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THE FILIPINO SPIRIT IN THE REMAKING OF AMERICA

by Echo Park Communtiy Coalition Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009 at 10:46 AM
epcc_la@hotmail.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

Today, we celebrate our misa ng bayan with great hopes for brighter days of economic and moral recovery and renewal under our new President Barack Obama. It is certainly heartening and uplifting to know that we have a lot to hope and be thankful for after this nation demonstrated great courage by electing the first black, indeed, the first colored man in history, to the presidency. It brings much satisfaction after periods of intense crises and conflicts under the Bush administration, remembering 9/11, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the economic meltdown that continues to wreck havoc on us andespecially the common workers not only in the United States but all over the globe. After passing through the bleakest of days we earnestly hope to see light.

THE FILIPINO SPIRIT ...
fqs5.jpg, image/jpeg, 640x480

EPCC NEWS

February 9, 2009



“THE FILIPINO SPIRIT IN THE REMAKING OF AMERICA”

By: Arnedo S. Valera, Esquire

Executive Director,

MIGRANT HERITAGE COMMISSION (MHC)





(MHC’s Message for the 4th Annual People’s Mass (Misa ng Bayan)

St. Rose of Lima Church, Gaithersburg, MD ,February 8, 2009





Today, we celebrate our misa ng bayan with great hopes for brighter days of economic and moral recovery and renewal under our new President Barack Obama. It is certainly heartening and uplifting to know that we have a lot to hope and be thankful for after this nation demonstrated great courage by electing the first black, indeed, the first colored man in history, to the presidency. It brings much satisfaction after periods of intense crises and conflicts under the Bush administration, remembering 9/11, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the economic meltdown that continues to wreck havoc on us andespecially the common workers not only in the United States but all over the globe. After passing through the bleakest of days we earnestly hope to see light.



It is with that certain feeling of relief and anticipation that we greet and send our very best wishes to President Obama. Despite the continuing crises both in world economy and in the moral fiber of the citizenry, we have reason to believe that there will be brighter days ahead.



Dr. Martin Luther King once referred to the same spirit as a dream of freedom. We know that to realize the dream and specifically, to elevate ourselves and find peace and contentment again, we have to work harder and be involved in the “reconstruction” work.

As Filipinos and Filipino-Americans, it may be time to ask precisely how we could help or in what ways we can contribute so that the continuing global crisis may be averted. But not only is our commitment needed in the remaking of America; it is also necessary that we work hard to save our own people, especially, the migrant workers here and in many countries around the world losing their jobs each time a business or employer downsizes or goes bankrupt. It is a sad fact that during a global economic crisis, the hardest hit are small countries such as the Philippines, which unfortunately,are dependent on the economies of the First World countries.



Recently, we have already heard news of hundreds, probably thousands of overseas Filipino workers, are losing their jobs not only in the United States but also in Europe and the Middle East. There are, however, no jobs available back in the Philippines either, as many of the businesses there are foreign-owned, too. Take for example the case of Intel Corporation which recently shut down its assembly facility in Laguna after decades of successful operation. This resulted in the displacement of more than two thousand workers. A great number of OFWs have been sent home from various places such as Taiwan, Dubai, the United Kingdom, and other places in Europe may find themselves unemployed in the country they call home.



o say then that we hope for better days under the new President who is presently perceived to be the ideal leader in that he embodies those from the disadvantaged social classes, is really to dream that he be some kind of Messiah who who take us out of the darkness. And though we pray for divine help, we know that it alone will not resolve the crises ,hat we cannot simply wait for miracles to happen.

We go back then to the theme of the “Filipino spirit in the remaking of America.” What is the “Filipino spirit” and how will it help improve our lives? We Filipinos are known for being resilient and as President Quezon described,“pliant like the bamboo.”

There is something in our character that enables us to weather all crises no matter how great, that makes us think that storms and tribulations are like wisps of hair or loose strands of some fiber that we could seize and bind up into some useful rope. In short, we have a knack for making the best of a bad situation, turning junk into jewels.

For most, the motto is as a song goes, “I (we) will survive!” As a people, our strength is in resilience. After a period of great stress and suffering, we bounce back into life. We probably owe this to our long history of colonial subjection. Those centuries must have taught us invaluable techniques for survival.

We have learned to be ingenuous and creative even as we adapt naturally to any situation, enduring pain, weathering storms. I would like to think that contrary to what Rizal said, it was not indolence that our people showed but adaptation and endurance so that at opportune times we had always prevailed. Unfortunately, there were other effects of the colonial experience that messed us up, including, having developed an attitude of tolerance to the point where we become vulnerable to plunder and exploitation by the predatory and unscrupulous, by the greedy and the corrupt. This tolerance and resilience may have inured us so much strife and that we have accepted them merely as a fact of life.



But the true and enlightened Filipino spirit, however, will not only bend and endure. This spirit is creative and ingenuous and is prepared when called upon to take on the task to struggle “against all odds,” as the cliche goes. If we include another valuable quality of our Filipino nature called “Bayanihan,” then we should build much confidence and have every reason to look forward to brighter days ahead.



It is on this note, that I wish to enjoin all of you to support the following specific projects and goals recommended by various Fil-Am community groups after the historical election of President Barack Obama:



1) Long term solution of financial literacy on all levels of education to the problem of foreclosures;

2) Using the massive 0 billion bailout to alleviate the suffering of the foreclosed homeowners and providing mortgage relief to Main Street and not only Wall Street;

3) Support the bill that recognize the Filipino World War II Veterans, give them the benefits and ensure family reunification;

4) Amnesty and pathways to citizenships to all 12 million undocumented immigrants;

5) Appointment of deserving Filipino-Americans in key positions in the government and the judiciary;

6) Review of U.S foreign policy in the Philippines calling for the Philippine Government to stop and curb corruption and gross violations of human rights.



If we could bring these to President Obama and his new government, we would have succeeded in fulfilling our functions both in the remaking of America while helping solve the problems and ease the burden of our kins back home.

The Migrant Heritage Commission as a service oriented institution never lose their prepossession with that entrancing occupation of bringing people together and continue building a culture of unity and service for all migrants. Through our programs, we ignite in you the caring spirit,stoke the boldness of your hope and faith, that as a member of the migrant family, we need one another.



And finally, in today’s misa ng bayan, you will become part of our symbolic offerings and special prayers. They represent the human expressions of life defining and exemplifying human dignity, dignity of labor, our quest for justice, peace and our passion for the preservation and promotion of human rights. All these in essence capture the “Filipino Spirit”.



Thank you and May GOD OF HISTORY BLESS US ALL !!

********







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