporations have come out before. Aside from the tons of "go out and vote" ads we have right now, the most recent that I could recall is the Johnny Delgado commercial where he is seated in the backseat of a car saying, "Bakit ang mga Pilipino kapag nasa ibang bansa sumusunod sa batas" or something to that effect. I'm sure there were also campaigns that came from JOLLIBEE, PLDT, GLOBE and media outfits like GMA and ABS CBN. I know ABS CBN had a plug about our flag some years back. The problem with these campaigns is that they are not sustained, sometimes self-serving and more of a kanya kanya aproach. To influence the collective mindset, the campaigns coming from various entities must be coordinated. Otherwise, these campaigns will not create an impact. I, myself, can’t even recall most of these campaigns.

Therefore, there must be a single campaign with a single source of content. The content may be provided by a small group with the same vision on good citizenship. The title of this blog "Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas" may be used as a slogan for the campaign and using the Panatang Makabayan, the very first entry on this blog, as a basic source of content. From there, the content can evolve into more specific values such as honesty, integrity, excellence, punctuality, etc.

Packaging is a very necessary ingredient of the campaign. The campaign must never, never be identified with any political group specially the administration. A good citizenship campaign is an excellent deodorizer and deflector of issues. In 2005, GMA declared 2005 -2015 as the decade of GOOD GOVERNANCE AND CITIZENSHIIP. Last year, a conference on GOOD CITIZENSHIP was held at UP NCPAG which I believe is the result of the proclamation. The website of the campaign, is now missing in action. Manolo pointed out before that the organizers of this conference are identified with Malacanang. That essentially makes the whole activity null and void. A government with a very low trust rating will never be taken seriously. The moment the envisioned campaign becomes identified with government, the whole exercise will just be a waste.

The other component of the packaging is for it to be faceless. A good citizenship campaign must not be identified with a known personality. If the campaign takes off, chances are many politicians may want to join the bandwagon. Any form of support coming from politicians must be avoided unless they want to be anonymous in their support. The campaign must truly be a people's initiative. If the campaign gets media’s attention, the basic question of “who” will and must not be answered. The "who" will divert the attention from the campaign so it must remain faceless. Media must not always get what it wants. It cannot dictate on us how things can be done all of the time.

Another important component of the campaign is that it must be able to capture the imagination of our people. It is a must. There must be a strategy where each and every one of us, even those living and working overseas, may be involved or can identify with in this campaign. How to capture that imagination of every Filipino? That is the trade secret.

The execution or marketing is the most difficult and easiest part. Difficult for it is quite hard to get the ball rolling. Who is willing to support this campaign without any personal agenda except in the sincere desire to be part of nation building? I cannot do it all by myself. Since I truly believe that good citizenship is part of the solution, I have to walk the talk. I have to start the campaign myself not here in cyberspace but out there in the real world. Meaning, I have to use my own money to buy space in newspapers to market the campaign. Unfortunately, I still don't have the resources for that. So what I can do for now is blog about it. But the moment my resource allows it, something will come out.

Once the campaign takes off and gets the attention of the public, it will be smooth sailing along the way. Considering the very high sense of frustrations among us Filipinos, a campaign where every Filipino, be from Forbes Park or Payatas, can identify with, support will just pour in. The support will come as long as the packaging remains intact. Support will come in if people will see this campaign as a way out and as long as the campaign remains “pure”. Once we have captured the imagination of our people, there is no turning back. The immediate task is to create a critical mass of good citizens and there many among us. There isn't just an avenue to show our force, express our disgust and our clamor for the collective change that we all seek. The campaign could fill this vacuum.

The good citizenship campaign has no timeline. It must be sustained. It must endure. If ever we get to where we want to go, backsliding is a very distinct possibility. Being a good citizen, like learning, is a never-ending process. There will always be something in ourselves that is worth changing and improving. It is a way of life, not an end in itself.

As good citizens, then we will no longer have problems like GMA. Trapos will be history. The common good will always be above personal agenda. Unity will prevail. We won't be feeling so bad about ourselves anymore. DREAM PHILIPPINES won't just be a very distant reality but will be within reach.

Do I make sense?

1 comment:

Cocoy said...

we can all start by teaching kids proper ethics. ;)