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    Istorya ng Pag-Asa at University of Cordilleras, Baguio City

    11 March 2017

    Message at the Launch of the Istorya ng Pag-Asa, University of Cordilleras, Baguio City

    Thank you all for your presence here this morning for the launch of Istorya ng Pag-Asa, a program that we feel is an important way of changing the narrative of our national conversation. I am happy to see a good mix of academicians, government officials, youth groups, representatives from different civic groups and women’s groups join us this afternoon.

    Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat.

    Napakaganda ng prayer kanina, sabi ko kay Councilor Michael, bagay na bagay sa dahilan kung bakit tayo nandito ngayong hapon. Because we all know that hope is a powerful thing.

    Sabi nga doon sa prayer ang pinakamahalaga sa lahat ay love, hope ang nagbibigay ng liwanag sa love, faith and peace. Diba?

    Tamang tama sa okasyon natin ngayon. And hope is very important because it lives very intimately with many other homegrown values of the ordinary Filipino.

    Courage. Grit and determination. Pride in hard and honest work. Pride in a life simply lived.

    A few weeks ago, I think this was in Naga, I was invited to a youth forum. Mga bata po ito, sila nag-conceptualize ng kanilang forum, and the forum was called “Let’s Change The Conversation”.

    I was very excited to find out kung bakit ganyan ang kanilang forum. Pagpunta ko doon, ang sabi ng mga bata, we already feel lost, with all the hatred around us. Kaya gusto na namin baguhin ang conversation.

    Sabi ko, what a beautiful thing. Kasi instead of being sucked down the drain, these young people are taking it upon themselves to try and change the conversation. So na-inspire ako, na kung ang bata maiisipan na palitan ang conversation, bakit hindi natin subukan na i-change iyong conversation?

    I think our President was saying that this is a difficult time because darkness is surrounding all of us. Diba sabi nila, that darkness is the mere absence of light. If that is true, that darkness is the mere absence of light, then it is up to us to fight this darkness by surrounding our society with our own light. Tayo na maghanap, maghanap ng ating liwanag.

    Light then can come from ordinary people with extraordinary stories. Hindi kailangan maging inspirasyon na atin ang mga kilala na. I think we will be more inspired by those stories ofthe extraordinary stories of ordinary people.

    Light that can come from every street corner and every pathway. Light that comes from within, rather than from the trappings of power, fame, wealth, or fortune. Light that comes from all of us.

    Because when we do, we can change the conversation and build our nation with hope that transcends gender, social status, political party, religion or region, or business affiliation.

    Istorya ng Paga-Asa is born out of this need to change the national conversation. We want to bring extraordinary stories of ordinary people to every nook and cranny of our country, iyong sinabi niya, kung ano iyong balak namin.

    We would like to feature extraordinary stories of ordinary people at dadalhin sa lahat ng sulok dito sa Baguio. Kasi ang mga kuwentong ito, homegrown na kuwento ng mga taga-Baguio.

    Pero iyong kuwento niya, iyon ang magiinspire sa ating lahat, at iyon ang sisindi ng ating hope. We want to bring this to malls, airports, schools, terminals, everywhere. Para sa kahit saang sulok ng Baguio mayroon tayong ilaw ng pag-asa.

    So consider some of the stories we want to feature.

    The first story is of Nanay Lorna, she has been featured last year. Si Nanay Lorna is an ordinary sari-sari storeowner in Quezon City where she sells turon and banana cue. Doon po siya naging famous–turon and banana cue.

    She is a widowed mother, she struggled day by day to send her children to school and by sheer determination and strength as a mother, brought all her four children to value excellence and hard work.

    One of her children is now a lawyer, one is a teacher, the other one is a nurse. Isa na lang iyong nagaaral, pero iyong nag-aaral, nasa UP Intarmed. Alam niyno iyong UP intermed, diba? Sobrang hirap mapasukan. Kasi ito iyong medical course na 7 years na dire-diretso, after 7 years, duktor ka na.

    Iyong bunso ni Nanay Lorna, nakapasok sa programang iyon. Kahit iyong mamayaman, hindi kayang pumasok ng basta-basta. So hinanapan ng hashtag si Nanay Lorna.

    Ang hashtag para kay Nanay Lorna, si Nanay Lorna, nahirapan, nanlaban sa buhay, pero nagtagumpay.

    Ang pangalawang kuwento ay tungkol kay Mike O. Ano siya, ordinary din na OFW. Siya ay taga-dito sa North, sa La Union. Ordinaryo siyang OFW, pumunta siya sa San Diego para magtrabaho, pero iyong pinakapangarap niya ay dito pa rin siya sa Pilipinas tumira.

    Kumayod siya nang kumayod, sinakripisyo ang ilang taon sa ibang bansa, pero nakaipon na siya nang maayos. Bumalik siya, at ngayon, nasa Laoag siya.

    Nag-put up siya ng sarili niyang negosyo, mayroon siyang, ewan ko kung alam ninyo ito, iyong Kapuluan Vista Resort in Pagudpud, at mayroon din siyang restaurant, iyong Tacos del Norte.

    So posible naman. Paminsan kasi, iyong OFW natin, feeling nila, hanggang ito na lang. Na kumakayod na lang habangbuhay. Pero si Mike O, ginawa niya iyong sakripisyong iyon para mapalago niya ang panaginip niya.

    Anong hashtag natin kay Mike O? Si Mike O, laking AmBoy, nangulila, nag-balikbayani, ngayon proud to be negosyanteng Pinoy.

    Ito iyong nakakatuwa, ang pangatlo. Iyong pangatlo ay si Alexander. Ewan ko kung nakapunta na kayo ng Eastwood, sa Quezon City. Si Alexander, kilalang kilala siya sa Eastwood dahil siya ang dancing traffic enforcer.

    Pero, maganda iyong kuwento kung bakit siya naging dancing traffic enforcer. Dati na siyang traffic enforcer, pero na in-love siya tapos iniwan siya ng kanyang girlfriend, kaya nabigo.

    Noong nabigo siya, noong broken hearted siya, chinannel niya ang kanyang lungkot sa pagsasayaw. Nung natuto siyang sumayaw ginamit niya ang kanyang bagong talent sa kanyang pagiging traffic enforcer, at ngayon, sikat na sikat pa siya sa Eastwood bilang traffic enforcer.

    So anong hashtag natin kay Alexander? Si Alexander: nagmahal, nabigo, sumayaw. Pero ang minamahal na niya ngayon ang mga kanyang tina-traffic.

    Iyong mga medyo kilala naman kaya siguro: Si Hidilyn Diaz, diba kilala niyo si Hidilyn? Siya iyong ating Olympic Medalist noong nakaraang Olympics. But I’m sure you have read or were able to watch her in the news reports about her when she brought pride to the Philippines.

    Si Hidilyn Diaz, taga-Mindanao. Very humble beginnings, at na-feature siya kasabay si Nanay Lorna, kinuwento nila ang kanyang struggle and eventual success as a weightlifter representing the Philippines.

    Kahit mahirap nakahanap siya ng paraan para umasenso naman. Maliit siya–maliit lang si Hidilyn, sabi niya ang puwede lang sport sa akin, ang kaya ko lang yata, weightlifting. Hindi siya pwede sa basketball, sa iba, kasi maliit siya.

    Pero wala naman siyang pera pang-train, pang-gym. Ang ginawa niya, kumuha siya ng isang metal pipe na mahaba, nilagyan niya ang metal pipe ng lata ng gatas at iyong lata, she filled it up with cement para maging heavy.

    So doon siya nag-train. At sa hirap noon, naging napakahusay ni Hidilyn. Kahit wala siyang pera, natalo niya ang kanyang mga kalaban only with lots of determination.

    In the end, the entire nation was transfixed as her small body carried not just the weight of metals but also the pride of her nation.

    Kaya iyong hashtag natin para kay Hiydlyn, si Hidilyn, bumangon sa kahirapan, binuhat ang buong bayan!

    Ladies and gentlemen, hope is the only thing stronger than fear. We need more of it to counter the negativity in this era of post-truth, fake news, trolls, and alternative facts.

    Pag bumubukas tayo ng social media, lahat ng tao doon nag-aaway-away. We need more of hope to nourish our sense of dignity as a nation, to build our people’s trust in liberty and freedom, and to fight for truth in an age of lies.

    Iyong pinakapinagaasahan natin dito is we can always choose light over darkness. We can always choose hope in the midst of hopelessness. But we cannot wait for hope to find us.

    We need to find it ourselves, and give it a place to stay in our hearts and our minds. We need to feed it with extraordinary stories of ordinary people around us. And we need to tell stories of hope to our people, wherever they are.

    Today, we ask you to be our partners as we find every reason to hope. Kaya po tayo nandito, magkakapit-bisig tayo. Magtutulungan tayo para tumingin, dito lang sa atin. We need not go far, tumingin lang ng kwento ng ordinaryong tao, na iyong kuwento nila, iyon ang makakapagsabi sa ating lahat, may pag-asa naman ang Pilipinas.

    Marami pa tayong dahilan para umasa muli, at iyon ang inaasahan for all those who will participate, to fight all the negativity around us.

    I’m sure you will be surprised by what you will see.

    Let’s turn this movement that will not only change the conversation but will transform our nation!

    Maraming salamat and we are looking forward to this partnership in the coming days, weeks, months and years.

    Good afternoon ulit, magandang hapon sa inyong lahat!

    Posted in Speeches on Mar 11, 2017