News: Mariano: “Overcoming apathy the biggest challenge”

Abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak: In 2004, Darwin Mariano was an Aksyon Demokratiko youth leader for then presidential candidate Raul Roco. Today, he subsists by working for the corporate social unit of a cement firm. After work, he devotes his time and energy to the Movement for Good Governance (MGG), a new group seeking to build a 10-million constituency of voters who will choose competent candidates advocating the cause of reforming government. Abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak had a chat with him last February 3 at the launching of the MGG.

Q. What’s the difference between MGG and other groups seeking reforms?

A. I think it’s the timing. For the first time, people genuinely feel that short cuts no longer work, and that real substantive change has to come from ordinary people, groups from all areas, all sectors, all areas of the country, coming together to work on the things that we agree on, the things that we have in common, the goals that we have in common rather than focus on the things that make us different.

The KRAs [Key Result Areas] are very simple, and which is why I think it’s also different and why it’s potentially very powerful: 10 million people who will sign up and commit to helping reform-oriented candidates, candidates who agree to debate and defend their record and be judged against a clear criteria. And then an election process wherein the results at the precinct level are made public so that you prevent or deter those who want to cheat at the canvassing. So very easy, so I think it’s easy for people to come together and rally around a movement whose objective is clear.

Q. What is your biggest challenge?

A. I think overcoming apathy. The people who are here are people who have never given up hope. Unfortunately, I think that’s not always true, and I think what you only need to do is to show people, bring them in to connect and contact with others who have not given up hope and they rediscover the hope that they have in themselves.

Q. It would seem from this small gathering that you have not reached a critical mass?

A. Yes, that’s why we keep pushing. It’s hardest at this stage where you’re pushing, when you’re starting. But we’re far bigger now than when we started. There’s no one history, no one past to the organization. At the end of the day, it’s still a fight worth fighting. It’s a journey worth taking for everyone.

Q. It would seem the MGG still lacks the support of the masses?

A. No, there are many youth organizations. We’re already starting to build a group in the urban poor. I think what’s important is to get the support of the middle class because they will provide the resources, manpower, money to help bankroll the broad campaign needed for change. Without the middle classes’ support, mahihirapan tayo, and that’s what we’re trying to attract people with activities like this.

Q. In 2004, you were a youth leader for Raul Roco’s Aksyon Demokratiko. What’s the difference between being a partisan campaigner and helping the MGG?

A. I’m doing this in my personal capacity. I think it’s easier to get people to support it because it’s not personality-based. I’m not selling a candidate, I’m selling an idea. And in fact, it’s an improvement also from the type of politics that you want to support, from a personality-centered politics. No matter how qualified the candidate is, you’re trying to rally everyone to support ideas, to support advocacies. Hopefully, in the process, you move everyone.

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