An Honor to be Honored

February 28th, 2008

About two weeks ago, I was advised by EDSA People Power Commissioner Angie Barrera that Go Negosyo has been unanimously nominated to be a recipient of an award of recognition by the EDSA People Power Commission for its efforts in living up to the spirit of EDSA. I was a bit reluctant to receive the award since I felt there is still much to do and achieve (and the awarding ceremony was so early in the morning). Kidding aside, I decided to receive the award on behalf of all the entrepreneurs who have joined this cause to inspire people and who have shared in the same vision I have for this country in creating an entrepreneurial revolution.

While preparing to get dressed for the event, my brother Bernie sent me the statement of Balanga Bishop Socrates Villegas. Villegas is a protégé of Sin, the driving force behind the two EDSA revolts in 1986 and 2001. In his statement, Bishop Villegas said that while this government may be riddled with corruption, “we below are guilty as well”. He said that the government is but a reflection of the people and even if the leaders in government get replaced, the same problems will arise as long as we do not “repent of our personal sins as dishonest and uncaring ordinary citizens”. The Bishop also said that while he agrees that “the President must change or will be changed”, the senators and congressmen should also resign. The people had not gone to the streets since they have realized that this is not the solution and that the solution comes from a real change within us as Filipinos.

Together with other awardees like Dylan Wilk of Gawad Kalinga, Los Baños Mayor Cesar Perez, the women who climbed Mount Everest and Alay sa Kawal Foundation, I was asked to give the response and basically told the crowd that there is no perfect government and that we cannot keep having a people power revolution. The revolution that we had twenty two years ago in the streets has to move forward. The true spirit of EDSA has to continue to live on by not having more People Power movements. The revolution of change starts from the mind. The real change should happen within ourselves. We must take control of our own destiny. The biggest problem we have is poverty and for us to get rid of this, we must have the right attitude and mindset. We must continue to give hope that we indeed can have a great nation. Go Negosyo together with other organizations like Gawad Kalinga are working to inspire many Filipino people that this country indeed has a very bright future.

This award actually goes to the over 300 entrepreneurs who have joined this advocacy and have spent time to help inspire this nation. And now we have the celebrity entrepreneurs joining this cause to inspire this nation to be enterprising. We are featuring them in our new book Go Negosyo – Celebrity Edition. The book hopes to inspire a person to set up a business, to be entrepreneurial and innovative, and be more successful, that will employ from one to thousands of people. This is part of the advocacy of Filipino entrepreneurs to inspire people to Go Negosyo, and this is our answer to poverty.

This Sunday, March 2 at 4pm at the Music Hall, SM Mall of Asia, please join us as we launch that book Go Negosyo’s 50 Inspiring Stories of Entrepreneurs (Celebrity Edition) and get your book signed by the artistas and other entrepreneurs featured, even those in the first book.

Next week’s column will talk about the need to move towards a parliamentary form of government, and how we can do it properly. I am not a lawyer but in principle, we can elect the members of the constitutional convention by 2010 together with the new President. The form and structure of government that will be adopted can be put to a vote and if the Parliamentary form will be the one accepted by the people, the incumbent President at that time will see through the transition process leading to the shift to Parliamentary by 2016. It is a long process but it is better to be slow but sure. This to me will bring down the cost of running for the leadership post, and will make changes in leadership constitutionally possible, simply with a vote of no confidence. No need to resort to indiscriminate use of people power, as many proponents have put it. Those who want to comment about this, please email your comments.


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Tomorrow we shall also launch the Nokia Mobile Entrepreneur Awards, which is a nationwide search for the innovative and progressive entrepreneurs that use mobile services extensively in their business operations. In partnership with Nokia, Go Negosyo aims to recognize Filipino entrepreneurs that utilize mobile technology and discover new and interesting business models out there and select the best ones, based on criteria we set. Deadline of submission will be on March 31. Please log on to the Nokia website for details.