Alexander L. Lacson
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Spend your vacation, your dollars and other foreign currencies, in our
Philippines. It is understandable for our OFW's, balikbayans and Pinoy expats to
vacation in other countries. The world is truly beautiful and majestic. But
please spend some of your vacation time and some of your dollars in our
Philippines. Every dollar that you bring into our country will help build our
Philippines. It will help our tourism industry. It will mean more sales and more
jobs for our local industries. It will mean an increase in our country's
international dollar reserves. It will help stabilize the peso. And ultimately,
it will help stabilize our economy.
2. Encourage and teach your relatives back
home to be good citizens & good Filipinos. Whether or not you are sending
money to your relatives in the Philippines, you are one of their heroes. They
look up to you as a role model. They listen to every word you say. Please teach
them to become good Filipinos, to become good citizens. They can start with my
book, 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country. Please ask
them to help me spread the message of the book. In particular, please ask them
to "Buy local. Buy Pilipino." A recent article in TIME Magazine said
that the most crucial factor for economic progress is not foreign investments,
but economic nationalism â?" i.e., when people learn to support their own
3. All OFW's, Balikbayans and Pinoy Expats
should do more during elections in RP. In the next and all future
elections, OFW's, Balikbayans and Pinoy expats should do more by helping your
relatives back home in choosing the right leaders â?" the national ones
especially â?" for our country. Your relatives at home will listen to you.
This means that as OFWs and expats, you need to surf the Internet and read the
news so you'll know which candidates should be elected to offices. There are
organizations and websites which can help you decide.
If it is true that there are at least 8 million OFW's all over the world now,
and if it is also true that every Filipino has at least 4 relatives, then the 8
million OFW's have at least 32 million relatives back home in the Philippines.
This means that the OFW's and their families alone can determine the political
leadership in the Philippines, our government, and eventually our nation as a
4. Buy Pilipino, wherever you are in the
world. If you look at the Japanese and the (South) Koreans, wherever they are in
the world, they buy and patrionize their own products. They are like that too in
the Philippines. That's why there are so many Korean stores sprouting all over
the country now. The Chinese, Thais and Malaysians
are almost like them too, but in a less passionate manner.
We Filipinos have a preference for imported products â?" the so-called
"colonial mentality" - believing that Spanish and American products,
ideas and ways were better and superior and that ours were inferior. But that's
history. Our Philippines is different now. There are many good Filipino
companies with equally good Filipino products or brands. Look at Bayo, Kamiseta,
Bench, Penshoppe, Jollibee, among others. In fact, some of the best branded
products you see in New York, London and Italy are made in our Philippines.
Please be an ambassador of the Filipino, by wearing Pilipino. Show to your
foreign spouses and officemates and to the world, the elegance of our culture
and beauty of our people. All these things begin with each one of us.
5. Adopt a poor child as a scholar back
home. According to government sources, around 40% of our people are poor. But
according to our bishops from CBCP, the figure is much higher than that,
possibly at 53%. Since we have a population of almost 86 million now, imagine
how many of that is 53%. Most of the poor are children, a great many of whom are
out there in the streets, because their parents cannot afford to send them to
My proposal is this â?" let's adopt scholars among our poor street
children. World Vision is an international foundation which offers
scholarship for poor children. It has been operating in the Philippines for
years. It looks for 2 groups of persons â?" the first are those poor
children who really want to study hard, and the second are those who have extra
funds and are willing to sponsor 1 scholar for only P450 per month. Yes, for
only P450 a month, you can sponsor 1 scholar under World Vision. World Vision
can give you the name, age, address and personal profile of your scholar so you
can even mentor, visit, talk, or write to your scholar.
If there are 5 million Filipinos and OFW's today who are all wiling to sponsor 1
child each under World Vision, that would mean 5 million poor children can be
adopted as scholars. These scholars will have a better future and will someday
become our partners in building our nation.
This could be one of the fastest paths to progress and social transformation in
our country. And this is a very Christian way. Even Jesus Christ, who was born
very poor in a manger, had to be adopted by Joseph.
6. Support a charitable organization. There
are many good charitable organizations that truly help build our Philippines to
become a better place for all of us. Gawad Kalinga, Pondo ng Pinoy, Caritas
Manila and World Vision, among others. These groups are beyond the dirt and
mirth of politics.
Like most of us, you too are busy. Often, you will have not the time to help
others. Charitable organizations are there to allow us to help others while we
are busy. Every little help that you send will help one poor Filipino, often one
poor child, in our country.
7. Teach your children about the
Philippines, and to love it and its people. Teach your children and your foreign
spouses, wherever you are in the world, about our Philippines â?" the home
of the Filipino people, and the birthplace of our race.
Let your children and your foreign spouses hear it from you â?" that you
appreciate and love our Philippines. Because if they hear and see it from you,
their beloved, they too will appreciate and love our Philippines. Or they will
find a way, sooner or later, to appreciate and love it, because of you. I see
that all the time, everywhere, in practically all the fathers and mothers in
this world. Their sons and daughters often carry and continue their parents'
loves, causes and advocacies.
If you make your children see and hear that you love our Philippines, believe
me, someday your children will grow up with love and admiration for the
Philippines in their hearts and minds.
8. Speak positively about our Philippines
and our people. Sure, there are things that will disappoint and dishearten you
in the Philippines, especially if you look at our government and the politicians
who run it and those businessmen whose companies earn so much but who pay very
little to their employees.
But there are also many good things in our Philippines. We are a race capable of
greatness and excellence, and you see this in the likes of Lea Salonga, Dr
Josette Biyo, Diosdado Banatao, Efren Reyes, Ninoy Aquino, Jose Rizal, among
many others. We are essentially a breed of honest people, and you see this in
the likes of Nestor Sulpico, the Filipino driver in New York who, on 17 July
2004, drove 43 miles from New York to Connecticut, USA to return the US$80,000
worth of rare black pearls to his passenger who forgot it at the rear back seat
of his taxi. We are a people of truly good hospitality even to strangers. We are
a very caring and forgiving people. There is so much humanity and Christianity
in us as a people. I really believe that, someday, we can be one of the most
beautiful peoples on earth.
Let us focus on our beauty and strengths, and build from there. You and all the
Pinoy expats and OFWâ?Ts should be, and could be, the best ambassadors for our
home country and people. Rafael Salas, the founder of the United Nationsâ?T
Population Fund, said that every Filipino is an ambassador of our country.
9. If you are remitting funds to your
relatives in the Philippines, teach them to save 15% or 20% of the funds. If you
are remitting funds to your relatives in the Philippines, please teach them to
save at least 15% or 20% of the funds. Please teach your relatives the
importance of savings. These savings seem small at the start, but even only
after 2 years of savings, they will see the growth of their savings and how fast
these are growing.
Also teach them to take their savings away from reach and put them in
high-yielding investments like mutual funds or treasury bonds. There are many
good financial advisers in this area. Teach your relatives to consult one on a
regular basis. The book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki is good start. The
book Pera Mo, Palaguin Mo by Filipino author Francisco Colayco is also very
These savings, if handled and invested wisely, could mean the financial
independence of your relatives from you in the future, or even from themselves.
Teach your relatives to live simply and not to spend so much on unnecessary
consumer items. There is so much beauty in simplicity. There is so much elegance
10. Invest in the Philippines. Finally, if you have extra
funds and are looking for ways to invest them, please invest in our Philippines.
There are good investment advisers who can help. The Philippines is a growing
market â?" an emerging market, in the language of international banks and
financial institutions. If you have investment ideas that can cater to the basic
needs and desires of these 86 million Filipinos, you will make it big in our
But more than that, every cent or dime that you invest in the Philippines will
help our people and our country. And when you do it, you become our partner in
building our nation. You become a good Filipino. You become a hero of our
Alexander L. Lacson is the author of 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do to
Help Our Country. Recently, he was a guest speaker at the launch of Ang Bagong
Pinoy, an organisation of concerned Filipinos who are working to build a better