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Theres The Rub
‘Noypi ako’

By Conrado de Quiros
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:35:00 08/31/2009

Filed Under: Benigno Aquino III, Inquirer Politics, Elections, Eleksyon 2010

There?s no better time to come out with this than National Heroes Day.

You?ll soon probably be seeing stickers and T-shirts that say, ?Noypi ako. Ikaw??

?Noypi ako? is a movement I have in mind that?s open to any takers. Many friends have already signified their eagerness to push it. Noypi is ?Noynoy for President Initiative.? As acronyms go, di naman pilit, di ba?

It?s my contribution to the cause of trying to persuade the Great Yellow Hope to heed the call of history. The signature campaigns are there already, from all sorts of unlikely creatures, who are not necessarily Hobbits. I figure it?s time various groups pushed the envelope and initiated an initiative like this. Feel free to shout ?Noypi ako? in various ways, not excluding painting it in bold letters on walls in lieu of gang names, and scribbling it as graffiti on the walls of urinals alongside such classics as ?Nognog was here, the man who never was.?

Why ?Noypi ako??

Well, first off, Noypi is Pinoy of course, as we, the youth, kaming kabataan, often put it. I say ?kami? because being young is truly more a frame of mind than a state of the body. Notwithstanding the plentiful reminders of where I am chronologically?you need colchicine and not just imagination to banish the aching in the bones?I?ve always felt young. Certainly, I don?t wallow in nostalgia and listen only to ?oldies.? I?m tempted to say, like Tevye, I don?t remember growing older, but people might say that?s the very proof I have?I?m getting forgetful.

It?s time for the Noypi, or Pinoy, the young and feeling young, to ponder where he came from, where he is now, where he is going. Or simply to heed Rizal?s words, ?Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa pinatutunguhan.? Identity is really nothing more than that, a sense of what happened, a feel for what?s going on and a dream of what can be. You cannot hear the past, you?re deaf. You cannot see the present, you?re blind. You cannot smell and taste and feel the dawning of a new day, you?re dead.

Things like this, as shown by student activism in the past, always have a special resonance for the young. And things like this, as shown by Marcos? time and Arroyo?s time, always have a special resonance when the nation reels from local oppression and foreign domination.

Second off, saying ?Noypi ako? is proclaiming ?Proud to be Filipino.? That?s something we haven?t said, and couldn?t say, in a long time. Since the new millennium began, all we?ve been able to say, or feel, was ?Ashamed to be Filipino.? I remember again a friend of mine telling me about the fall from grace to disgrace in Cory?s time and Gloria?s time. Then, when the immigration officer of a Western country looked at your passport, he would congratulate you for being Filipino. Now, when the immigration officer of an African country looks at your passport, he presumes you to be a liar and a thief.

The latter has changed with Aug. 5. Few dates in history serve as giant watersheds they become veritable lines of demarcation between the past and the present, between the before and the after. I?ll write about this in more detail in another column. Suffice it to say here that for the first time in a long time you get a sense of evil being pushed back and good dawning like a new day. You get a sense of despair dissolving like a nightmare and hope bursting in your heart like an awakening. You get a sense of a people refusing to remain api and professing angrily, defiantly, proudly they are Noypi, they will be free.

The Great Scriptwriter in the Sky must have tremendous comic or heroic irony she (or he) resurrected that pride with Cory?s death. I can only hope?enough to inveigle people to embark on a project like this?Noynoy will keep it alive. I can only hope he can make the country proud of him. I can only hope he can make us proud of the country.

Lastly, when Noynoy becomes president?if he runs, it won?t be a question of if, but when, he becomes president?he will need ?Noypi ako? more than ever. ?Noypi? now to mean Noynoy?s People?s Initiative.

Leaders are only as good as their followers. There are no tyrants where there are no slaves, there are no giants where there are no dwarves. I believe in Noynoy for President, I do not believe in Noynoy for Savior. I believe in Cory as Inspiration, I do not believe in Cory as Salvation. Whether you?re religious or not, you won?t get saved unless you believe in one principle, which is that heaven helps only those who help themselves. It?s become almost trite for candidates to tell voters, ?I can?t do this without you,? which they mouth only as a campaign line. But it?s true. And nowhere truer than with Noynoy.

That is so because he represents People Power. And People Power means nothing more or less than just that, the power of the people. The power of the Pinoy or Noypi. The power of you and me. A power unleashed by the dogged pursuit of, or relentless drive toward, the fulfillment of the country?s deepest longings, as articulated, or lived and died for, by the country?s heroes, from Rizal to Cory. I had hoped the first Edsa would live up to its promise of institutionalizing People Power through People?s Initiative, yet all People?s Initiative has turned into is a convenient tool for trapos to attempt to oust Ed Panlilio and change the Charter. It?s time to reclaim it.

It?s time we, the People, seized People Power and wielded it past elections, past the framework of elections, past the interminable wait of elections. It?s time we, the People, brandished it in the swirl and nitty-gritty of day-to-day life. It?s time we chanted the mantra of change. It?s time we shouted with the joy of rediscovery and the grit of challenge:

Noypi ako.


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