Better Filipinos for a Better Philippines
This little book teaches us how we can reach a bright future for our country, ourselves, and our children.
In this age of globalization and mass immigration, being a Filipino is more than just having a birth certificate or a passport that states you are one. Neither is it just placing your hand on your chest as you sing “Lupang Hinirang.” A Filipino is someone who has a genuine concern and respect for the Philippines and his fellow Filipinos.
Living in a third world country like ours, simply being a good citizen can be quite a challenge.
Let it not be said that it’s up to our newly elected president to turn the Philippines around. We cannot—and should not—expect him to single-handedly solve the problems of our country. There are a million problems to be tackled and so much to be done. The good news is that there are over 90 million of us who can help him!
Believing that, “the answer is in us as a people; that hope is in us as a people,” lawyer, columnist, and philanthropist Alexander Lacson wrote the book 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country. It’s funny how his 12 little things are so simple and make so much sense, yet a lot of us still don’t practice them. Here are some ideas from the book:
- Follow Traffic Rules. As Mr. Lacson puts it, traffic rules are the simplest of our laws. Even a preschooler can understand that red means stop, green means go, and yellow means slow down (not speed up!). If we cannot follow simple traffic rules, what more the important and complicated ones? It’s really just a matter of getting into the habit. Lascon says when it becomes a habit, it becomes a way of life, and then it becomes discipline. We all know that discipline is a basic requirement for achieving one’s goals.
- When you Buy Something, Always Ask For An Official Receipt. Most products and services we pay for include taxes (Value Added Taxes or VAT)—taxes that need to be remitted to the government. By asking for a receipt, we help build funds for the government and enable vendors to be honest citizens by declaring taxes. The government needs our taxes to fund things like school buildings, salaries of government employees, and more. Never mind the corrupt government officials who do magic tricks with our taxes. Let P-Noy and his executive powers handle that. Let’s do our part and pay our own taxes too!
- Buy local. Buy Filipino. Do Not Buy Knock-offs Either. I personally believe it is much better to buy a good quality Bench bag vs. a fake Louis Vuitton. A local brand is likely to be more durable than a knock-off and you pay more for the “name” that’s not even real. Buying local means loving your own. For example, if your child or niece joined a bake sale in school along with her classmates, you will surely purchase her product and even encourage others to do so. It’s the same thing. If we buy local, we help local entrepreneurs grow their businesses, thereby helping create jobs and making our economy grow.
- When you Talk To Foreigners, Speak Positively Of Our Country. We are all ambassadors of our country, not just the Department of Tourism or Consulates. While admittedly, there is so much to complain about, there is also a lot to be proud of, both the Philippines (beautiful beaches and mountain scenes, local products and produce, affordable RTW, delicious food) and Filipinos (friendly, honest, hospitable). I’m sure you can come up with your own list. Whenever we get the chance to meet foreigners, whether here or abroad, let’s paint a nice, honest picture of our country and our people, to encourage them to visit us and tell other people about us. Who knows? Perhaps it will eventually put the Philippines on their list of top three countries to visit in Asia.
- Respect Your Traffic Officer, Policeman, Soldier, and Other Public Servants. I know this is hard, especially after hearing stories or actually experiencing when they abuse their power. However, Alex Lacson correctly points out that if we respect people and what they do for a living, they are likely to feel respect for themselves, feel dignified with the jobs they hold, thereby (hopefully), inspiring them to be proud and be good at what they do. Respect is when you treat them right and that includes not bribing them. A bribe, whether accepted or not, is a form of corruption. We complain about corruption, therefore we should not be part of it. This is not to say that we should also turn a blind eye to anything that is not right. Don’t be afraid to get their names and report them. As Rizal once said, “It is enough for good people to do nothing, for evil people to succeed.”
- Do Not Litter. Dispose Your Garbage Properly. Even children know that trash should be placed in the trash can. If we threw a candy wrapper out a window, even just once, then we have contributed to the floods that wreak havoc. The devastation brought by Typhoon Ondoy was a wake-up call to all of us. Certainly, we do not want that to happen ever again. Aside from this, Lacson points out that if we dispose of our trash properly, we help save a great amount of government funds that are used to clean up the streets and gutters, and use the savings for more important things.
- Vote. It’s One Of The Easiest And Most Powerful Things We Can Do As Filipinos. As John F. Kennedy said, “The people always get the government they deserve.” Don’t let anybody buy your vote nor coerce you into voting for someone you do not believe in. If you do, then you do not have the right to complain about our government. Study your candidates and go for what your conscience dictates. If everyone does the same, then we can really have a government we can believe in, support, and help to make this a better country.
- Be A Good Example. As Alex Lacson quoted in his book “Sa mata ng bata, ang mali ay nagiging tama (kapag ginagawa ng matanda).” Let’s pave the way to a brighter future for our children by simply being good people. We all know that a good foundation is what will make a person successful in all aspects of his life. If our nation is filled with people with a firm belief of what’s good and what’s right, then our country will be just that—a good and righteous one. When you think about it, it’s really simple. If we do what’s right, we become good individuals. If we all become good individuals, then our nation will be filled with people who only want what’s best for all. If we have a country running with goodness, then it will progress and become a country that we all want to live in.
Words of hope from President Benigno“Noynoy” C. Aquino, III
Excerpts from his inaugural speech at the Quirino Grandstand last June 30, 2010
- Ang layunin ko sa buhay ay simple lang: maging tapat sa aking mga magulang at sa bayan bilang isang marangal na anak, mabait na kuya, at mabuting mamamayan.
- Kung marami tayong magpapasan ng krus, ay kakayanin natin ito, gaano man kabigat.
- Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap… Ito ang mga prinsipyong tinatayuan at nagsisilbing batayan ng ating administrasyon.
- Palalakasin at palalaguin natin ang bilang ng ating kasundaluhan at kapulisan, hindi para tugunan ang interes ng mga naghahari-harian, ngunit para proteksyunan ang mamamayan.
- Gagawin nating kaaya-aya sa negosyante ang ating bansa. We will cut red tape dramatically and implement stable economic policies. We will level the playing field for investors and make government an enabler, not a hindrance, to business. Sa ganitong paraan lamang natin mapupunan ang kakulangan ng trabaho para sa ating mga mamamayan.
- Ang naniniwala sa people power ay nakatuon sa kapwa at hindi sa sarili.
- Kung kasama ko kayo, maitataguyod natin ang isang bayan kung saan pantay-pantay ang pagkakataon, dahil pantay-pantay nating ginagampanan ang ating mga pananagutan.