By Dr. Rusty Balderian
Most of us overseas Filipinos talk a lot about the problems in the Philippines with passion. We praise ourselves as modern day heroes. We think that we are better morally than those in the Philippines because they are corrupt, poor, and less educated. We think we have the best solutions to improve our country. We talk and write with highfalutin words to show others that we have the best verbal and written command of English. That’s all we are good at. But talk is cheap.
If we are really serious in our desire to help our nation, let’s go back to the Philippines and do the job right, the way we want it done. Let us stop complaining. Let us stop talking. Let's roll our sleeves and do it ourselves like the retired navy officer from Vallejo, California, Congressman Teodulo "Doloy" Coquilla of Eastern Samar, and businessmen from Los Angeles, California, Congressman Rosendo Labadlabad of the 2nd District of Zamboanga del Norte, Ronald Golez, Mayor of Dumangas, Ilo-Ilo, and myself Mayor of TabonTabon, Leyte, to name a few. Each one of us have been "successful" in our own way while living in the land of milk and honey. We decided to go back to the Philippines because like most of us, we believed that our nation needs help. We were newbies in the Philippine politics of the last May 2007 election. But we won. We surrendered our American Citizenship and Green Cards and left our comfortable homes and gas guzzling cars because we believe that we can make a difference in our respective communities. We plan to implement the best practices that we have seen and learned in our adopted countries.
Before going back to the Philippines, we had our visions how we can help improve our nation. However, we are having a hard time because we are very few, a little voice that can not be heard in the hollowed halls of Congress. We need more people to run for elective offices so we can make an effective change. Alone, we will just be eaten by the corrupt system. We will be infected by the same deadly virus that we call graft and corruption. We are ineffective to make the change because we don't have the number. Politics is a numbers game. Good intentions doesn't mean a thing if we don't have the right number in the Municipal Council, Provincial Development Council or in Congress and Senate. We need more Congressmen who can not be bought by the President for Five Hundred Thousand Pesos to prevent her impeachment. We need more few good men and women. Let us stop criticizing the leaders running the country. Let us be the leaders running our nation,. Let us replace the "trapos", actors, and musicians in Congress and the Senate for an effective governance of our nation. Stop dreaming for a better Philippines. Let us work for it.
"Kung hindi dito, saan? Kung hindi ngayon, kailan?, Kung hindi ako, sino? Ang gagawawa nito para sa Filipino."
Let this be a challenge to all the leaders of the global Filipinos to go back to the Philippines and run an elective position in 2010 so we can solve the problems that beseech our nation. Let us stop talking about the problems. We need a concerted effort to get rid of the problems. We need to form a party whose candidates will all be coming from the overseas Filipinos. Idealistic, vibrant, educated, technologically savvy, full of good ideas, noble, morally upright and most of all, free from the deadly virus of graft and corruption. I'm sure we can find among the eight million Filipinos in diaspora, one thousand five hundred good men and women to run as Mayors in their respective towns, two hundred forty good men and women to run for Congress in their respective districts, Twelve good men and women to run for Senate, and one good man/woman that we can rally behind to run for President.
It cannot be done on an individual effort as what some of us have done. Dr. Martin Bautista a successful medical practitioner from the East Coast had the same dream to help improve our country. He returned to the Philippines and ran for the Senate in the last election under the Kapatiran Party, a very noble organization, but lost. Individually, we are weak even if we have the best resume, good intentions and sizable personal resources to back us up when we run against the well entrenched traditional politicians.
A united overseas Filipinos is a very strong force to reckon with. Imagine the 8 million Filipinos in Diaspora who send 12 Billion dollars annually to the Philippines can dictate their dependents in the Philippines who to vote for in this coming 2010 election. At an average of 5 voters under his sphere of influence, that is a whopping 40 million votes. Candidates of the United OFW will no longer have to buy votes to be elected.
If the 8 million OFW donates Fifty Dollars to the United OFW Party, that is Four Hundred million dollars as party funds. This can be used as a counterpart to the amount of campaign funds that a candidate can raise through donation only. Elected government officials will no longer have to take the ten percent "SOP" in all infrastructure projects since they have no massive campaign expenses to recoup. Graft and corruption will be history. There will be no political debts to pay except to the Filipino people.
MABUHAY ANG OFW !
MABUHAY ANG FILIPINO!