By Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan
1. We are strategically located at the heart of East Asia.
Northeast Asia (Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong) and Southeast Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Laos) combined makes East Asia. We are only at most four hours away from every major city in East Asia. If the Philippines were a real estate venture in a commercial area, ours is a location to die for. We can be the shipping and air transport hub of East Asia. We can be the top tourist destination of the region. We can be the cultural center of the region for performing arts.
2. We are No. 1 in aquamarine resources worldwide.
“We have the most diverse aquamarine ecosystem in the entire world which, if managed properly, will feed not only our hungry people but will be a source of huge revenue coming from a world in dire need of aquamarine resources such as fish, seaweed, and other similar products. We can be the seafood basket and aquamarine resource center of the world, the aquamarine resource powerhouse of the world.
3. We have a huge tourism industry potential.
Our people are by nature extremely friendly and hospitable. We only have some 3 million tourist visits every year, while our neighbors are doing 4 or 5 times more with 12 to 15 million tourist visits annually. It has been said that other countries in the ASEAN are doing so much more with so little in terms of natural wonders and beautiful sites while we are doing so little with so much. With the right infrastructure such as highways and airports and seaports in place, we can be the number one tourist destination in ASEAN if not Asia.
4. We are now No. 2 in the BPO industry worldwide and can become No. 1.
We are, I am told, currently second to India in the business process outsourcing industry. I am told as well that this industry expects 30 percent growth this year despite the worldwide recession as foreign companies look aggressively to lowering costs of doing business and therefore look to business outsourcing.
5. We are extremely creative and artistic people.
We have been called the songbirds of Asia. Our reputation as performers is legendary throughout the world (although we have never been boastful about it). We can be the center of performing arts in Asia wherein millions would visit the country annually to marvel at our cultural performances and our artistic productions.
6. We have the emergence of a new generation of progressive and results-oriented public sector leaders.
Since the restoration of democracy in 1986 and the passage of the Local Government Code in 1991 (or some 20 years now), public officials have began to work with new resources (40 percent of national taxes are now plowed back to local government units compared to less than 10 percent in 1986) made available by decentralization. Today a new generation of public sector leaders is emerging, one that is empowered, that is vision driven and results-oriented. This explains why we have successful local government initiatives in Marikina, Makati, Naga City, Davao City, Iloilo City, Cebu City, Calbayog City, and General Santos City, among others. Hence from a generation of public sector leaders that by and large was corrupt, lacking in vision, creativity, and innovation, we now have the emergence of a new generation of public sector leaders with integrity, with proactive leadership, and with a commitment to reform and genuine change. New governance models and templates that are solving age-old problems in the field are being forged, being tempered as we speak. A new brand of political leadership is emerging focused on solving age old problems in governance. The old, failed methods utilized by the trapos will soon be crushed and defeated.
7. Information and communication technology advancement is enhancing our sense of nationhood.
Rather than a country of many languages and many islands, we are fast becoming one nation, connected by information and communication technology. The ethno-linguistic barriers that used to keep us divided are being shattered by the interconnectivity of information technology. Today an entire generation of Filipinos fully understands, and can connect with, the Filipino language because of two decades of television news in Filipino (all TV news used to be English until 1986). The three elements of nationhood are: common language, common territory and common economy. We are now becoming a nation because information technology is breaking the barriers that have prevented us from becoming united as a people. It is also now reconnecting some 10 million Filipinos overseas to the motherland. We are becoming one nation and one people.
8. We have a re-emerging middle class mindset.
After over three decades of the OFW boom, we now have a new generation of citizens steeped with modern ideas coming from the highly successful host nations like Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United Sates. Europe too has become host to hundreds of thousands of OFWs. The OFWs who have experienced life in these highly developed nations can now compare and contrast these experiences with the experiences in the motherland. In highly developed nations there is, to a greater extent, a greater sense of accountability and a greater sense of justice and fair play. Our OFWs bring all that back home and having been enlightened by the experience will demand greater of their leaders back home. People are beginning to say enough is enough and are actually doing something about it.
9. We are a young nation.
Close to 30 million of our 45 million voters are 18 to 35 years old. Very young. If harnessed effectively, these young voters can usher in the political and electoral change that we need to happen for genuine political and economic reforms to take place.
10. We are a people who love to laugh, who love our families.
We are a resilient people. We can draw unimaginable strength and fortitude in times of difficulty in order to move ahead. We know how to survive despite so much pain and suffering. We know how to cope. We are willing to sacrifice so much of ourselves in order to provide for our family, our loved ones. This strength will not only bring us out of the mess we are in but will ensure that we are able to reach greater heights in our collective desire as a people to have a better life for those we truly care for, for those who mean the world to us. Our resilience in the long run will not only make us survive but will also ensure that we will triumph in the end.
We have enough reason to hope. We have, as a people, enough reason to act on these hopes and when we do, the genuine change we all seek will finally see the light of day and yes, by all means, in our lifetime.
They claimed he beat an old, washed-up Oscar de la Hoya.
They said David Diaz was not in the elite class that would have convinced the world of his worth as the pound-for-pound best boxer of the world.
They believed Erick Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera were already vulnerable at the time he defeated them.
”They” would be hard put to find a reason to put Manny Pacquiao down now.
The systematic and absolute demolition of Ricky Hatton in all of two rounds Saturday night in Las Vegas has all but cemented Pacquiao’s reputation that Bob Arum unabashedly proclaims as “the greatest boxer that ever lived.”
Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao- Filipino- is the biggest and shiniest star in the boxing constellation today. The swift job he did on Hatton has thoroughly convinced even the most vociferous Pacquiao critic of the authenticity of the image he has built over the last few years as a giant-killer.
In the run-up to the much-anticipated fight, the hype was so that some die-hard Pacquiao followers started to believe the Mancunian camps’ pronouncements of invincibility at 140 lbs. (Hatton had neretofore been unbeaten in the Jr. Welterweight limit).
Despite the fact that the Filipino sensation was the odds on favourite, there were many factors that planted seeds of doubt and apprehension on some of Manny’s staunchest fans. The size factor was continuously mentioned as the main reason why Hatton would breeze through the Pacquiao parade.
The fact that Hatton had performed well against bigger and supposedly stronger opposition on his way to light welterweight superstardom, gave the impression that a challenger who started in the diminutive 108 lb. limit could not possibly prevail.
Never mind that many boxing experts found difficulty in finding the right words to describe the kind of mayhem Pacquiao creates in the ring that befuddle his opponents.
Never mind that his list of victims kept getting longer and more star-studded.
The Filipino was just too small and lacking in the finer points of the craft to be able to keep it up.
But Saturday night at the MGM Grand left many a non-believing mouth agape. The action that lasted a shade under 6 minutes was the result of long years of preparation involving buckets of blood, sweat and tears.
Again, the sage words delivered by promoter and Harvard law graduate Arum immediately after the fight come to mind: “let this be a lesson to all…no matter how much you have achieved, you have to continue to learn. This young man (Pacquiao) does not stop learning.”
Indeed the Manny Pacquiao that now attracts even the most ardent anti-boxing activist to watch every time he fights, is nowhere near the Manny Pacquiao who campaigned in the 1990’s as a flyweight in the defunct TV series “Blow by Blow”, produced by Vintage Enterprises.
The brash young man of the 90’s was already a power puncher but was mostly just that-all power.
There was one other thing he had then that he still has now-charisma. Everywhere he fought, people would flock to watch Manny Pacquiao and he invariably entertained them with his dazzling power and folksy ways.
There is a mantra he often recites every time people ask him about his fighting style, “I always enter the ring to fight and throw as many punches as I can. After all, the game is boxing. That’s what the fans come to watch-that’s what I give them.”
And to this date, it has worked like a charm.
Add to that his avowed faith in God and it’s easy to figure out where his inner strength comes from. Pacquiao truly believes in the power of prayer and that has given him the ability to believe in himself and not get intimidated by anyone or anything in the ring.
Ricky Hatton, he with the big words and even bigger muscles, did not scare the Pacman. The Gensan native came prepared by his excellent training team, work ethic as well as the hard life that he went through in his early years.
When Hatton typically lunged forward and exposed his noggin, the right hook came swiftly out of nowhere to cause Ricky to kiss the canvass twice in the first round.
Weary of and bewildered by that right hand, Hatton braced for it in the second round only to be bushwhacked by the vaunted left that has felled so many of the Pacman’s previous victims.
Ricky went the same way but was already in dreamland even before he hit the canvass and lay prostate for a few fearful minutes.
To everyone’s relief, he woke up and was able to flash a sheepish grin in time to hear the announcement of his defeat.
The blinding speed, the fancy footwork, the right hook and the left straight came from the countless hours Manny spent in the gym and on the road with his great boxing team led by Freddie Roach.
But the calm and inner peace before the fight and the chaos he wreaks during it must come from some mystical world that he is able to visit and draw from each time he bows and kneels to commune with it.
If it didn’t cause so much joy and revelry, it could be downright creepy.