TO SHED BEHIND PINK HUES: An Open Invitation To Kakampinks
Last year, the nation got to witness one of the tensest political battles in the history of Philippine elections: the war between presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. – the son of infamous dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. – and then-Vice President Leni Robredo.
Known for being a fervent critic of term-mate President Rodrigo Duterte, Robredo was deemed as the main opposition leader and the key to impeding the Marcos’ return to power.
Thus, in support of Robredo’s initiative, a volunteer-driven presidential campaign was born – the Kakampink movement.
Derived from “kakampi” and “pink”, Robredo’s campaigning color, the moniker of “Kakampink” referred to those that supported her presidential bid. Under the tagline of “Gobyernong Tapat, Angat Buhay Lahat”, various Kakampinks went out of their way to secure her win through mass volunteer work.
Be it flyers and tarpaulins, house-to-house visits, or mass rallies throughout the nation – Robredo’s presidential campaign served as a strong spectacle rivaling that of the Marcoses due to the clamor and solidarity. Holy Angel University itself was also among those who pledged their support with the pink wave – garnering the endorsement of the university’s board of trustees and 240 of its teaching and non-teaching personnel.
However, Robredo lost – and the Filipinos are now stuck with yet another Marcos presidency.
A year has passed since the elections and though quite a number of Kakampinks still hold true to their creed through initiatives like the Angat Buhay Foundation, it can be argued that the Kakampink movement itself has become static and complacent – especially in light of the new Marcos-Duterte reign.
The refusal to move beyond the 2022 elections hold back their movement, an initiative inherently rooted in renouncing the Marcoses, from taking a strong stance against the current administration – and the roots of such can be discussed through three main points.
Firstly, personality politics. Indeed, Robredo’s loss was a loss on behalf of her voters – but for some, it marked the total passing of justice, truth, and democracy. While it may have been true that Leni was the harbinger of hope during the elections, Leni is certainly not the face of hope itself nor is any singular person the key to ending all Filipino suffering. However, Robredo was placed on a towering pedestal nonetheless and rather than rally to trump the Marcos-Duterte tandem, the clamor was directed towards the image of Leni herself. In a way, the elections became almost about her, not the democratic voice.
Secondly, the tendency to lack nuance and sensitivity for the masses, especially following the election fallout. Since BBM’s electoral win, many Kakampinks have sustained an air of hostility towards the masses – particularly among those who voted for the dictator’s son.
For instance, the statement, “Sana tama kayo, sana mali kami”, which was also interpolated with, “Tama nga kami”, places the blame solely on the people. It implies that the masses are primarily responsible for Marcos’ win, when it was the disinformation machinery itself that slighted the democratic process. Rather than condemn the evil that is the perpetrator, the voters – who were only victims – were dealt the short end of the stick.
Finally, political apathy. The fire we once saw during the heat of the electoral campaign was hosed down by disheartenment following the Marcoses’ return. Social media platforms floated with posts like, “Pilipinas, ang hirap mong mahalin”. This dispiritment is understandable given the sheer amount of effort that went into Robredo’s volunteer-led campaign, the grave implications of the Marcoses’ return, and their administration’s blatant lack of care for its constituents. But, aligned with the first criticism, the fight for a better future did not end with Leni. Our democratic rights do not end with her, and it certainly will never end with ballot boxes.
Though it is easy to associate the limits of democratic power within the constraints of elections, it is important to remember that electoral campaigning seasons only last about 90 days at most. The results of the elections are indeed something we will have to seriously contend with – but the rest of those six years will not revolve around forlorn campaigns.
There is more to justice and hope beyond electoral wins; and lest we forget the EDSA revolutions, the power we hold is not limited by the vote nor does democratic salvation lie within a singular savior.
Ultimately, the very essence of democracy is having power vested in the people.
A year has passed since the Marcoses’ return to power and by September 21st, 51 years will have passed since the Martial Law proclamation of Marcos Sr. True to our oath to serve the people, The Angelite shall continue to condemn the atrocities enacted by the father and the injustices continued by the son.
Here is an open invitation to everyone to take part in the initiative – and to Kakampinks, especially those within the university, this invite is in recognition of the roots of the fight we urge you to revive.
This time, however, we ask that you shed behind pink hues and look to the masses and the colors they wave.