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Great Leaders in Our Midst
TOFIL column published in Philippine Star
THE DAWN OF THE NEW PHILIPPINES LIES IN OUR YOUTH TODAY
by Mr. Jose S. Concepcion, Jr.
TOFIL Awardee for Social Advocacy, 2007
Publication date Aug 04, 2008
One hundred forty seven years ago, Dr. Jose P. Rizal asked our fledgling nation, “WHERE ARE THE YOUTH, WHO WILL CONSECRATE THEIR LIVES FOR THEIR COUNTRY? “
He died without seeing the dawn of anew tomorrow for a country he passionately loved. But before his execution in Bagumbayan he wrote: “I DIE WITHOUT SEEING THE SUN RISE IN MY COUNTRY. YOU, WHO ARE TO SEE THE DAWN, WELCOME IT AND DO NOT FORGET THOSE WHO FELL DURING THE NIGHT.”
Today as we look around us, and see what we have come upon, we must face the question of whether we as a nation have lived up to the ideals to which countless Filipinos in history have so selflessly consecrated their lives.
In 1960, the Philippine economy was regarded as the second largest in Asia, next only to Japan.
But today the shackles of the perennial problems of mass poverty, social injustice, political instability, unsustained development continuously impede our flight to progress.
We need the Filipino youth to send a tiny ripple of hope by standing-up for an ideal, promoting common good, striking out against injustice to help bring about total human development in the nation.
Last July 17, RFM Foundation under its Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) program, recognized some of the outstanding youth of the nation from different regions of the Philippines for their exemplary leadership, community involvement, academic excellence, and good moral values. I initiated this annual search to celebrate, affirm, inspire and champion the noble and enduring spirit of the Filipino youth, forty-seven years ago, on our national hero’s 100th birthday.
Indeed, it is a great honor, but along with it comes greater responsibility. As awardees, they are looked upon as models of excellence in their respective fields. They are expected to continue the leadership that we have started - a leadership that seeks to serve others with a compassionate heart.
I challenge the youth today to form anew generation of Filipinos who will lead this country in the right direction. It is up to you to decide what kind of future you wish to live in, and to fight to ensure that future is realized.
The future belongs to you, the Filipino youth of today. We now stand at a unique moment in Philippine history, we cannot afford to fail.
Confronted with the fierce urgency of now, it is imperative that we make that historical commitment today, for there is not a day we can afford to lose. We must be visible agents of change, towards a new beginning for our country.
Yes, there are challenges ahead, but if we work together we can surely build a peaceful, harmonious and progressive Philippines.
Let us all resolve our differences that further divides us and join hands to work together as a dynamic force with one vision aspiring for a brighter future!
Let us have faith in the Filipino Youth! Hope for the Philippines! And believe that,
YES, THE FILIPINO CAN!
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