Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

‘Break walls in our minds’--Gordon

On the National Hero’s 112th death anniversary on Tuesday, a senator lamented that Filipinos have yet to “break the walls in our minds as Jose Rizal did,” while another lawmaker grappled with the plight of young Filipinos who are out of school, struggle with poor education, lack of jobs and growing drug addiction.

Senator Richard Gordon urged all Filipinos to "break the walls in their minds built by the colonial past by regaining confidence in their capabilities and being courageous about the future as the country’s national hero did.”

In a statement, he encouraged Filipinos to emulate the values and vision exhibited by Rizal during his 35 years of existence, as the whole nation commemorated the national hero’s 112th death anniversary.

“Jose Rizal showed us that even if we were colonized by foreign nations, we can refuse to be bound by them by having a vision and strengthening our values. He showed that Filipinos could excel and compete with the best,” said Gordon, an independent senator allied with the administration.

“Jose Rizal made us in his own image in the sense that if you get an education and see the world at the same time and stick to your conviction about the vision for our country, stick to your values, you can indeed get the necessary country that you want,” he added.

He said Rizal’s short but meaningful life was an ideal model for Filipinos.

“(It) shows that a person can achieve far beyond what he may seem to reach if only he has a vision and he strives hard to achieve it,” he said.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, for his part, said Rizal's famous saying that the youths were the hope of the fatherland was still relevant.

“Rizal always looked to the youth as prime movers and as a reminder of hope for the future of our nation. By remembering Dr. Jose Rizal and honoring him as our national hero, we should honor his teachings,” said Cayetano in a phone interview.

But the senator pointed to millions of young people taking illegal drugs, the 10 million out-of-school youths, the worsening state of primary and secondary education with state funding decreasing every year, and the millions who grow up away from their parents who are working abroad.

“It's time we get our act together. When Rizal said (the saying) he meant every generation. We can't do anything about the past, but the present generation can and our present youths are in fact the hope of the fatherland,” said Cayetano.

Gordon, who championed volunteerism in rebuilding the former US military base in Subic, pushed for the “Bagumbayan Movement” to “revitalize the Filipinos’ identity by having a vision grounded on values and empowered by volunteerism.”

Guided by the values inculcated by Rizal, Gordon started this movement exactly a year ago.

He explained that Rizal’s death in Bagumbayan (the original name of Rizal Park in Manila) was not a mere coincidence “but a symbol of what he wanted for the Filipinos -- a new Philippines, a Bagumbayan.”

“Bagumbayan is not a place. It is an attitude. It is time we become horizon-chasers once again. We have to change ourselves, re-invent ourselves, and we must not cease from hoping. It is time we break our walls and say, we can do it.”

Gordon said that the Bagumbayan movement aimed to regain the Filipinos’ sense of responsibility, to reinvent the government that it may faithfully perform its duty to serve and protect the people, to fortify law and order, and to build a strong and growing economy.

It also strives to prioritize education, provide adequate health care, create jobs, assist people in securing homes and land, strengthen the family as the foundation of the nation, and protect and preserve the environment for posterity, he said.

“We must learn from Rizal. We have the power to shape our future and determine the destiny of our country. We need to do things, believe things, and think in new ways like Rizal did,” Gordon said. By Michael Lim Ubac - Philippine Daily Inquirer

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