UC Hastings Pilipino American Law Society (PALS)


8 Things Young Filipinos can do to Help the Philippines by Paul Rivera
July 28, 2008, 7:44 am
Filed under: Community Outreach

by: Harvey S. Keh

The Manila Bulletin, July 20,2008 (Sunday)

Is the Filipino youth apathetic and indifferent to the plight of our country? That is a question that I am often asked by my friends who seem to be frustrated with the seeming lack of concern and action from the Filipino youth. My answer to this question is simple, I don’t agree that young Filipinos don’t care anymore about our country, they want and can do something but they just don’t know how they can contribute positively in our society. In this regard, I’d like to share my own views of how young Filipinos can get involved in creating a better Philippines.

1.) Register and Vote in the upcoming 2010 National Elections. One of the major problems in our country today is our lack of effective and ethical leaders who will set aside their self-interest for the sake of the common good. In 2010, a great majority of Filipino voters will be aged between 18-35 years old thus, this is a perfect opportunity for young Filipinos to shape our country’s future by choosing the right leaders who will lead our country out of poverty. You can help encourage young Filipinos to register and vote by joining IamChange 2010, send an email to the organizers at kai.pastores@yahoo.com or you can contact them at (02) 426-5657.

2.) Keep yourself informed about what’s happening in our country. In a talk that I gave last summer to a group of college students, I asked them if they knew the different between the roles of a congressman and a mayor. 95% of them said no. This was disheartening since they were already college students studying at a prestigious university. If we really care about our country, we should make a conscious effort to know what is happening around us by reading the newspaper, watching the news or simply taking time to visit websites that contain news about the Philippines.

3.) Harness the power of the Internet to share your sentiments about issues in our country. With the rapid growth of social networking sites and blogs, young Filipinos are now able to easily share their opinions and views with the rest of the world. This can be an effective means of sharing with your friends your views about different issues in our country and by doing so you can help generate more awareness and concern about particular issues and advocacies that need to be pushed for the betterment of our society. If you have time, visit my blog at http://filipinochangemaker.blogspot.com .

4.) Share your books with public school students. The state of Education in our country is in a crisis. We have students who reach high school without even learning how to comprehend a Grade 3 textbook. This problem is compounded by the fact that less than 15% of our public elementary schools have adequate and functional libraries. How can we teach students to read if they don’t have books that they can read? If you want to donate books or start a book drive for our public schools, you can get in touch with AHON Foundation by sending an email to ahonfoundation@gmail.com or calling (02) 683-0262 local 109.

5.) When you go abroad or meet foreigners, share nice things about the Philippines. If you watch CNN or BBC, there are advertisements wherein countries showcase their beautiful places and encourage tourists to come and visit. This is being done since tourism can be a major driver in the economy and development of a country since it not only brings in dollars to the country but it also provides livelihood opportunities for the local communities. Given the meager budget we have to promote our country abroad, we can help by sharing nice things about the Philippines when we meet foreigners and through this we are able to encourage them to take time to visit our country’s most beautiful places and enjoy the world famous Filipino hospitality.

6.) If you can, don’t leave the country. Many of our best minds like our teachers are leaving the country in search of better opportunities and the effects are already showing in our public schools where there is a lack of highly skilled English, Math and Science Teachers. I totally understand and don’t blame those who come from very poor families which decide to work abroad to provide a better quality of life for their families, some of them may have no other choice than to leave. But for those that have a choice and live a relatively comfortable life here, then I hope you can consider staying and working here to contribute towards moving our country forward. For those who decide to leave, I hope you don’t forget to give back to the Philippines by helping send a poor but deserving student to school or sending books that our public school students can still use.

7.) Volunteer your time and Share your skills for causes that are bigger than yourself. According to studies on what makes people genuinely happy, being able to help and take part in causes that are bigger than yourself is one of the most fulfilling and happiest experiences. There are so many non-profit organizations and foundations that are currently doing their own share in helping change the Philippines but for them to reach more people and do more good work, they often need volunteers who can commit time to help in their activities. For example, Pathways to Higher Education-Philippines needs volunteer tutors who can commit 2-3 hours a week to help poor but deserving public high school students gain access to quality higher education. Another example is Museo Pambata which looks for volunteer tour guides and storytellers who can help in entertaining and educating children who visit the Museum. You can visit the Pathways website at http://www.pathwaysphilippines.org or call them at (02) 4266001 local 4048.

8.) Join advocacy groups that promote good governance in our country. According to a study made by the World Bank, the Philippines is one of the most corrupt countries in Asia wherein billions of pesos are lost every year due to rampant graft and corruption in our government. These billions of pesos could’ve been used to build homes for the poor, provide quality healthcare to the sick and build enough public school classrooms for the Filipino youth but instead they money just goes to the pockets of a few elite families which govern our country. It is no wonder why the poor remain poor in the country while those in power continue to drive around our streets in their brand new luxury vehicles. In order for us to achieve genuine and lasting reforms in our country, we need to work together to promote greater transparency and accountability in our government leaders. If you are interested to volunteer and join the fight against corruption, you can join TEAM RP by sending an email to team.rp.official@gmail.com .

Insights and comments are welcome at harveykeh@gmail.com. Please feel free to post this in your blogs or share it with your friends. Let us all work together for a Better Philippines!

http://twitter.com/harveykeh

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1 Comment so far
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This is a great article. If all our youth followed this, our country will truly change. I submitted this on PhilippinesNewsVote.com. It already has 13 votes. 🙂

Comment by burgerking




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