By Ducky Paredes
Monday, 31 December 2007

     ALEXANDER LEDESMA LACSON is a lawyer who does a lot of pro bono work. He is also, like myself, a member of the Rotary Club of Pasig. Alex’s notoriety comes from having written a book that is simple, honest and so easily understood. If you have not done so yet, get a copy of Alex’s book: “12 LITTLE THINGS EVERY FILIPINO CAN DO TO HELP OUR COUNTRY.”
     It is not even a book but really just a pamphlet of a little over 100 pages.

     Here are Alex Lacson’s 12 little things that if all of us – and that includes our national leaders – take them to heart and apply them to our personal lives, ought to make a great difference for the Philippines:
 1.  Follow traffic rules. Follow the law.
 2.  Whenever you buy or pay for anything, always ask for an official receipt
 3.  Do not buy smuggled goods. Buy local, Buy Filipino
 4.  When you talk to others, especially foreigners, speak positively about us and our country
 5.  Respect your traffic officer, policemen and soldier
 6.  Do not Litter. Dispose your Garbage Properly. Segregate. Recycle. Conserve
 7.  Support your Church
 8.  During elections, do your solemn duty
 9.  Pay your employees well
10.  Pay your taxes
11.  Adopt a Scholar, or Adopt a poor child
12.  Be a good parent. Teach your kids to follow the law & to love our country

    That is not really too hard to do, is it?
    Or so it seems. But think about it. Do we all follow the law when, more often than not, the attitude of those who have more in life is that they also have a right to have more in everything, even to the privilege of breaking the law when it is convenient? Ramon Magsaysay, arguably our best ever President, said the exact opposite: “Those who have more in life should have less in law.”
    Wouldn’t life be much better if all of us were to follow the law strictly and abide by what the Mayor of Manila says: “The law applies to everyone or none at all.” Not too grammatical but very precise and right on the nose.
    The next eleven are easier to do except, the fifth one. Our problem with our traffic officers, policemen and soldiers is that they seem overly impressed with the importance of just about everyone in the upper middle classes and up. While this is a blessing to those in those classes, think about what this does to law enforcement.
    Our police and the military must be impressed with the taught that, in enforcing our laws, they must treat everyone in the same way. A rich man’s son whose vehicle runs over a pedestrian ought to be treated in the same way as the policeman treats a truck, taxi or jeepney driver who had the same sort of accident. For this to happen, the respect for the enforcer must come from the top. If those in the top rung of government cannot be stopped, questioned or arrested, why should those who  have houses in upscale subdivisions and have oodles of money be treated and differently?


    Alex Lacson also has 10 tips for our OFWs and other Pinoys abroad:
    1.  Spend your vacation, your dollars and other foreign currencies, in our Philippines. Visit other countries, too but do spend time and your money in the Philippines.
    2.  Encourage and teach your relatives back home to be good citizens and good Filipinos.
    3.  All OFW’s, Balikbayan and Pinoy Espats should do more during elections in RP. Tell your relatives back home who you think is best for the country.
    4.  Buy Pilipino, wherever you are in the world.
    5.  Adopt a poor child as a scholar back home.
    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. Alex recommends: Gawad Kalinga, Pondo ng Pinoy, Caritas Manila and World Vision, among others.
    7.  Teach your children about the Philippines and to love it and its people.
    8.  Speak positively about our Philippines and our people.
    9.  If you are remitting funds to your relatives in the Philippines, teach them to save 15 or 20 percent of the funds.
    10.  Invest in the Philippines


    How did Alex Lacson get to the point of writing his book? Here’s how, in his own words:
    “Five years ago, my wife and I seriously thought of leaving the country because the Philippines seemed hopeless at that time, as it is now. But instead of leaving the country, we decided to stay. But at the same time, my wife and I decided to do every little thing that we can do to help our country.
    I refer to Good Citizenship. And this is the heat and soul of my book.
    “My thesis in writing this book  on 12 little things is simply this – that a great part of the solution to our country’s problems will come from our people – from us, the ordinary citizens of our country.
    “Two things tell us why Good Citizenship is an important ingredients to our success as a nation.
    “The first is actually a principle, an old universal principle which says that “the whole is made up of parts”. And when you strengthen the parts, which compose the whole, you also necessarily strengthen the whole itself. Our Philippines is like that too. It is a whole that is composed of little things – the 86 million individual Filipinos love our country – this love of country or patriotism will become the cement that will blind and unite all our 86 million Filipinos as one people, so we can become as one nation, and hopefully as one great that we all deserve to be.
    “The second thing is this – The peoples of the most developed countries of the world – most, if not all of them are good citizens. This is also true with the peoples of Japan and Singapore. They are good citizens because they know how to follow their laws. They know their duties to their governments. They know their responsibilities to their fellowmen. Even when they have bad leaders, the peoples in these countries to be good citizens, perhaps because they know that they are doing it for their country first and foremost, and secondary only for their leaders.
    “I firmly believe that this is also what we need in our country today – a culture of good citizenship.”
    I leave the reader with these thoughts in the hope that some (or even all) of Alex Lacson’s ideas will become part of your own New Year’s Resolution for 2008.

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