Faith in the Filipino

And so, after much ado over the automated elections, Benigno Aquino III or Nonoy Aquino, is now President of the Philippines. We were at mass a few Sundays back and we saw Fr. Jim Ferry.

We greeted him after the mass and he saw that my son was wearing a blue shirt with a yellow map of the Philippines on it. Fr. Ferry then commented: "Now we know who you are for," as he pointed at my son's shirt. "You're for the country." Then he continued: "Sometimes we think that the president can do it alone...but he can't do it alone. We've all got to do our share..."

That statement is so true. So even as I hope and pray that this new Aquino Administration will succeed, I am also not looking at government to save us from all of this nation's ills. All it takes to bring about true and genuine change is for each Filipino to do his best wherever he or she may find himself or herself. All it takes is for each Filipino to care of his neighbor as much as he would care for his or her own family.

I have always had much faith in the Filipino. It is this faith that makes me believe that in time, we will be able to harness all of our nation's resources for good.

Atty. Alex Lacson ran as Senator during the last elections and unfortunately, did not make it to the top 12. I have asked him for permission if I could share on my website, his message to all the Filipinos who helped him throughout his campaign. Following is his message:

Mga Kapatid,

Please allow me to say my personal and highest thanks to all of you who helped me one way or the other in my senatorial campaign last elections.

Last December 1, when I finally decided to run for the Senate, I remember my wife asking me out loud – “how are we going to do this?" My answer, as it has always been since then, was that God will provide.

At that moment, just barely 5 months before the May 10 elections, we had no preparations of any kind for a Senate campaign – no staff, no organization, no political machinery, no campaign funds. Literally, we were on ground zero. I never thought that I would actually be running for the senate. I was hesitant to run till December 1, the last day for the filing of CoC.

I remember to this day the first prayer I made – I asked God to send me wonderful people who can help me on this new journey.

Five (5) months later, I can tell you, with much gratitude and humility, that God indeed provides. Truly, He has sent me many wonderful people – patriotic, generous and hopeful – who are committed to work for the change we all desire to see in our country.

In particular, I was amazed by the thousands who responded to our call for small donations of even just P5, P25 or P100. These small donors came from different sectors -- from students, teachers, nuns, priests, bishops, farmers, drivers, OFWs, government employees, nurses, doctors, professionals, businessmen, senior citizens, among others. Various groups organized garage sales, lugawans, book sales, fundraising breakfasts, cocktails and dinners.

One of the most heart-warming stories was that of a senior citizen. My wife Pia told me that this man donated P50,000 despite the fact that his wife was in a hospital’s ICU that time. When I texted to thank him after the elections, this senior citizen said – “My family and I decided to support good people. There are so few.” I showed the text message to my wife. It made her cry.

We even got donations from many priests and nuns, and including from an archbishop, a former CBCP president. Many priests tapped the youths in their respective dioceses to help in our campaign. Many pastors nationwide campaigned for us in their churches. A day before election day, a group of nuns from the Visayas still insisted on giving a donation, despite my telling them that the campaign was over. On May 10, we still received donations in kind and small amounts through SMS.

The donations from thousands of ordinary Filipinos totalled almost P22 million! Truly, the Little Things counted. Of course, the amount was paltry considering that we were running a national campaign. But it was more than enough for me and my Team Pinoy to believe that there are so many ordinary Filipinos out there who dream the dreams we dream for our people and country, and who are willing to invest in our fight for those dreams! It has given us a lot of hope. There’s so much promise.

The stories of our volunteers reflect those hope and promise.

We had thousands of volunteers from all over the country, many of them anonymous, printing and putting up their own materials, spreading the word through text and Internet, giving out sample ballots, calling friends and relatives, and joining rallies, motorcades, palengke runs, and prayer vigils. One supporter printed thousands of prayer cards, the back of which listed the 12 Little Things and my name. Another supporter, who owns a computer games shop, made my campaign poster as the wallpaper in all the computer units in his computer shop.

Yet one of the most touching stories for me in this campaign was the story of Susan Leonor, a volunteer from Manapla, Negros Occidental. A few months ago, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. But almost everyday in the last 3 months, Susan has been campaigning for me in different places in the province. Her story made me cry. Another volunteer, an old man in a wheel chair, kept on calling relatives, friends and unknown people in the phonebook directory asking them to vote for us.

Truly, they – along with all of you, my dear brothers and sisters – are among the many wonderful people God sent to help me on this journey. I know for a fact that many of you went out of your way and took the extra mile to help in our campaign. I will never know to the fullest extent the sacrifices and efforts each one of you did to help our campaign, as there are so many of you. But let me thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all your encouragement, prayers and support.

You are all a wonderful blessing for me and my family. I truly thank God for all of you.

We garnered over 5 million votes, and placed 22nd out of 62 senatorial candidates. But until the very last day, only around 48% of the voters knew us. This means that 52% of the voters still did not know us on election day. Awareness, or the lack of it, was our biggest problem. It was very expensive to go to the media to create awareness at so short a time.

But several friends told me that, notwithstanding our limited resources and preparation, we placed No. 1 or 2 or 3 in the villages of Dasmarinas, Greenmeadows, Valle Verde, Acropolis, and White Plains. We also placed high in many other affluent villages in Metro Manila. Unfortunately, we ranked low in most urban poor communities within Metro Manila, largely because they do not know me.

Last year, I embarked on this political journey because of a dream – a dream of a better Philippines, where every child gets a good education, where every graduate is able to find a job, where every father has a reliable source of income, where every Filipino family has a decent house to go home to, where the Filipino and his family can be assured of a beautiful future, in the land where God planted them.

I am honored to share that dream with you.

I shall be honored to pursue that dream with you.

I have so much faith in the Filipino.

I believe that the Filipino is great. He has the power, within him and around him, to become one of the greats of this world.

I believe that the Filipino is beautiful, inside and outside, and he deserves to have a beautiful country. He and his family deserve to have a beautiful future in the land where God planted them.

And I believe that we Filipinos have the power to build a better and a brighter future for ourselves as a people.

We must keep and grow that faith – our faith in the Filipino. Our faith is the most important element in making our dream come true.

We must use our faith to build a beautiful future for the Filipino, and a beautiful country for ourselves and our people.

Today as ever before, our motherland country is looking to all its sons and daughters. Who among them will be truly faithful to the country? Who among them will be truly caring of the least and the last of its people? Who among them would truly provide the answers to the many questions, the solutions to the problems?

May we seek to provide the answer, the solution.

May, from the ranks of your and my generations, there emerge leaders who would truly give hope to our people.

May we always seek the best, the highest, and the most beautiful for our country and our people.

May we seek for true greatness for the Filipino and our Philippines.

Mga kapatid, thank you so much once again for all your support.

Always,

Alex “Pinoy” Lacson

Senatorial Candidate, LP

As the coming days and years unfold, let us keep our faith in the Filipino. But more important than keeping the faith is to spread it! Be a good Filipino. Extend a helping hand to others when you can. Love and serve your country right where you are. Through your actions, give everyone a reason to believe that the Philippines is the home of noble men.

[By Angelica Viloria | Sunday, July 11, 2010]


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