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  Defining who we are from the land of the Great Malayan Dr. Jose Rizal

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Yes, it is not easy, indeed. But I like your Project Smile, and I agree that educating our fellow Filipinos is most important, to open their eyes as a people and as a nation. As I have stated in the past 4 decades on various occasions, I felt (and I still do) that our people needed a revolution --- not a revolution of arm, where guns and bombs  shall shed the people's blood, but a revolution of ideas, integrity, dignity and honor,  where sweat and tears shall be shed to bathe the nation clean.  Perhaps I am dumb or stupid, but I still feel some hope for our country. And that hope, boosted by  the emergence of a handful few men leaders of unblemished  character and record in the Philippines , inspired us to launch the Moral Crusade for good governance in the Philippines .

Greetings from Las Vegas

I wonder if the FUN Dollar Moral Crusade Against Graft and Corruption in the Philippines , which I have attached, could be posted on your website PhilippinesMyPhilippines? You may Google me for verification and confirmation. Please visit  www.FilipinoUNITEDnetwork.com  Your website is fabulous !!!! More power to you.  Please open attachment. Thank you, best wishes, and God bless. 
Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Chairman, Filipino United Network (
USA )

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Thank you very much for your email reply and kind assistance and support for our Moral Crusade. Your posting our appeal in The Philippines My Philippines News Magazine will certainly help the Filipino United Network (USA) disseminate our campaign to Filipinos around the world. I am inspired by your vision and words of wisdom about the Philippines . They are individual leaders like you who could make our dreams come true: a better and more progressive Philippines with good governance and where poverty is a thing of the past. I am pasting hereunder a Commentary for your considerations  for posting in The Philippines My Philippines News Magazine.  Thank you again, best wishes, and God bless. Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS Chairman Filipino United Network (USA) scalpelpen@gmail.com

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What's Stopping Us?*  

The Philippines is in ill-health. As a nation, we are afflicted with a stunted growth in our economy that is starting to float but still barely above water (certainly a dwarf compared to its potential), massive poverty, deficiency in pride in our country and in ourselves, severe anemia in discipline, and an open, widespread cancer of corruption in our government. While there are some noble and honest officials in the government, by and large "they are mostly crooks and plunderers with bottomless pockets, overflowing with bribes and stolen money," as the general perception goes. We cannot argue with that bull's eye evidence-based diagnosis. But how about being honest with ourselves and zooming in the microscope into high power mode and, for a change, candidly examine us, "we, the people," its citizens, up close and personal, instead of burying our head in the sand, deceiving ourselves, and putting the blame only on the politicians alone. Are we, the accusers and finger-pointers, totally innocent and faultless in the sad state of our nation today? While the Philippines and its robust economy were only second to Japan a little more than half a century ago, we are now at the bottom, second to the last, just above Bangladesh . Singapore and the other Asian countries, including Vietnam , are now more progressive, way above us, in spite of all our potentials as a people and as a nation. Shame on us! I would be the first one to condemn the crooks in our national, provincial and city governments, but didn't "we, the people," the majority of us, who, time and again, elections after elections, the ones who voted them into office, repeatedly? Then, aren't the majority of us to blame? Plain and simple. Those who elected them, which included the disorganized, disunited and dysfunctional opposition, and "we, the people," who supported the known corrupt politicians, certainly deserve the rape of our nation, our people and our economy. Unfortunately, the minority, who did not vote for the "kurakot candidates," are also suffering as victims of the amoral leaders in public offices, who are nothing but common thieves, cloaked and hiding behind the dignity of their offices and titles. For a moment, let's pull our head out from under the sand, take off the tinted glasses we are wearing, look at ourselves at the mirror, view the reality before us, and do some soul-searching self-analysis. And let's start from the basic and fundamental behavior and character of most of us. For instance, what's stopping us from exercising proper social etiquette (which was taught to us in the kindergarten) and wait for our turn when we are entering a crowded church, a mall, a movie house, boarding a plane or a boat, or at a line in a restaurant buffet, etc.? What's stopping the cigarette smokers among us from respecting the rights of the non-smokers and not expose them to the more than 4000 chemicals in one stick of cigarette (200 of them poisonous) in secondhand smoke, which has been proven beyond doubt to cause cancer and respiratory diseases? What's stopping us from following the rules of the road when we drive (or asking our driver to do so) and stay within our lane and not being inconsiderate hugging two lanes, blocking the cars behind us? Or, from driving through an intersection cautiously, and not disregarding those cars which have the right of way? What's stopping us from not littering the streets and not throwing cigarette butts and trash out of our cars? Or, from flashing public toilets after we use them? Or, from voluntarily moving to sit nearer the front of the jeepney to allow a struggling old lady with a heavy and bulky luggage to sit near the door? Or, from smiling and saying "thank you" to the person we "assign" and nonchalantly hand over our jeepney fare to give to the driver? Why can't those of us who drive motorcycles adhere to the traffic rule that mandates us to use their designated lane, and not drive between cars in any which way we want, disregarding all safety precautions, and endangering even the lives of the little ones by taking them with us on a dangerous machine, and not even providing them with a helmet? Why are our traffic enforcers not enforcing the laws to protect the citizens? What's stopping us, "we, the people," from demanding our city government to implement our laws and put an end to irresponsible and reckless jeepney drivers and others who stop anywhere, even in the middle of the street, causing dangerous traffic jam, to load or unload passengers? Why can't we suggest to those unthinking officials concerned to designate a specific loading and unloading site for every 5 blocks or so, since walking is good exercise for all of us anyway? This is done in other countries. So what's stopping us from doing the right thing for the safety of our citizens? What's stopping us from paying our friends the money we owe them, when they were generous enough to trust us and loan us money when we needed it? Or, from any acts of dishonesty and deceit? Or, from showing respect (instead of contempt) towards the less privileged amongst us, and from being kind and compassionate towards the poor? What's stopping the majority of us from voting for and electing only candidates who have no prior history of graft and corruption, only those with integrity, honesty, and care and compassion for our poor? And what's stopping us from teaching our movie stars and unqualified candidates that "we, the people," demand quality and experienced leadership, and not popularity and good looks, to help lead our country out of this moral decay and devastation? The fact that we do not have optimum requirements for those seeking public office, where even the unqualified is allowed to run, is in itself an indictment of our poor political system the quality of leaders we have, and the kind of people we are.What's stopping those of us who know better from persuading and pressuring our fellow Filipinos not to sell their votes to the candidates, who obviously spend millions during the campaign, which amount they have pre-planned to "get back" a thousand-fold when elected into office, by plundering the nation's coffers and by accepting kickbacks and bribes, etc. ? What's stopping us from realizing that these crooks among our elected "leaders," ran for office, not to serve the country and their constituents, in the first place, but to rob them blind and get rich fast? And that these dirty politicians are actually insulting our intelligence, secretly mocking us for our "naivete, if not stupidity," and capitalizing on our very short memory? Moreover, what's  stopping us from demanding a higher expectation from our elected officials and legislators, holding them to a higher (the highest) standard of the laws of our nation, and bringing  the corrupt ones to swift justice with maximum punishment, be they members of the executive, legislative or judiciary branch of our national, provincial or city government?  If those public officials proven guilty of corruption beyond any reasonable doubt were expeditiously executed (or sentenced to long jail terms for lesser offenses than plunder, like what our Philippine laws prescribe), and like what they do in other countries, I am sure decency and honesty among our  government officials and among our people would not be far behind. Is the Philippines not less civilize and arguably more barbaric allowing massive corruption amidst us for more than half a century, causing more than 70% of our people to wallow and languish in poverty, compared to those other Asian countries, more disciplined and more progressive than we are, who expeditiously incarcerate or bring before a firing squad their convicted officials?  With their citizens enjoying prosperity from honesty and transparency in governance and swift justice even against the "big fish," who is really less barbaric and more civilize? And going back to the basic structure of our society and family, what's stopping many of us parents from aggressively teaching our youngsters more religion, moral values, common courtesies, proper behavior and decorum in everything they do at home or in public, and making sure they learn and obey? What's stopping us from shedding our crab mentality, especially among expats abroad, and support each other, and root for successful Filipinos, instead of stepping on and putting them down, just to destroy them to get ahead of them? Could this apathy, envy and greed be the reasons why we, Filipinos in the United States and around the world, lag behind our fellow Asians, like the Chinese, Koreans, Indians, Vietnamese, etc., as far as business, economics, and politics are concerned? If the four million Filipinos in the United States , for instance, could only unite, they would be a potent force, with great power and clout, to benefit their welfare and interest, and protect themselves from abuses and discrimination. So what's stopping us from uniting? Those are only a few of the signs and symptoms of the contagious epidemic that afflicts the majority of our people, resulting from lack of discipline and integrity, lack of pride and self esteem in the Philippines and in ourselves, our indifference and apathy, and our crab mentality. "We, the people," are the basic building blocks of our society. Our individual and personal principle, behavior, and actions determine the integrity of the structure of the whole nation. If the majority of the citizens are undisciplined, indifferent, opportunistic, and corrupt themselves, we cannot expect our elected officials in the government to be honest, scrupulous, just and fair. After all, they "came" from us, the citizens, chosen and elected by us. It is clear to me that the primordial fault lies in us, the Filipino people and those "good" officials who simply look the other way, and not only in the corrupt politicians we voted into office. Our government, our integrity and image as a nation and as a people will, and can only, be as good as "we, the people," the individual pieces of tiles that make up and form the mosaic of what is called The Philippine Society. Our society, our government and our elected officials are a reflection of our individual behavior, character, integrity and wisdom as a people. For our beloved "Pilipinas" to become a great nation, "we, the people," must apply the pearls of wisdom taught us at home, in school and in church, the Godly principle of love and compassion towards our fellowmen and the protection of our integrity and dignity --- all of which we learned from Kindergarten. The recent election of the Revered Father Ed Panlilio (who did not even have a bank account) as Governor of Pampanga, defeating two well-funded, super powerful and "unbeatable" trapos with well-oiled political machineries, has shown us that the "impossible" is possible, that "we, the people", can create miracles here and there if we will it. So, what's stopping us from electing a "Lee Kuan Yew," the "Dirty Harry" who "cleaned up" Singapore, an idealistic, honest, and God-fearing leader who can help discipline us, terminate the massive corruption in our governments, bring back our national pride as a people, and lead our nation to peace and prosperity that could only be the envy of other nations? Indeed, what's stopping us?  By Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS,  Chairman, Filipino United Network (USA), Vice President, Cardiovascular Hospitals of America (Wichita, Kansas), Past President of the Association of Philippine Physicians in America (APPA) and the Society of Philippine Surgeons in America (SPSA).

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