Thursday, June 9, 2005

Duties and responsibilities that go with the privilege of being a Filipino citizen

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, June 09, 2005

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Duties and responsibilities that go with the privilege of being a Filipino citizen

I OFFERED Philippine flags to some friends and told them to display them in their cubicles/rooms. Only one accepted the flag (though I’ve not seen it displayed yet) and the rest snickered at the thought. At SM, for example, flags are on display because they were given free according to sales people and stall owners to drum up sales for the Independence Day weekend.

The words of Albert Einstein ring true sadly: “Our world has become a dangerous place to live in, not because of some people who are evil, but because of the many people who do not do anything about it.” And from our Dr. Jose P. Rizal: “It is enough for good people to do nothing, for evil people to succeed.”

These quotations were taken from a newly published book, 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do to Help Our Country, written by Alexander L. Lacson. In her foreword, President Cory Aquino wrote, “This book is very timely and practical because it is comparatively easy to do the suggested 12 little things to help our country. I really hope that this book will be read by many Filipinos.”

These twelve little things are:

1. Follow traffic rules. Follow the law.
2. Whenever you buy anything, always 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, policemen, soldier and other public servants.
6. Do not litter. Dispose of 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.

At the moment, I couldn’t think of any thing simpler, more practical, doable, common- sense things that you and I could do at no cost to support our country and our countrymen.

After reading the book, you couldn’t feel apathetic or couldn’t-care-less, as Mr. Lacson proceeded to explain each of the twelve things complete with examples, stories, statistics, excerpts from history and quotations.

One of my favorite example goes, “Yes, we are a people capable of greatness, of making supreme sacrifices.” Dr. Josette Biyo has masteral and doctoral degrees from one of the top schools in the country—De La Salle University—where she used to teach rich college students, and was paid well for it. But she left that and all the glamour of Manila, and chose to teach in a lowly public high school in a rural area in a province, receiving a salary of less than $300 a month, because according to her, “who will teach the children?” In recognition of the rarity of her kind, the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology honored Dr. Biyo by naming a small and newly discovered planet in our galaxy as “Biyo.”

The book is an eye-opener. As Bunny Peña-Gerochi wrote in the copy she gave me, “be a candle and a mirror with me.” My own take is let’s not wait for somebody else to act first, today is a good time as any to start thinking and feeling for our country and our fellow Filipinos in everything we say, think and do. Let us make the Philippines and Filipinos be proud of us!

Compared to big corporate profits and high salaries of our business executives, the salary/wage of a big majority of employees is pittance. The irony is that these low-wage earners are the customers who buy and use those products and services that give Mr. Businessman his profit and that pay the executives their high salaries, etc. Mr. Lacson reminds our business leaders that a good salary to our employees will mean a good future for their children, our youth, our nation’s future.

Manuel V. Pangilinan, PLDT chair and CEO, exhorts, “I encourage every Filipino to do his appointed tasks in life, honorably and well. If all, or most of us, simply do this, we could be making the most important contribution to a strong Philippines, to a better country.”

(Moje is president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp. For feedback, e-mail her at

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