Saturday, January 5, 2008



A Covenant for a New Philippines

We live in a time of crisis and confusion. We seem to have lost our way as a people and as a nation in this prolonged season of economic challenges and political rancor.

Fear and helplessness have led many citizens to become inured to corruption and injustice. Despair has driven many to hard and lonely work abroad. Many Filipinos no longer feel that they have a voice and a stake in the nation and its future.

We cannot long survive—much less prosper—on this path to self-destruction. We cannot lurch from one scandal and one rebellion to another, and expect to achieve our destiny as a modern, just, and progressive nation.

We need change on all levels of society – not just of men, but in men. We need a far-reaching and all-embracing vision; we need a genuine cause for hope; we need proven and inspiring leadership.

And above all, we need to think, to feel, and to act once again as one nation with one destiny, building on both our brightest prospects for the future and on the noblest traditions of our history.

More than four centuries ago, the great chief Rajah Sulayman led his people out of their old embattled Maynilad to a new settlement they called “Bagumbayan”—a new town, a fresh beginning. For Jose Rizal, Bagumbayan was not only the place of his own heroic martyrdom, but the very home and spirit of his dream of a free and prosperous Philippines. And before him, Fathers Gomez, Burgos, and Zamora shed their blood on that same hallowed ground in the name of freedom and democracy.

We now invoke that spirit in our quest of an even newer Bagumbayan—the 21st century Philippines our heroes could only have dreamt of, but which our people have long deserved and which we can yet build.

Bagumbayan is no longer just a place. It is we, the Filipino people, and all that we dream of being and becoming as a nation. And if it is to be, then we must make it happen.

Today, fortified by an abiding faith in God and in the Filipino, we pledge ourselves and join together in this Covenant for a New Philippines—one founded on moral courage, not political expediency; on the rule of law, not of brute power and feudal privilege; on inclusiveness and social justice, not protection for a few; on enterprise and industry, not handouts and quick profit; on education and skills development, not mendicancy and fortune-seeking.

We commit ourselves to finding and supporting new Filipino leaders—men and women with the vision, integrity, and competence to lead us to another Bagumbayan, our new Rajah Sulaymans, Gomburzas, and Rizals. And like these heroes, we shall not fear to do what is right and to break new ground—to value ideas over money, principles over popularity.

All of us who share this dream must courageously face the challenges of our times. Thus, in this act of union and cooperation, we declare:

First, that we must be RESPONSIBLE for ourselves, for our fellow Filipinos, and for our country. We must change our attitudes, and transform ourselves to become horizon-chasers with duty, dignity, and determination;

Second, that we can REINVENT GOVERNMENT to faithfully perform its prime duty to serve and protect the people;

Third, that we can fortify LAW AND ORDER through self-discipline, vigilance, and respect for the rule of law;

Fourth, that we can build a STRONG AND GROWING ECONOMY if we all work, save, and invest in order to prosper;

Fifth, that we must prioritize EDUCATION as the key to national development to compete and lead in the new global economy;

Sixth, that we must provide adequate access to HEALTH CARE for all our people, especially the needy;

Seventh, that we must create JOBS for our people, so that they will not need to seek their fortunes abroad, but rather devote their talents directly to their country and their families;

Eighth, that we must assist our people in securing decent HOMES to live in and LAND to work and build on, so they can be dignified and productive citizens;

Ninth, that we must strengthen and reinforce the FAMILY as the foundation of our nation to develop proper values and virtues in individuals and build solid character; and

Tenth, that we must protect and preserve the ENVIRONMENT for our posterity.

We must have the Vision grounded on Values and empowered by Volunteerism to achieve Victory. These are the ideals upon which we lay the foundation of our movement for change. We are the instruments of a movement dedicated to transform the Philippines into a Bagumbayan, a new Philippines.

We invite every patriotic Filipino to join us in this shared struggle. Let us embark together on this grand mission to reclaim, rebuild, and reconsecrate what Rizal—111 years ago today—bid farewell to as “our Eden lost,” but which remains our birthright and our redemption: Bagumbayan.

Where our heroes have fallen, there shall we rise, reborn.

To these noble ends and principles, we hereby affix our names and signatures this 30th day of December, 2007.

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