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where there is hope,
where I see the me
that is yet to come.”

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Where dreams are born

God has given you your country as cradle, and humanity as mother.

      Giuseppe Mazzini


The product
that is the country.

We intend to launch the Dito Ako! campaign
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“EVERY COUNTRY IS REALLY but a people, and each leave-taking from a country subtracts a strength, either present or potential.

Enough leave-takings by bright, potential forces, in the same timeframe, will impoverish the future and leave the cause that is the Philippines bankrupt of minds and money. The Filipino today has no hint of the gravity of packing up and moving off. He can do so without guilt.”

The Dito Ako! Movement was founded to provoke love for country, and to make the decision to leave, at the very least, a difficult one.

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By birth
is not
by chance.

A very current topic in the country is the growing disillusionment amongst Filipinos with being Filipino.
People talk openly about leaving the country.

There appears to be increasing acceptance that things will no longer right themselves, that this country looks like a “worse” coming to “worst”.

The talk is unabashed. It is a burgeoning movement within the bourgeoisie, amongst the educated and the wealthy. There is the anger like that heard during past national crises, but this time, one hears a sigh of sad resignation wrapped around the anger. People quote Manoling Morato, and no longer in jest: Ninoy is wrong, “the Filipino is not worth dying for.”

Being nationalistic seems to be the proper thing to do, and is what one normally wants to have proclaimed about oneself. But the doubts are valid: at the end of a difficult week, after getting riled by the day’s sordid batch of news, the Filipino breadwinner will worry and wonder, really must he stay? Why should he?

But what would Rizal say?

If one is born in and to a particular country, why is there obligation to a place of birth? How does being born brown, for instance, in a province in a third world country, with a reyes, santos, or cruz as appellation, obligate one and his family to stay in perpetuity, to suffer its backwardness and seeming predisposition to remain third world?

Today, the Filipino’s extended family is scattered across the globe, and there will be a welcoming relative in any continent. He will wonder if his future lies elsewhere. But that is not the issue of today. That is not what is worrying.

The current movement comes from a people who have made it here, from a class that has no need to take on sanitation engineering and dishwashing jobs in America. Successful and sometimes prominent people – men and women whose futures have long been assured, by birthright, by the quality of their surnames, by opportunities and schooling, and by companies biased towards graduates of certain schools – are considering resigning as Filipinos.

The impetus is disgust with government.

Disgust with a country that has made kidnapping a very profitable industry, teaching the world new modifications to the craft; a country that has made top 10 on global lists like Most Polluted, Most Corrupt, Most Number Of Musicians Playing In Bars In Countries Other Than Their Own; a country that has made beheadings a modern-day occurrence again.

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“Take up the cause of the people… give us an idea of what it is to have a country.”

Noli Me Tangere

Listen to the song
of the Movement.

“Dito Ako!” was written by a group of nationalists, put to music by Poe Blay and Jasper Perez, and sung by Rose Maninantan.

Bring up your volume.

Does Rizal -- does nationalism -- stand in the way of the emigrant?

Does the happenstance of birth -- the fortuity of emerging from a womb into a family of domestic helpers, the race of Estradas, Marcoses, and Saguisags, and of one’s particular pair of parents -- define one’s nationalism? Is the ‘nation’ in ‘nationalism’ determined by where one happens to pop into the world, what color of woman one particularly pops out of? Is there no philosophy behind “a nationalism?”, or a brand to distinguish one’s nationally selected set of heroes from the offerings of other countries? Will an Indian praise his Gandhi because he was born Indian? Must he believe, say, in nonviolent protest because he is Indian? Is one’s philosophy defined by one’s birth, too?

Of course the same questioning logic is raised by the poor, by men weary of their poverty, having been born into generations-old indebtedness to feudal landlords. They will question the viscosity of their blood and the necessity to help their families tend to the land. Some will leave their hometowns to “emigrate” to the big cities. There are other loyalties to which one has no choice but be loyal: By birth, one is woman, Santos, brown, Filipino, human. Whilst memberships in these other circles are clear, solid, and unquestionable, being Filipino is the membership subject to relinquishing.

“A nation is a soul… and only two things… constitute this soul: the past and the present. One is the possession in common of a rich legacy of remembrances; the other is the actual consent, the desire to live together, the will to continue to value the heritage which all hold in common”. This is a globally held definition of nation, and it is a definition that Rizal concurs with: “I love our country ... (the past) because all my beautiful memories are alive in it and (the present) also because I owe it and will owe it my happiness,” says Ibarra in Noli Me Tangere

This early the author declares the premise of his thesis: Rizal, or nationalism, lives in the past but is nowhere to be found in the Filipino’s present.

continued: Challenges to the Nation-State


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