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Feb 04th
Home Columns Reinventing the Philippines Despite the Politicians, There Is Real Hope for the Philippines
Despite the Politicians, There Is Real Hope for the Philippines PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Reinventing the Philippines
Friday, 20 June 2008 17:46

Tonight this columnist attended a meeting with Filipino diplomats and visiting executives in a function room at the Kyoto Grand Hotel in Los Angeles, California. The private meeting with some members of the Filipino-American press and community leaders was held an hour before the “Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) Investment Seminar for Overseas Filipinos” at the hotel’s Grand Ballroom. The topic at the seminar was “Opportunities in the Philippine Equities Market.” Philippine Trade Representative Archimedes C. Gomez introduced the dignitaries present at the meeting: Philippine Consul General Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon, visiting PSE President Francis Ed. Lim and Roberto Juanchito Dispo, the executive vice president of the First Metro Investments Corp.

The members of the Filipino-American press were (in the order of arrival) Romy P. Borje, Max Alvarez (who came in together with this writer), Johnny Pecayo, Joey Quinto, Rene Villaroman (who made also the video coverage), Mylah de Leon and Thelma Calabio. From the community came Noel Omega and Leo Maranan of the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce of San Fernando Valley and Vic Ching, a CPA, who represented the Rotary Club of the Historic Filipinotown. Messrs. Borje, Alvarez, Pecayo, Quinto and Villaroman and this writer came in 10 minutes ahead of the announced starting time of 5:00 p.m. – as they are living up to Consul General Aragon’s “Filipino-On-Time” policy. Mr. Maranan is the immediate successor of Mr. Omega as chamber-of- commerce president.


The participants were requested to introduce themselves. It so happened that I was the first one asked, as the order was clockwise and I sat on the left of Mr. “Jojo” Dispo (the fourth occupant at the head table). I said that I was not only the editor of the but also the secretary general and director of the Filipino-American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) and the first Bicolano member of the Board of Directors of the Cebu Brotherhood.


And before the meeting started, I exchanged business cards with Atty. Lim and Mr. Dispo and told them of what I have penned for our website, the topics of which very few Filipino-American journalists could probably write. Articles like Saving the Philippine President from Herself (Part I) and Similarities Between Saddam Hussein and Gloria Arroyo


My self introduction and the light banter that followed probable set the tone of the private meeting cum press conference with Atty. Lim, Mr. Dispo, as participated in by Consul General Aragon and Trade Attaché Gomez. It became quite a no-holds-barred but courteous exchange of ideas and data about the Philippine economy, the country’s foreign debts, the strength of the Philippine peso (that I said as not actually true), the PSE’s new programs and the coming 2010 elections. And more--like the Filipino population in the United States, their gross household incomes and their remittances to the homeland. And even the coming 500th  anniversary of the Fernando de Magallanes-led expedition that landed in the Philippines in 1521, which I said was to be one of the themes for the Sinulog Festival-Los Angeles in January 2009 and which I will probably chair.


This writer informed the visiting Filipino leaders and diplomats of how some Overseas-Filipino workers (OFWs) are organizing a Philippine political party and how they intend to field candidates for the presidency down to the local provincial and municipal positions. Atty. Lim presented the PSE’s plans and programs to generate investment and participation from the Overseas Filipinos. I said, as a member of the budding OFW-led political party, that our group shared the PSE vision. In fact, this writer has written about The OFW-led Political Party's "Vision RP 2021" Master Plan.


There were very good questions from the press members. Mr. Quinto asked Mr. Dispo for instance on the social responsibility of banks like how American banks form foundations to give back to the community part of their net income. Mr. Dispo said that Philippine banks are equal to their American counterparts in channeling part of their profits to causes and charitable concerns.


Yes, despite Filipino politicians and their greed, corruption, incompetence and what not, there is hope for the Philippines. The professional people working in the PSE, investment banks and other firms in the private sector represent the hope for the homeland. There are people like the career diplomats and executives like Atty. Lim, Mr. Dispo and Company who work day in, day out, for positive changes. As I told the visiting dignitaries, what the PSE is doing is on line with the OFW-led political party’s fundamental belief that it is not only the government but also the Philippine economy that should be “of the people, for the people and by the people.”


Perhaps, the Villaroman-produced video about the meeting with the PSE delegation can be shown eventually in this website. The community forum like what happened tonight (actually last night, as this article is posted already early Saturday morning) has to be seen by the public. People must know what the hope for the Philippines is all about and how the country can rise dramatically to reclaim its position as one of the best countries in Asia, if not in the world. That is, if only the Filipino people and their leaders “could just get their acts together for at least five years,” as Atty. Lim told the listeners.


(More on the PSE Investment Seminar in Part II of this report . . .)

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Last Updated on Saturday, 21 June 2008 02:09

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If a man will begin with certainties,he shall end with doubts;but if he will be content to begin with doubts,he shall end in certainties.-- Sir Francis Bacon, 1561-1626