One fellow Ilonggo is quietly influencing attitudes and inspiring countless Filipinos to do more for their country. Atty. Alex Lacson, who hails from Kabankalan, Negros Occidental, has surprised pundits and book authors with the success of his book titled “12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country.” In just 8 weeks, “12 Little Things” has sold 2,000 copies and has since been reprinted several times.
I had the privilege of knowing and working with Alex Lacson last year. Even before he achieved nationwide acclaim, Alex was already a celebrity in his hometown. In fact, he was being pushed by civic and youth groups to run as congressmen for the 6th District of Negros Occidental to replace Congressman Lim-ao Alvarez, who was already on his third term, but he declined. I guess he was too decent to enter the rough and tumble world of politics.
Lacson consistently excelled in school. He first studied at the Philippine Military Academy but feeling that military life was not for him enrolled at the University of the Philippines College of Law, graduating in 1996. What strikes me most about Alex is his humility and idealism. His is not the “in-your-face” type of patriotism which we commonly see among leftists and activists that puts people off. Soft-spoken and self-effacing, Alex wins you over with his sincerity and his courage to live by his personal convictions - a true southern gentleman.
"12 Little Things" is a practical and do-able guide for Filipinos who are overwhelmed or do not know what to do in the face of the current situation in our country. The book challenges us Filipinos, especially those who complain about everything, to show our love for country not only thru words but deeds. Anyways, here are the 12 little things every Filipino can so to help our country according to Atty. Alex Lacson (italics mine):
1. Follow traffic rules. “Sundon ang layi trapiko.” Indi mag-jaywalking, indi mag-singit, indi mag-over speeding.
2. Whenever you buy or pay for anything, always ask for an official receipt. “Pangayu-on pirmi ang resibo.” Para maka-kolekta EVAT ang aton gobyerno sa gin-bakal mo.
3. Buy 'Made in the Philippines', buy locally made, buy Filipino. “Magbakal sang lokal.” Kung pareho man lang ang kalidad sang local kag imported nga produkto, bakla ang local (example Bench vs. Tommy Hilfiger).
4. When you talk to others, especially foreigners, speak positively of our race and our country. “Hindi pagsuya-i ang aton nasud, lalo na gid sa mga foreigners (i.e. Koreans, Americans).” Dapat pa gani ipabugal mo ang lugar mo sa ila.
5. Respect your traffic officer, policeman, soldier and other public servants. “Respetuha ang mga ga-serbisyo publiko” para ka nila buligan.
6. Do not litter. “Ihaboy ang basura sa basurahan.” Ibutang ang upos sang sigarilyo kag panit ka dulci sa imo bulsa asta makakita sang basurahan.
7. Support your church. (or charitable/ civic organizations). “Suportari ang inyo nga simbahan kag maging aktibo sa inyo lugar.”
8. During elections, do your solemn duty. “Iboto ang kandidato nga qualified, hindi lang ang kilala nyo. Bulig kamo sa PPCRV or Namfrel bantay boto.”
9. Pay your employees well. “Bayaran ang inyo empleyado sang sakto kag indi sila i-maltrato.”
10. Pay your taxes. “Magbayad sang buwis”
11. Adopt a scholar or adopt a poor child. “Mag-adopt sang isa ka bata sa Hospicio de Molo or mag-adopt sang isa ka scholar. Kung indi mo kaya nga isa lang, mag-chip in kamo sang barkada or batchmates mo.
12. Be a good parent. “Manging maa-yo kag bul-anan nga ginikanan sa inyo mga bata. Kung wala ka pa bata, mangin maayo nga ehemplo sa mga bata sa lugar mo. In other words, indi magma-oy sa dalan.”
Alex Lacson claims that if only each Filipino follow these 12 commandments religiously, our country will become developed and prosperous.
Now that I have whetted your appetite, go buy the book!