People have long been urging Boy Abunda to go into politics and, that way, use his popularity to serve others. But while he had opportunities to do so, the TV host and commercial endorser never thought he actually would, until he found a cause he really cared about enough.
“Ever since, nandiyan na ’yung suggestions na, ‘Why don’t you get into politics, why don’t you get more involved in government service, in public service?’ na parati ko naman sinasabi na hindi naman ako nagsasara ng pintuan,” he says. “Some people spend money, time, love and effort to save the environment. Others, children. Others, the elderly. Others support the anti-drug movement. Others go for education. What is closest to my heart and what is credible, as far as I’m concerned, is my devotion to and my love for my mother.”
Boy’s mother, whom he calls Nanay (real name: Licerna Romerica Abunda, a schoolteacher of more than 40 years), thus became the inspiration for Boy’s latest brainchild: a campaign called Make Your Nanay Proud (MYNP).
It has nothing to do with the album and song “Make Your Momma Proud,” released in 1996 by the rock band Fastball, or with the defunct local acoustic group MYMP. The name sounds similar, but Make Your Nanay Proud, or MYNP, is a very different thing.
It is a campaign to encourage people to make their mothers proud by being the best of who they are and by being the best in all that they do.
But why single out mothers? What about fathers?
Boy explains: “Sabi ko, think about it carefully. When you ask someone to ‘make your nanay proud,’ you’re talking actually to the child of a mother. Who, in the world, is not a child of a mother? So MYNP is an organization, an exhortation, an invitation to everyone in the world who is a child of a mother—and that means all of us.”
Make Your Nanay Proud has a simple message. “Realistically and figuratively, what you’re trying to say is, ‘Do good to make your nanay proud.’ It’s premised on being good. Because if you do something good, you affect another person in a good way. You affect the environment in a good way. You affect governments in a good way. You affect communities in a good way. And if you’re able to organize that into a powerful force, can you imagine what a gentle, happy world this would be?”
The organization is invitational, and has a seven-member executive committee headed by Boy as its founder. There is also a 15-member advisory council, known as the Council of Advisers.
Eventually, MYNP will be organized nationwide under the leadership of Heads of Families who will be responsible for the well-being of the General Family members. Anyone can be a Head of Family in his/her school, office or community organization.
The vision of MYNP is to tap families all over the country so that these small chains of goodness become big ones.
Nini Borja, a college friend of Boy who has worked with him on various projects, including the LGBT partylist Ladlad, says that, as VP of the MYNP executive committee, “we will be in the thick of things and we will be listening to the voices that want to be heard, to those who want to make a difference, to all who want to make their mothers proud.”
Carlos Munda, also of the MYNP executive committee, believes that the country needs to hear this message now because of what is out there.
“There is so much information out there,” he says. “There is information coming through the media, the Internet, friends, colleagues, that if unfiltered, can cause confusion in our decision-making. Our love for our mothers can be that filter. It can be the lens through which we examine all our actions. Before we do anything, we can ask ourselves, ‘Will this make my nanay proud?’ If we can measure what we do and who we are by this simple standard, we can look at ourselves in the mirror everyday and say, ‘I am a good person.’”
Other members of the MYNP executive committee are Mike Sicat, president; Gasper Gozo, secretary general; Aileen Robles, treasurer; lawyer Wendel Dimaculangan, corporate secretary.
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