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Nov 11th
Home Columns Reinventing the Philippines How to Get Back the Dignity of the Filipino (Part3)
How to Get Back the Dignity of the Filipino (Part3) PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Reinventing the Philippines
Thursday, 17 May 2007 01:28


(Part Three of "Reinventing the Filipino Psyche" Series) 

If the Filipino-American medical workers were to invest their time and money in the Filipino hospital industry, the Philippines can become the Medical Mecca in Asia. If the Filipino Americans can be motivated to invest 5% of their incomes per year, the investment fund (that is tentatively called the "Overseas-Filipino Monetary Fund" or "OFMF") for Philippine ventures can amount easily to $2-billion every 12 months. Just imagine what a billion dollars in private investment can do to a poor region like the Leyte-Samar or Bicolandia?

Moreover, there are only 13 regions in the Philippines, including the National Capital Region. At a constant investment rate of $2-billion per year, it will take only six-and-a-half years to have all regions receive each a billion dollars in private investment funds. But even the whiz kids of the Philippine Presidential Management Staff (PMS) or the bright boys at the Makati or Manila Stock Exchanges (now merged into the "Philippine Stock Exchange") have not figured out how to persuade Filipino Americans to invest in their homeland or even home region.


The first step is to regain the dignity of the Filipino because one cannot reinvent one's psyche if he feels ashamed of the home country and has no faith in her people and its leaders and hope for a better future. Remember the adage that says, "He who loses money, loses much; he who loses a friend, loses much more; but he who loses faith (if not hope), loses all."


And on the political arena, Filipino Americans are starting to emerge from their cocoon of indifference. They are now getting used to the American political system where people give donations to the politicians' political action committees, rather the politicians giving money to the voters -- as practiced in the Philippines. And increasing numbers of Filipino Americans are getting elected to serve in school boards, city councils, state assemblies, state senates and the state governorship, as exemplified by the Hon. Benjamin Cayetano, an American of Pangasinense ancestry, who served for two terms as governor of Hawaii. Soon there may be a Filipino-American member of the U.S. House of Representatives or even the United States Senate, if former Governor Cayetano were to make a run for it.
 
Obviously, the first step is to regain the dignity of the Filipino because one cannot reinvent one's psyche if he feels ashamed of the home country and has no faith in her people and its leaders and hope for a better future. Remember the adage that says, "He who loses money, loses much; he who loses a friend, loses much more; but he who loses faith (if not hope), loses all."


Here are some of the wishes, to say nothing of demands, of many Overseas Filipinos, especially the Filipino Americans -- before they may consider investing their savings and their sweat, proverbial blood and tears in Philippine ventures:

1.0 A wish for Filipino leaders to stop going abroad on begging and/or borrowing trips. I offered unsolicited advices since 1988 in the Philippine Journal, the Los Angeles-edition of the Manila Standard and other Filipino-American publications that the leaders of the Philippines should stop asking for alms whenever they go abroad; they ought instead to seek investments. For it is better to be poor than be a debtor.

2.0 A wish for Filipino leaders to stop aging veterans who served with the United States Armed Forces during World War II from migrating to the United States. We --scions of Filipino veterans-- have been telling people that we find it repugnant for a government like the Philippine Establishment to be telling its veterans and senior people to go migrate to the United States, so that the American government can pay them welfare checks and take care of their medical needs.

3.0 We suggest respectfully that the Arroyo Administration tell now President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress that if the American government cannot take care properly of the American veterans of Filipino ancestry, then to let them go back to their homeland, where the Filipino government will exhaust its resources, with the help of the veterans' kin, to take good care -- Filipino style -- of the veterans' remaining years on Earth. For it will be better that these aging veterans to die in their original abode, surrounded by loved ones, rather than die alone as "second-class American citizens" in a dark corner of an equally-aging apartment somewhere in the United States. The message to drive home, pun intended, is for the Filipino-American veteran to die with dignity at the ancestral abode even if he were as poor as before he came to the United States to become an American citizen.

4.0 A wish for the Filipino leaders and voters to accept and undertake sound socioeconomic structural reforms.

We, Filipino writers in both the Philippines and Overseas, have been writing about the need for reforms in the Philippine economic sector. Once and for all, the national economy should be an endeavor for the people, by the people and of the people. The national economy should not be solely for the cronies of politicians, whether or not these cronies have American, Spanish, Chinese, Malay indigenous-sounding family names or the kin of the national or provincial leaders.


To read Part IV of this series, please click on this link,

The Filipino: The Master and Lord of Suffering (Psyche, Part4)



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