Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Call to Unite for RP

And this is a challenge for my fellow Filipinos all over the world to unite to help our country be a better place to live in, a wonderful place to visit. I know we all have different reasons why we left the country. Thus, you might want to read thru this letter by Harvey Keh and simply choose what you could comfortably contribute...

Dear Fellow Filipinos,

Good day to all of you!

Recently, I came across an article which talks about the main reasons why India is slowly but surely growing into a world power with a fast developing economy. One of the major reasons cited by the article is the fact that many Indians who have left to study, work or live abroad have now started to go back and help their country through various means. In an interview that I watched at CNN, many Indian youth have expressed that they want to study or work abroad just like Filipinos but the only difference is they see themselves coming back after
a few years to bring back what they learned to help their country.

As I thought about this, I realized that we can learn much from the Indians. Imagine if every Filipino working or living abroad would just do his or her own small share towards helping our country, then I think in a few years we could also expect that our country would grow and not be left behind by our Asian neighbors like Vietnam, Thailand, China and India. I thought of suggesting some easy ways that Filipinos living abroad can help our country and I hope that you will consider doing some of these suggestions to help our Philippines:

Volunteer your time, talents and skills. Yes, you can volunteer for Philippine based Non Profit Organizations or foundations even if you are abroad. How? By doing things over the internet. For example, many Non-Profits need accountants who can help them fix up their financials or if you are good at designing websites or promotional materials, you can also offer your services to help promote the causes that the Non-Profits are currently working on. Another thing needed by non-profits here is to promote their cause to Filipinos abroad, you can volunteer your time to be their overseas Filipino champion who can help them reach many more Filipinos living abroad. Just think about what you can do and I’m sure there are a lot of foundations who would be happy to receive help from you.

Be an AHON Foundation Coordinator. AHON Foundation helps build public elementary school libraries all over the Philippines. Recently, DHL agreed to support AHON by agreeing to ship books in good condition from the mainland United States to the Philippines for free! However, we would need coordinators who can help us organize a book drive, collect books in their areas and be a pick-up point for DHL. U.S. Libraries and schools usually change their books every 3 years and I’m sure there are so many good books that Filipino students can still use if we can just bring them here in the Philippines. If you are interested to be an AHON Foundation Coordinator in the U.S., please email Donna Odra at dmodra@yahoo.com or you can visit our site at http://null/xml/deref?link=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ahonfoundation.blogspot.com.

Invest in the Philippines. I recently learned from a friend that a sure sign that the economy is growing is the fact that there is a property boom. Looking at newspapers, you can see condominiums, townhouses and subdivisions being developed left and right. Moreover, my friend tells me that by investing in real estate property, you not only help provide jobs to those who build the condominiums but a multiplier effect happens since you also provide jobs to suppliers of cement, steel and other materials used to develop property. Of course there are investments scams and shams thats why you need to check first before you invest, it might be good to ask your relatives who live here to check so that you don’t rely on just what you see over the internet.

Blog Good Things about the Philippines. With so many free blog sites available, its now very easy to develop and maintain a blog. Imagine if all of us during our free time become the pseudo-Tourism secretary and create and maintain a blog that would showcase nice things, places and people in the Philippines, we would be able to easily market the Philippines as a beautiful place to visit for foreigners. This will also counteract the notion that the Philippines is unsafe and unsanitary. Moreover, lets show that our country is not just a place for foreigners to find mail to order brides or domestic helpers. Through our own blogs lets showcase what it is to be truly Filipino. Once you are finished with developing and updating your blog, email an invitation to view it to all your friends especially to those who don’t know much about the Philippines. Hopefully, the next time someone Googles the Philippines, he would read about how beautiful our country and its people is and would feel that he would miss half of his life if he didn’t find the time to visit our country.

Sponsor a poor Filipino Scholar. I know this sounds like a cliche but by investing in education, the effects are tremendous. By supporting a well-deserving but financially disadvantaged Filipino Scholar, you not only help him finish his education but you also help his present family and future family. In short, by helping a Filipino youth finish college there is a multiplier effect that happens since you now provide him with a better opportunity to find a good job that would in turn help him provide a better life to his or her present family and eventually his future family. By giving the gift of quality education, you help solve poverty not by just one person at a time but by one family at a time. How much does it cost to help a Filipino youth to finish college? Just US $500.00 a year or less than US $ 2.00 a day. If you want to help, just email Pathways to Higher Education-Philippines at snubla@ateneo.edu or you can visit our site at http://null/xml/deref?link=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pathwaysphilippines.org

Visit the Philippines. I remember when I was flying back home from Hong Kong last year, my seatmate in the plane was a Filipino who has lived in L.A. for the past 35 years of his life and not one single time did he ever find the chance to visit the Philippines in those 35 years. He was very excited and I told him that many has changed since then, that’s why every chance that I get to meet a Filipino living abroard I strongly encourage them to visit the Philippines since you not only get a renewed sense of nationalism but by visiting you also get to see how many things we can still do to help our country. If you solely rely on what you see on the internet or what you watch through TFC, Pinoy TV or the Mabuhay Channel, this wouldn’t be enough for you to really understand what is happening in our country. In the economic side of this, by visiting you spend money in the Philippines which then helps prop up the economy and provide more employment to Filipinos. And of course, I’m sure your relatives would love to see you again and prepare a small feast of adobo, lechon and sinigang for you… so don’t wait for 30 years! The Philippines would certainly welcome you back with open arms :)

Mentor a Filipino Youth Online. A good friend of mine based in Koronadal City, South Cotabato started a few years back a very innovative online mentoring system by which Filipinos living and working abroad could help impart good advice to Filipino College students and serve as their mentor to guide them in making their decisions and in charting a good path in life. The mentoring happened online through emails and chats, now you can even talk to each other through Skype or even Yahoo Messenger. If you have the time and wisdom to share with our Filipino youth, you may want to consider being an Online Mentor and help ensure that the Filipino youth of today will achieve a better and brighter future. If you would like to be a mentor or learn more about this program, you can email Jing Ureta at mc_ureta@yahoo.com or personnel@ndmu.edu.ph.

Teach your children the language and culture of the Philippines. A few months ago, I met a couple who migrated to Australia 15 years ago and started their family there. When I talked to their children who grew up there and were 8 and 10 years old already, I was amazed that they could speak fluent Tagalog and they really knew so many things about the Philippines. They even knew how to sing the Philippine National Anthem despite the fact that it was only their first time to visit the country. I hope that many Filipino families would also teach their children our culture and heritage so that they can grow up with a sense of Filipino identity wherever they may go. Its very hard to teach someone to love the Philippines and contribute to nation-building if he wasn’t raised up to believe that he is a Filipino in the first place.

Send this email to your friends who work or live abroad. In my encounters and talks with Filipinos living or working abroad, they have always told me that they really want to help and be part of nation-building but they just don’t know how. Now, through this email we can help by presenting some concrete ways by which Filipinos can keep in touch with our country and be part of our efforts to make this nation great again. I’ve always believed that by doing one good small thing at a time, great things can eventually happen!

I have started my drive to help by posting this letter. Try to do more by linking the words 'Philippines' and 'country' to www.wowphilippines.com.ph. And of course, the words 'Filipinos' to the www.filipinaimages.com or other websites that create a positive image of the Filipinos. Now I promise to blog once a week about how beautiful our country is. Meanwhile, my kids are continuing their journey into the Tagalog language and is learning about our culture and language almost daily through my stories and their books. And we plan to make the Philippines our home in the future. Of course, we visit the Philippines regularly... I cant wait to go home this February!

7 comments:

Christianne said...

I read that letter by Harvey Keh, gusto ko sana mag-volunteer for the online mentoring if only I had the time :D

That's great that MC and IC know Filipino!

Liza's Eyeview said...

excellent post raq - I agree wholeheartedly.

Mixednuts said...

hi raqs, appreciate this effort of yours. we need all the help.

MarysMom said...

You've inspired me to persist in my effort to teach my little tisay Filipino. I also tell her stories about my Filipno childhood everyday and we keep in touch with lolo and lola thru Skype. I blog about Filipino values as much as I can relate it to our daily lives in suburban America.

raqgold said...

christianne, am eager to mentor, too. need to check on this :)

liza, mag sama-sama sa kaunlaran :D

mayi, we need to help ourselves talaga, to unite for the better. am sure it would work.

marysmom, wow, thanks for the warm words. i admire you on your decision to teach your little girl about our country. good luck to both of us!

Analyse said...

great initiative, hope we could line up as the next giant of asia. we have all the ressources to succeed.. but we also need our government to move with the same objectives in mind, to create a good image of our country, to improve infrastractures, to stop graft and corruption, to help small entrepreneurs, to control soaring prices.. the list is endless.

Bang said...

If only all the Filipinos think this way...maybe we can uplift the image our country has nowadays.

I agree with Analyse, the government should create a good image of our country not just for their own personal interests.