Frequently Asked Questions
Thank you for your interest in learning more about Ako Mismo and the people behind the advocacy. Ako Mismo is an apolitical, inclusive movement based on the principle of volunteerism. It is an invitation for people to be part of making a difference in society, starting with oneself. It was born out of the collective vision of people who believe in the power of the individual to effect positive change.
Q: Who is behind the Ako Mismo campaign?
A: DDB, under its Corporate Social Responsibility arm, DDB Cares, is the spirit behind the campaign. For many years now, DDB Cares has been supporting causes it firmly believes in, using its creative and media resources to espouse positive values. From taking care of the environment, to education of children, responsible voting, protection against domestic violence and human trafficking, role of media in shaping society, religious efforts for Veritas and Caritas, and now, this advocacy for hope and empowerment. We do this, probono oftentimes, both for our clients and for our own advocacies.
Q: What is Ako Mismo about?
A: Ako Mismo is a patriotic initiative anchored on optimism. It is a battle against indifference and the feeling that the individual is helpless. Amidst all the bad news and negativism gripping the nation, Ako Mismo provides a refreshing message of hope and empowerment. It is an apolitical and inclusive movement to energize and rejuvenate Filipinos, especially the youth, and move them to action. It is our collective desire that the action arising from our individual commitments as Ako Mismo advocates will mobilize a groundswell of change, contributing to a bright future for our country.
Q: Why did DDB Cares choose this particular initiative?
A: We believed that there was an urgent need to bring hope to Filipinos, particularly the youth, in the face of growing cynicism that is heightened by the current political, economic, social and moral crises. We also believe that most Filipinos still desire change and would like to overcome the manifestation of hopelessness, which is apathy. This change can emanate from the power of the individual contributing in small, meaningful ways and building up a collective effort that can change the nation. This was the inspiration for Ako Mismo. And judging from the overwhelming response we got, the time had truly come for an advocacy such as this. People were just looking for a vehicle to express what has long been in their hearts.
Q: Is Ako Mismo the launchpad of any candidate in the future?
A: No. This is an apolitical effort as it shifts the initiative for change from government and politics to the individual. Although this was an initiative of the agency, it was our hope to get the support of like-minded individuals and companies. We are fortunate that the PLDT Smart foundation has been inspired to support this effort at the very onset and we are encouraged by the interest of many more corporations to contribute to the cause. We realize that the campaign touched a deep chord and could very well be used for commercial or political gain. Which is why we choose our partners and personalities well. We have to make sure that they are true believers and role models for the cause by their life’s example.
Q; How did you choose who to feature in the campaign?
A: We had certain criteria. We wanted to represent different sectors: from celebrities to ordinary folk, from religious to business, students, the academe, and working people. It was also important that whoever we featured genuinely believed in our message, and were already engaged in their own worthwhile advocacies so they could be credible, inspiring role models for others. And because this is an inclusive and apolitical movement, it was also critical that whoever we featured did not have any strong political affiliations. In fact, we were particularly inspired when those we sought and who sought us to be included in the campaign, shared their concern that they not be used for political gain.
Now that we’ve opened up the movement and people are signing up with their personal commitments, however, we anticipate that there will be those who will express views that not everyone will agree with. But so long as we have inspired each person to take it upon himself to do something good, whether it’s a change in attitude or behavior, a commitment to provide financial support to the needy, or support institutions that benefit the community, society, and the country at large, we will have done a good thing.
Q: How has the response been to the campaign?
A: It has been phenomenal. The overwhelming response of people and the tens of thousands who have signed up for their commitments—it’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Apart from the sign-ups, we have also been approached by companies who want to do more for the cause, and we are thrilled about this because Ako Mismo is an inclusive movement where the more people we have taking positive action, big or small, the closer we will all be to creating a better future for Filipinos. We believe this is a compelling message that has touched the young.
Q: Are you open to accepting other companies to support the cause?
A: Absolutely. This is the whole point behind Ako Mismo. It is an instrument for unity in a fractious society. As such, we welcome diversity, whether it be individuals, groups, companies or sponsors. The broader our support, the better it is for the advocacy to flourish and be able to support worthwhile socio-civic activities. However, we have to ensure that whoever partners with us is aligned with our vision and that the movement not be commercialized.
Q: The registration for Ako Mismo requires information from those who sign up. Will the database be used for commercial or political gain?
A: No. The basic information we asked for will be used to guide us in the deployment of the dogtags to the right people. The information will also be useful as we mobilize our socio-civic activities, as it will determine where and what projects are relevant in specific areas. It is important to point out that this whole movement is one of volunteerism. And while we hope more people will sign up, or that our members will participate in future activities (the choice of which will be guided by feedback we receive about what matters to them), ultimately each individual has total freedom to decide whether he will participate or not. We are very protective about the information we receive and we have taken security precautions against people accessing the information for their use without our knowledge. We are zealous about protecting the movement from being exposed to those with political or commercial agenda.
Smart and Sun subscribers: Text Ako Mismo to 2861 to register. To post a commitment: Text Ako Mismo Commit [your commitment] and send to 2861.
Q: People are asking for dogtags and where they can get them.
A: We wanted the dogtags to be a symbol for Ako Mismo and one’s commitment. The dogtag is a military symbol, a commitment to a mission, and we see the advocates as an army of hope. But to be quite honest we didn’t expect the clamor for the dogtags to be this huge. And so we are rushing to produce them in quantities to satisfy the demand. But for sure they will be made available in a few weeks. From the many blogs and comments we received, people wish to pay for them, and for those who do, we will ask only a minimal fee to defray cost, the proceeds of which will go to a respected and established charitable organization. We will identify these organizations soon on our Ako Mismo website.
Q: People are asking where is Ako Mismo leading up to, now that people have become aware and signed up their commitments?
A: Our initial objective was to change people’s attitudes and behavior and encourage belief in themselves and their innate power to make a difference. It is our hope that they will act on their commitments, which is the next step. We will provide a vehicle online for people to share their achievements, and in so doing, get more people inspired and engaged in taking real action. We will also feature real people who have made a difference in society, simple folk who cared enough to use their gifts and resources to serve other people.
One such inspiring story is Efren Penaflorida, who has spent the last ten years of his life travelling the country to teach street children. He does this with very simple implements: a kariton bearing his teaching aids, books and monobloc chairs. Another is Susan Fernandez, a sociologist, teacher, and women’s rights advocate who has spent her life using her music to uplift the plight of women. And we have Filipino talents who have become international stars bringing pride to our country, like Charice Pempengco and Arnel Pineda. Their stories and their humble circumstances are an inspiration to everyone.
Q: What are the future activities of Ako Mismo beyond creating awareness? Where will you take the movement?
A: We hope to engage more companies in the movement and organize and/or support socio-civic activities in pockets all over the country, guided by the information we receive online about the causes that resonate most consistently among the most number of people. And God-willing, if we are able to raise enough funds through all our activities, we will partner with established and respected socio-civic and charitable organizations that have the infrastructure to reach out to and help the most number of people nationwide. We are in the process of evaluating this now.
This is the long view, where we hope to take Ako Mismo in the future. But every worthy endeavor must start with small steps, and right now our focus is on keeping the momentum for Ako Mismo as we all proclaim—change starts with me!
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