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2010 a New Year, a New Decade for Overseas Filipino to Shine

fter the news of the Maguindanao Massacre broke, we at PHILNEWS wondered what life would be like living under the rule of the Ampatuans. Andal Ampatuan Sr. at home, photographed a few days after the Maguindanao MassacreAndal Ampatuan Sr., the Governor of Maguindanao lorded over the land as if it were his own personal fiefdom. His children and relatives held positions of authority throughout that region and together they ruled with an iron hand.

Given that Andal Sr, never even made it past the elementary grades, what vision, if any, did he have for Maguindanao and its constituents. While the rest of the world was working hard at improving their lot and preparing the youth for the challenges of tomorrow, Maguindanao has remained one of the poorest and least progressive regions in the Philippines—although the Ampatuans own over a dozen jaw-dropping mansions throughout the country.

And there in a nutshell is what ails the Philippines and keeps it from progressing. To a greater or lesser degree, the Philippines is one big Maguindanao where the rich and powerful look only after themselves and their kin, and have nary a concern for anyone else. But the poor and downtrodden aren't blameless either, many expect something for nothing and would just as easily swindle a stranger without batting an eyelash.

So where does all this leave the Philippines? Many instinctively sensed where the country was headed and simply left. They are the lucky ones, but what about the millions who are left behind? They too deserve a fair shot at life! And this is where overseas Filipinos can now play a major role. They have more clout than they realize. Their remittances alone keep the Philippine economy afloat. Filipinos abroad have the numbers and the financial wherewithal to start changing things back home. Satellite image of the Philippines taken in 2006Most importantly, they know there's a better way of doing things. They have seen how other cultures successfully face challenges and make things work.

With today's global communications, and the internet, Filipinos around the world can push for change back home. They can help their countrymen discard their bad habits. They can expose and shame those who do wrong while lifting up and honoring those who do right—it was the thousands of overseas Filipinos who voted online, that made Efren Peñaflorida the CNN Hero of the Year.

For the expatriate Filipino, the fight has just begun. We will move the Philippines forward. We will bring about change. Like Manny Pacquiao who vanquished one worthy opponent after another, we will beat down anyone or anything that stands in the way of a better and brighter future for our beloved islands. This new decade will be the decade of the overseas Filipino.

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