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  • Writer's pictureNow You Know


Updated: May 3, 2022

By Menchu Aquino Sarmiento

Surveys might be way down there with lies and damn statistics, in so far as inspiring trust among TROPA true believers. The language of faith is particularly appropriate for the Kakampink Movement which is visionary, inspired and transformational. Foremost is loving one’s neighbour--mas radical ang magmahal. For many of us, the coming elections are framed as an existential battle between good and evil where the very survival of Philippine democracy is at stake. The devil is the father of lies. The Thanos with his cohorts of the other side has the fitting acronym MaDuME. They are legion. When they pollute undiscerning minds with fake news, spew profanities, and troll us with pornography, the TROPA return good for evil, by handing out pink rosaries and pan de sal. Siempre may pa-lugaw din diyan. As Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high.”

As May 9 draws ever closer, the RPC (Robredo People’s Council) has sent out some useful numbers to guide us. The continuing disinformation campaign, mostly on social media but even in our children’s schoolbooks, has been going on for around fifteen years. But here is an instance where dadaigin ng masisipag na Kakampink ang maagap ngunit bayaran na mga troll. To help nudge those algorithms towards a cresting pink wave, go to Sync 8-4-8 for Leni Kiko Plus on Facebook. Get approved memes to share, preferably at 8 am, 4 pm and 8 pm. Those are the times when posts are more likely to be seen. Those of us unable to go on H2H (house to house), or tao-sa-tao sorties, can Sync 8-4-8 for Leni Kiko Plus instead.

The rose-coloured renaissance of Filipino creativity in all art forms, which has bloomed from this largely volunteer-driven, self-help political campaign is a historical first. Being ka-TROPA has also drawn out the best from within us in terms of kindness, generosity, and reaching out to the other side. It is the undecided, or the “soft” non-TROPA supporters (those not openly campaigning for other candidates) whom we have a better chance of converting. We don’t have much time and it’s best not to waste it on the hard-core and hostile, but to focus on the undecided or the soft, i.e., flexible or adaptable non-believers. For them, there is still hope.

If the undecided or soft voter is a friend or a family member, cajoling them as a favor to “Ibalato mo na sa akin boto mo." may actually work. A suggested sample conversation might go as follows: "Pinsan (or pare), may hiling ako sa iyo. Baka naman pwede mo nang ibalato boto mo sa akin? Tutal mananalo naman na ang manok moa yon sa survey. Isang boto lang naman yan, pwede ba kay Leni at Kiko ka na bumoto? Request ko lang. Okay ba sa iyo?” As Jesus told us, Ask and it shall be given you. This applies to votes too.

As in any conversation, and for the harder but still malleable targets, listening is key. Find out why they are with the other side. Issue-based conversion is hard, and requires you to do your homework first. Know the issues your friend or relative cares about. Acknowledge what they are saying. Many are swayed by historical revisionist misinformation, but if you listen to them sympathetically first, they will be more likely to reciprocate by listening to you in turn. Show them TROPA’s organized and detailed political platform, as well as resibo of past accomplishments. Do not belligerently argue with them, or outrightly contradict them. Be like a gentle Socrates, and patiently ask them thought-provoking questions without making them seem ridiculous, or putting them on the defensive. This takes time. The many training sessions offered online are helpful. Prepare a script you’re comfortable with, or a codigo of facts, and practice first.

For example, if the person believes that the SOD will share his ill-gotten wealth with those who voted for him, when they’ve been hiding their billions in Swiss bank accounts and off-shore placements for at least 50 years, innocently ask them why they believe he will spread their wealth around now? Why didn’t their family do this before and prevent so many Filipinos from suffering all these years? Point out that their home province, which the SOD has governed and represented in the Legislature, is still poor, undeveloped and backward—show who really owns those windmills. You may need visual aids on your phone, to detail this family’s past criminal convictions in US and Philippine courts, and his tax evasion cases. The P203B estate tax may need to be explained since poor Filipinos don’t have estates to leave to their children, or aspire to more than a living wage and lives of human dignity and self-sufficiency.

Should you be among the braver ones, willing to engage in a face-to-face, tao-sa-tao conversation with a “soft” stranger, it’s advisable to do so in a small group of between 4 to 6. House-to-house teams are advised to first introduce themselves, then to ask for permission to deliver their message. Take rejection politely and move on. A doable goal is 2-for-1, that is at least 2 conversions by every volunteer. It doesn’t end there. When possible, the volunteer Kakampink should follow through to make sure that the converted will show up on May 9. Women have the edge here. They are not perceived as threatening, and are also easier to approach. Older women, matriarchs, may exert more influence on their families on whom to vote for. In a race where the last man standing will be a woman, it is women, mga kabaro na kakampink, who may decisively carry her to victory.


Menchu Aquino Sarmiento is an award-winning writer and a social concerns advocate. IRL (In Real Life) are short verbal pagmumuni-muni, the essay equivalent of fast fiction--but in real life. She really wants more Filipinos to care, and to do something legal and non-violent about it, preferably together, so that we act more like a civilized country, a mature democracy.

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