After the Philippines’ May 2019 Elections, this is a wake-up call.
Education, popular art, and media arts. Plus advocacy projects to educate masses on who to vote for the next elections and the rest of future elections. This should include practical solutions to help alleviate their economic issues, their need to sustain themselves and their loved ones on a day-to-day basis. We can start with our own domains. Films. Teleseryes. Tabloids. Facebook pages. School projects involving students, and possibly their families, neighbors, and people of their hometowns.
NGOs, non-profits, foundations and the likes, same thing. Reach out to people across the Philippines — use public and/or private funds to help alleviate people’s need for sustenance (best can be groceries or a means to earn for a living), alongside collaborating with the right partners for such endeavors. Do this in a barangay level or even smaller, more intimate groups. Ensure the right of suffrage is explained to them eventually — not via a mad dash. In the process, hopefully, they can slowly but surely open their eyes. We now have some realization why they vote this way. We can’t sway them through mere words. We have to embrace them as significant part of the society amidst the poverty they experience everyday.
Random examples I can think of right now (I’m not an expert on this, you can correct me or provide better ideas by commenting on this post): Redcross can conduct safety workshops in a group of impoverished families and supplement these with some groceries (note: vote-buying can succeed even with just 20 pesos, which is so painful to process and accept); PAWS can do seminars about pets; an arts collective can do arts workshops for street children; a group of lawyers can teach needy families about their basic legal rights; a film group can conduct well-made and well-meaning short films specifically made for the masses; an environment-advocating non-profit can conduct seminars to enlighten them; an NGO can partner with USAID and the likes for other similar advocacy projects, including information campaigns about our sovereignty, how our fallen heroes died for the country, and how we should live in our country without foreigners blatantly grabbing our lands, resources, and our ultimate rights as Filipinos in our motherland.
We can’t win a battle if we don’t strategize, highlight our strengths, acknowledge our weak points, and know our battlefield and how to topple the “bad” guys. If we can’t battle our enemies head to head, strategize. Use our gift of democracy for the betterment of our country. For us, for our children, for our children’s children.
I hope our well-meaning politicians, winners or not in this recent election, can start being involved in these projects so more people will know them by the time of the next elections.
The youth, the ones who have so much energy and idealism in them, can start with their own projects or perhaps link different kinds of people by talking to their families, relatives, and neighbors in order to hook them up with such projects. Building communities like these will foster goodness in relationships. Humans are social beings after all.
To my fellow media people, filmmakers, writers, and artists, including those in the mainstream, you’ve been expressing your feelings toward the election results. You have great power in your hands as you conceptualize movies, TV shows, TV commercials, and radio commercials. Think about that. Given such options, you don’t have to go all-activist. Things can be subtle yet striking. Think social responsibility — even just bits of it — like garnishes for now for the kind of projects the masses, the people across the Philippines, are currently accustomed to.
To actor and other famous friends, use your clout. You don’t have to go to far-flung places for such. Just be creative in reaching out amidst your busy schedules. For a barangay-level seminar or workshop, leave a personalized message through videos, you can even do fan sign.
I really think doing these small, feasible endeavors can make positive changes in our society, even just in a matter of a year or so. Just in time to get more objective voters for the next elections. Of course, the long-term solutions are really proper education and alleviation of poverty. Unfortunately, the resources and systems needed are not in the hands of the citizens.
In an individual level, have well-meaning conversations to people encountered in different places: taxi drivers, market vendors, person next in line. It can just be a casual talk, nothing too imposing. Just attempts to spark ideas and plant seeds of goodness.
I am a filmmaker and teacher. I’ll try my best to do my part starting this very moment as I attend to my work plans. If you have other ideas, please share. You may comment here. Thank you.