This is an eyewitness report from the NowPublic member johnhumphrey_uppereastsider who was on the scene.
From Isang Araw Lang (Just for a day) to Ako Mismo (I Myself)
Self-awareness Campaign of 3 TV Networks’ Stars
Manila, Philippines - In the heat of the Manny Pacquiao–Ricky Hatton bout last May 3, while the whole world was watching, the self-awareness campaign, “Ako Mismo”, (I Myself) was launched in the Philippines’ free TV. The stars of known rival TV networks, ABS-CBN and GMA, lead the campaign, which is geared to encourage people to act and help themselves and the nation.
Although outputs are yet to be seen, this massive campaign is very timely and may boost this poor country’s low morale. Ako Mismo is an echo of US President Barack Obama’s campaign “Yes, we can!”, if not inspired by an earlier campaign, “Isang Araw Lang” (Just for a Day), of the television network UNTV.
“Isang Araw Lang” was conceptualized by veteran broadcaster Daniel Razon, host of public-service morning program Good Morning Kuya. Its purpose is to move people to do a good thing even for just one day in a year. As explained by Razon, there are 365 days in a year, 30 days in a month, 7 days in a week and they are never complete
without a day.
Last April 21, a day before Earth Day, about 2,000 youth volunteers from different colleges and universities responded to the campaign Razon had called for. These youth helped clean one of the 30 dirtiest rivers in the world in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City, Metro Manila. The project was called “Isang araw para sa Kalikasan”.
Hernani De Guzman, Environmentalist Sanitation Services Officer, acknowledged the importance of such movements, and thanked Razon and the youth organization called Bread Society International. According to residents near the Sapang Alat River, it was the first time they have seen such force accomplish what was - until that day - impossible.
Prior to the Isang araw para sa Kalikasan project, a Free Medical Mission for Press Photographers was held on March 22 this year in Bulwagang Plaridel of National Press Club Building. The project, initiated by Razon, benefited many of the photographers in the country along with their families. Philippine Star's website reported that the free medical service for the media people is now given regularly every first Sunday of the month from 9am to 2pm in #907 Brgy. Philam, EDSA, Q.C., its service headquarter.
Before Razon, known locally as Mr. Public Service, introduced his campaign to the public, he has already led many projects for citizen welfare. These projects include the following: Clinic ni Kuya (Big Brother’s Clinic), which gives free medical and dental checkups, medicine, and minor surgeries daily; the Libreng Sakay (Free Bus Ride); the Munting Pangarap (Little Dream), a daily wish-granting service to help the less-privileged; the Law Center ni Kuya,a group of lawyers providing free legal consultations; Job Fair ni Kuya, a venue for job seekers; and the Free Transient Home, which is a joint project with Bro. Eli Soriano, the host of the program Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path). A free college in the metro is reportedly also in the works.
“Walk your talk,” is one of Razon’s principles. With all his visible endeavors, it is apparent that the man walked first before he talked. However, there are some who question why his campaign is called “Just for a day.” He simply answers, “I’ll leave that for you to answer… For us here, we do it every day.”
Following Isang Araw Lang is Ako Mismo. Prominent Filipino international artists including singer Charice Pempengco and The Journey lead vocalist Arnel Pineda, local actors Angel Locsin and Edu Manzano, and many others, speak up in the commercial ads. The message motivates the Filipinos to take the steps necessary to help themselves and the country without relying on the government.
Despite its non-political nature, as stated by one of its head, Edu Manzano, Chairman of Optical Media Board, Ako Mismo attracts many skeptics, mostly leaders of various industries.
Issues raised recently are the purpose and security of the campaign’s online database, and the speculation of some that this is just a vehicle for the candidacy of certain politicians who are connected to the movement.
Although being questioned and scrutinized, Ako Mismo’s message to the concerned citizens - which is the importance of being self-aware to the possible act one can contribute to his society - could make a lot of difference. Ako Mismo branched out of Isang Araw Lang’s spirit. Both campaigns awaken the sense of responsibility of the Filipinos, not just toward nationalism but compassion to fellowmen.
As television networks spearhead these campaigns, the Filipinos have better chances of surviving without pleading anymore to some officials who are known for neglecting their responsibilities for citizen welfare.
If each Filipino would say “I will do it myself” even if it is “just for a day,” we will be seeing changes. Nothing is really too hard for one who is committed.