The Filipino culture is a painted characteristic of the people's spiritual beings. Traditional traits and customary practices are what make Filipinos strong, but gentle human beings. Whether to suppress or consider a change in our cultural structure, it is up to us to uphold the righteousness that our forefathers have instilled into our lives. History speaks for itself that while outside influence is trying to bring changes into the Filipino culture, the customary practices may be tainted with a mixture of foreign influence, but the strength of traditional traits will continue to surface.
The Philippine National Government is interested to change even at the expense of changing its culture. However, because Filipinos are resilient and although able to change for the betterment of the country, yet we easily recover our sacred grounds by rediscovering our roots to pass on to our future generations. Giving way for changes in a broader sense in order to build a foundation for economic growth, the Philippines must also see to it that the spirits of the Filipinos remain intact. Although it is almost impossible to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, however, by accommodating equal opportunity for every Filipino to have the freedom is much more than having foods on the table so that the family can eat. Freedom is by all means total liberty of your rights as a citizen and a human being.
Broadening Culture with Change
Recently I have read an article written by an Intel General Manager Robin Martin regarding the Philippines. Mr. Martin pointed out how we Filipinos dwell so much on the negative aspect of life in the Philippines. I agree with his views that such mentality surely affects the foreigners' perception of our country when in fact the reality is that the overall sufferings of the Philippines is disproportionate to the sufferings in other countries, such as Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Third World countries. It is important, however, that we as Filipinos, must do our best to balance the negative with the positive especially when we present our country to foreign influences. Mr. Martin went on to say that he was totally struck by how much the Philippines has progressed since his last visit there in 1995. This is because he has seen growth from capitalism that has now begun to engulf in the island of Luzon. Below are some of his highlights that we need to consider:
- The great telecom infrastructure that we have now did not exist in 1995. 1995 was the year telecoms was deregulated. Since then billions of dollars have been invested in both fixed line and cellular networks producing a system with over 5,000 kms of fiber optic backbone at a world competitive cost. From a fixed line capacity of about 900,000 in 1995 we now have over 7 million. Cellular phones practically did not exist in 1995 now we have over 11 million line capacity.
- The MRT, many of the EDSA flyovers (including the Ayala Avenue flyover), the SKYWAY, Rockwell and Glorietta 4, the Fort, NAIA terminal 2 and most of the new skyscrapers were not yet built in 1995.
- If you drive to the provinces, you will notice that national roads are now of good quality (international quality asphalt roads). I just went to Iba, Zambales last week and I was impressed that even a not so frequently travelled road was of very good quality.
- Philippine exports have increased by 600% over the past eight years. There are many, many more examples of progress over the last eight years. Philippine mangoes are now exported to the US and Europe.
- INTEL has been in the Philippines for 28 years. The Philippines plant is where Intel's most advanced products are launched including the Pentium IV. By the end of 2002, Philippine operations is expected to be Intel's biggest assembly and testing operations worldwide.
- TEXAS INSTRUMENTS has been operating in Baguio for over 20 years. The Baguio plant is the largest producer of DSP chips in the world. DSP chips are the brains behind cellphones. TI's Baguio plant produces the chip that powers 100% of all NOKIA cellphones in the world and 80% of Erickson cellphones.
- TOSHIBA laptops are produced in Santa Rosa, Laguna.
- If you drive a BENZ, BMW, or a VOLVO, there is a good chance that the ABS system in your car was made in the Philippines.
- TREND-MICRO, makers of one of the top anti virus software PC-Cillin (I may have mispelled this) develops its "cures" for viruses right here in Eastwood Libis, Quezon City. When a virus breaks in any computer system in the world, they try to find a solution within 45 minutes of finding the virus.
- By the end of this year, it is expected that a majority of the top ten U.S. Call Center firms in the U.S. will have set up operations in the Philippines. This is one area which I believe we are the best in the world in terms of value for money.
- America Online (AO! L) has 1,000 people in Clark answering 90% of AOL's global e-mail inquiries.
- PROCTOR & GAMBLE has over 400 people right here in Makati (average age 23 years) doing back-up office work to their Asian operations including finance, accounting, Human Resources and payments processing.
- Among many other things it does for its regional operations network in the Asia-Pacific region here in Manila, CITIBANK also does its global ATM programming locally.
- This is the first year ever that the Philippines will be exporting cars in quantity courtesy of FORD Philippines.
- Finally, Mr. Martin has this strong important suggestion that we must do....next time you travel abroad and meet business associates tell them the good news. A big part of our problem is perception and one of the biggest battles can be won simply by believing and by making others believe. This message is shared by the good citizens of the Philippines who persevere to hope and work for our country.
As we now see the capitalistic explosion is mostly occuring in the island of Luzon. Why and how? Well, let's ask ourselves first if we can duplicate the Luzon islanders' motivational drive for progress and excellence. These, my friends.....are what we should work hard on. As I have said in some of the articles that Oroquieta City is a prime location for potential business investments. How can we prove that and how can we best present Oroquieta City to the world so that you and I can go home and see that our people are leading progressive and productive lives. By being proactive, and positive we can work together to present Oroquieta City to the world with a common goal - peace and progress!!!