Tuesday, June 5, 2007

About this Site

I am launching this website to have an official homepage for a series of articles that I have started writing back in August 2006. I am a young Filipino and I am saddened by the current state of affairs of the country. This is the only country, only home that we will ever have. And I believe it is high time to drastically take action in order for us to redeem ourselves from our current predicament.

June 6, 2007

More than a hundred years ago, somewhere in Luzon, a young Filipino realized the power that it is in hands. Even though he was young, poor and uneducated, he realized that he had the power to help bring about the change needed at that time. This young Filipino gathered up his strength one night and started the Philippine Revolution for Independence. This young Filipino united a nation much like Jose Rizal into finally taking action in a struggle for National Independence.

This young Filipino won that Revolution. In this page today, I would like to resurrect the memory of the real National Hero, Andres Bonifacio because he fought the good fight for all of us today to enjoy the blessings as a free people. In the coming months, I will be profiling the life of this young Filipino and together with my simple thoughts, I hope to inspire another young Filipino to rise up again and bring about the real change that we need for the country today.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Let's Start the Revolution of the Filipino Youth!

Part 5 of series

The Business of Making Revolutions Succeed
Let's Start the Revolution of the Filipino Youth Part V

The revolution for CHAracter CHAnge needed in our country today calls for an actionable plan on how to address the economic problems that our country is currently facing. I take note of 4 Little Things we can do from Alexander L. Lacson's book "12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country," namely, the 2nd Little Thing - Whenever you buy or pay for anything, always ask for an official receipt; 3rd Little Thing - Don't Buy Smuggled Goods. Buy Local. Buy Filipino.; 9th Little Thing - Pay your employees well; and lastly, the 10th Little Thing - Pay your taxes.

Of the four Little Things I cited, I believe the 10th Little Thing is the most important in addressing the economic problems we are facing today. As Alex wrote in the book, taxes are the lifeblood of the government, they pay for our schools, our public school teachers, and many more. If we can ensure that everyone pays the right amount of taxes on time, it can go a long long way in helping our government address the budget deficit and increase spending on important projects. It will also help reduce our reliance on foreign debt and aid assistance.

A couple of years ago, the world's richest man, Bill Gates said "Businesses can both be an agent of social change and source of personal fulfillment." That is why it is important for us Filipinos to support our local industries, locally made or manufactured products, and local businessmen/entrepreneurs. Businesses help create the opportunities for economic development and provides great employment openings. That is why it is equally important for businesses to pay their employees well for it ensures economic growth can be felt by every sector of society.

As Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP), chairman of the PLDT group, said in one of his many speeches "We have never been and never will be just owners of companies. We are also managers and value creators." Thus, businesses help create and distribute wealth among the people. This revolution then should also push for greater collaboration between the businesses in the country and the government, and with the academe as well.

There are plenty of local companies that have become multinationals today like San Miguel Corporation, already the largest food and beverage conglomerate in Southeast Asia. There's Jollibee Foods Corporation which operates the Chowking, Greenwich, and Delifrance brands as well. There's PLDT and Smart Communications, which MVP helped transform to become Asia's trendsetter in mobile service technologies. There's the Ayala Group which counts among its subsidiaries leaders in their own respective fields like: Globe Telecom, Manila Water, Innove Communications, Ayala Land, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), among others. There's Universal Robina Corporation (URC), fast becoming a leading food and beverage conglomerate in Southeast Asia as well, which belongs to the JG Summit Holdings with sister companies Cebu Pacific, Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Land and others. There's United Laboratories (UNILAB), probably Southeast Asia's biggest homegrown pharmaceutical company which dominates the local pharmaceutical market with a commanding 20% market share over the second company which controls just 9%. There's the SM group under Henry Sy Sr. which has transformed Philippine society by enriching the shopping experience of everyday consumers. There's Metrobank, the country's biggest banking firm which have continuously helped Philippine companies finance their operations and expansion plans.

There are a host of other Philippine companies that provide either products or services that truly have Filipino roots or are partly foreign-owned but manufacture their products locally like Monde Nissin, Del Monte, Aboitiz, Petron, Mercury Drug Corporation, ABS-CBN, GMA Network, Asia Brewery, Legaspi Oil and others. There is also Figaro Coffee Systems which is promoting the barako coffee, a distinct coffee variety of the Philippines. Let us hope it will usher in an era of growth in the farming industry.

The economic fundamentals of the country needs to be overhauled as well. Looking at the TOP 1000 corporations in the country today, too many of them are either owned or controlled by foreign multinationals or investors. We need to truly build that culture of entrepreneurship among Filipinos and change mindsets that we can be owners/creators of great businesses as well. Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea have done this with the push from their governments. Japan and the United States of America are probably the best examples of a nation that believes in creating value in products and services for international trade. They are the 2 largest economies in the world because of the number of entrepreneurs in their countries and majority of their biggest corporations are homegrown. In that way, profits are mostly reinvested in their home countries other than siphoned off elsewhere.

To change our fortunes on this, the government must drastically reduce red tape especially on the process of setting up new businesses. The government through the Department of Trade and Industry should exhaust all means in overhauling the registration process and other regulatory requirements for setting up of new businesses. And the government through the Department of Education and other line agencies should also do its best to promote an entrepreneurial culture among Filipinos.

The GoNegosyo project of Jose Concepcion Jr. is a fitting example of the private sector taking the lead in ensuring that Filipinos learn to become employers rather than employees. The Entrepreneur Magazine published by Summit Publishing is also a great tool in this process of national transformation. But more can be done especially on the side of the national and local governments.

I have seen how many of our governors, mayors and barangay captains use government resources for unimportant and unnecessary projects. Instead they should channel these resources to entrepreneur-building programs, and these officials should start managing their offices like businesses as well. The national government through the DTI should come up with a national LGU Contest on Entrepreneurship and Business Friendliness by awarding the provinces, cities and barangays that best promote business-friendly policies and laws, and reduces the process time of setting up of new businesses.

All these can be done during the remaining three years of the present administration. By subscribing to this philosophy, this government inevitably leaves a prosperous Philippines when its term ends in 2010. As the old Chinese proverb used to say "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man how to fish and he eats for a lifetime."

It is also good to note of a program started by the Focolare movement some years back on how businesses should participate in true nation-building and act as catalysts for social change. The program is called Economy of Communion. It is an ambitious campaign but one that I believe is achievable in every locality and in our lifetime. Under this set-up, profits of associated companies are divided into three parts: 1) a part is reinvested in the company, 2) another is shared with the poor, and 3) the last portion is used to create a new culture in business. Companies that join are grouped together in a sort of economic zone set-up and their foundation are deeply rooted within the local communities where they operate.

I believe as devout Catholics and Muslim Filipinos, we ought to renew how we do business and look back on the teachings of Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohammad. Only by living out our faith even in our working lives can we truly achieve national freedom. Let's Start the Revolution of the Filipino Youth!

Part 4 of a series

I have a dream…
Let's Start the Revolution of the Filipino Youth Part IV

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of people power that it espoused in 1986, a truly functioning democratic government.

I have a dream that one day after the May 14, 2007 elections inside the halls of both houses of Congress in Quezon City and Pasay City , leaders of competence, integrity and vision will usher in a new era in Philippine legislative history. Men and women of great moral character who will do only what is best and right for the people.

I have a dream that one day even inside the gates of MalacaƱang Palace, currently a source of Filipino disunity, full of lies and deception, will reside leaders transformed into a caring and responsible government.

I have a dream that my future children will one day live in a nation where they are given ample opportunity to grow and succeed, and live in peace, harmony and security.

My countrymen, lend me your eyes, let us vote responsibly and meticulously this coming May 14, 2007 elections. Let our decisions not be swayed by money, popularity or violence but rather by visionary leadership and good credentials. If we are to vote truly honest, competent and morally upright candidates, we will bring about the change that this country badly needs.

I am calling upon the young voters, get out this May 14, and vote responsibly. Junk traditional politicians! Junk showbiz personalities! Junk members of political dynasties! And junk fronts of communist organizations as well. Let us start the Revolution of the Filipino Youth.


Please come for a Voters Education Event on March 31, 4PM at the Pope Pius XII Center 1175 UN Avenue, Paco Manila. Bring your friends as well.

Part 3 of a series

The Revolution of the Filipino Youth Part III

I believe it is high time for real change to happen in our country. As I have written a few months back, I believe the youth today should start the Revolution of the Filipino Youth. We shall echo the call of the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy and various personalities who said that what we truly need today is CHAracter CHAnge. Even with all the changes we will make in our laws, if we as a people do not change, then it is a useless exercise. It is time for us to break the stigma of being nominal Christians (or being called Christians by name alone). The future of our country is at stake but it is also within our hands.

A few months back when I wrote an article calling for the Revolution of the Filipino Youth, I received alot of emails asking me on how to proceed. Honestly, at that time, I didn't have any idea on how to proceed. I wrote that letter hoping to gauge whether there are still like-minded Filipinos out there who feel the same way to our country.

Now with the 2007 elections approaching, I believe I have found some answers. There are already countless individuals and organizations out there that are trying to create the change needed to turn our country's fortunes. I have met Alexander Lacson who wrote the book "The 12 Little Things Every Filipino can do to help our Country." The book is an inspiring to-do list, simple steps that everybody can do to HELP the country. I have read about and interacted with Gawad Kalinga, WorldVision International, Habitat for Humanity, CRIBS, and a host of other organizations that are providing special care and support to every Filipino in their little communities.

I believe it is high time that the Philippine media explore the excellent examples of these individuals and organizations to amplify what the government can learn from and what every Filipino can do in their own little way.

I have met Gen. Manuel Mariano, former chief of the AFP Logistics Command, who wrote a wonderful book entitled "The Power of Reform: In the AFPLOGCOM, A true story." The book is a fitting example of how great leadership and true "political" will can stamp out graft and corruption in the government. If only Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia read his predecessor's book, he would not have been in the mess he is in right now.I believe the Philippines can rise up again from the ashes. Thirty years ago, we were 2nd only to Japan in terms of economic might. Today, even Vietnam is receiving more foreign investments and growing at a remarkably faster and higher pace.

But I believe the Filipino is only lost, we can find our way again. We need only a few good men (and women) to lead the way. I believe the Filipino Youth can take up this challenge in ensuring that only credible and honest candidates are elected to office this coming May 14, 2007 elections. I believe it is easy to see through the insincerity of some candidates.

Emilio Aguinaldo became our first president at the very young age of 29. Andres Bonifacio was also 29 when he started to organize the Katipunan. Emilio Jacinto, the brains of the Katipunan, was only 21 when he joined the Philippine revolution against Spain. And the list goes on...

Our national hero, Jose P. Rizal, died for the country at the young age of 35. His death provided great momentum to the cause for Philippine Independence which was briefly attained in 1898.

As a young Filipino today, I believe we can do better and more. Rizal only had a pen and a paper. And looked at what he achieved.

As a young Filipno today, with all the tools that modern technology has brought, I believe I can do more. Think of it - Jose Rizal with his mobile phone, laptop and Figaro coffee... How many more books or articles could he have written? How many more revolutions he could ignite?

Think of it - Andres Bonifacio or Emilio Aguinaldo with all the modern military technology, with the support of hundreds of thousands of troops, how many more battles could they win?

Think of it - The Katipunan with their laptops, and the Internet, they could win wars by a single keystroke? The examples shown by young Filipinos in our history are rich and creative examples of how we, the country's youth, can effectively bring about the change needed today. Jose Rizal lived in an age without the amenities and technology that our times can bring. I believe we can obviously do better and more.

What is being asked of us today is a little of our time, a little of our resources, and a little of ourselves in helping transform Philippine society.

In the 1980s, Mother Teresa said "If you want to help other people, do not wait for leaders. Do it alone, person to person."In 1977, Ninoy Aquino said "In this age of darkness, there are two ways of spreading light. You may either be a candle, or the mirror that reflects the light." I will even go further, you can also be the candle-maker or the mirror-maker.

I believe there are countless ways that the Filipino can do it. But first things first, we have to change ourselves. We have to start it ourselves in order to lead the way for others.

If you are a young teacher in a public elementary school, make sure that you instill the values of nationalism, discipline and justice to your pupils. If you are a student, make sure that you follow the law, study well, and always respect your parents. If you are a young entrepreneur, make sure that you pay your taxes and employees well.

The strength of a nation depends on the strength of its people. Be it physical, financial, or mental strength. A people that is disciplined and law-abiding can build a strong nation much like what Singapore and South Korea did over 20 or 30 years ago. A people that elects the right leaders provide avenues for sustained economic growth. That in turn, ensures a functioning democracy.

I believe Good Citizenship is the answer as well. But an ACTIVE Good Citizenship is the more appropriate term. Alot of us tend to just agree and actually do nothing about it. Time for that has passed. Our present condition, which I likened to a dying man on his deathbed, calls us for national action. The Filipino Youth should become the active positive political force in the country. Let's step up then and do our share.

I believe the Filipino Can Do It!P.S. Here's a list of various organizations helping create the change needed today: Hands On Manila, Angels Home of the Foundation of our Lady of Peace Mission, Bahay Lingap-San Lazaro Hospital, Center for Environmental Awareness and Education (CEAE), ChildHope Asia Philippines (CHAP), Circle of Friends Foundation Inc. (COFFI), Clean and Green Foundation Inc. (CGFI), Coalitition of Services for the Elderly Inc. (COSE), Entrepreneur Volunteer Assistance Charity Foundation (EVA) Service, Habitat for Humanity Philippines, Heritage Conservation Society (HCS), Holy Family Home Makati Foundation, INTEL Computer Clubhouse, In Touch Community Services Inc., Kaisahang Buhay Foundation (KBF), KYTHE Inc., Museo Pambata Foundation Inc., Museum Foundation of the Philippines Inc., My Zoo Volunteer, Pasig Medical and Maternity Hospital Foundation Inc. (PMMHF), Tahanang Walang Hagdanan Inc. (TWHI), Tuloy Foundation Inc., Virlanie Foundation, White Cross Children's Home, Winner Foundation, Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), Linis Ganda Foundation, Bantay Bata 163, Books for the Barangays, Center for Family Ministries, Philippine Band of Mercy, Belen sa Pasay, Philippine Educational Theater Association, Love the Children Foundation (Davao), and a host of other established organizations like the International Red Cross, Gawad Kalinga, WorldVision International, GoNegosyo and others.

Part 2 of a series

Let’s Start the Revolution of the Filipino Youth PART II

I thank everyone who have been kind enough to send their ideas and views on my call for a peaceful revolution we must start for systems change in this country. We truly need CHA-CHA these days, but the CHA-CHA I’m talking about refers to CHAracter CHAnge. It’s a different CHA-CHA than what the current administration wants us to dance.

The revolution I’m calling for starts in the hearts and minds of every young Filipino (wherever you may be in the world) – finding that burning desire within ourselves on how even how small can we help in uplifting the current poor state of our country’s affairs. I urge all young Filipinos to look deeply inside their hearts and ask the question, “WHAT CAN I DO FOR MY COUNTRY?”

The answer will be very clear. YOU CAN DO SOMETHING! WE CAN DO SOMETHING TOGETHER! Alexander Lacson summarized in his book “The 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country.”

The 12 "little things" are:

1. Follow traffic rules, follow the law.
2. Whenever you buy or pay for anything, ask for an official receipt.
3. Don't buy smuggled goods. Buy local. Buy Filipino.
4. When you talk to others, especially foreigners, speak positively about us and our country.
5. Respect your traffic officer, policeman and soldier.
6. Do not litter. Dispose your garbage properly. Segregate. Recycle. Conserve.
7. Support your church.
8. During elections, do your solemn duty.
9. Pay your employees well.
10. Pay your taxes.
11. Adopt a scholar or a poor child.
12. Be a good parent. Teach your kids to follow the law and love our country.

These are simple first steps in our journey. There are other countless ways that the young Filipino can help out. But by doing these 12 little things and showing random acts of kindness anywhere we may be, WE CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE FOR THE BETTERMENT OF OUR COUNTRY.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step as the popular saying goes, our journey towards first world country status, starts by realizing what needs to be done and acting on it.

Change the way we do things! Follow the Rule of Law! Live out our Christian values! Cherish our rich cultural and natural heritage! Value EDUCATION! AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER!By transforming ourselves, we will transform the little communities where we live in – be it at home, in school or at work. And in due time, the Filipino Spirit will rise again. Just as Jesus Christ redeemed the world at the young age of 33, the Filipino Youth shall redeem the over 7000 islands of the Republic of the Philippines before we know it.

BELIEVE YOU CAN CHANGE PHILIPPINE HISTORY by changing your ways NOW! Improve yourself and live out your lives to the fullest. Remember, the greatest risk there is in the world is risking nothing at all. Mabuhay Pilipinas!

The Revolution of the Filipino Youth

Let's start the Revolution of the Filipino Youth
Last updated 01:08am (Mla time) 08/09/2006
Published on Page A14 of the August 9, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

WE need a new breed of Filipino leaders who will exemplify John F. Kennedy's famous admonition, "Ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country."

Obviously lacking in competent and service-oriented leaders today, the Philippines suffers from a state of national inertia. As countries around Southeast Asia including Indonesia, march on the road to progress, our country, like many of the poorest African states and tiny nations, remains a "sick man," sliding down the road of poverty.

Nowhere in our history has the Philippines been like this. Thus, I urge my fellow generation of young Filipinos to rise up to the challenge of creating a new breed of leaders who will not squirm in the face of today's biggest challenges, to live by the Christian values taught to us and to promote principled leadership. We need new leaders who can:

1. Brainstorm with the country's best economists, educators and scientists.
2. Implement our laws vigorously, stamp out crime and corruption, and promulgate laws objectively without delay.
3. Reform the government through dialogue and innovation.

These are indeed simple statements but quite hard to live by. The current administration, by refusing to come clean on the controversies hounding it, has lost all of its credibility. But the opposition cannot offer a viable alternative. Our present condition has caused a national paralysis, not unlike the situation of a dying man on his deathbed.

Only the youth can save this country now. We need young leaders who have their eyes on creating a truly great Philippine republic -- strong, vibrant and rich! The Filipino youth can rise up to this challenge. It is high time that the youth of this country claimed the national leadership. We represent 60 percent of the country's population, we ought to control the way things are done.

I urge young Filipinos to actively get involved in the current affairs. Denounce the railroading of Charter change! Denounce abuse of power! Denounce cheating in elections! Denounce the lack of funding for education! Denounce the current breed of corrupt leaders!

If you believe it is high time to change the course of Philippine history, e-mail me at javometa at yahoo.com and Let us start the Revolution of the Filipino Youth.