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Letters to the Editor

The making of a revolution

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MANILA, Philippines - Hanggang kailan mananalangin

          Hanggang kailan kakapa sa dilim

          Umaasa lang sa sagip at grasya

          Hanggang ganito lang ba talaga

 It begins with an awakening.

In 2007, Abs-CBN News and Current Affairs launched a movement to empower ordinary citizens during the midterm senatorial elections. Boto Mo, Ipatrol Mo, the first global movement to use technology for protecting the vote, had a tremendous response, with more than a message a minute flooding Abs-CBN during the elections — stories of cheating, protests against violence, instances of election violations — vetted by news teams and broadcast all over the world. It was a moment when citizens held their leaders accountable, in a country when election cheating is considered an inevitable sideshow of the national political drama.

            Mulat na mata at gising na tenga

            Mga daliri na nagkakaisa

            Sa bawat kilos makakalampag

            Siklab ng umaga magliliwanag. Magliliwanag.

This year, as the country prepares for the 2010 elections, Abs-CBN brings back Boto Mo, Ipatrol Mo: Ako ang Simula. More than a means for monitoring elections, it is a challenge to every Filipino to accept their stake in the nation’s future, to go beyond indifference and make a personal commitment towards 2010, and create a tipping point when change will be inevitable.

 One voice, one vote, one defining choice: Ako, ako ang simula.

This is the promise of the rock anthem written by Ira Zabat, and composed by Mike Villegas. First sung by Rico Blanco, Raymund Marasigan and Aia de Leon in a May MTV, the song has now become a vehicle for the musical community to say             Ako ang Simula. It begins with me.

            Wag nang mahimbing sa sariling mundo

            Wag nang iwaldas ang dekadang bago

            Ako ang tutupad sa pangakong ito

            Ako ang Simula ng pagbabago. Sa pagbabago.

The idea for a second MTV came after a decision to bring in local bands and artists to share their voices. There was a meeting, a few phone calls, an mp3 sent over email. There was no wrangling about talent fees or contracts. It was understood there would be none. Still they came. They said it was because it was their cause too.

This was the scene, one gray Thursday in July, when a pony-tailed Mike Villegas sat in a recording booth along Panay Avenue: Rocksteddy’s vocalist Teddy, in the striped baseball cap, joking his way through the recording. Kat Agarrado, of Sinosikat, all sinuous hips and big brown eyes, voice crooning with rum and promises. Barbie Almabis, slim in jeans and a T-shirt, eyes closed as her voice feathered the air. Brothers Ebe and Vin Dancel, of Sugarfree and Periyodiko, taking the mike one after the other, filling the tiny recording room with the unmistakable sound of revolution.

Rapper Pochoy Labog, ripping through his lines, launching his body into the beat. Bituin Escalante, throwing back her head as that formidable voice stormed through the soundproofed room, demanding, challenging, as a grinning Villegas shook his head and declared his love for the woman who stood behind the glass wall with eyebrows raised in question. Was that okay, Mike?

            Wag nang masindak sa ingay at gulo

            Wag nang mag-abang na itulak tayo

            Ako ang tatapos sa pagsubok na’to

            Ako ang Simula ng pagbabago… sa pagbabago.

Directed by internationally acclaimed independent filmmaker Paolo Villaluna, who co-created ANC’s documentary series Storyline, the Ako ang Simula MTV begins and ends with the sun. Market, bus, school, street — the march is on in spite of the rising dark, down the street where, two decades ago, everyday heroes once stood against the violence of an armed dictatorship. There is a song on their lips; they say that this is the beginning, that they are the beginning. And at the monument to an old revolution, there will be the crash of a guitar, the throb of drums, banners soaring under the brutal camera lights, and the country’s best and brightest artists singing on a stage set under a midnight sky. They will sing of a country in crisis, of apathy and fear and the long, long wait. And when the sun rises, this is what you’ll see: hope.

            Saan at kailan at kung paano

            Ako ang tutupad sa pangakong ito

            Ako ang Simula ng pagbabago...

            Ako ang simula.

            Ako ang simula!

*      *      *

 On the eve of July 26, Sunday, the day before the President delivers her last State of the Nation Address, bands Sugarfree, Periyodiko, Sinosikat, Rocksteddy, Nicole and Carlo, Astrojuan, Salamin, The Ambassadors, Check, rapper Pochoy Labog, singers Barbie Almabis, Julianne, and Bituin Escalante will give a free concert for a limited number of people at Edsa’s People Power Monument to conclude the Boto Mo, Ipatrol Mo, Ako ang Simula MTV. Text to 0929-1157737. The first 300 to text will get limited tickets to the dusk-to-dawn Ako ang Simula concert, and will automatically be included in the Ako ang Simula MTV.

AKO

BARBIE ALMABIS

BITUIN ESCALANTE

BOTO MO

HANGGANG

IPATROL MO

MIKE VILLEGAS

SIMULA

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