a) Spend your vacation, your dollars, in our Philippines
It is understandable for our OFWs, balikbayans and Pinoy expats to spend vacation in other countries. The world is truly beautiful and majestic. But please do spend some of your vacation, 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.
b) 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 models. They listen to every word you say, to whatever you tell them. 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.” In an article in one of the recent issues of TIME Magazine, it was said that the most crucial factor for economic progress is not foreign investments, but economic nationalism, i.e., when people learn to support their own country’s products.
c) All OFWs, Balikbayans and Pinoy Expats should do more during elections in RP
In the next and all future elections, the OFWs and Balikbayans and Pinoy expats should do more by helping your relatives back home in choosing the right leaders – the national ones especially – for our country. Your relatives at home will surely listen to you. This means that as OFWs and expats, you need to surf the internet and read the news so you’ll know the candidates who should be elected to office. There are organizations and websites which can help you on this.
If is true that there are at least 8 million OFWs all over the world now, and if it is also true that every Filipino has at least 4 family members or relatives, then the 8 million OFWs have at least 32 million relatives back home in the Philippines. This means that the OFWs and their families, by their own numbers, can already change and transform the political leadership in the Philippines, our government, and eventually our nation as a whole.
d) 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 trait of preference for imported products – the so-called “colonial mentality” – because we were ruled and controlled by the Spaniards for 333 years up to 1898, and by the Americans thereafter up to 1946. Truly, while they ruled us, they made us believe that only the Spanish and American products, ideas and ways were better and superior. And that ours were inferior.
But that’s history. Our Philippines today is different. There are many good Filipinos now, with equally good Filipino products or bands. 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 us, with each one of us.
e) 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 63%. Since we have a population of almost 86 million now, please imagine how many is 63% of that. And most of the poor are children, young children a great many of whom are out there in the streets, because their parents cannot afford to send them to school. Is there something that we, in the private sector, can do to help the many poor around us, particularly the children?
My proposal is this – let’s adopt as scholars our poor children in the streets.
There is this group called World Vision. It is an international foundation which does scholarship for poor children in different areas of the Philippines. It is also operating in more than 100 countries around the world today. Under World Vision, you can adopt a poor child as scholar for only P450 per month. Yes, for only P450 a month. If P450 is expensive for you, convince your best friend to pay half of the P450 monthly. You and your best friend will be partners in adopting 1 scholar.
If you wish, World Vision can give you the name, address and personal profile of your scholar so you can talk or write to your scholar.
Can you imagine if we are able to convince 5 million Filipinos (including OFWs, Balikbayans and Pinoy expats) today, each one wiling to sponsor 1 scholar each under World Vision? It means that 5 million poor children will be taken out of the streets â€“ where they are exposed to all kinds of criminality â€“ and sent to school as scholars. This means that 5 million poor children are given the chance to have a better future.
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.
f) 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, 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 and skills to help others. Charitable organizations are there to allow us to help others while we are busy. So please seriously consider this. Every little help that you send will help one poor Filipino, often one poor child, in our country.
g) 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 – the home of the Filipino, and the birthplace of our race.
Let your children and foreign spouses hear it from you – 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, as I said, you are their beloved. 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 would grow up with love and admiration for the Philippines in their hearts and minds.
h) Speak positively about our Philippines and our people
Surely, 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 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. Except for our leaders, 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, and a people who are very forgiving, and very caring of our olds. There is so much humanity and Christianity in us as a people. I really believe that, someday, we can be the most, if not one of the most, beautiful peoples on earth.
We just really have to learn to elect our leaders properly. If we learn to do that, we can be a great people and a great nation.
What I am saying is this. Let us focus on our beauty and strengths, and build from there. If we have beauty and strengths as our foundations, we can only get beautiful and strong from there. You and all the Pinoy expats and OFWs should be, and could be, the best ambassadors for our home country and people. Rafael Salas, the founder of the United Nations’ Population Fund, said that every Filipino is an ambassador of our country.
i) 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 would already see the growth of their savings and how fast these are growing.
Teach them also to take their savings away from their reach, and invest 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” of Robert Kiyosaki is very good on this matter. The book “Pera Mo, Palaguin Mo” of Filipino author Francisco Colayco is also a very good here.
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 too to live simply, and not to spend so much on consumer items that are unnecessary. There is so much beauty in simplicity. There is so much elegance in modesty.
j) Invest in the Philippines
Finally, if you have extra funds and are looking where to invest them, please invest in our Philippines. There are good investment advisers who can help you in this regard. Philippines is a growing market â€“ an emerging market in the language of international banks and financial institutions. Almost 86 million in population. 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 Philippines.
But more than that, every cent or dime that you invest in the Philippines will certainly 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 country.
Atty. Alexander L. Lacson is the author of the Book “12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country.” He wrote the article “10 Little Things OFWs, Balikbayans & Pinoy Expats Could Do To Help Develop Our Philippines” as a reply to the request of PinoyExpats Magazine (May 2006), an online magazine based in Europe. A number of websites and e-groups have since picked up and passed around that article, but according to Atty. Lacson, the version being passed around is the cut-and-pasted one. Here’s the clearer version, reproduced in full with his permission.