From his Inquirer column, Manolo was asked this question by Cebu students in one of his speaking engagement.
It is heartwarming to note that students are engaged. That they want to do their share and be part of the solution. With the question, it is obvious that their adult counterparts are doing a terrible job.
In my youth, I did not have that dilemna. There was Senator Tanada, the old Man, there's Ka Pepe Diokno, Sen. Jovito Salonga, Chino Roces and even Cory Aquino. In those days, there were people we believe in. Senator Pimentel was one of them before but now he has become a huge disappointment.
But today, the youth is asking, Who should we believe?. For me, that is not the right question. Or maybe it is just a statement of fact in the form of a question. That in our country today, there is hardly anyone among our leaders that is trustworthy.
Leadership is part of the solution but looking for a leader is not the solution. What we need is to create a critical mass of good citizens who can make their voice be heard. This critical mass will come from the youth and the middle class. Once this crtical mass is formed, a true leader who will hopefully emerge, who will stand out. But what is vital is the critical mass. Let us worry about the who later.
So how do we form the critical mass of good citizens? Through a faceless good citizenship campaign that will capture the imagination of every Filipino and influence our collective mindset.
Faceless is a necessary ingredient to have a credible campaign. The campaign will be visible but the movers will be invisible. This is a must. If the movers will be coming out in the media to explain the cause, then it is very predictable that the campaign will be lost through insinuations of personal agenda and motive. Anonymity must be maintained even after the formation of a critical mass.
Capturing the imagination of our people is the best way to get their attention. Nobody will take the campaign seriusly unless it is able to get the attention of evrybody. NO, it does need to set off a big blast, literally and figuratively, just to get the attention. What the campaign needs is a content where each and every Filipino can relate to. My idea is the title of this blog, Iniibig ko Ang Pilipinas. We can start something as small as this phrase, Iniibig ko ang Pilpinas. Space in newspapers can be bought specially in tabloids and have the phrase "Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas" printed. Stickers of "Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas" printed in the local dialect can be spread all over fro Batanes to Tawi Tawi. It is just a simple teaser that will make everybody asking, what is this campaign and who is behind it? Questions that the public and the media will not know and will always keep them asking the question in order to sustain the interest of the public on the campaign.
Once the attention is there, then influencing the collective mindset is the next agenda. But the details of this cannot be expressed in a public space such as this blog. Confidentiality is a necessary component to be able to thwart any attempts of various groups who may want to use the campaign to their advantage.
Going back to the Cebu students. If a good citizenship campaign is already in place, chances are, these idealistic students would most likely invlolve themselves to be part of this campaign. They can easily adopt and propagate whatever ideals the campaign will pursue. Student can imbibe the values of good citizens and practice them not just in school but in their every day dealing with people and in their homes. We, adults, simply have to show them the way, the correct path. If we can do these, then the student won't be asking, "Who should we believe?" but "How can we help?"