10 Little Things Every OFW, Balikbayan or Pinoy Expat could do to help develop our CountryBy Alexander Lacson
The man who wrote 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do to Help Our Country shares with us 10 tips on what we, Pinoys abroad, can do to help develop our home country.
1) 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 – i.e., when people learn to support their own country’s products.
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 – the national ones especially – 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 whole.
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 – 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 school. My proposal is this – 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 – 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 – the home of the Filipino people, and the birthplace of our race. Let your children and your 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 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 OFW’s 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.
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 good. 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 in modesty.
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 – 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 Philippines. 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 country.
May iba pa ba kayong maidadagdag?