Fredericksburg Hospitality Conference Center
October 3-5, 2008
UNITY: A MUST
Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS
Filipino United Network (USA)
Ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
The other night, Tony Meloto introduced me to an impressive gentleman named Cito Lorenzo, a former cabinet member back home, and a successful entrepreneur voted “Businessman of the Year,” who now lives with his family in America. We got to talking about our fellow Filipino-Americans in the United States, and about Filipinos in general.
The topic mainly centered on the inspiring number of Filipinos in the United States who have surmounted all odds and have attained great success in this country. In spite of this, however, many of them still feel something is missing, a sense of void, an emptiness inside. There is a longing to be complete, to be fulfilled.
Obviously, money, material things and earthly possessions can’t buy happiness, fulfillment and inner peace.
As we grow nearer the sunset of our life, we begin to reflect and re-assess ourselves, to really know who we are, and what we have accomplished in life. We have a successful career, a successful family life, a big home, or even a mansion, plus a condo or two here and there…richness galore, indeed.
But inside us, each of us questions ourself, in the solitude of our mind, and wonder, “Is this all there is to it?” Why do I still feel incomplete, unfulfilled? Have I been a good Christian, my brother’s keeper? Besides being good to myself, my family and friends, have I been good to my fellowmen, including strangers, especially to the poor fellow Filipinos back home, who are languishing in abject poverty --- homeless, going to bed each night hungry, and, worst of all, suffering from the indignity, humiliation, hopelessness, and desperation? What legacy will I leave the world and my children?
As I have said a few times in the past, “Leaving this world after this life is not a tragedy. Dying without significance, without making a difference, without leaving behind a good legacy, is.” I am sure you and I, all of us, have asked ourselves the same questions, over and over.
The great Greek philosopher Socrates told me as we walk in Athens a long time ago “The unexamined life is not worth living.” To some extent and context these words of wisdom are pertinent in our personal search for the truth about our individual self. Self-analysis, self-critique, induces us to be the master of truth and mental honesty. The candor that follows defines who and what we really are. And only when we find ourselves worthy, does this self-examination grant us the inner peace and final contentment we all seek in life before we leave this world.
Anyway, one of the two main thrusts of the Filipino United Network is to provide full support to Gawad Kalinga, championed by Tony Meloto, our brilliant and most admired leader and protector of the poor.
(By the way, be careful associating with Tony; he has a very contagious disease called Filipinitis, complicated by compassionitis and servicitis. Serviceitis with an “S.”)
Tony Meloto, a Ramon Magsaysay awardee, has honor, integrity, dignity, and morality --- qualities we need in a person --- to lead the Philippines in the path of national rebuilding and to its final glory: transforming our country and our people we and the whole world can be proud of. Tony Meloto is one leader who can blaze the trail in our people’s appointment with destiny.
The other goal of the Filipino United Network is to assist and educate our people in the Philippines, especially the youth, on good citizenship and good governance, in our crusade against graft and corruption, which, as you all know, is pervasive in every level of the government back home.
Thank you, and God bless you and your family.
A tall order? An impossible dream? Yes, I am sure…but the Filipino is worth trying for. And I also happen to believe in Miracles. Who knows, a miracle may be in the offing… With the historic and providential emergence of a Tony Meloto and an Ed Panlilio, Governor of Pampanga, and dozens of other honest leaders in the Philippines like them, anything is possible.
As an eternal optimist, and with my faith in my native land and my fellow Filipinos, I do not agree with the naysayers who say that the Philippines and the Filipinos are a hopeless basket case. With your passion for our country and our people, with your support, dedication and determination, with your patriotic leadership, we will awaken the Filipino Sleeping Giant, the 4 million Filipinos in the United States and the 10 or so million of overseas, and harness his great power to become a potent force to reckon with in our efforts to rebuild our nation.
With unity and resolve, this Sleeping Giant can transform the Philippines to a nation of prosperity and glory, and the Filipinos to a people with recaptured pride and dignity, a new country and a greater people our children and the future generations can cherish with honor, adulation, and pride.
So, to all of you patriotic leaders here tonight, and those within the reach of my voice tomorrow, I am sounding the clarion call for unity. I am challenging every Filipino-American and our overseas Filipinos around the world to join Gawad Kalinga, the Filipino United Network, NaFFAA, PamagCUSA, Kaya Natin, FALCON, GFN, WFA, KASAUP, the medical alumni associations in the United States, and all other similar noble Filipino crusaders around the globe, in our campaign for compassion for the poor and the neglected, the marginalized and the disenfranchised, to extend our hand and open our heart to these fellowmen of ours, and to join us in our fight for good governance in the Philippines.
Unity is a MUST. Without it, we would only be paying lip service, just talking the talk and not walking the walk in our Moral Crusade. Let us unite and wake up the Filipino Sleeping Giant and help change and rebuild the Philippines.
As Mahatma Gandhi said, “YOU must be the CHANGE you wish to see in the world.”
Ladies and gentlemen, let’s not wait for surgery to open our heart.
Remarks by Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Chairman, Filipino United Network (USA), at the FUN Unity Congress, during the Silver Jubilee of the North Central Virginia Association of Philippine Physicians, October 3-5, 2008, Fredericksburg Hospitality Conference Center, Fredericksburg, Virginia.