Saturday, September 1, 2007


CONFIDENCE in one’s ability to overcome poverty and be the best, and high hopes for betterment despite adversity are for a priest, a policeman and a teacher the first steps in how Filipinos can learn to be proud of their country.
Rev. Fr. Roger Fuentes, Col. Cesar Binag and Dr. Josette Biyo were speakers on “Be proud, speak well of your country.” The theme is the first in a list of 12 things that lawyer and book author Alex Lacson, a former researcher of former Supreme Court chief justice Hilario Davide Jr., suggested that Filipinos do to learn to love themselves, their countrymen and their country.
Fr. Carmelo Diola’s Dilaab Movement started the promotion of Lacson’s views that aimed at encouraging people to follow the examples of ordinary citizens who gained prominence through sincere public service.
Despite the present political turmoil, one can still see enough reasons to say positive things about the country, said Fr. Fuentes, rector of the San Carlos Seminary College.
“Self-confidence and self-knowledge are the keys,” he said.
“In order for us to be proud of who we are, we should have a healthy sense of who we are. We should be able to say ‘I am somebody’ and that we are not afraid or ashamed to be a Filipino,” the priest said.
Dr. Biyo, a high school teacher from Iloilo, said she had to borrow a laptop to make her presentation at a competition held in Kentucky, USA in 2002.“Coming from a poor school taught me to be innovative and creative,” Biyo said.
At the end of the competition, Biyo became the first Asian to win the Intel International Excellence in Teaching Award.
For her feat, a newly discovered planet — planet Biyo — was named after her by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln University in Boston. She was also offered teaching posts in the US which she politely declined. She said she’d return to continue teaching at the Philippine Science High School in Iloilo.
“We may be a third world country but we really can compete globally,” she told the participants who were mostly students, teachers, religious nuns and police officers.
“Be world class in passion and commitment to your profession. Give your best. For teachers it starts inside the classroom. If you do your best you can conquer the world,” she said.
Biyo also won the 2004 Friendship Award from the Philippine-American Foundation on September 25 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Other Fil-Am awardees were Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, the highest-ranking Filipino-American in the US military who was lauded for his courage in the investigation of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and Cheryl Diaz Meyer, 2004 Pulitzer Prize winner for Breaking News Photography.Filipinos are not bereft of innovation, she said. “Anywhere can be a classroom and anything can be a blackboard, even sand.”
Col. Binag, the commandant of the Nation Police Academy in Cavite, said the Filipinos’ view of a policeman has been poor that even the word “polis” (police) has become synonymous to corruption and misbehavior.
This can be changed, he said. “Prayers and faith incorporated in the training” would do the trick.
“Kahit malaki ang tiyan i-pray over niyo yan. Liliit din ang tiyan niyan (the big bellies of policemen can be reduced by prayers),” Binag said.
Binag’s group, the Christian Officers Reform the Police Movement, aims to “help build a God-centered, service-centered and family-based Philippines.”
“We ask religious groups, priests and nuns to bless us and pray for us,” he said.


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