Read this speech given by Tony Meloto, the founder of Gawad Kalinga, as forwarded in an email. I am moved by his speech, and would like to share this with all of you. I am really proud to be a Filipino. Let us all be united in having that sense of pride in being a Filipino so that we may be involved actively in improving the lives of all the underprivileged…

[Mr. Antonio "Tony" Meloto, founder of Gawad Kalinga, gave this speech for the Ateneo Graduate School of Business last July 27 in a Business Leadership Forum that urges, amidst the climate of rising despair and indifference which has caused the exodus of many Filipinos abroad, the imperative of involvement, the need to be a man for others, and in so doing, help bring hope to a country that is losing it.]

It is good to talk after Manny Pangilinan, an outstanding Filipino who loves this country. It is a great jump-off point for me and there is a lot to tell. No, I will not dwell on how he brought PLDT back from the dead. We have heard enough corporate Lazarus stories already. Nor will I speak about the outstanding Gawad Kalinga model communities we are building with Smart/PLDT all over the country... they speak for themselves.

Instead, I'd like to talk about the spirit of someone who has so much, and yet has great sympathy for those who have so much less... and the spirit of many of you who would like to be Manny Pangilinan yet carry in your heart the dream of so many ordinary Filipinos.

Likewise, it is good to speak before Secretary of Finance Gary Teves, another Filipino who wants to serve his country and who is here to represent government. I am exactly where I should be -- in the middle of industry and government -- and that is where the ordinary Filipino is all the time.

Today, I face a question that has been nagging me for years... How can an ordinary Filipino like myself contribute towards the realization of the dream of our people to rise out of poverty? Traditionally, everyone looks to big business and government for answers. Filipinos see them as so powerful that we have depended on them to lift our country out of poverty and then blame them when they are unable to do so. We fail to recognize that there is just so many of our countrymen we have left behind that big business and government do not have enough power to lift them all up. What can we all do? I cannot answer for big business or government. I am no businessman nor am I in government. Yet I represent the vast majority of Filipinos who also have the power to change this country.....

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