Making Heroes of Our People

Making Heroes of Our People
Extract from a speech at the World Vision International Convention
13 August 2006

I believe that the crucial ingredient for our success in the country could be Good Citizenship. Good Citizenship is about a people becoming responsible citizens of their country, as well as becoming generous and caring members of their society. It is about a people performing their duties to their government, as much as it is about a people caring for the young and the weak among them, the old and the sick in their community. Good citizenship is about awakening and enriching that spirit of love and generosity in the hearts of our people. It is about our people doing a little more for our country and our fellowmen. In June 2005, I published a book entitled “12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country.” The heart and soul of the book is really about Good Citizenship.

In writing this book, I meant to provide the Filipino people with the “tools” they can use to help our country. Each of these 12 little things may be likened to a hammer or a saw, or a broom and a dustpan that every Filipino can use to help our country. Everytime a Filipino follows one of the 12 little things in the book, everytime he uses these 12 “tools”, he becomes a carpenter of our country. He becomes a builder of our nation. He becomes a hero of our country. And I believe that this is what we need in the country today. We need to make heroes out of our people by making them active participants in the task of nation-building.

The book is also about people empowerment. When people realize that there are things that they can do to help our country—many of which are just simple things—they become empowered citizens. They become empowered Filipinos, individually and collectively as a people.

When the book was first published, I was surprised by its reception. Today, many groups, companies, schools, church groups, movements, foundations and individuals continue to order copies of the book in bulk. It has been circulated many times on the internet. It has been featured in all the major newspapers in the country. A number of national organizations have adopted the book and its message of promoting Good Citizenship among Filipinos. I have also received numerous emails from Filipinos, many of them from abroad, who told me how they were touched by the book, and how some them cried after reading it.

Why I am saying all these things to you? This is not about me. Nor is the book about myself. This is about so many Filipinos who are hungry for change in this country. This is about the many Filipinos who thirst for progress and prosperity in this country. This is about the many Filipinos who want to help the country, those who want to become heroes for our country by doing the little things that they could do on their own, without fanfare, to help build a better future for our nation. This is about so many Filipinos out there, many of whom are silent and live simple lives, but who care deeply for our country and its future. There are so many of them around the country. In fact, I did not know that there are so many of them. I did not know that there are so many good Filipinos in every corner of our archipelago who want to lend a hand to build a better Philippines. I did not know that there are so many of our countrymen who want to be heroes for our country.

This is about those Filipinos, who count in great numbers, who could actually become heroes of our country through Good Citizenship.